John belongs to: The Coble and Keelboat Society
John grew up in Tynemouth. He spent his spare time as a child sailing. John followed his father into piloting ships on the Tyne.
John was interviewed by Kylea Little on 3 March 2006. The interview took place at Discovery Museum History Office and lasted 1 hour, 0 minute and 12 seconds.
Going to sea after apprenticeship
"So, anyway, at the end of the apprenticeship, I mean, you were, I was obliged that I had to, I had to go to sea"
So, anyway, at the end of the apprenticeship, I mean, you were, I was obliged that I had to, I had to go to sea and I had to come back with a master’s roll certificate for doing it and, and in that case I was actually going to go away with a, a chap who lived next door to us who was master of a shipping company, and I was, he was going to take me as third mate, that was normal way you got to sea as third officer, but without a certificate because the time that we spend as a pilot apprentice didn’t count as full sea time, it only counted as two thirds, and even before I could go for the certificate I had to spend 18 months at sea, still, in addition to the time that I had spent on the pilot’s service.
Unfortunately, the ship that I was going away on had a massive break down and was being towed back to the shipbuilder’s yard, and being frustrated about when I was going to get away, did apply to the pool in Newcastle, see if they could find me a ship and they did suggest one, and immediately shivers did ran down my spine at the thought of this- it was a company called Stevie Sutton’s who, I think believed that rust was the best preservative, and certainly asked if there was possibly anything else that they could suggest, and the chap at the pool did say, he said, “well, we’ve got a four month old ship that was built at Hawthorn’s, on the river here, belongs to a company called Moore Line, Walter Runciman’s, Newcastle, it’s lying in Liverpool, we have sent one of their apprentices up about half an hour ago, who’s just finished his time, he hasn’t got time, the ticket either yet but we’ve sent him up to see if he can get the job.” So he said, “you can have a go.”
So I, from the pool office made best speed up to walk up to Moore Line building and the master was there- no sign of this other apprentice, he had stopped off at the pub around the corner, in, by Aitken's, you know, where the radio shop is there. And so I was there, he must have liked the look of me and he took me on straight away and that was it!
So there is a little more to this story, because about, it must be about a year later, we were lying in Panama and there was a ship, right state it was in, came along the other side of the jetty we were lying on, and this character with about a week’s beard, filthy, scruffy almost crawled across to our ship and it was this apprentice! And he was on the ship that I’d had the awful feeling about, so it was a smart move, that was the first smart move I maybe did in, you know, going to sea.
John has 11 memories in the memorynet:
John's memories with a Danger theme:
John's other memories: