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.
"Well, thereís been a long history of uniforms as far as pilots were concerned"
Well, thereís been a long history of uniforms as far as pilots were concerned, and certainly pilots at the time were no exception to what was really going on around most of the of the UK, I suppose. But, I mean, pilots used to be in sailing cobles wearing top hats. I mean, can you imagine wearing a top hat in a pilot coble with the wind and bad weather and things like this? But of course this was his badge of office at one time, and I suppose you could keep things in your top hat, you know, keep them dry perhaps.
But yes, certainly it came down to fixed, fixed uniforms, you know. Not always- I mean, in some parts of the UK a pilot always went aboard in, in a sort of, not a casual style, but I mean it would just probably what you might call a merchant navy mac and a trilby. But I mean, certainly on my station it was a strict uniform code which, as years went by, latterly we got away from that because you were going into, you see, these people didnít wear lifejackets or anything like that. In fact, most pilots, like most of them, canít swim anyway, so it gives them more respect for the sea.
But latterly, in latter years, I mean, it was all kind of relatively fancy weather wear that we used, you know, lights, beacons and God knows what. And I just meant, trouble is that for a pilot it was a bit of a problem because it all added weight and sometimes you had some considerable climbs to do. People donít always realise that when, when a shipís rolling and you get on the ladder, I mean, youíve got to get on the right time otherwise you end up back in the water again, or you might get crushed by the pilot boat, but when the ship is sort of rolling away from you, you can really, you know, you can really feel it and then it comes rolling back towards you and youíve got to just really sort of stop until it- itís an art, getting on pilot boats.
John has 11 memories in the memorynet:
John's memories with a Danger theme:
John's other memories: