Keith belongs to: The Doxford Engine Friends Association
Keith served his apprenticeship in various departments at Doxford's, leaving in 1959. He spent time at sea with the Bank Line working through the ranks to become Chief Engineer Officer. Keith has spent the last 20 years working in marine consultation and surveying.
Keith was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 9 March 2006. The interview took place at Sunderland Museum and lasted 29 minutes and 57 seconds.
First voyage with the Bank Line
"Bank Line was renowned at that time for very, very lengthy trips, mostly around the two year mark"
Bank Line was renowned at that time for very, very lengthy trips, mostly around the two year mark. Fortunately for me, the first trips that I was on for two or three years were involved in the copra trade, the coconut oils and the run typically started out from Liverpool. And we would load the general cargo for, from Liverpool, for the US gulf ports and we would do all of the gulf ports; Port Arthur, Lake Charles, Houston, New Orleans, all the way around and load and discharge various cargoes all the way through and then finally depart and head through the Panama Canal towards the first port in Australia, which happened to be Brisbane, and we always worked from Brisbane through. so we called at Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and in fact finishing off at Freemantle and then from Freemantle we would then set sail for the, for the South Pacific Islands.
And we would do Fiji, Tonga and all the smaller islands around the south of the islands, and with the vessels being fairly small, some of them seven or eight thousand tonnes, it was quite common for us to tie up to palm trees and things, so it was quite a, quite a nice area. And the islands we used to go to, some of them had never seen a white person before, so it was very interesting to see the, the action between, between the two, and we used, we used to pass wee gifts to the, to these people and they used to give us all sorts of things in return.
But it was a very enjoyable, a very enjoyable time for me and when we finished off loading, and generally this was in Fiji, and it was quite a, quite an emotional scene of departure where all of the workers in the port would gather on the quayside and they would be swaying to the music of Isa Lei which was the farewell song of Fiji and they would be singing quite loudly as the ship was departing from the wharf, and steaming out with the, with the three blasts on the whistle as a goodbye sign, so it was quite a lump in throat experience each time we left there, and in Tonga, the Bank Line was the only shipping company that visited Tonga, so the shipping company itself was held in very high esteem in that the, all of the requirements for the island was brought in by Bank Line, and all of the products were taken away by Bank Line, so it was the total link with the outside world.
Keith has 12 memories in the memorynet:
Keith's memories with a The North East theme:
- Finishing apprenticeship and going to sea
- Returning to work in the North East
- Apprenticeship certificate
Keith's other memories: