Sandy was born in North Shields. At the age of 16 he began his maritime training and went to sea at 18. He is Lifeboat Visits Officer for Cullercoats RNLI and a member of the Coble and Keelboat Society.
Sandy was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 9 December 2005. The interview took place at Discovery Museum People's Gallery and lasted 46 minutes and 7 seconds.
A day at sea
"I would get up at six o’clock in the morning, and have a shave and shower and make myself a pot of tea"
I would get up at six o’clock in the morning, and have a shave and shower and make myself a pot of tea, and then take that down to the bridge on a tray, and I’d relieve the chief officer who was keeping the four to eight watch at sea while he went down and had his breakfast and had his shave and did what he had to do, you know, and I would have the ship to myself for an hour from seven to eight, or quarter to seven until quarter to eight. And I liked that, having the ship to myself, you know. Get a man at the wheel, or there’s always a sailor about. If there was nothing else, we had wooden decks, I would scrub the decks for an hour, and that was good exercise. And keep a good look out, of course, and if I was coming, a sailor would keep a look out and he told me if he saw anything, but out to sea, it’s okay.
And then I’d go down for breakfast and then after that the officers would take sights because this was in the days before GPS so everybody carried his own sextant and I’d take a sight myself before breakfast, a sun sight for longitude, and all the Mates took sights for longitude and then you’d run it up by simple mathematics to noon, round about noon when the sun is on the meridian, you see, and that gives you your latitude. It’s all quite simple stuff but you’ve got to know how to do it, of course, and then we’d all compare our positions and they’d always be miles of each other, which is good enough for when you’re in deep sea on a ship. It gives you a good idea that you’re heading in the right direction, which is the main thing, of course.
I’d check everything, everything. I’d got down after breakfast and have a chat with the Chief Engineer about the engines and just keep an eye on things. I’d go for a walk around the ship, talk to the lads and that was how the day went, you know. Good meals served at appropriate times, and then the watches were kept by the chief officer on the four to eights morning and evening, the Second Mate kept the twelve to fours which is the graveyard watch, you know, the middle watch at night, 12 o’clock to four o’clock. And the Third Mate, the junior officer, kept the eight to 12, and I would keep that with him in the evenings, so I’d turn in about midnight. That was a day a sea
Sandy has 19 memories in the memorynet:
Sandy's memories with a Roles and Routines theme:
- Training school for the merchant navy
- Progress through the merchant navy
- A day at sea
- Master's certificate
- Loading cargo in Ghana
Sandy's other memories:
- Adjusting to life at sea
- Taking the family to sea
- Ships in bottles
- Chooky the rooster
- The RNLI and the Coble and Keelboat Society
- The Doxford Song
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge
- Notebooks and diaries of flights and voyages
- The Panama Canal
- Taking the family on ship
- Teaching knotting skills
- Chooky the Rooster
- The Golden Bear