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 Post subject: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 03 Nov 2009 01:51 
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Christmas at sea was always special, extra food, a bit of sly-grog and a more relaxed atmosphere; that’s how I remember it but then most of my shipboard Christmases’ where on Australian ships and for the most part I was a deck officer; however, Australia is not a class conscious sort of place so we had common messing and Christmas day was always a happy, jolly day.
My first Christmas on a British ship was a little different and it wasn’t exactly Christmas at sea; I was on the Saint Arvins, South American Saint Line and on the day we were alongside at Montevideo and the old man had declared a holiday.
Christmas lunch was in fact Christmas dinner and we were all a little tipsy having been in the first and last all morning. The cooks had done a fine job so we had the usual Christmas fare, a roast turkey dinner with cranberry sauce, that was the first time in my life I’d ever tasted turkey and I couldn’t understand why it was considered so special, at home we always had chicken and I thought that was much better, I still feel the same today and the only reason we have a turkey is because my wife likes to have it as cold meat when we have visitors.

Anyway, back to Montevideo, we had some maritime police (Marinara’s) onboard and another first in my life was to see these people collecting all the leftovers into ¼ gallon tins, everything was thrown in together including the Christmas Pudding & Brandy Sauce; it was all a bit of a shock for me never having seen this done before but I was to witness this sort of poverty often after that.

The next Christmas at sea was at sea and I was aboard the Norwegian tanker Thorskog having been repatriated after jumping ship at Freeport, TX. The skipper was a top bloke and an Olympian having represented Norway at the ’48 games in London, he had his wife with him and she wasn’t alone, there was four other ladies being the Ch/Cook & 2nd. Cook, Ch/Engineers wife and a stewardess, they were all lovely people and made life seem more natural at sea. About a week before Christmas they all got busy in the Galley baking biscuits, cakes and puddings, then on Christmas Day, somewhere in the middle of the Indian ocean, we had a smorgasbord lunch after which we all went up to the big recreation room where we were handed sheet of paper on which the words of some Carols was printed, then led by the old man, Mates and Engineers we sang Christmas Carols … many of the boys were full of a very raw home-made liquor, they sang with gusto!

That evening we had the best Christmas Dinner I’ve had, the wives had done a magnificent job, it was a fantastic Christmas at sea and even though we still had to do our watch it was all very laid back and no effort at all.

Aboard the Norwegian tanker Thorskog after being repatriated from the US
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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 03 Nov 2009 03:48 
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hi tony,funny you mentioned jumping ship in freeport,iwas galley boy on the tanker british peer,
sailed out of cammel lairds shipyard 22-4-53 and our first port of call was freeport tx,
we had an older fireman on board,every time he saw anyone he would say have you got a ciggie..
always remember his name he was well known as ciggie williams,anyway he jumped ship there
as well.
as a footnote the day we left the captain had all tha crew together to celebrate the
queens coronation.all i got was orange juice,


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 03 Nov 2009 08:48 
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good christmas story tony, you too bob.

i like that photograph tony but it must have been difficult working with those tomato's in your deck boots ;)



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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#4  PostPosted: 03 Nov 2009 10:12 
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liverbob wrote:
hi tony,funny you mentioned jumping ship in freeport,iwas galley boy on the tanker british peer,
sailed out of cammel lairds shipyard 22-4-53 and our first port of call was freeport tx,
we had an older fireman on board,every time he saw anyone he would say have you got a ciggie..
always remember his name he was well known as ciggie williams,anyway he jumped ship there
as well.
as a footnote the day we left the captain had all tha crew together to celebrate the
queens coronation.all i got was orange juice,

Where did they come from, I never noticed them Tom, must have happened during the upload. :rednoseS:


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#5  PostPosted: 05 Dec 2009 05:52 
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Christmas in Durban on the Windsor Castle, I was an officers steward and our accomodation was on the boat deck along with most of the officers. Senior officers were one deck up. The plan was for the officers to serve Christmas dinner to the crew at 1900 hrs in the tourist class saloon. As Mike the other officers steward and myself went around the cabins on our daily rounds we were greeted by officers all enjoying the festive season. There was however a problem, by dinner time very few of them were able to stand, let alone act as wingers. The old man had to gather what officers he could along with a few petty officers, the head chef and a few cooks. Somehow between them they fed the crew, but next morning I swear you could hesr the old man from as afr as East london, giving the officers what for. Mike and I had a great day.



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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#6  PostPosted: 05 Dec 2009 08:56 
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great story! ;santapissed:



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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#7  PostPosted: 14 Dec 2009 11:46 
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All in all I spent 16 christmasses on board ship, some of them at sea and some in foreign ports, the majority of them were enjoyable occasions with really good food, plenty of booze, and in the company of fantastic people, the one that stands out for me as the worst one was on board the tanker Cerinthus, owned by Hadley Steamship company, it was apart from the dreadful xmas the worst ship that I had the misfortune to sail on, we were at sea for xmas period and at 1600 hours on xmas eve until 0800 hours on the 27th of Dec the old man switched off the iron mike and put 3 men in a watch with a 24 hour lookout over the holiday period, his reasoning was that he was a firm believer in that idle minds bred mutiny so he wanted to keep everyone occupied over the holiday, I was doing the second wheel on the 12-4 watch on xmas day ehen one of the junior engineers came up to the bridge pi**d and he and the 2nd mate started arguing, the next thing they went out on the starboard wing and started fighting, I could hear sparky tapping away on his morse key in his shack so I left the wheel and asked him to fetch the old man, the skipper and sparks then restored order and both of them was sent off the bridge, the following day I was summoned up to the old man and logged a days pay for leaving the wheel to go summon sparks, he said that I should have blown the ships whistle, the fact that to blow the whistle would have also meant leaving the wheel had no bearing on the matter. a definate xmas to forget but I don't think I ever will. stan


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#8  PostPosted: 01 Jan 2012 15:40 
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In my 10 years at sea I was always away at christmas and remember it was a lot of work in the catering dept .one time we were in haifa and I did,nt understand why the dockers were working ,then I found out that the Jews did,nt celebrate X Mas . I was,nt very good at religion , learned a lot later . :drunk2: usflag:


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#9  PostPosted: 01 Jan 2012 21:48 
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Tony
Sitting here bored to tears Sober.
I took your picture as above and done some repairs to it.
If you would like the repaired version send me your e mail. I had it somewhere but alas lost again
Ron the batcave


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#10  PostPosted: 01 Jan 2012 21:54 
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Spent the Xmas of 1968 on board the Southland Star berthed at KGV. Could have spent it at home but as I have said previously I do not like that time of year and consider it one of the best Xmas times being alone on a ship and as everyone knows there is nothing as dead as a ship before being crewed up but then that is me. Think I have always been a loner in some way or other.



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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#11  PostPosted: 02 Jan 2012 09:33 
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Ron B Manderson wrote:
If you would like the repaired version send me your e mail. I had it somewhere but alas lost agai


if you go to tony's profile you can email him direct from there



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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at Sea
Post Number:#12  PostPosted: 03 Jan 2012 13:15 
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Thanks tomrca
I have also changed my e mail address in my profile.
I e mailed him and will keep picture on pc for 10 days then I delete.
Ron the batcave


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