Cardiff City (1)

Comments from the forum - 2

First trip to sea. Hello all...please excuse this long story hope it fits in the site OK.
I know its a long time ago for most of us, but do we all still remember our first day joining ship, I'm sure we do. I certainly do, as though it was yesterday. A very rainy day in mid-February 1965 was mine (aged 16 and a bit) and I joined the Cardiff in Greenwell's drydock, Sunderland, just some 30 miles from my home in Middlesbrough. I was told by the "office" that I must join in uniform, so after the parental farewells at Middlesbrough railway station,(because, in my mind, a young man of the world cannot be seen getting a farewell kiss from Mum at the ship !!!), I took the 45 minute diesel train journey to Sunderland very proudly, and resplendent in my new uniform and very stiff cap. It was a typical North east day, wet, drab and dreary and I remember getting a taxi at Sunderland station. "Greenwells drydock please" I said to the taximan.. "First trip is it son?" he said...and I thought to myself "How the h... does he know ?". Never mind, when I got to the drydock and dragged my cases up the gangway, my cap fell off at the top into a puddle of dirty rusty water on the main deck (!!)...never used that cap again !...and then 3 apparitions appeared all covered in rust and dirt (they'd been chipping the forepeak!) "You must be the new apprentice" one of them said.. "You have 15 mins to stow your gear and then get out here"...The apparitions then took me along to the accommodation and introduced me to the C/O who, I found out later, was Griff-Jones. He showed me me my cabin and I remember exclaiming "Oh it's single berth is it" (as I was well- read on stories of the cadets in the more posher lines being 4 or 6 to a berth.) " Of course," he says, "All our ships are now single berth" . Well I thought that was good start and quickly made my self at home, joining the "apparitions" as required on deck in 15 mins.
And so it progresses, my next humiliation ( well, probably not THE next one!) was when the ship headed southwards for Dakar on Clan line charter and when it became hotter, obviously out came the tropical gear, everyone resplendent in their whites.. except for one first trip apprentice who appeared in his recommended tropical gear of khakis, including the correct shoulder epaulettes! I could not believe that I was the only one on the ship with khakis and I have no doubt that it caused a fair bit of conversation with the old man ( Idris W.) and the C/O, but, as I still had the list of recommended clothes given to me by the office I was able to show that khaki was an acceptable option to whites! Extremely embarrassing for a 16 yr old but I got used to it...and at the very first opportunity ie Mauritius some weeks later, I had to spend something like my whole monthly wage to get kitted out in whites by an Indian tailor. Well worth it though to be one of the crowd and not stand out. I have to say though, with all due respect to our office colleagues, I tended to take what they said with a little pinch of salt after that introduction. Graham Mapplebeck. Posted on forum 18th February 2010.

And to continue on the same theme......first night after work, Greenwell's drydock, all the apprentices went ashore and into the first pub at the top of the hill, forget the name of the pub but a well known one then....the senior apprentice ordered Newcastle Brown Ale, with the clearly obvious intention of getting the new boy drunk. However, when after maybe three/four bottles each and at least one of the others was just about falling off the bar stool, he said to me "You've drunk this stuff before haven't you ?" I had to admit yes, I had.. "Well help me get these two back to the ship then". So I did. Must admit don't like the NBA stuff now and much prefer the "Fosters!!"

...and second morning in Greenwells... working on deck with the Mate and the other apprentii..the Mate turns to me and says go forward and get a five ton shackle... well after I stood there and looked around he said "Well go on then" or maybe stronger words to that effect !! .. Me, 16 year old and being very much in my own mind a man of the world and well versed in all the old stories of the tricks that new seafarers were exposed to, such as the "saving the lettuce leaves for the mules in Panama" thought "Ah hah you're not going to catch me that easy" and I said "Well I 'm looking for the trolley 'cos a five ton shackle is quite heavy isn't it.!!" Griff-Jones' reply is quite unprintable but is imprinted on my memory. Oh how green we were ! And how very soon we learnt. Graham Mapplebeck. Posted on forum 18th February 2010.

Disclaimer: The statements on this page are the views of the person who posted them on the forum. The events took place many years ago and in most cases rely on those people's memories, and so we cannot guarantee the accuracy although every effort is made to check it.

Cardiff City. Page [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
Memories from RSL staff. Page No. [1] [2] [3] [4]