Eastern City (3)

Comments from the forum - 1

I made my first trip as Apprentice on the "Eastern City"(3) in June 1949 and she has always been "special" to me. Strangely enough, I am still able to name most of the Deck Crew besides the Officers.
Master: Blake Carnaffan, C/O:Harold Ward, 2/O: John Groves, 3/O Johnson, C/E: Solly Wainwright, 3/E: Billy Powe, Apprentices Vernon Harris, Gardner, Kevin Duggan and myself. Bosun Bob "Pegleg" Frazer/A.Bs Maurice McBride/Nicky Swinhoe/Geoff Lax and Billy Northope.
Sunderland / Galveston / Hamburg / N.Shields / Alexandria / Yokohama / Vancouver / Glasgow.
The second trip was Glasgow / Mogodor / French Morocco (as it was then) where we grounded. Towed back to Casablanca for temp repairs (see "A Tale of Two Bottoms" Shipmates-Issue 11-June 1999). Thence back to Sunderland after a tow by the famous tug "Turmoil" of "Flying Enterprise" fame!
During W.W.2 she had been converted to a CAM ship, whereby a Hurricane fighter was fitted to a ramp across the foredeck. I understand that Mates wer'nt too happy when it took off- it was rocket propelled and burnt all the paint off the front of the bridge!! Also, the "Operations Room" was the paintlocker ,starb side Focsle head- and no one relished being in there when the aircraft thundered overhead!! John Cann. Posted on forum 27 November 2010.

Some considerable time ago, scanning Ships Nostalgia, I came across an enquiry from a Brit. working in the marine field in Yokohama. He was obviously very active with the Missions to Seamen there.
His interest was to find out about a ships bell, enscribed "Eastern City", now at the Mission and being used as a Christening vessel.
As there were 5 RSL ships of this name,it was narrowed down to "Eastern City"(3)- my first ship!. I understand it is the Bridge wing bell - not the Focsle head one! Nice to know there is still a piece of her still around and being used in that manner. John Cann. Posted on forum 20 December 2010.

In possession of my brand new Second Mate's F/G certificate, also a £20 contract bonus from Sir Willie,and with a new bride back home in Blighty, I thought that life could not be any fuller. Then old man Bissett in the Cardiff office spoilt it all by sending me over to Belfast to join the
"Eastern City (3)" under the command of one Captain Albert Gamal Justen on the 23 February 1960 as that rather rare creature - a 3rd. Mate with a ticket. Albert must have felt that fortune had finally smiled upon him at last having a certificated officer looking after the 8-12 watch. This meant he could if he so wished get quietly sozzled of an evening. But off we went in late February 1960 bound Key West for orders and later loaded down to our marks with bulk soya beans out of the Destrehan elevators in the Mississippi above New Orleans, we sailed across the sapphire blue seas of the Caribbean towards the Panama Canal.
Coming on watch one evening on approach to Colon, the Mate told me that Albert wanted to be called when we were 5 miles north of the Colon breakwater and to put the main engines on stand by at that time.
So. here I was in control with one A.B. at the wheel lookout forward and visibility unlimited. Soon the three green leading lights marking the correct line of approcah into Colon Harbour hove into view and with a slight course adjustment we brought them right ahead and in line on a due South heading. No radar on that ship of course but for those of us who had never been with it anyway, no problem. When I had checked position and noted it on the chart and we were just coming up to 5 miles off, I rang Stand by engines and blew down the captain's voice pipe. Albert's grunted reply came up the tube - "Five miles off sir, engines on standby and the green lights right ahead," says I.
A little later Albert stumbles into the wheelhouse. "Where's the green lights?" he shouts. "Right ahead sir" says I. " I can't see them!" says Albert. " Oh God I've gone blind!" I shone the bridge torch at his head and blow me but the old bugger was wearing a blindfold like those you get on airliners. I pulled it off and Albert cried out in joy at the sudden restoration of his sight.
You always had a laugh with Albert. Next time I will tell you about our approach to the King George Sound for the port of Albany West Australia in sudden near zero vis in torrential rain when Albert did a terrific jab of conning us safely through the Sound and to anchor in the Princess Royal Harbour off the Albany waterfront. To this day, I don't know how he did it.
Does anyone out there remember the Harbour Tea Rooms with Anne and her sister? Charlie Boyer. Posted on forum 14 March 2012.

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Memories from RSL staff. Page No. [1]