Fresno City (4)

Comments from the forum - 3

I remember our days on the Fresno City. My wife (Anne) says hi and also my daughter (Jo). Jo was nine at the time, she is now forty-six and nursing at the Royal Hobart in Tasmania
She still talks about those days like they were yesterday, and why wouldn't she?, you guys spoiled her rotten! Actually she was given a lot of help with her tuition from our shipmates which was greatly appreciated. The three of us had a wonderful trip. I seem to recall Anne and Jo gathering blackberries with the apprentices in North Vancouver and the ships cook cobbling up some excellent blackberry pies.The little things are important don't you think ?
Geoff Garlick was indeed the o/m and what a great fellow he was. I sailed with a chap called Tom Sawyer in the Atlantic City about ten light years ago and he and Geoff were apprentices together on a previous ship. Tom (Yorkie) was always telling yarns about Geoff and saying what a great shipmate he was. How very true, he was an excellent shipmaster and a warm and friendly man. It would be difficult to forget John Hewson, a Smith's man through and through, friendly and welcoming. I wish that the rest of my seagoing days were as happy and carefree.
Time has certainly slipped away, I'm seventy now and pretty well retired. Though I do drive a couple of cruise boats to keep myself amused and out of mischief. Whale watching, luncheon and dinner cruises, weddings etc etc. It's ok,keeps me on the water and out of the house. Bill Thompson. Posted on forum 1 July 2011.

Man overboard.

The Incident referred to, took place aboard the Fresno City on 27th May 1974.It happened as the vessels was crossing the Gulf of Tehuantapec.The Following is Captain Cross's account that appeared in the following month's Newsletter:-


Towards the end of last month, we received a radio message from Captain W.J. Cross informing us that Cadet John Concannon was missing from our m.v. "FRESNO CITY" and had presumably fallen overboard. At the time the vessel was on passage from Panama to Long Beach.
At approximately 2240 on the night of 27th May, Cadet Concannon was reported as missing and immediately the Master ordered a re-trace of the vessel's course, a general alarm was sounded and a radio message was sent requesting all vessels in the vicinity to keep a sharp look-out.
Shortly after midnight, a search pattern was agreed with the Master of the m. v. "COLUMBIA STAR", which had previously answered the original alarm signal.

As a result, the "FRESNO CITY" and the "COLUMBIA STAR" continued searching throughout the night and approximately forty minutes after dawn, Captain Cross received a message from the "COLUMBIA STAR" stating they had spotted Cadet Concannon. Twelve minutes later, a further message from the "COLUMBIA STAR" stated: "We have him on board in very good shape".
The "FRESNO CITY" then proceeded to close with the "COLUMBIA STAR" when the Cadet was transferred to his own vessel.. A message was then sent by Captain Cross to the Master of the "COLUMBIA STAR" expressing his thanks for the excellent co--operation and assistance which had successfully resulted in the rescue of
the Cadet. The "FRESNO CITY" then proceeded on passage to Long Beach where, upon arrival on 4th. June, the Cadet was medically examined and found to be fit to undertake the flight to the United. Kingdom. The following day he arrived at Heathrow, where he was met by his parents and a representative of this Company. Upon arrival, he was interviewed by television, radio and press representatives and later that evening, appeared in a recorded television interview.

We are pleased to advise that we have since seen Cadet Concannon and to say that he appears to be fully recovered from the unfortunate incident.
We feel that the above account illustrates the magnificent spirit off co--operation which is readily given by the British Merchant Navy when a crisis such as this develops.
Our thanks and warmest appreciation are gladly given to the Officers and Ratings of both vessels for their devotion to duty, which was ultimately so successful."
I believe Cadet Concannon made one further voyage and then left the company.

The following appeared in the "Daily Telegraph" on 5th June 1974

"History repeats itself. The story of Cadet Concannon falling overboard brings to mind a similar incident before the war, when I was serving my time, also in the Reardon Smith Line.
One of the company's cadets fell overboard, I believe in the Pacific and was not missed for some time. The vessel turned back and eventually found him several hours later, said to be swimming about quite happily.
He had a reputation of being slightly mad (not unusual inn those days at sea) and was, I believe, a Canadian known to his intimates as "Bones". J.D. Norie (Capt) Gravesend, Kent."

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.

Fresno City. Page [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Memories from RSL staff. [1]

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