Names and Faces from the Past.

Jack Chatten - Second Engineer.

Jack passed away in 1976. He had retired from the sea and was living in Gosforth.

I joined the indian on the 5th May 74 and left on the 1st October 74 that was the trip Evan Walmsley was mate, Jake Vaughn was Captain and Malcalm Raynor was C/E.
Jackie left the ship towards the end of the voyage in I think Yokohama and that was his last trip I'm almost sure. He ended up in Gosforth shortly after where he died.
Mr Major attended his funeral. Jackie was well known in RSL.
He started his sea faring career as a deck cadet with Stag Line, his mother was friendly with the owners. Failing eyesight brought his cadetship to an end, he sailed as bosun then somehow during the war ended up with RSL as a donkeyman and eventually as a dispensation 2/E
I knew Jackie well and he was a great character. Robbie Bell. Posted on the forum 7th April 2009.

The first time I met Jack Chatten was when I joined the Eastern City in March 1966.
Jack was an extra second engineer on that vessel and George Probart had a similar position on the Australian City when it was new.
At that time RSL had sufficient engineers with certificates, but they kept a position open for those who had dispensation certificates.
Jack had a wife and daughter in Yokohama, but unfortunately the wife would not come to live in the UK whilst her mother was alive. The mother was not much older than Jack. They were very nice people.
Jack was badly burnt with the engine room fire on the Cornish City in Aden in December 1962, and Tom Major did everything he could after his recovery to help him. Eric Poingdestre. Posted on the forum 7th April 2009.

I was a young apprentice on the Atlantic City from March 1958 until February 1960. Gerry Elder was the C/E and the Master was Capt. Passmore. George Ellerby was the mate (another great character).
I have very fond memories of Jack - he knew how broke we were living on our 9 pounds 3 and 4 a month and regularly slipped us a couple of pounds in port. All we had to do was bring him back a bottle and we could spend the change. We of course were happy to oblige - we never found out what would have happened if we ever forgot!
Also, I was amazed what he could do out on deck with one regular bucket of water when water was getting scarce. First he cleaned his teeth then stripped off and had a good wash down, then into the bucket would go his tee shirt underwear and boiler suit in that order before ringing it out and throwing it all over a derrick to dry off. Tony Crowther. Posted on the forum 26th April 2009.

I too remember Jackie all too well. A real character. I sailed with him on the old Devon City. We used to run from the UK to South Africa. We were sailing up the Clyde one trip and Jackie came down the engine room and drove us all out. I don't know if anyone remembers how many people were required to manoeuvre a Doxford but it was more than one. Anyway he accused us all of being drunk and sent us out of the engine room and took the ship all the way up the Clyde himself. To be honest he was the one under the weather.
Another time we were in Durban over Christmas and Jackie asked a couple of us youngsters to pick him up a couple of bottles of Cape brandy. Well before we gave them to Jackie we drank most of one them and filled it with water. Christmas day Jackie gave the engineers a bottle of Cape brandy and not the watered down one down. Needless to say we felt pretty crappy about what we had done. Keith Davies. Posted on the forum 10th April 2009.

Reading the articles in Forum about Jackie Chatten made me remember the voyages that I sailed with him. Jackie had lost the top of one of his fingers, I think it was the second finger on his left hand but I could be wrong, it's such a long time ago. We sailed on a number of RSL ships together, but I remember the voyage we did together in 1966 when I was Mate on the "King City" and Jackie was the 2/E. Dan John was Master, and Mr. Drysdale was C/E. (Was it John Drysdale?). A big hearty man, always reminded me of a Army Colonel!. the Chief had a crippled left arm which was in a permanent flexed position. Anyway, at sea after the 4 to 8 watch when both Jackie and I had been relieved from our respective duties, we met in the Captain's dayroom with the Chief and we played 4 handed cribbage - This went on every night at sea. Jackie loved the game and used to get so excited, particularly when he was pegging well. He would explode with a !5 - 2 grab his ciggie out of his mouth, forgetting he was missing part of the finger and the fag would fly off in a cloud of sparks. A great laugh. Bryan Boyer. Posted on the forum 16th April 2009.

I sailed a couple of times with Jack. I understand he was a survivor of "Tacoma City!(1), mined and sunk in the Mersey in 1941 with the loss of three lives. I believe that's where he lost his finger and I recall his stomach looked like a map of the London Underground where he had been "stitched up". John Cann. Posted on the forum 16th April 2009.

I read with interest the accounts on Jackie's missing finger. I sailed with Jackie on the Australian City and during main engine overhaul in port I would assist as the engine room crane driver. When the cylinder head was being lowered into position it was aligned using guide rods which were longer than the head bolts, at a certain point the "O" rings would slow its decent and slowly on its own dead weight it would drop into position. If the wait seemed long the desire to insert a finger into a bolt hole to make sure everything was lined up was very strong. If a finger was in the hole when the head dropped it was amputated. Sean Cullinane. Posted on the forum 16th April 2009.

I believe that Jackie Chatten lost his finger when lowering a liner back into an engine. It had happened a long time before the bulk carrier Eastern City and must have been on one of the old Doxford ships.
Even when I sailed with him he used to put his fingers in some very dangerous places whilst working in the engine room. Eric Poingdestre. Posted on the forum 16th April 2009.

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.