Memorabilia from Port Said, etc.

In the 1950s when RS ships regularly loaded salt in the Mediterranean for Japan and transiting the Suez Canal, we always encountered the above gentlemen at Port Said. They were internationally known bumboatmen who never missed the opportunity to ply their trade with passing ships.
Slim Jim was a massive, obese Arab always sporting a Fez. He was the Egyptian equivalent to Arthur Daly- but nice with it!!
Sandy McNab was a much slimmer version who, over the years, had cultivated a passable Scottish accent.
Who knows how many camel skin pouffes, purchased at over inflated prices adorn homes around the world today? John Cann. Posted on Forum 14 April 2011.

John. Don't forget George Robey and the Gulli Gulli man with the day old chicks !!
As for the camel poufs? The one I bought on my first trip, thoughtfully for my mother, I was wisely advised by one of the quatermasters, to undo the stitching and replace the filling with some cotton waste from the foc'sle. I duly followed his advice and was horrified to find that the original filling consisted of used hospital bandages and dressings!!
It has been round the houses for the last fifty odd years, but ironically, it has found itself back with me at my new abode!! Mike Jones. Posted on Forum 14 April 2011.

Who was the Port Said bumboatman who used to hand around a box of Turkish Delight (Eygptian of course)? The Turkish Delight didn't look too good, but you felt duty bound to have a piece. I wasn't sure whether it was Sandy McNab or George Robey. Tex Graham-Russell. Posted on Forum 15 April 2011.

Flaming Nora, Mike- I trust the hospital bandages were not blood soaked!!Thinking about it, I guess today they would be stuffed with cannabis! I'm also surprised that Tex is still around after dabbling with dodgy Turkish Delight! Anyway, it just proves we all have our own memories of a situation most of us encountered during our time at sea. John Cann. Posted on Forum 16 April 2011.

When visiting my mother's I get to see the one I purchased for my parents, as she still uses it, a few years ago when my mother-in-law died my wife brought home the Port Said Pouffe that she had bought her when my wife did her first trip with me.
My mothers house also has a tea set from Kobe which has never had any liquid of any sort near it, plus a great big vase also from another trip to Kobe. It appeared that the guy who sold them and shipped them from Kobe had been on every RSL ship that ever went to Japan.
I still have 2 film camera's ( Pentax ) purchased in the Izazachicho Yokohama, (forgive the spelling)plus my Banzi hat from the Yokohama engineering works. Willie Davies. Posted on Forum 17 April 2011.

On one trip, Marion and I, through Micky, purchased an eight place dinner service which he undertook to ship home.The boxes duly arrived but upon unpacking, we discovered that eight salad plates were missing. In order to placate my wife, we shot off into town to John Lewis, who stocked the same stuff, and purchased eight salad plates.
Two days later, another box arrived from Japan containing- yes- eight salad plates. As you say, Willie, its all stacked in the sideboard and only comes out on special occasions!!Which reminds me- "Maria Elisa" (I think you were there at the time, Willie) the Indian crew had established a lucrative trade in black Japanese umbrellas to Mexico. On our final visit to Ensenada prior to flying home, sadly, the bottom had fallen out of the market and they were having difficulty in disposing of their loot!. The outcome was that as we went down the gangway, they presented us all with a free sample.
Fast forward to Heathrow- my wife and girls waiting for us to emerge from Customs etc. She was easily able to identify my faithful shipmates each adorned with a Mexican hat and rolled umbrella!! John Cann. Posted on Forum 17 April 2011.

Before trade links with Japan resumed after the war it was not unusual to have 15 - 20 pieces of luggage leaving a ship and being chased by the railway guard for an additional payment. One Master who shall remain nameless even hired Pickfords van on leaving after a long voyage - it did include an organ? I had so many Japanese items at home that a little lad who came to tea on leaving asked, "You are a real Japanese family"!
We still have a full Japanese dinner service stamped made in Occupied Japan. And of course the camel stools, pouffe,toys,etc all stuffed with hospital waste supplied by the likeable rogue Sandy McNab
Griff Jones. Posted on Forum 17 April 2011.

On one of the famous RSL world cruises on the NEW WESTMINSTER CITY we called in to Singapore for bunkers on the 14/08/1965, where Norman Brown 2/0 and I purchased campherwood chests from a local bumboat man. Months later as we headed for Liverpool Norman and I built boxes out of old dunnage and Jim Murray C/O gave us some canvas to wrap them in. How Norman got his home to Wales I do not know, but I had to hire a station wagon from Hertz, fill it with the other goodies bought abroad and head for Glasgow. It was in pride of place in my parents house for many years and now has pride of place in my house 46 years later. As to Sandy MacNab I well remember him, a lovable old rogue. Aye we had some good times in the old days. Calum Turner. Posted on Forum 17 April 2011.



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.