Great City (2)

Comments from the forum - 2

I did a long trip on the Great City, discussed on the forum, From Manchester via Houston Texas onto Calcutta and the Australia and the ship sold in Hong Kong. We had a long flight home via Karachi and paid off in London.
I was an SOS on deck for the trip. I had been a deep sea trawlerman in Fleetwood for a couple of years. did about 3 or 4 trips on Merchant ships, and then the Great City. It was eventful from start to finish, with the flight home a nightmare. I was about 18 or 19 at the time. I remember one A/B went doolally in Calcutta, climbed up a water tank and demanded to be sent home...I think he was. I was also fined by the Indian customs for smuggling..Id sold my watch. Skipper fined me as well, and I had no money left after 4 months at sea
I left the merchant navy after another trip, and got a proper job! I moved into a new house in Manchester, and the guy came to read the meter. It was Frank ? cant remember his last name who was an AB. We both remembered each other!
I now live in Australia, and went to Thevenard, where we loaded Gypsum for about 3 weeks. Got at the old ships log in the harbour master office and checked it out. Thevenard hasnt changed at all, an Ozzy one horse town. John Bradshaw. Posted on the forum 19 October 2014.

By the time the Great City was sold out of the fleet in 1964, the traditional image of Smiths of Cardiff was coming to an end; probably for the better, but many who who sailed on her and her contemporary ships in the fleet still look back on those long and eventful voyages with something of a nostalgia, which, as you describe, never goes away. Mike Jones. Posted on the forum 20 October 2014.

In 1958 transistor radios had just been invented and we could buy these shirt pocket radios in Japan real cheap and sell them for big bucks in Australia and particularly in outposts like Thevenard. On nine pounds a month it was the smuggling that kept us alive! Sorry you got caught.
Both of our cargoes out of Thevenard were bagged wheat for Basra in Iraq. There was another town around the bay called Ceduna which also, I think, had a pub but then nothing else for a hundred miles or so.
I have lived in Canada for the last 30 odd years and we get lots of Aussies here on work permits etc. I always say where are you from then? Then they say Australia.....and I say well I know that of course....but where are you from and they say Brisbane or Melbourne and then I like to say - I spent quite a lot of time in Thevenard - and then they say where the hell's that and I say Australia of course! Now of course they can Google it on their smart phone before asking! Tony Crowther. Posted on the forum 21 October 2014.

My 12 months on this vessel was from February 1963 to February 1964. Signed on in Dublin & proceeded to Limerick to complete discharge wheat and where our Irish crew commenced their shenanigans! Up the road to the local pub where they managed to get the Landlord to keep a tab for them. The ring leader was a bearded gent who managed to conceal the fact that we were sailing!! Here we are letting go F & A with this Landlord on the quay shouting obscenities. Problem was that this A.B. had told people he was the Mate, so consequently I got all the blame!!
Regarding deserters, we seemed to drop them off and replenish all the way around the world - in fact the O.M. EMPTIED a few out in Singapore!! It was quite an education for me, as one never knew who was living down aft from one day to the next! In Fremantle, our friend Capt Bruce condemned all the cargo gear which caused consternation. I think we were the first Smithship having her shifting boards fitted in Japan - which went down like a concrete parachute with the Aussie dockers!
One thing that surprised me was that there was no deserters in Calcutta! I wonder why?
Eventually ended up in Belfast on 6th February 1964. On April 1st 1964, joined "Leeds City" for another 12 months. Only redeeming feature was that we qualified for 12 months Income Tax rebate!! John Cann. Posted on the forum 21 October 2014.

I also visited Thevenard a few years ago. The pub is still there virtually as it was. I think I was one of the AB's who got thrown out. When I went in the pub, I chatted with the landlady...she says, not seen you before, where are you from? I said Sydney, and I've been in here a lot... Oh, when was that...I said about 48 years ago, she says, Mate, I wasnt even F**kng born then!! gotta luv ozzy sheilas!!
Ceduna is still a one horse town, full of drunken abos at night. I do remember the local Lions club sending a truck down for the crew for a night out in the local hall. We all went down, cant remember getting back though, but had a dance with the local girls!
I have tinny holder from the pub, which i'll take a photo of and post....typical says:
One place you shouldn't miss
Drop in and drink some piss
John Bradshaw. Posted on the forum 21 October 2014.

No one on board our vessel had been to Thevenard before.....I remember being on the wheel when the pilot came on board and after a few pleasantries our Captain said to the pilot - those beaches look fantastic (as far as the eye could see both ways it was just golden sand and surf) - our crew will be down there splashing around as soon as we are tied up.....Pilot says...a 26ft shark washed up on the beach a couple of weeks ago...amazing how quickly the word got out ..after that the Thevenard Hotel just a short walk up the hill from the pier looked very much more inviting!
I googled the hotel today and find it's for sale........looks quite a nice place!
50 odd years ago it always had a sign hanging between the porch pillars saying things like "Mr Jones - Dentist will be visiting Monday and Tuesday next week - make appointments at the bar. Come to think of it a great idea - you could have a couple of doubles at the bar before sitting in the chair..............Cheers, Tony Crowther. Posted on the forum 22 October 2014.

t feels real good to talk to people who actually lived the merchant Navy life so long ago! I loved my time at sea, First as a fisherman, then Merchant Navy, later back in the UK in my 20's I signed up into the Royal Navy Reserve and did 5/6 years part time (weekends and some days and 2 weeks full time Navy every year in Plymouth) as a radio officer on the minesweepers out of Liverpool! I think the discipline really did me good for my future career.
Do you remember having to sign in the book to get into the pub in Thevenard? John Bradshaw. Posted on the forum 22 October 2014.

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.

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