Sorting through my nautical papers, I am rather concerned that my Indentures are looking pretty grotty. This the result of being shunted around to each vessel I served my time in. In my time, it was customary for them to be with the Master who recorded on the back, details of payments and N.I. Conts.
Maybe I am failing, but, as Master, I do not recall having Apps Indentures on board. The system of salary payments had been taken over by the Office which much simplified financial matters for the O.M.
I just wonder how many of us- if any- ended up with a pristine set of Indentures.
On that subject- can anyone suggest how one can get this document rejuvenated? It has entries on the back. John Cann. Posted on forum 3rd March 2011.

John, it must be our age, but your posting has prompted me to dig out my own indentures. They have long since been in a frame, but looking at them now, they too are in a pretty sorry state.
In my own case, I understand they were kept in Cunard Buildings throughout my apprenticeship. Nevertheless, they must have received some ill treatment during house moves and visits from little grey gentlemen!
You will probably find they are too big to scan in your own machine, so I would suggest you first take them to a copying bureau. As well as making you a copy, get them to give you the scan in file format: either on a disc, or, if you have one, your pendrive. They will need to scan both sides. If you can organise this, then it will be posssible to tidy up the document. I can give it a try, if you like.
I also have a copy of my grandfather's indentures: I discovered the original years ago in the Liverpool Maritime Museum. Despite having been signed in 1845, they are, or were, in a much better state than my own. Not much difference in the text...still "no houses of ill repute or alcohol etc", and still free laundry. Mike Jones. Posted on forum 3rd March 2011.

Reading John Cann's posting about his indentures, I thought I would check mine out. After I retired from CSMS in 12/1993, I filed all my seagoing papers including indentures, Sea Service certificate, pay off slips and all my portage accounts etc from my 23 years as Master. I also have on file Captain Bill Cross' indentures and Dis A Books that his widow Alice sent to me after Willy Cross crossed the Bar. All the above are in excellent condition except Willy's indentures that are a bit weather beaten. I guess those did not travel with Willy as you will remember he was an apprentice on the Bradford City when it was torpedoed and sunk at 0530hrs on the 1st. Nov 1941.
Smiths stopped having 'apprentices' and called them deck or engine cadets sometime in the sixties and indentures were no longer issued.Charlie Boyer. Posted on forum 5th March 2011.

The reason I looked at my indentures was because previously mentioned
under the heading war time ships were the Houston and Vancouver and on the former I served nine months with Capt.Dixon and the remainder of the time on the later with Capt.Carnaffan except for a short period on the Sam Hope with Capt.Sugg.
Looking at the payments made to me on the back of the indentures I noticed. that War Risk payments ended April 1947 when the Vancouver City arrived in South Shields and there she remained until September as she had a cracked bed plate and the engine was removed and shipped back to Doxfords. I stood by at Readheads dry dock whilst all the armaments were removed. When the war risk payments ceased an AB was earning £14 in wages and a Lady PM said in the House of Commons that Merchant Seaman did not deserve more as they were always on holiday.(Or words to that effect). Of course a new wage structure had to be negotiated. But everyone who wished could leave as demob ended.
Resulting in when we sailed from the Tyne in September besides Chief Engineer Sevenson the remaining five engineers did not have five years sea time between them.
Another amusing document with the indentures is a certificate stating"This Officer has completed Part 2 of the Merchant Navy Defence Course and is considered capable of taking charge of the Armament of a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship - signed H. Wadsworth" Believe it or not. Griff Jones. Posted on forum 5th March 2011.

I was very interested in Griffs account of his "wartime qualifications" especially regarding being expert in assuming command of an imminent hostile attack!! This prompted me to dig out my own M.N. Defence Course document which I completed in Cardiff in 1967
To my horror, I am supposed to be qualified in the following.
1.Trade Protection
2.Convoy Communications
3.Defence against Submarines & Mines
4 Principles of Degaussing
5.Damage Control
6.Ship Defence Plan
7.Survival at Sea.
All I can say is I'm thankful I didnt start serving my time until 1949.
John Cann. Posted on forum 8th March 2011.

Indentures. John Cann’s posting about his old indentures raised some omment. Seemingly, having found them after many years, they appeared in a somewhat sorry condition. Concerned as to how to prevent further deterioration, it was suggested that the first step would be to have them professionally scanned, with a view to applying improvement and repair to the scanned image.
Most original Indentures were printed on a type of canvas, and it would be quite easy to have the improved image printed back on to canvas, or a canvas simulated paper: A3 is an ideal size. Fifty years back, I suppose we would have given them a coating of shellac varnish, duly warmed in a bucket! Today we would laminate them.
It was most interesting to learn from Bryan, that he has Willie Cross’s original pre­war indentures, along with other artefacts that Alice Cross gave to him. Bryan also answered a question often asked: what is the difference between an Apprentice and a Cadet. Though it did not seem to be the case in Smiths, there were companies who paid their cadets overtime. Certain Shipping Companies, such as Blue Funnel, liked to call their trainee officers, Midshipmen, and referred to their accommodation as the half-deck.
The topic was also extended to other documents, such as Civil Defence Certificates, precisely described by Griff. As both he and John expressed their in depth expertise in many matters of civil crisis, they could well be earmarked for early reserve recruitment!
Probably, there are several of our members who are not actually familiar with Apprentices’ Indentures, so included below is a copy of my own, also in a poor state of repair. Mike Jones. Published in Monthly Review No.1.

Copy of Indentures


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