David Ricketts

After leaving the Merchant Navy in 1975 (was it that long ago?) I returned to Falmouth Docks and then onto a petrochemical plant in Southampton before finally joining the Civil Service where I have served in such places as Bromley, Peckham, Cornwall (literally all the Jobcentres in Cornwall) before ending up in Hackney where I write appeal submissions with particular reference to Social Security legislation. 24th November 2009

Ships I sailed on


Houston City (11/70 to 5/71), Cornish City (7/71 to 1/72) Tacoma City (3/72 to 6/72), Maria Elisa (6/72 to 8/72), Vancouver City (1/73 to 1/73), Victoria City (2/73 to 8/73), Port Alberni City (???/73 to ???/74).

Difficult to say which was my favourite and least favourite as each trip was different. I sailed with some great guys and had some great trips. My first trip on the Houston was probably the best as it was a 'tramp' run. There were some incidents on board which led to two of the officers leaving but all in all a great trip. My least favourite trip was probably that on the Maria Elisa but only due to one of the engineers (Will Davis will guess which one).

Possibly edging the favourite (but not by much) is the Tacoma City but only because of the experience of sailing on a brand new ship and my first trip on the steel and timber run.

Thinking back to the reasons I joined the company, they can best be summed up in the following way.

I was serving my time at Falmouth Docks from 1967 and in 1968 a guy named John Walls returned to the Docks from his sojourns with the company and he extolled us fresh face apprentices with tales of journeys to far of places one had heard about in geography lessons at school.

Then in 1969, the Devon City called in at the docks and tied up on the County wharf. I took the opportunity to go on board and I must say she looked immaculate. The jacket water return pipes were all highly polished, the engine room plates cleaned almost to the point of reflection, a credit to the company in every way.

Then I visited the Cardiff office and met Graham Hardy who convinced me that the company was far far better than some other companies such as Shaw Savill, Fenwicks, Buries Marks and BP. I must say he was right and I did not regret a moment.

During this time I sailed with Flash Thomas, TWD John and John Cann (two gentlemen), Lenny Taylor (God love him), Jim Scott, John Howell, LGI Taylor, Larry Williamson, Reg Russell, Dave Smith, Julian York, Haggis McAlmont, Clancy Collins, ‘Ringo’ Starr and many, many others. Colourful characters all