Geoff Garlick

Geoff passed away on 4th November 1984 from a heart attack whilst taking part in his favourite hobby of flying model aeroplanes.

As a child I sailed with my mother and my father Geoff Garlick, (I suspect I may have been a bit of a deck brat!), but I remember my time at sea and some of the personalities with fondness. I still feel an affinity with the sea and live with my wife and 4 kids in St Annes down the coast from where my mother Aiko still lives in Blackpool.
I remember the bulk carriers like the Fresno City and me having the privilege of having the owners cabin with large sliding doors into my fathers adjoining cabin.

Some memories I have are:
The fog watchers (I recall these as furry toys, some on springs that were suspended from the ceiling on the port side of the bridge for good luck).
The full ceremonial burial at sea of a radar unit (I got the magnetron magnet out of that, a great toy for a young boy).
Massive curtains all around the saloon bar made out of ring pulls from bear cans!
My dad going particularly mental about light pollution if I left my curtains open at night, I still think of that when the lights are on inside and it's dark outside. I think it was because the light from my cabin would light up the crane and reflect up into the bridge.
Being allowed to steer the ship!
The music system that was a grey panel with two rotary switches to select a channel and a volume, and I recall a trip where the Carpenters seemed to be on continuous loop for months on end.
Someone hung a small shark outside my cabin door to scare the crap out of me, which it did, but it wasn't as scary as when my dad threw a flapping flying fish on my bunk whilst I was half asleep!
Neptune party and the aftermath of being sat in the bath with a tub of swarfeega trying to get that coloured oil stuff off!
My father filling the swimming pool with 2' of water and me sitting in it being washed around as the ship rolled, and having my ears roughly washed to get the saltwater out afterwards.
My father had a load of memorable sayings, my favourite he used when I was being a little lazy was 'shape up, you're not on your daddies yacht!'

After my A levels I applied for a few degrees and got an offer to do a nautical degree, my dads response to that was he'd 'break both my legs' before letting me go to sea! After this, the only bit of career advice my father ever offered, I started a materials science degree. It was during my first year at uni on the 4th November 1984 that my father died of a heart attack. He was doing one of his favourite things, flying his radio control model planes with his mates. He'd packed up and was pushing his very heavy BSA bicycle with pushrod brakes and a window cleaners sidecar for his model plane off the field (he was ok with unlimited tonnage sea vessels, but failed his driving test so many times he gave up and we never had a car!) His friends did their best to help him and despite the flying field being adjacent to Victoria Hospital in Blackpool my father didn't recover.
He was cremated and my mother and I spread his ashes across the model flying field after a day where the model club all turned out to pay their respects and we flew most of his favourite models. Arthur Garlick. Posted on forum 29 December 2011.

It’s really good to hear from you and receive your posting. You have often been mentioned in dispatches and, I would add, always favourably. I knew your Dad well, and we relieved each other on several occasions. There was a certain connectivity between the few Masters in RSL, who were located in the North West of England: Geoff, Jim Murray, myself, and Mark Higgins. All four of us attended the funeral of a most redoubtable member of that clan, Willie Cross. I am sure Bryan Boyer can describe that memorable trip across the Pennines and subsequent ceremony in iconic words!

Your Dad told me about his interest in model planes, particularly an incident in mid-Pacific. After spending a considerable sum of yen, in Japan, on a rather sophisticated kit, he decided to do a trial test in mid-ocean: that was the last he ever saw of that particular toy!

My final meet up with Geoff, when we had both early retired, was at a Crown Court hearing in Cardiff. I am sure you are privy to the subject!
It's great to hear that your Mum still lives in Blackpool.
It's good too, to hear that RSL North West still thrives. Both of Jim Murray’s daughters still work in Wigan, and one of mine works for Lancashire County Council with responsibilities for the Fylde Coast. Mike Jones. Posted on forum 29 December 2011.

Many thanks for posting that.
I only sailed with your father once and that was on the Fresno City in 1984.
At the time I was a lowly second trip Junior Engineer but remember him as a kindly man who treated everyone equally well.
He was a jovial character and always had a friendly wave or word.
Sorry to hear he passed away such a long time ago at what must have been a relatively young age. Robbie Bell. Posted on forum 30 December 2011.

I sailed with Geoff Garlick on a number of voyages right back from 1956 on the old Houston City where we were both deck apprentices, me in my second year and Geoff in his fourth year. We did 2 years together on the Leeds City and on his last voyage before coming out of his time, he served as uncertificated third mate under Blake Carnaffan as captain Griff Jones as Mate, Tony Lightfoot I think was second mate and Lionel Wainwright as Chief Engineer.
On the previous voyage, "Ginger" Harris was the Old man and whilst the ship was in Djibouti loading salt, Ginger had all of the apprentices launch the starboard motor lifeboat and with him on board together with the Electrician doubling up as the boat engineer (fat lot of good he was when the engine packed up) The Chief wouldn't let an engineer go with us, We motored over to a desert island with a big lighthouse and fished over the fringing barrier reef. Ginger was made up when he caught two tiddlers on one hook. As we approached the island the beach got up and walked away - there were thousands of small land crabs and hermit crabs carpeting the sand.
The boat job lasted every morning from 0600 to 1000 hrs then back to the falls hoisted up and Ginger told the Mate, the boys can knock off for the rest of the day! Grif-Jones was not best pleased.
I sailed with Geoff again when I was Mate and he was Master on the Devon City from December 1970 to June 1971. I was flown home by Smiths from Cape Town on the 13 June 1971 as my father was very ill
Geoff was a good shipmate with a wicked sense of humour.
On the Devon City we had a pool Chief Engineer, a Scot but I cannot divulge his name but he hated deck officers - he always refused to eat in the saloon saying that he was too busy to get changed. He was a classic oil/water ma, From Port Line I think. I finally talked him round to come in one dinner time and when I came down from the bridge at 1700 for my meal relief there was the Chief in the saloon sitting at the old man's table. Geoff looked pleased that the C/E had finally consented to eat with us. There was Scotch egg on the menu and Geoff with a wicked gleam in his eye said to me, "Charlie, do you know why they call a Scotch egg a Scotch egg?"
"No," says I and Geoff then said "because it looks like a t----!" That was it, Chiefy gets up, and stalks out of the saloon and never came back again the rest of the voyage.
Like all of us time served deck apprentices, Geoff thought only of the Company and was one of the leading lights when the Australian and Eastern City bulkers converted to car carriers.
I was very sorry to learn that he had died and so young too.
I met Arthur on one of the later times I sailed with Geoff when I think Arthur was about 8 years old. Bryan "Charlie" Boyer. Posted on forum 30 December 2011.

I sailed with Geoff on one occasion only and that was "Queen City" from August 1963 to May 1964 - Capt A.W.J.Justen as Master. Geoff was a great person to sail with. When I left the ship he took over as Mate.
With reference to "Leeds City", I joined her in Glasgow April 1st 1958, taking over as Second Mate from Philip Vanner who had had "a disagreement" with the Company over his between voyage leave rights and thence went elsewhere. Third mate for the ensuing voyage was David Pratt, and he was relieved in August 1958 by Derek Flower. I don't recall Geoff as having been on "Leeds City", but believe I am right in saying that he had been promoted to uncertificated 3rd Mate on "King City" by Captain Alf Ward. Tony Lightfoot. Posted on forum 9 January 2012.

It was with delight that I read the messages, Re Geoff Garlick. I had the pleasure of sailing with him twice on the New Westminster City and this may be off some intrest to his son Arthur. It was one of RSL famous world cruises where we went out via Suez and found our own way back. Jackey Vaughen was Capt and Geoff was C/O, and as it was they were both expecting happy events and very close together. I went up to the bridge as usual to see if everything lecky wise was ok before 5pm one evening and ther was Jackey. "Heard the good news trish have you", "aye Captain heard it on the grapevine" "giving him the watch off see, stay here for two mins will you got something to do, two mins ok, keep your eyes peeled" and with that he left the bridge. As we were in the middle of nowhere with not even a seagull in sight it didnt seem to matter. Anyway I got relieved by the 3/O at eight not even a meal relief. I went down to Geoffs cabin where the party was well under way "you awright waz, have a beer" says he. Then up pipes Jackey " Sorry trish I had forgotten all about you up there, everything ok then is it" "Aye fine capt 3/Os in charge now.
Yes those were the days when ships ran as ships and by the people aboard them. Calum Turner. Posted on forum 9 January 2012.

Hello Arthur,
Just read your post of 29 December on the RSL Forum. Glad to hear you have done so well after losing your Dad at such a young age.
I sailed with Geoff on RSL's "Chiyoda" between January 1972 and May 1972. He often spoke of you and your Mum (Sailors loved to talk of home)as we spent long watches on the bridge. I had just obtained my Masters certificate and was sailing for the first time as Mate - I remember having the feeling that your Dad was watching me pretty carefully that trip and I'm sure I was less nervous knowing that fact.
There was always some paperwork to do after you came down from the bridge at 8 p.m. but at around 7 p.m. your Dad would arrive on the bridge to talk "Tactics"!!! Nothing to do with the ship, maintenance or a troublesome crew member, but..............MONOPOLY!!
By 8.15, Dad would have set up the board in the smoke room and be raring to go. Him and I would be partners in a game against two other officers whose names(at age 69 elude me). No friendly game this, it was always a fight to the death and Dad hated to lose. One of his favourite ploys was to buy up all the houses as soon as possible regardless of how much money we spent out.(Decided at our tactics meeting!!) Then when our opponents wanted to buy houses, there were none left. He loved it when this happened.
Lots of other top secret shenanigans were employed to ensure us winning and the whole thing became an addiction. I would beg your Dad to give me a break for a couple of nights, but he would have none of it.
I also remember the old 8 track cassette player being on - I think we only had one tape of Ray Conniff. Wow, that dates me.
You can be very proud of your Dad. I remember him with respect as he took me under his wing as a rookie Mate. He was a fun guy, laid back but at the same time a very professional Shipmaster.
All good wishes to you and your Mum. Al Nicholl. Posted on Forum 24 April 2012.