Martyn Hammond

I remember joining the New Westminster City in Houston in 1968 as a deck apprentice loading machinery and I think rice.
Our voyage was to the Persian Gulf; where we spent July and August unloading into barges with local labor living and eating on deck, as did we with no air conditioning. If I remember correctly we had to sail and register at a port and wait to get barges and permission to unload. We did the actual unloading; I worked 12 on and 12 off with the 2nd Mate Evan Walmsley, who I believe eventually became a superintendent in the office.
Once finished in the Gulf we sailed to the Red Sea, Mombasa and Tanger loading coffee and, would you believe, wild animals for New York.
I later sailed as 2nd Mate on the new New Westminster City on that great timber trip from the west coast (USA and Canada) to Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and back to the west cost. I sometimes wonder how we could except the pay with a straight face, except for the cost of the runs ashore, it was so much fun.
John (Ginger) Rees are you still alive? Would like to swing the lantern with others from those voyages. Posted on forum 26 June 2012.

My family had no seagoing tradition, my mother was a Yorkshire farmer's daughter and my father an ex paratrooper and building contractor. I was born and lived in Nottingham, my experience with the sea was the annual family trip to the beach. On the other hand I somehow developed this romantic notion of being a navigator and explorer and consequently went off to sea school.
A couple of months before we took our O levels a box full of company brochures were brought into the classroom and we were told to pick 2 companies, to write applications and to hand them in before smoko. I applied to Ben Line,( long voyages to the mysterious Orient) and Reardon Smith's, (lets guess where your going and when you'll get back). Ben Line replied saying that they had received my application and to inform them of my O level results. Reardon Smith replied offering me a job. I took them up on their offer and joined the Houston City a couple of weeks after the end of the school term and before knowing my O level results (which was perhaps a good thing).
I never really looked back; I met so many really great people and few fools. I learned so much and had some really differentiating experiences almost all of which were fun, but for sure they were all character building. Posted on forum 26 March 2012.

I agree with you about very few seafarers emanating from Nottingham and I was very surprised to find out that you live there.
My story is that I was born and lived on Ainsley estate, which is east of Western Boulevard, west of Radford pit, south of Aspley Lane and North of the main railway line north out of Nottingham. The view from my bedroom window was of the John Players & Sons sign on top of the number 1 factory. Most of our neighbors worked for either Players, Raleigh, the textile industry or went down the pit. I had an intimate knowledge of Radford, particularly Hartley Road and the Forest. I went to Robert Shaw School, which was on the estate, then to Peoples College Technical School on College St, just up from Nottingham Playhouse and behind the Cathedral on Derby Road. This was the secondary school, not the tech college of the same name on Maid Marion Way. They closed the school down when I was entering the 4th year, which gave me the opportunity to persuade my Father to allow me to go to sea and so I transferred to Grimsby Tech to do pre-sea training and my O levels. Eventually I did my tickets there, studying at Grimsby then over the river to Hull BOT for the week to take the exams.
At the pre sea training there were a couple of other boys from Nottingham, one from Leicester and a farm laborers son from a village outside Newark. I have lost touch with them all but I know only the farm boy went to sea, with Clan Line, as we did our Mate's ticket together.
A couple of years before I left for Grimsby, my family moved to Barmcote Lane next to Woolaton Park. Not quite as posh as West Bridgeford (bread and lard island) or Keyworth but suited my parents. They were within staggering distance of the Admiral Rodney, which at the time was a Home Ales pub (not so good now) and the best beer in the world (5 star ale was like the cream at the top of gold top milk, it could cure rabies! Not that Brains swill). Those were the only two houses my parent ever lived in after their marriage. They had a contracting business which operated out of Quorn in Liecestershire. Rather than move they drove from Woolaton every day in separate cars. They were entirely opposite to me, in that I am a bit of a gypsy. Apart from my time at sea, I have lived in London, Southampton, Rijeka (Yugoslavia now Croatia), Kuwait, Dubai, New York, Houston, Little Rock and now Memphis.
When my parents were alive we would go back to Nottingham every year. When they were small my children would spend most of the summer either there or in London with my wife's family. Then as the children got older they would want to do other things so we would go back to Nottingham every other year, my parents coming to us in the off year. I still have good friends and relations in Nottingham and usually go back every other year for a week or so. We are going back again this year and will stay with some friends in Underwood. I am unsure at this time of the exact date but it should be April / May. Perhaps we might meet for lunch or something.
RSL sent me to Plymouth for my mid - apprenticeship release course and in fact when we were over for the reunion last year we went back down for a couple of days, staying with some friends of ours at Newton Ferres (Newton Ferres was where International Paint had their antifouling research lab), the college has changed beyond all recognition. The "new" Shell built School of Navigation is now overshadowed by a huge university campus. However I did find the old Standard House residence (overlooking the railway station) and the boat yard, still in use.
I worked for International paint for 20 years, doing most of that moving about. Early on I was based in Southampton as the manager for the southern half of the UK, including South Wales. So I would regularly go and visit all the customers, actual and potential, in the area and did quite a lot of business with Appledore Shipyard and of course tried to sell paint to Capt Lemon (very difficult). Posted on forum 14 January 2014.