David Thomson

I stumbled across this web site last week and have enjoyed trawling through both the forum chatter and associated web pages, which made myself start reflecting as to why I joined RSL and stuck with them to their bitter end.

I always wanted to go to sea, even though there was no family seafaring history and a country boy at heart. I wanted a deep sea 'tramp' shipping company and since my Dad knew Dougie Landells (TA Landells Engineering in Berwick) and then subsequently Robbie Bell , I was fated to join RSL.

I was accepted by RSL in March 1970 straight from Leith Nautical College, thanks to Robbie.

I was scheduled to join as Jun R/O on the Chiyoda (HMS Williams) at Falmouth, but due to rail/bus strikes this was cancelled and instead advised to join the Vancouver City fitting out at Govan. I had the pleasure of Stan Whitmore and then Dave Short as my seniors before going solo in December, finally completing a sixteen month plus trip in June along with 3/rd Mate - Phil Reynard, 2nd Eng - Colin Gateshill, Elect - Gordon Lee and Chf/Stwd - Bob Peach. Both Colin and myself were asked to stay behind until the ship sailed BC, but thanks to loading delays in Tahsis, my relief, either Barry Everitt who flew in by sea plane, got his six months qualifying time in and I paid off with the rest when we reached Nanaimo. Colin I'm sure stayed behind for a few more days.

I happily avoided the 840's for most of the time and seemed to spend most of my 'air' time in the Pacific with all its trials and tribulations, until experiencing the wonders of Satcom on the Skeena.

When RSL crashed early summer of 85 and with the foreign flag offer by CSM not financially attractive enough, I decided to join the Civil Service. During the 'acceptance negotiations', I received a mystery phonecall to do a trip with Fishers (Barrow) to Japan and back on one of their 'nuclear fuel carrier coasters' (Pacific Swan - GYAB), which proved to be a 10kts sunshine cruise since the weather routing was not done by 'Rent a Gale'.

This Spring, I traded in my Honda's for a Harley and took early retirement from the CS (after gaining extra service years due to transferring over my RSL pension) collecting enroute a 25yr service medal plus two trips to Las Vegas (well somebody had to go !)
I was lucky enough to have Tricia with me on two consecutive trips (Indian and New Wessie - 76/77) and we were both sorry to learn that both Dickie Vanner & Jim Murray had 'Passed over the Bar'.

The following is a list of my trips with GTZJ, with two study breaks at college (General in 73 and Marine Electronics in 77).
Vancouver City (GZDG) (Mar 70–Jun 71)
Orient City (GFNH) (Oct 71–Jun 72)
Maria Elisa (GKMA) (Sept 72–Feb 73)
Fresno City (GOND) (Oct 73–Mar 74)
Sara Lupe (GJWN) (Jun–Oct 74)
Atlantic City (GTWA) (Jan–Jun 75)
Devon City (GUSF) (Oct 75–Feb 76)
Indian City (GVZE) (Apr–Aug 76)
New Westminster City (GOYZ) (Apr–Sep 77)
Sara Lupe (GJWN) (Jan–Jun 78)
Cardiff City (GUQM) (Nov 78–Apr 79)
Victoria City (GNEN) (Jul – Dec 79)
Bibi (D5HK/GBKL) (Mar–Jul 80)
Silvia Sofia (GBBS) (Oct 80–Feb 81)
Ampora (GZAM) (Mar–Jul 81)
Prince Rupert City (GNEM) (Oct 81)
Fresno City (GOND) (Nov 81)
Cardiff City (GUQM) (Dec 81–May 82)
Welsh City (GYLF) (Aug 82–Jan 83)
Silvia Sofia (GBBS) (Mar–Sep 83)
Skeena (GCSG) (Feb–Aug 84)
Skeena (GCSG/ZCSK) (Nov 84–May 85)