Tim Lawson

On the 2nd January 1999 at the age of 55. Our Shipmate and Editor of the Newsletter Tim Lawson Crossed the Bar.

Tim's Career

Captain Timothy Lawson M.R.I.Nav. was born on the 27th June 1943 in Sunderland and was brought up where ships and ships engines were built. He joined the Merchant Navy in October 1957 and signed up with the Reardon Smith Line, Cardiff, as a Deck Apprentice Officer. His Dischage Rook Number was R7I3856 and he lived at 12 Lyn Thorpe Close, Fulwell. Sunderland.
In 1962 he was promoted to 3rd Mate and sailed on the "Cornish City" (No.4) this was before he had finished his apprenticeship. While the Cornish City was on passage from U.S.A to Bombay with a cargo of grain the ship called at Aden for oil fuel, during the bunkering period the engineroom caught fire, which burnt out and the 3rd Engineer and a Junior Engineer who were in the engineroom were killed and the Second Engineer Jack Chatten was very badly burnt. The ship was towed to Calcutta to discharge the cargo where after she went in tow to Hong Kong to be broken up. Tim remained on the vessel all this period. For a boy of 19 years old on a ship with no galley for cooking, and limited services working under awful conditions for five months, should have put anyone off from going to sea. The Chief Engineer at the time was Len Taylor who speaks highly of Tim, saying that when things were at there worst, Tim came to him and asked if he could help him by washing his cloths in a galvanised bucket. Len thought this was very kind and very thoughtful thinking for a very young man because Len never had time to do the domestic things.
He returned home from !long Kong to Sunderland in May 1963 studied at South Shields Nautical College and obtained his 2nd Mates certificate in July 1963.
He took his 1st. Mates examination and received his certificate on the 22nd February 1965. He obtained his Masters Foreign going Certificate in 29th August 1971.
Tim sailed with Commodore Oliver Lindsay as Second Officer on the "Leeds City " joining, in November 1966 and leaving, in July 1967. Again they were to sail together on the "Wilkawa" a vessel of 18,461 tons from September 1971 to February 1972 Tim by this time had been promoted to Chief Officer.
On the 17th March 1976 he was promoted to Master and on 2nd May 1976 appointed to the command of one of Transportacion Maritima Mexicana Mexico (T.M.M.) ships the "Maria Elisa" under Reardon Smith Management. In 1977 he went Master of the Amparo, and was sailing there when the Chief Catering Officer Charlie Parry from Newport died while in the port of Kobe. In 1978 he was Master of the "Atlantic" until T.M.M. took this vessel over for their own management. He again went Master of the "Amparo".
He got on well with T.M.M and carried some expensive cargos on the cargo liners such as silver and copper to Japan and extremely heavy lifts of 100 tons or more of machinery parts to Mexico. Captain De Ia Pena the Technical Director of T.M.M visited Tim's ship on one occasion while in Mexico and gave him a telling off for not sticking to T.M.M. company rules by not using their Ocean Routing, and not using, the North about route as suggest by Ocean Routing. Tim produced the deck abstracts for his ship doing the South about passages which show he did an average speed of 16.5 knots with no ship or cargo damage. Tim knew that T.M.M. ships using the North about route had damaged cargo and was late arriving, at their ports.
He spent the whole of his sea going, career with the Reardon Smith Line. In 1978 entered he the company head office at Devonshire House, Cardiff, and came to live in the Newport area leaving his native town of Sunderland. Here he was employed in the Personal Department where he remained until March 1982 when he decided to leave Reardon Smith's employment to start up his own business Lawson Marine Services Newport Ltd. In May 1983 he formed Peterstone Shipping Ltd.

In recent years a close relationship developed between Tim, Alec Osborne and Oliver Lindsay which in turn led to the publication of the Reardon Smith Newsletter "Shipmates" of which Tim very ably edited. This was meant to be a publication of interest to the ex sea staff of R.S.L. and also to the office staff if they so wished. However, it became popular in the seafarers fraternity and was in great demand. The members of "Shipmates " send their deepest sympathy to Tim's family.

Tim's funeral service was held at St. Stephen's Church, Newport, on the 18th January at 1.00 p.m.. The church is situated a short distance from the main gate to the Newport Docks. This was followed by cremation at Gwent Crematorium. There was no flowers by request , donations in lieu payable to Missions to Seamen , may be sent c/o Tovey Bros., 9/11 Cardiff Road, Newport. During the service John Reardon Smith spoke about his close relationship with Tim during their apprenticeship and the time they worked together in the Reardon Smith office. Despite the heavy rain many people came to the funeral and "Shipmates" was well represented some of our members coming from long distances, like, Johnny Cann and his wife from Nottingham, Len Taylor from Appledore, Alan Nichol! and his wife from Devonshire, Bryan Boyer from Colchester and John Lee from Bristol. There were 14 or more from the Newport and Cardiff area. Refreshments were laid after and some of us met up to have a chat about the good old days. Tim was a business man in the marine world, if you sat in his office for two hours the telephone would ring at least four time in that time with people enquiring for a job, Masters. Ch.Officers, Ch.Engineers, 2nd Engineers, and especially Pursers and staff for the cruise ships. he gave a lot of work to a lot of people in his time. Tim was a good man lets remember him that away. Alec F Osborne.

Tim was our Editor and not only did he subsidized the our Newsletter, he did all the photo copying free of charge, posted the overseas mail free of charge. He sorted all the Newsletter sheets stapled them together, placed them in their envelops and posted about 160 of them. He spent a lot of time on "Shipmates". We are sending out the Newsletter early (February) to let the Members know of our sad and sudden loss. We may have to pay for the Newsletter sheets to be photo copied, this will be done until further arrangements are made. The next issue No. 11 will be sent out in June as per normal. We are desperate for short stories so please make an effort to send some of your experiences. Alec F Osborne.

This article appeared in Shipmates Issue 10 on February 1999.