Craig Allison

I was an apprentice on mv Fresno City in 1959. We had loaded a cargo of bulk salt in Spain for Japan. On arrival in Japan at the port of Niigata most of the crew went ashore. We were woken up in the night by news of a fire in the starboard alleyway. As we had no idea who was ashore or not I was tasked with donning the Siebe Gorman breathing apparatus and going inside. I discovered in one of the cabins two prone figures which i could not move myself. On reporting back on deck we thought the best way to reach them was via the engine room door which led into the alleyway. Brian and someone else managed to get the two men out. They were both assistant stewards one of which was 19 year old Raymond Cross who sadly died. I am glad to hear Brian is reaching his 80th birthday I am reaching my 78th in Oct. Where have the years gone. I live in Whitby N Yorks.
The fire was started by the cook who fell asleep in his bunk with a lighted cigarette. The years of paint soon ignited and the fire reached the bridge. We lost the Gyro compass and came home on the magnetic compass.

I was also an apprentice on board Queen City and knew Brian Norman well we did two long voyages together before and after the Fresno City voyage.

After Smiths which i left due to Mother's illness had a spell ashore then went back to sea as AB to finish my sea time. Did several voyages with iron ore carriers Hains Steamship Co and Palm Line before going to South Shields Marine School. Then transferred to Officers Pool at Newcastle and sailed with mainly North East companies. Various types of ships such as a collier, middle trade vessel for Stephenson Clarke, Stag Line, Headlams of Whitby, and RS Dalgliesh all of whom are now pages in the history books.
Left the sea due to my wife's declining health and carved out a new career in HM Coastguard. I was one of the early entrants from the Merchant Navy as they usually had ex RN . I did not know much about them and they certainly did not know much about us. All has changed now since it became MCA. After many years as a Sector Manager at Whitby I received the MBE in 1994 for services to HM Coastguard, and Chief Coastguards Award for Meritorious Service.
Four months after my retirement my lovely wife died. I did a few years as Deputy Launching Authority for the RNLI. Since re-wed and enjoy cruises. Our favorite are Fred Olsen and P&O. Thats about it a few health issues etc a lovely daughter who is a Head Teacher at Barrow on Soar and a bad tempered cockatiel as a pet.



August 2017.