Psychological Evaluation

Engineers over 70 years old. I'm one of the 70+ years old survivors. I did my first trip to sea on the Fresno City from February to August 1962. Lightship to Cuba, bagged sugar to Japan, lightship to Freemantle, Grain to Dublin and Salford. Good ship, good shipmates. Sailing with a British pool crew was an education not to be missed. Master A. Justen, 2/O G. Garlick , 2/Eng. Ralph Johnston, 4th Eng. Frank Robinson, Ch/Stwd. Charlie Allen. I liked it well enough to stick it out for 25 years service prior to 1995. Comparing that engine room to the likes of the Welsh City (AO engines), Tepozteco, Aya II, Cordoba, makes me realize how easy it was. The good old days when we were young. Roger Shannon. Posted on forum 18th March 2011.

Reading Del Boy Shannon's recent posting about 70 year oldies, I claim at 75 to be suitably qualified.
Back in the 60's when times were great for ship owners; freights were high, and profits were handsome. We at sea were of the opinion that anyone who had some product to sell could always find a ready buyer in Devonshire House. Who remembers the fancy squared off multi-headed electric scatto-scaler, brought on board my ship (I was 2/O at the time) by MGBT as the ultimate weapon to deal with rusty decks tank tops etc, you name it, it would do it. Only problem was the Chief had to put 2 gennies on to cope with the surge in demand for power on deck when three of these beasts were put into action. To get them to actually scale rusty decks they had to have two deck crew standing on the top of the wretched things in order to get the heads to stay in contact with the deck. The Indian crew hated them but one particular super thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. Also forget the "quiet period" in the afternoon watch when all good 4 to 8 johnnies were trying to get their heads down. Moving on, another fast talker persuaded Smiths that it was necessary to evaluate their senior men (Masters, Chiefs and senior watchkeepers), psychologically in order to check whether any head cases were in the company's employ at sea. Never mind the possibility of a nutter or three ashore in Head office, we at sea were the real danger. The bloke who sold this idea to Smiths was a South African cove named, if I can remember it correctly, Dr, Robert Moresby. He was a shrink working at the Plymouth College. Anyway the result was, officers on a number of Smith ships were sent psychological evaluation forms to fill in and return. We were promised that no one would be committed but were asked a number of daft questions about our likes and preferences. I remember one particular question on the shrink sheet - it asked "Do you prefer the company of men to women?" I replied "Give me a kiss and I'll tell you." There were many similar less than serious answers by all concerned. As far as I can remember there did not seem to be any follow up after these shrink sheets were sent back by the Old Man to Head Office. Some years later it must have been 66 or 67, I had been elevated to the peerage (First Mate that is) and times were still pretty good because we were all being sent on various courses - Safety in Cargo Handling - Survival course (That entailed being taken out in the RNLI lifeboat into Plymouth Sound and chucked into sea BOT lifejacket on by the sadistic lifeboat men, an upside down life raft chucked in afterwards and we poor sods in the water were tasked to turn the liferaft over and get into it. Then appoint a raft leader keep a lookout and "survive" All this had to be done while the majority of us were honking our tonks inside the raft with severe mal de mer. Happy days - any readers remember those wonderful japes. I have not contributed a penny to the RNLI since that day.
Anyway, to get back to the story, I was sent on a Cargo Safety Handling course at the Plymouth College and one lunch time in the college refectory, I found myself face to face with the inimitable Dr. Moresby. I asked what was the result or results of the shrink evaluation that he persuaded Smiths to do. He fixed me with a steely stare and said "There are some real weirdos in your company!" Crikey we could all have told him that!
One R/O I sailed with actually had a certificate saying he was sane! The same guy, a fully paid up member of the Communist Party had run out of money in Kawasaki Japan so he had hitched a ride to Toyo, climbed over the wall of the Russian Embassy, obviously hoping to get a sub from his fellow Party members. Unfortunately, the Japanese cops nailed him on the other side of the wall he was sent to some bin and finally released with this "You are Sane" certificate.
Happy landings. Charlie Boyer. Posted on forum 18th March 2011.

Bryan. Fascinating insight to those days of the mid fifties: course after course after course. Unfortunately, however, whilst Masters and Chiefs, down to apprentices and junior engineers who were attending them, the accountants were making forced entry by the back door. Mike Jones. Posted on forum 19th March 2011.

Classic stuff, Charlie. You have a wonderful way with words!!!
Whilst studying at Plymouth, I recall being taught by
Moresby.I just wonder if he included me in his opinion of RSL people. It was always apparent with these Lecturers that one or two of them wanted to change the world. It sounds as if Smiths probably regretted putting those wheels in motion and the project died a natural death. Meanwhile, those responsible waited with baited breath for someone to kick over the traces!
Happy days. John Cann. Posted on forum 19th March 2011.

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