Alan Nelson


Derwent class 1970, had the friends Jim Hill and Stewart Craigie. I recall the class rowing that old lifeboat out in the harbour on a summers day with Sludge (Bill Smith) barking out the orders. He was tough but always ok to me. PE was with Taffy Williams, donít think anyone liked him much. Went with Capt Vine and a few others one night to see a G&S opera up at the army camp near the castle. Anything for a night out, turned out to be quite good! End of the course we all went to London for a medical, two failed, including a lad with a large fresh tattoo of a sailing ship on his arm.

Joined my first ship in 1970 the British Lancer in Italy as an ERB with Paul Draxford. We got on ok but he decided it wasnít for him and went home after 2 or 3 months. Spent most of that trip doing menial work and learning little. The training scheme allowed BP to treat us one moment as apprentices and on the next ship as cheap labour.

Several other ships after that Ensign 1971,73,74, Mallard 1974, Laurel 1972, Argosy 1975.

British Laurel as J.O.E.R circa 1973, had a group of 6 ERBís on board for first trip with a training officer, inc Mick Murphy, King and others.

Back to Dover for Mechanics course at the college. Lodged with 4 others in a B&B run by an alleged armed robber. Social life was good but course run by ex R.N. lectures who had very little understanding of the sea life we were involved in. Had a visit from some BP office big wig, who came down to intimidate us and tell us how lucky we were. Probably the same guy who sent out the redundancy letters a few years later.

Back to sea as a Petty Officer, on the Argosy, (+ Carl McDermott) By now doing a juniors watch and carrying a useless 3rd Officer. Few more trips like this on the Admiral before deciding that the sea wasnít good for home life.

Moved to a shore job in 1976 with Hamworthy Engineering, Poole earning twice what BP paid and home every night. Then joined IIG in Cork Ireland.
Joined family firm of fine art dealers in London, working in sales and accounts.

Moved back to back to Cork Ireland circa 1995. Married with three daughters and living in Dorset.