Allan Kindness    


I was at PWSTS from Jan 1952 until May 1952 ( Ingham Old Hall ). I have happy memories of my time there - the one exception being that sugar was added to the porridge!!

On leaving PWSTS I went home to Perthshire and joined Anchor Line in Glasgow - sailing as a Cadet on the Tahsinia, Egidia, Elysia, Empire Halladale, Elysia and Tarantia - I only met one former PWSTS boy namely Alasdair Graham when he joined the Empire Halladale as a QM - I believe he died a few years ago.

I was studying at Dundee Nautical College (for 2nd Mates Ticket) but had a Motor Bike accident in Oct 1956 and was in and out of hospital until April 1958. Joined General Accident Assurance as a Mortgage Clerk on the 1/5/58 where I remained until 2 heart attacks - 1 in 85 and another in 1988 brought about early retiral.

I recall two lads who were at Ingham with me i.e. David Strachan from Lossiemouth and John McDonald from Dundee neither of whom I met again - any information on either would be appreciated.

Allan Kindness Perth.

The day King George VI died - When I left Auchterarder J.S. School in December 1951 I decided to join the merchant navy and see the world. In 1952 I travelled to Norfolk to enrol as a student in the Prince of Wales Sea Training School on a course lasting some 4 months.

Various duties and skills were learned, one of which was to undertake a spell normally of a week's duration as a 'side boy' (naval jargon for 'receptionist'). The duties were in the main: to hoist the Red Ensign at 8 am (sunrise) and lower it again at 6 pm (sunset). In between times the logbook had to be maintained, recording such things as visitors and telephone calls, and the ship's bell had to be rung every half hour. It was the one and only time one worked in full dress uniform.

It was a cardinal sin to look idle and it was therefore necessary to look busy. I used the time to write letters home to my mother, to Dougie Philp's wife Nan (Nan was a land girl at Broadleys when we arrived there in 1943 and I immediately adopted her as my 'big sister') and also to Will Edment's daughter Mary!!

It so happened that I was 'side boy' on the 6th February 1952. I recall being summoned to the commander's office and being ordered to "muster the hands to the flag", no reason being given at that time.

With all hands mustered, the commander then informed us that the king had died, and ordered that the flag be lowered to half mast.

It was then my duty to lower the flag, whilst the chief petty officer sounded the bosun's pipe. I seem to recall that it was a dull, dreich day which added to the sombre occasion.

We all thought that we would be allowed the rest of the day off as a mark of respect - no such luck and it was soon back to our various duties. We didn't even have a day off at the funeral.

I have mused from time to time that the 'side boy' duty served no useful purpose whatsoever when I eventually went seagoing in June 1952. But it did stand me in good stead when I joined General Accident in 1958 after being invalided out of the merchant navy viz always appearing to be busy, writing longwinded letters and watching the clock. The saying "it's an ill wind . . . " etc. etc. somehow springs to mind!