I did my 6 months training at Ingham 1947-48
when there were quite a few Scots from the North east coast Dundee, Buckie,
Frazerburgh etc. Later I and some of these mates were to sign on the ORONTES
(Orient line) while it was being refitted, at Southampton, after serving as a
troopship. 3weeks later, still in Southampton, I contracted pneumonia and being
hospitalised was paid off.
On being discharged I headed for home in Cardiff and when fit enough went to the docks looking for work. I saw the Stancourt unloading pit props and loving the smell of pine I went aboard and asked the mate if there was a vacancy for deck boy only to be told they didn't carry deck boys but on hearing of my training at PWSTS he agreed to sign me on as J.O.S. Yippee, my wages had shot up from £7 a month to the dizzy heights of £12. After that trip to Newfoundland for more pit props I served on all types of ships tankers, tramps, coasters etc but never signed on another Liner.
In 1951 I married a girl I had been in school with and we had 3 children then in time we were to have 11grandchilren and now 12 great grandchildren.
I had finished with the sea in 1957 and became a rigger-erector worked on power stations and for 20 years with British Steel. In retirement now we enjoy travelling in our motorhome in the U.K, France and Spain.
After leaving PWSTS I hadn't heard from any old mates until 49 years later when I had a phone call from Jock McDougall in Australia whose opening words were that he had been trying to trace me because I owed him 5/- since 1948, I disputed this as whoever heard of a Scot emigrating being owed money.
Having been in contact with Jock again and always looking for an adventure my wife and I decided to travel to Oz and present him with the disputed 5/-. Have you ever seen a talkative Scot left speechless? It was certainly worth the expensive but enjoyable trip to Australia! He also told us that he had 5 children and 15 grandchildren and who knows now how many great grandchildren?
p.s. I always wanted to sail on a sailing ship and after retiring did so on the Soren Larson and the Norwegian Statsraad Lemkhul.
All the best to any old shipmates.