Laurie Barnett      


I was at Dover in 1964, Falcon Class, with, I can see, John Bonar, Jon Usher, Roger Emmins and Malcolm Bourgaize (who's now a long way from Jersey). I'm in the class photograph, front row, second from right.

I've only just found this website, purely by chance while looking at some old ships' photographs, and missed the September reunion by one month! Sorry not to have been with you all.

Career: 5 years at sea with New Zealand Shipping Co, Port Line, United Baltic Corporation and finally Trinity House. I had a wonderful time, but after 5 years I realised I didn't want to make the sea my career and of course so much was happening back in the UK (it was the late 60s remember).

I trained as a carpenter and worked in the construction industry for some 20 years and then went to university in order to qualify as a chartered building surveyor. I'm now a construction manager with a large property company.

Amazing how your life develops and 40 years later you find yourself doing something that you would never have imagined.

I enjoyed being at the school and have happy memories of the boys and the staff, even running up military hill. It must have been like being at an approved school, but I enjoyed most of it - very character building I'm sure!

I have very fond memories of my time at sea, even being seasick and having to scrub the heads out (probably in the best place). I was surprised at the menial tasks we had to do as deck boys as I fondly imagined it would be all steering, boatwork, cargo handling, ropework and lazing about in the sun getting a great tan. No one at the school told us about the peggying, cleaning the bogs, holystoning, washing paintwork, 12-4 watch, cleaning brass and how to lash down deck cargo that had broken loose in a force 8 or 9 etc etc. I loved it all, even the seasickness.

It was amazing the first time I went through the Panama Canal; saw the lights of Wellington at midnight after a month at sea; Tahiti; NZ; first time coming home and getting the channels, and being paid for the pleasure.

We were very lucky to be able to go to sea while Britian still had a large MN and before most ships were flagged out. It's hard to believe now, leaving school at 16 and six months later on my way to New Zealand, what an incredible adventure while my school friends were swotting for their O levels. I still miss it, the travelling to exotic places, great mates, fantastic adventures and I wouldn't have missed the experience for the world. I feel we have had the benefit of something most lads never experience and I like to think it did us a lot of good.

If anyone knows me feel free to send an email.

Best wishes to all ex-PWSTS lads.