Peter Ridley     


A chance meeting with a family from Dover on holiday last year led to a conversation about the PWSTS. They told me they thought the building was being demolished so when we came home we drove down from Stevenage where we live to see for ourselves, only to find it was in the process of being made into luxury flats. I was there from August to December 1954 and, not surprisingly, Dover has changed beyond recognition. The mast was gone from the school and all the old buildings around have been demolished.

I still have strong memories of my time at the school although the names of most of the boys who where there have started to fade. Mostly I can only remember surnames. Some names I can remember were the P.O. Boy, Michael Cobb from Potters Bar, Mick Ryall from Jersey, Barry Gabb from Woolwich, Pat Cable, Steve Astall from Brighton (?), a boy from Hull called whose surname was Herbert, Baker from Shoreham and Jefferies from Bristol. I happened to find the website only after our visit to Dover. I didn’t realise that the school was that ‘famous’.

My first ship after leaving was the Orsova which sailed two days after my sixteenth birthday. Mick Ryall and Mick Cobb also joined the ship with me. Mick Ryall and I shipped out together for a few years until he decided to call it a day. We are still in regular contact with each other. After that my ships were:

Kenya Castle

Cottrell (Elder Dempster)

Esso Birmingham

Reaburn (Lamport and Holt)

Langton Grange

Beaverlake (two trips)

Jim M (Metcalfs)

Sugar Exporter

Romanic ( Bolton Steam)




Beaverlake (two more trips)

Kenya Castle

Durham Trader

Adroity (Everards)

Beaverlake (three trips)

Port Philip (Home trade)

Port Victor (Home trade)

Port Chalmers (Home trade)

Port Windham (Home trade)

Hygromia (Shell tanker)



Esso Columbia


The voyage on the Hygromia was from June 1961 to June 1962 after which I left the sea and joined the Middlesex Fire Brigade. In 1966 we moved to Stevenage in Hertfordshire where I have had various jobs and I retired in December 2003. I still live in Stevenage with my wife, Jenny, our four children and 11 grandchildren.

I would really like to hear from anybody who was at the school or even at sea with me between 1954 and 1962.