22/5/1967-Sept 1967. Served BP Ships until 1971. Variety of jobs until joining British Gas 1974 and have been in same industry ever since.
May 22nd - Sept 1967. Derwent Class.
My memories are very mixed with the time I spent at Dover. Just as all those before me mentioned I too arrived at Dover Priory Station to be met by a senior boy, this time it was a lad called Tony Randerson & one other lad whose name I don't remember, Tony came from Yorkshire. There was I with this large suitcase being march towards the steps that led up to the school, I thought I was fit as I used to do a lot of walking, but Tony and this other lad went up them steps with my suitcase like antelopes leaving me puffing at the sight of them, and I didn't even smoke, one of the few I think that didn't? When I walked into the school I had the biggest culture shock of my life, I had, had my hair cut short the previous day but another was given that same night, I think the barber was on a high rate of pay. When tea-time came and I was sat down at a table there was enough slices of bread and butter for one each with one spare left over, as everyone had snatched the first slice I soon caught on and took the last slice, big mistake, one of the senior boys called "Fenton" gave me a good hiding and making it clear I was to ensure senior boys got theirs first!
I don't have any bad memories of the cooking, although the cornflakes were good, the fish & chips excellent. Having to wear our uniforms when on shore leave made me proud but very conspicuous, especially when the Duke of York's boys were out in force, but joining my first ship the "British Architect" in South Shields dry dock I was hand clapped as I walked to the gangway. Fond memories, shame most of the docks have gone up there now There were a good mixture of Scots, Yorkies, and of course "southern softies at the school and much rivalry ensued in the four months we were there. Quite a lot of fights to start with mostly between the yorkies and us southern softies. I remember one lad called Graham Gore-Brown winding some of his fellow yorkies up to fight me not for any reason other than being a southerner but although being small in size I never to this day have walked away from trouble, a good black eye and some bruising that could not be hidden and a call to see captain Vine the next morning. When I explained to Captain Vine that I had fallen down the stairs he said I must of been crossing another lad at the same time as he too had fallen down the stairs, he did not pursue it any further and I think my life became a little easier with the Yorkies afterwards.
Mr Smith did not like anyone and I think the feeling was mutual, I remember him chasing Rosie around the kitchen when he caught her on his own, did we laugh. Mr Carpenter was a ok type of guy and Mr Porte a gentlemen as was Captain Vine, I was sorry to hear of their passing's. The PT instructor was a hateful guy and I did not like him at all, not many did. I studied my seamanship well and enjoyed the level of fitness I came to achieve, I was for some obscure reason given a "Merit Star", followed by a "Good Conduct Stripe" then low and behold called into see Captain Vine and was told I was to be made up to a leading boy. This was magical for me as I came from a large family and did not get any extra money sent, the stripe was worth a shilling, the star I think another shilling and what ever the leading boy paid, I think I ended up with about fourteen shillings. From this money I had to buy whitener, beer on Saturday afternoons, stamps etc, how I stood in line on parade at times and got away with it I will never know.
On leaving the P.W.S.T.S & going to the Board of Trade offices for my final eye sight test of which I failed left me devastated after all that training and perseverance, I was taken to BP's head office in Moorgate EC2 where I was offered a position in either the engine room or as a catering boy, I chose the latter and ended up as 2nd cook & baker. I served on the British Commodore, Centaur, Trust & Architect and enjoyed immensely my time at sea, From my time at the P.W.S.T.S I can only remember meeting one or two lads from there, and no one in the last 42 years since. However I have to admit, it was the discipline, training, physical exercise and gaining self confidence that all came from the P.W.S.T.S that truly moulded my life and it did not do me one bit of harm despite all my gripes along the way.
All the best shipmates Terry Dalton