SEA BREEZES JULY 2010 • VOL 84 • NO. 775
2010 is for me a year of anniversaries – a time to recall, reflect and be grateful. On a personal note it is 50 years since I first went to sea as a midshipman with Alfred Holt & Co. I sailed out of London on my first trip on Glen Line’s mv Cardiganshire, full of excitement and expectation of the adventures which lay ahead.
It is also 40 years since I gained my Master’s FG Certificate at Aberdeen and now, so many years later, I find myself recalling some of my fellow students there. Where are they all now I wonder? They came from a variety of famous fleets – Ben Line, Bank Line, Ellermans, Harrisons, Port Line, Clan Line, Blue Star, Manchester Liners, Lyles, NZS Co. and Maggie Booths to name but a few. These really were the last great days of the conventional general cargo ships – before palletisation, containerisation and no doubt several other “isations” changed our industry forever. Of course other factors such as loss of empire and changing trading patterns were also at play. Most of these famous fleets now live on only in our memories.
2010 also marks the 70th anniversary of “Operation Dynamo”, the heroic evacuation of allied troops from Dunkirk involving vessels big and small which went through hell and suffered terrible losses to effect the rescue. Around 340,000 men were taken back to Britain which allowed the country to regroup and rebuild for eventual victory. What we should also never forget is the terrible price Dunkirk and its people paid. Probably the first French city to experience massive bombardment, Dunkirk was also the last to be liberated (9th May 1945). This last anniversary starkly reminded me that I was one of a lucky generation of seafarers which did not have to suffer the horrors of war at sea, but could sail the seas safely and without threat. As I said, a time to recall, reflect and be grateful.
Captain Hamish A C Ross (Editor)