I was interested in seeing the new (to me) Superiority in the August 2014 issue of Sea Breezes. Obviously a tanker, the name stirred old memories of a previous ship of the same name.
As a cadet on HMS Worcester in 1951, by a unique arrangement between Fred Everards and the Worcester, cadets were invited to sign on to ships of Everard’s fleet for the Worcester’s summer recess. As such, I and another cadet were signed on to the cargo carrying Superiority in Greenhithe. From there we voyaged to Plymouth first, then around to Hull. We loaded coal in Hull for Aalborg (Denmark), then through the Kiel Canal to Holmsund in Sweden, where, if I remember correctly, a wood pulp cargo was loaded for, and discharged at the Bowater factory in the Thames.
As a shilling a month supernumeraries, we worked with the crew, but were welcomed on the bridge assisting in watchkeeping. I remember the captain and three deck officers as being very competent and professional men. A great start to an eventual successful sea career. Being allowed to plot Decca positions on a Decca chart was not on the Worcester syllabus for sure!
Another memory was the queue of Holmsund’s Swedish longshoremen to buy shots of whisky from the chief steward! Alcohol must have been rationed in Sweden at the time. Back in England everything was rationed and, if I recall correctly, we purchased quantities of sugar to bring back as presents! I indeed have happy memories of the ship.
Accommodation was basic, food outstanding (to a 16 year old with 11 years experience of wartime rationing), and six weeks was not really enough. And: where the “yellow peril” crept in must have been much later! But: We never collected our shilling a month!
CAPTAIN ALAN BRIDGER