In reply to Capt Fullarton’s letter in the May 2015 issue of Sea Breezes, round about April 1956, I had just passed my Mate’s ticket and was coasting on the Clan Kenneth, (ex Ocean Viceroy), up from Tilbury to Birkenhead, where I was due to transfer to the Clan Buchanan where I stayed as Second Mate until it was time to go and sit my masters.
Our Master was the retiring Company Commodore who was filling in a few weeks before he finally swallowed the anchor. We were northbound up the Irish Sea, when ‘sparks’ let us know that we would soon be passing one of the fancy new vessels of the company. Sure enough, soon over the horizon we observed a glimpse of black, white, grey and two red bands.
The Old Man turned to me and said; “Remember Second Mate, he dips first.” I therefore sent the Sukunni (Quartermaster) down aft telling him not to dip the ensign until I signalled him to do so. Well you can guess what happened. There were these two vessels – one gleaming with fresh paint and the other (us) showing the results of an eight month voyage to Australia and Calcutta.
A mile or so apart, but no movements of the ensigns! And so we went on our respective journeys. Eventually I called the Sukunni and indicated for him to return to the bridge. The Old Man thought it was all rather funny and that was that. It was a long time ago now, but life was good then.
76 Augusta Drive, Augusta Place
Sunningdale, 7441 South Africa