James Pottinger’s comprehensive account of the Malakand Disaster in the May 2016 issue of Sea Breezes, reminded me of some associated matters.
Those of us who faced Captain Fletcher, then the Principal Examiner for Masters and Mates in Liverpool, for our tickets during the 1960s, will recall his very visible facial injury. This was apparently his legacy from that disastrous explosion, although his role at that time was never actually identified. The wide variation in the line of his apparent sight certainly added a major distraction as I struggled to interpret what his little wooden models were up to in the ship handling and collision regulations as part of my orals examination ordeals. Then, in later years, I was very familiar with the filled-in Huskisson No 2 Branch Dock as this formed part of the West African Terminals site when services moved there from the South End docks. The so-called Malakand area, so I was told, was covered for many years with bagged sugar both to aid its settlement and provide storage before the huge dedicated sugar warehouse was built in Sandhills. Is it still there, I wonder?
Finally, another reminder of those wartime years was the Liverpool dockers’ shorthand request for any timber being used for the dunnaging, shoring or tomming of cargo: ‘bring us another sling of bombed houses’!
55 Shanklin Road, Southampton