THE NAME MAPLEDORE caught my eye on the cover of the January 2011 issue of Sea Breezes. Having bought the magazine and read the story by Roger Jones about his season on the coal trade in that vessel, I felt that I had to write as one who also did a season aboard her. I joined her as AB at Gravesend buoys and we sailed in ballast for Sydney CB on 1 June 1955, arriving back in the UK on 12 December 1955. I found her to be the most unhappy ship, this stemming from above.
One incident that remains in my mind is that one trip we were preparing to leave Trois Rivieres, part cargo for Montreal, when an AB jumped on two hatchboards to get them flat. The beam moved and both man and boards fell in to the empty hold.
We had been preparing to let go but, of course, we climbed down to see if there was anything to be done, the man was dead. As we stood there, the master appeared at the hatch and told us to stand by; “You can get him up later”.
During the season three sailors jumped ship, the third mate was discharged with a nervous breakdown and all in all we were glad to see the end of the voyage at Middleborough with grain from Sorel. That was my last trip deep sea. I went to Everards, gained my certificates and stayed with them until I retired in 1998, spending the twenty years before that mainly on the timber trade.
42 Jasmine Close
Trimley, St Martin
Felixstowe, IP11 0UY
For more letters, see the latest edition of Sea Breezes Magazine
Click on the links below to subscribe