One of the delights of being editor of Sea Breezes is the connections it gives me with readers around the world.
In recent months, I was pleased to make contact again with Captain John Anderson who now lives in Canada. It was way back in 1962 when we sailed together as midshipmen on Blue Funnel's MV Dolius (Captain FN Curphey) in a six midshipmen halfdeck. We sailed from Birkenhead on the 4th April 1962 on a typical Blue Funnel trip to the Far East, returning to Liverpool at the end of July 1962.
It was good to talk together again, of a time when we were young lads learning our trade, living and working with our fellow midshipmen of a similar age in a still strong, vibrant British merchant navy. Little did we know then that containerisation lay just around the corner and with it, the decline and indeed eventual end of many of the then famous shipping companies, including our own. The way of life at sea we knew in the early 1960s was soon to be lost too.
I remained with Blue Funnel until I gained my Master's FG Certificate in 1970, but after taking his 2nd Mate's FG, John sought adventures and experience elsewhere. He went on to have a very successful career which included break bulk ships in world wide trade, towing, offshore oil-drill ships and supply boats (Arctic), hydrographic survey and oceanographic research (North Pacific and Arctic).
John has also been the author of several books having had a life-long interest in 19th century sailing ships. His latest book, This Noble Ship and Others, is the story of seventeen Canadian built sailing ships. I had not realised that so many of the sailing ships built in Canada during a large part of the 19th century were exported to Britain and that mid century a large part of the British fleet of sailing ships were actually Canadian built. This is an important work giving a good insight into the shipping history of Canada in that period.
Returning to the midshipmen of the Dolius Voyage 18, 1962, the six midshipmen were : JM Anderson, NC McKie, PWJ Norbury, AJ Molle, K Moss and HAC Ross. I wonder where they all are now.