In 1967, I joined the Merchant Navy, sailing as a junior engineering officer with the famous 'Blue Funnel Line' and when I decided to write my memoir, I attempted to contact other members of the crew, when we had sailed to the Far East on board the Victory Ship, named the S.S. Talthybius.
I posted a piece on the Blue Funnel Association website way back in 2010 with no responses whatsoever, which was very disappointing as there were two individuals who I really wished to contact. One was a fellow junior engineer, whom I had written about in the book, and the other, was the Electrical Engineer who's cabin was next to mine.
Shortly after I published my book, I received an email from New Zealand from the other junior engineer on board Talthybius and we have kept in contact ever since. He had seen my post on the Blue Funnel website and decided to get in touch. However, despite many attempts to trace the other guy, I drew a blank, no matter what I tried.
We were going on a P&O cruise in September 2016 and shortly beforehand, I carried out yet another search for my cabin mate, but again, all to no avail. I then decided to let the matter drop, as I now realised that he could well be dead after 50 years since we had last met. I have my memories of this fascinating guy who kept me amused every single day. We were drinking buddies, and whenever possible, between watch keeping duties, we would chew the fat over a few gin & tonics! He had a expression that he used all the time "Pull up a bollard Jim, and I'll tell they a tale". Following the expression, he would have an amusing story, generally relating to his youth whilst living in Liverpool. He would pretend to puff on an imaginative smoking pipe and play the roll of a Old Sea Salt.
During our P&O cruise in September, we were entertained to a loyalty luncheon and our host was the senior officer in charge of all the electrical equipment throughout the ship. I told out host about our Electrical Engineer on board Talthybius and I suggested he had the best job on the ship, mainly changing light bulbs when required!
Upon our return home, I checked my inbox and there was an unusual email address that made me suspicious, and I very nearly deleted it before deciding to open it with caution. The opening sentence read "Pull up a bollard Jim, and I'll tell they a tale." I could not believe my good fortune as it was him, the very guy himself. He had been feeling unwell, and in a moment of nostalgia, he had visited the Blue Funnel Association website, where he spotted my posting from 2010. We have had several prolonged telephone conversations and its taught me to never to give up. Life can be so rewarding when something like this comes out of the blue!
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