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With Reuben Goossens
The Corinthic Class Liners
The Rob Wilson Story - 9th.Engineer on SS Corinthic 1961/62
SS Corinthic was the first of the series of four ships to be completed in April 1947
Form the author’s private collection
Please note: Images on this page, except for those marked otherwise, have been provided by Robert Wilson and these must not be copied by any media for private use or any other purposes, without having requested permission from the author and Mr. Wilson!
Introduction: I received the following
story and documentation from Robert Cole Wilson in the
I joined the British
Merchant Navy on
This is a rather rare photo of me in full uniform taken on Main Deck
In all I did three
round trips from England to New Zealand, sailing via the Panama Canal earning
in the process the total sum of £719.88 sterling. Each voyage took around three
and a half months, and included five to six weeks on the
One of my reasons for
joining the Merchant Navy was I thought, as it has to be sai
I was still very naive and a bit of a greenhorn, and not as yet a 22 year old,
that I would be having a wonderful time and living in the lap of luxury, eating
wonderful food and perhaps spending my free time keeping fit running millions
of laps around the deck. Well the food on board was very good, no complaints
there, but as far as accommodations is concerned, for the most Junior of Junior
Engineers, my cabin although satisfactory, it could be better described as
being very basic. In addition I was assigned to the 12 to 4 watch and the
combination of these very unsociable hours and the gruelling heat of the Engine
Room meant that the shock to my system was such that it was all I could do to
stay awake for my meals. However, I soon got used to it and by the time I left
the Corinthic at the end of my third round voyage on the
One of the pleasant and memorable experiences for me was to be able to watch the latest movies at night out on the open deck while the ship glided her way through the South Pacific, and all this in complete comfort. The projector and large screen were usually rigged up by the seamen. This was all done under the supervision of the Chief Electrician and Bosun and it was always performed without a hitch.
Here is my Seaman’s Record Book, showing all my voyages:
These photo’sare just like passport photo’s are they not?
As for a few anecdotes here are a few that I can remember quite vividly:
The first deals with
the patterns and standards of behaviour that were observed while on board the
Corinthic. As Engineers we were officially Officers, but most sea going
engineers will tell you that we always had the feeling that the Deck Officers
regarded us as a little below their status in life. This caused quite a lot of
friendly “horseplay” and chat between the two factions and it was
the case that while we had passengers on board the Engineers were required to
take their meals in a Dining Room, which was separate from the Dining Room
where the passengers and the Deck Officers took theirs. However, whilst we were
The second story deals with what might be termed typical Engine Room humour, but first you have to have a little understanding of the workings of Steam Turbines and Oil Fired Main Boilers. When a ship is manoeuvring into or out of a port there are a lot of Engine movements to comply with i.e., half ahead port, half astern starboard, slow ahead both etc., etc. This makes for fluctuating demands for steam from the boilers requiring changes in settings on both the boilers and engines. If this is not done quickly and accurately then the end result is lots of thick black smoke coming from the funnel and this is not good when you have a shipload of first class passengers on board and they are all out on deck watching what is going on as we are leaving port. On one such occasion when we were required to cope with an unusual amount of engine movements in very quick succession, we were all running about like idiots when the telephone from the Bridge went and the Second Engineer, who was well known for his colourful use of the English language, snatched it off it’s cradle and in a bit of a temper and yelled “WHAT NOW?” The next thing we heard him say was “Well what the (bleep) hell do you expect, (bleeping) ICE CREAM?” This of course was in response to being told by the hapless mate up on the Bridge that “there was far too much smoke coming out of the Funnel!”
The next images cover my “Engineer’s Certificate of Service & Character” and three Wages Slips:
SS Corinthic seen at Lyttleton New
Photograph © Dave Edge
Above you see the SS Corinthic arriving in Lyttleton and I was on board at the time and it was my second voyage on her. At the time her Captain was: Captain A. C. Jones, the Chief Engineer being Frank Papworth, the Second Engineer was Tony Goodman, and the Fourth Engineer was Doug (Duggie) Reed.
The Corinthic was without a doubt a wonderful ship and my time on her provided some wonderful days, and now aged 70 she certainly has provided me with so many great memories. In addition, she gave me a good start in the industry!
The following are all my Shaw Savill features on ssMaritime.com:
1... SS Athenic Class Ships – These three fine liners built in 1902/03 introduced two of the names on this page
2… QSMV Dominion Monarch – Shaw Savill’s Grandest Dame ever built!
3… SS Corinthic Class Liners – Four fine ships built in 1947/48.
4… SS Southern Cross – A 23 webpage feature on a revolutionary passenger liner!
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Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet these individuals either refuse to provide credit or remove them when asked, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show these charlatans up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where credit is due!
This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!
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