View Full Version : The TS Vindicatrix
07-31-2007, 10:30 AM
This Merchant Navy training ship broke a few hearts but we Scousers did have advantages over lesser beings. Growing boys, we were all on starvation rations so breakfast, weevils included as part of the fresh meat portion, was eagerly looked forward to.
Alas! There were more bums than seats so there were two sittings. Happily the officer usually in charge of the meal arrangements was a Scouser. He perched at the top of the ship's gangway and would holler along the miserable queues of boys. "Anyone from Liverpool, get up here first."
Brilliant. As each approached he would ask, "Where you from, son?"
Each would reply his location: Dingle, Walton Vale, Bootle, Garston . . . . You couldn't kid him. He would ask you if you knew where such and such a place was; places only Scousers would know. You would then get the nod and in you would go, famished.
I lived in Waterloo and knowing that it didn't quite qualify as Liverpool I lied and said, 'Knowsley Road, sir."
"Tell me some local roads."
"Linacre Lane, Hornby Boulevard, by the North Park, sir." (ha-ha).
My brummie mate, after a little coaching from me, tried it on. He didn't get far. With an accent like his?
10-28-2007, 12:23 AM
Hi Miguel,I was at the Vindi in late 1958 and look back on it as being a seminal point in my life.I gained a lot from the time I spent there,saw, and did,things that I would never have been able to do elsewhere.
This August,I took my wife down to the annual reunion,the first time I had been back in 49 years,it was a very emotional experience,and yes,I did meet some old friends.
I hope to write about my time there in Hullo Old Home.
11-08-2008, 03:26 PM
Did?nt need an alarm call this morning, anticipation had me awake ,anticipation of the service of Remembrance that I was to attend in Birmingham. As I stood in the shower ,washing off the nights slumbers, I recalled that 50 years ago this very morning ,I was stood in the showers at Gravesend Sea Training School, getting ready to depart to the Royal Albert Hall ,to take part in the British Legions Festival of Remembrance. The images came flooding back of we lads struggling to get into the boiled and starched white shirts with the separate collars. Studs had to be used to attach the collars to shirt and the collars were like celluloid, cut your throat if you turned your head fast enough. This was the first time any of us had ever worn such fancy items. The creases in our trousers were knife edged and our boots were gleaming like mirrors, thus kitted up we were loaded on to a motor coach and driven through London to the mighty Albert Hall ,stopping first at Derry and Thoms department store to have a wonderful cooked breakfast in its rooftop restaurant..
We were not seated in groups but were dispersed amongst the throng of diners who were all taking some part in the days festivities .Thus it was that I found myself seated opposite a Chelsea Pensioner who was a veteran of the Boer War, next to him sat an army officer with gold tabs on his collar and a triple row of ribbons on his chest, a pretty young Wren sat on my left and an R.N. rating sat on my right. I was totally overawed; as I sat staring at the array of cutlery before the officer winked and motioned that I should start from the outside and work in.
Such were my memories as I made myself ready this morning, clean white shirt,collar attached this time, Masonic tie and cufflinks , grey trousers ,with creases just as sharp as those of yesteryear, and shoes you could see your face in. Silver M.N. badge pinned to my lapel ,and beneath that ,a little blue forget-me- not, in remembrance of those who died in the death camps of WW11. A blood red poppy on my left lapel and my sailors cap with its Training School badge, I was ready for the service.
The temple was full of people of all races. religions , sexes and ages. A Christian priest presided over the prayers and the room resounded to the opening hymn ?Oh God our help in ages past?. This was not a celebration of war , but a remembrance of its horrors and the losses of loved ones. Overhead , at the rear of the temple the silvery tones of a bugle sounded as the Last Post was played, a tune so redolent of pain and loss; as the last notes faded we stood in silence for two minutes, the standard bearer with his ensign pointed to the floor. Those two minutes were long and sombre, a time for old men to remember their lost comrades and for young men to see how the old were united in their ,still painful, sense of loss. As the silence ended Reveille was sounded and old sweats ,eyes aglitter with unshed tears ,saluted. The Lords Prayer followed ,voiced by all and sundry regardless of creed ,and the national Anthem was sung with a gusto that I had?nt heard since I was at school. We did?nt rush away after the service, people gathered in little groups, chatting and recalling times past. I was invited to dinner by a man I had only met there this morning , it was a splendid occasion ,one which will be repeated throughout Britain and all those Dominions that fought on the fields of war in the last century ,and , sadly ,this one too.
Lest we Forget??
01-22-2009, 08:47 AM
Hi Just to remind the Merchant Navy members out there that we have a Vindicatrix thread on this site,if yoy went to any other sea school you are stillinvited to throw your two pen'orth in. There must be one or two good stories from your days of being a spotty faced oik with the whole world ahead of you. Stick'em here!
01-24-2009, 05:15 AM
good to see more guys reminiscing about the old vindi,i was on board her dec 52 to feb 53,to me it was like a holiday camp i quite enjoyed it especially after the hard upringing i had. i was lucky as well as my best buddy and cousin showed up two weeks later.we were both in the catering dept. we were both from liverpool,i shipped out till 63 and my cousin ron was in till 73 when he died at sea on the kano palm.he switched over to deck dept in 54 and ended up an AB.i am almost sure he crossed paths with the other guys on this and other merch sites as he sailed with all the companies out of liverpool.:)
01-24-2009, 10:52 AM
Nice to hear from you Liverbob,I was at sea from '58 christmas to '68 christmas,so I don't know how many times we could have crossed wakes. It is a pity more guys don't use this thread,there are enough Vindi old boys out there,
01-24-2009, 11:33 AM
These two pics are all I have left, apart from memories, of my days in the MN.
All the rest are at the bottom of a canal in germany.
01-25-2009, 02:23 AM
Hi Phredd, I too went to Gravesend ,only for a few weeks while we trained to marchat the Festival of Remembrance , it was a great experience . Cheeky to ask I suppose ,but what happened to your front tooth, is there a story behind it ?
03-01-2010, 06:46 AM
Does anyone remember a psycopath at the Vindi named Tommy Tucker. He was a bully who picked a fight with everyone. He was a scouser witha sharp tongue and a cocky manner. He was half-caste, as we called it then, but more white than black. I was there from July to September 1964, so his dates would have overlapped mine.I remember once there was a RN trainee visiting a friend on the Vindi. Of course Tommy had to pick a fight with him. They agreed to meet behind the Mission to Seamen that night. Of course when the RN trainee got there he found Tucker was team-handed with a mob of scousers, who on the Vindi used to operate as a gang. They tyrannized everyone not from there. They were I think in the majority. Anyway the mob beat up the RN trainee so badly when I saw him the next day he was almost unrecognizable. When I became Bends and Hitches Bosun's Mate he made my life hell. I know a Vindi boy I corresponded with in San Francisco remembers his reign of terror. Somehow he didn't get thrown out, at least I think not. I hope he spent the rest of his life in prison, and after that in hell. Does this jog anyone's memory. You wouldn't forget him if you met him.
03-01-2010, 06:55 AM
Sorry Micheal. I didn't think it was so hot that you got preferential treatment over non-scousers. We were all hungry. If I remember correctly the scousers operated as a gang, terrorizing and bullying boys from other places, especially the South. All I remember the officers doing was calling for "10 more" up the gangway. I never asked for boys from a specific place. There was a psychopath scouser called Tommy Tucker who used to bully his way to the front of the queue and pick fights with anyone and everyone who got in his way. Left me with an irrational aversion to scousers all my life.
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