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Thread: SEAMENS STRIKE. 1960

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    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Default SEAMENS STRIKE. 1960

    Does anyone remember the 1960 Seamens Strike???


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    I have just found my National Seamans Reform Movement members contribution book.
    It was lead by Paddy Neary, during the strike Cunard put a High Court Injunction on him, If he made a speech he would go to gaol.
    We had the meeting on the bomb site next to the old Sailors Home and Pool. As soon as Paddy got up to speak the Police turned up and threw Paddy into the van and down to the Bridewell. He got six months in gaol. afterwards Paddy went to live in Belfast and eventually died, Barney Flynn ran a Communist training school and my mate Pete Barlow`s Mother ran a Canny House near Tate and Lylles, I think it was on Vauxhall Road, and she fed me for free when I was sleeping in the doorway of St James Church. Pete died not long after. still young. I was out of work for nearly five months after being thrown off the Pool.
    Hard to believe it was Fity years ago this summer.
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    Debra
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    This is amazing , i guess there was no such thing as free speech fifty years ago !

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    Senior Member H_Asbo's Avatar
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    Is that why theres not many people born in 1961?

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    Senior Member Norm NZ's Avatar
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    I remember the time well Cap'n! but I was driving taxi's for Bob Mitchell's who had the contract with the Shipping Federation! I had the job of driving around one of the Federation officials trying to get seamen to man the ships! quite a few who had got 'bad discharges'from previous ships got the opportunity to get back to sea!! I hated doing this but Eh! it was a job! remember the police escort into the docks area, and the ships being anchored out 'in the stream' and the use of a tug to get the men out to them. one of the Cunarders waiting to sail, and also one of the Ellerman boats, but sorry, can't remember the names, Oh so long ago, but still a vivid memory.
    Last edited by Norm NZ; 02-20-2010 at 10:26 PM. Reason: spelling!

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    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    I remember the CPR Shore Gang sailing the Empress of France to Cork and then an Irish crew took over and sailed her to Canada. Five months later I got a Pier Head jump on the France and some of the Irish men were still sailing on her. It caused a lot of trouble.

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    Newbie liverbob's Avatar
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    Post seamans strike

    still remember quite well. done a lot of picketing on gladstone dock gates with my cousin ron,
    seen a lot of scabs hiding in taxis going thru,
    after the stike was over and for quite a long time after, when we signed on various ships
    we tryed to peek at other guys discharge books to see if they had the reform
    stamp on the page.

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    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    After leaving the Empress of France in January 1961 I sailed on the Carinthia, I was QM on the 4 to 8 watch in the wheelhouse.
    There was a Bedroom Steward who had scabbed the strike and what I could not understand was he kept going in the `PIG` [ crew bar ] every night and some of the stewards used to beat him up and next night he was there again.
    One night on our way back across the Atlantic he went in there and some of the stewards beat him up again and this time he died. He was then dragged up onto the fore dec k and dumped over the side.
    Next morning around 6 am when I was on the wheel the Steward was reported missing. The Captain was in the wheel house and he ordered me to alter to a reciprical course and go back along our track to see if he was still afloat. We went for about two hours and then gave up. By this time a large group of officers and senior catering staff were in the wheelhouse. The seas were as usual in February North Atlantic very rough and it was obvious that no one could survive in seas like that. The rumour that he had been murdered and dumped was being discussed and the Captain told the Mate to log it as suicide, He said Cunard could not stand the bad news that the crew were killing each other after the bad news of the strikes disrupting passengers travel arrangements and so it was made a "suicide". It didnt make the papers.

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    Senior Member kevin's Avatar
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    It was long before my time at sea but I remember some of the old guys talking about it and the disruption it caused amongst crews for many years after.

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    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    Hi Brian,
    I too have a lot of memories of the 60 strike and the aftermath. I got my only VNC when I walked off the Patricain. We thought it would be over in a week or so . When a Blackleg crew took out the Patrician ,they threw our gear on the quay and some of the shore crowd stowed it in a dockside locker. I lost nearly all my kit and a lot of nice shirts too. That VNC stopped me from getting some good ships too. I wrote about this in my story,
    BrianD
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    Senior Member Ernie's Avatar
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    I was there in 60, done a bit of picketing with Ronnie and Joe McArthy. We had walked off Ibadon Palm in Antwerp and made our own way home. We have dug a few (scabs) out at the Eldonian, they always slip up,time has passed but memories aree still there. Ernie.

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    Newbie burkey's Avatar
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    I remember the strike well my brother Jimmy and myself managed to do some work for the church for a couple of bob to keep us going .I got a VNC off the ROMNEY and was out of work for 8 weeks

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    Senior Member Oddsocks's Avatar
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    I remember coming out on strike in Southampton when I was on the Sylvania.

    The dispute had started on the Carinthia a week or so before, so the company must have thought that by diverting the ship to Southampton the Liverpool crew wouldn't take strike action. They certainly misread the attitude of the Scouser.
    On the beach in So'ton, tired, hungry and skint, but we couldn't get a measly cup of tea off the Salvation army. Despite the many times that we never let their collection box pass without throwing something in.

    After a resolution was passed to take action and convince others to join the dispute we travelled home on British Rail and because we were all brasic we all gave our name and address in. I gave my true Name and address like the rest. The train was absolutely full with striking seamen but I didn't hear of anyone getting a bill for the fare. Maybe the NUR intervened, I don't know who had the authority to wipe out the bill for a train full of non-payers, but whoever it was;Thanks.

    I too got the 'Seaman's Reform Movement' stamp over my VNC and thought I'd be barred from Cunard but was pleasantly surprised when the strike was over I joined the Pavia, a Cunard medi boat on the 15/10/60, sadly I only got one trip out of it.

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    Senior Member Oddsocks's Avatar
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    It's amazing what turns up when you're looking for something else. I was looking for an old poster of 'Blood Brothers' staring Barbara Dickson, and I found the attachment 'THE FO'C'STLE. It's well preserved considering it's nigh on fifty years old.
    The aims and objectives of the movement were realised some years later but the pre-ordained strategy of the ship owners for containerisation was well in place. They having learned that cargo movement was more efficient and voluminous with smaller crews than traditional methods of cargo movement and handling.

    BTW. I'm not trying to open old wounds or start an argument. I'm just adding something to an important part of our history.
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    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    By Gum Oddsocks ,
    That brings back a few memories and all the things we were missing at sea and was normal ashore.
    Thanks for that, I will print it and keep it in my memory box.

    I also remember Joe Bygraves, top right
    He lives in Jamaica now but in poor health.
    Here is his biography on this google link...............
    Boxing Biographies - Joe Bygraves
    22 Apr 2009 ... JOE BYGRAVES. Joe was one of 12 children to a Jamaican Police Sergeant .... As well as raising animals, Joe built a raining camp for boxers, ...
    boxingbiographies.com/bio/index.php?option...id...

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Newbie backsplice's Avatar
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    I was on Blue Funnel's Maron, doing sea trials from the Caledon Shipyard in Dundee when the strike broke out.
    We steamed around the North East coast of Scotland for several days, and then anchored off Lossiemouth.
    While there a boatload of boys from the Outward Bound school came out on a visit to the ship, apparently the School had adopted the Maron.
    We had by that time run out of tobacco, and all us smokers were reduced to going down the cargo holds and sweeping up butts left by the shipyard workers, and breaking them up for the baccy to make roll ups.
    Eventually, the ship's stores ran out and we went into Glasgow. all hands were planning to walk off in Glasgow, but by the time we got there, the strike was over.
    I was JOS on that Maron, the Bosun was Bob Parsons, a big powerful 'Newfie', well known in Blueys.
    Best regards,
    Backsplice

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    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    I was out on the stones for the whole of the 1960 strike,like a lot of others I was flat broke and living on good will. I was amazed at the bitterness shown by some men toward the scabs. I was of a left wing persuasion (dad had been a shop steward) but I could never countenance violence against scabs. I am not a starry eyed dreamer, I have grown up with The British Road to Socialism,The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist's et al,but I was horrified to see an attack on a litttle Scots guy aboard the Carinthia . His crime was to hav e worked while we were out;his punishment was a savage kicking ,in the dark, as we sailed down the Mersey. I did intervene because my whole upbringing led me to eschew violence. I have met men who carried little black books which contained the names of scabs, I detested them. I was a socialist and a trade unionist ,and in my experience this type of creature never fought for the rights of mankind ,they just sought to perpetrate violence against those weaker than themselves. And before you ask, I was never a Bosses man, just someone who believed in a square deal,
    BrianD

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    Newbie neville's Avatar
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    Cool neville

    I remember the strike,I came hoewhile it was 3 weeks along and stayed out another 10 the meetings were on the bomb site by the seamans home and after we used too walk around the town protesting the ship owners ,I think there was about 3 thousand of us out on strike . I had a few bob when I came home during it so I treated the ones I knew in the pub after thewalk .soon wound up broke like the rest .and looked forward too the meager strike pay we got of the pool . after the strike a lot of us went to barrow and joined the Oriana on her maiden voyage,a great ship and the most modern I ever sailed on for the crew quarters ,even had piped in TV,s WOW

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