From John Lester 9th February 2007
Hello Owen Keen - I was fascinated to be given the web site address of Union-Castle staff register.
I joined Union Castle in April 1942 as a cadet and served my time with them through to June 1945 when I left to take my ticket. On obtaining this they had no vacancies at the time and I went on the pool, serving with Chapmans of Newcastle and Lambert Brothers.
I met Reg Kelso in 2005 with Derrick Cutcliffe who was a cadet with me on the 'Richmond Castle' - my first ship. I enquired off Reg Kelso as to whether he could trace any record of an uncle of mine by the name of Captain Harvey Northwood who retired before the war from Union Castle and had, I believe, been made Commodore and commanded RMMV 'Stirling Castle' before his retirement.
Whilst I met Captain Northwood (who was not a true uncle but a relative on my mother's side) I was young at the time and am not sure whether that information was completely correct. I do know that he lived at Brockenhurst in Hampshire but Reg was unable to find any record of him when he searched the Master Mariners Register(?).
I left the Merchant Navy in 1946 through medical reasons (ear trouble gained by swimming at Amalfi whilst at Naples on Lambert Brothers 'Temple Inn').
I served as cadet on 'Richmond Castle' (sunk August 1942), 'Windsor Castle' (sunk March l943) and then as uncertificated 4th Officer on the 'Durban Castle' (1943 - 1944) and 'Athlone Castle' (1944 - June 1945) when I left to take my ticket.
I am in contact with Captain Derrick Cutcliffe and A.M. Chisholm who were co-cadets with me on the 'Richmond Castle' when she was torpedoed.
Any information you can give me about Captain Harvey Northwood would be of great interest.