Barney Rice

Email from Trevor Rees, 23.11.2009


I was a shipfitter apprentice (later altered to Fitter/Turner) in HM Dockyard Portsmouth. Maurice was in my entry with Ben the next entry.

On completion of their apprenticeship  Maurice and Ben Joined Union Castle. We were the only 3 join the MN during this period as national service was abolished. The MN offered an alternative to 2 years national service. As dockyard apprentices we had automatic admission into the RN as engine room artificers, providing you passed the medical which I failed hence my delay into the MN.

I was in the process of going through the MN medical which was proving a problem for me but as they may have been desperate for engineers I eventually got in.

During this time the Capetown Tragedy occurred with the loss of all those engineers. My first ship was the Athlone Castle her sister ship, I was very nervous to say the least but I overcome my fear.

My first introduction to the plates was on the telegraph and when the order came to go slow ahead I nearly took off like a rocket, the noise as the air start motors kicking in gave me such a fright as I was not prepared for it.

The first engineer was Barney Rice, a new Rhodesian junior engineer shared my cabin his name was "elbows" Ron Norket. I only done 2 trips with UC and moved around over the next few years. What of yourself I take it you were also in UC

Trevor

From Clansman April 1980

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