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
From Clansman April 1980