Facebook posting by Alastair Hunter 8 December 2013
My great uncle HUGH STEWART went to sea as a 15 year old in 1917 with The Union Castle Line. He retired about 60 years later having 'swallowed the anchor' at least twice to my knowledge.
He retired as Superintendent engineer of UCL. He must have been the oldest 'chief' at sea towards the end of his service!
I loved listening to his stories. One is particular one I remember was during WW2, he was a Chief Engineer by this time, they were on their way back from Mombasa to the Cape when a U boat tried to sink them. The quick thinking Captain took the ship into a river estuary to escape. Unfortunately they ran aground, the Captain sent Hugh a note 'sorry chief run aground', as if he needed to be told! Hugh carried that note in his wallet for the rest of his life.
My Uncle, Hugh's nephew Andrew Stewart also joined UCL. He reached Chief Engineer but ended up working for the South African Harbour service.
Andrew died 2 years ago in Cape Town, he met and married my aunt Mary having met her in Durban.
Hugh died aged 86 (born 1902). He knew every ship in the UCL from stem to stern, he bored my mother with all his stories but not me! There couldn't have been many engineers who had 50 years at sea with UCL. ( Hugh's wife didn't like him hanging around their house in Hartley Wintney! )
I'd love to hear from anyone who knew Hugh or Andrew.