Douglas Breckon

From the General Botha Old Boys Association Muster List

“I went to sea as a cadet indentured to BI, British India Steam Navigation Company. My first ship was Tairea, built in 1924, three funnels, twelve boilers and capable of 16 kts, no doubt a greyhound of the seas in those days. The reason for three funnels was that she was built for the China coast where, in Chinese thinking there was a correlation between the number of stacks and a vessel‘s seaworthiness. Next was the Talma ,built before Tairea and awaiting scrapping. She had two funnels. Thereafter sailed on single stacked ships only.

On completion of sea time in BI, wrote Second Mates in London after studying at Edward V11 college Then signed on the Bullard King ship Umzinto, under Roy Harber. Put in time for First Mates there and signed off in Durban. Studied at the MN Officers club in Gardiner street where Denny Underwood taught two nights a week. Managed to pass the written portion but failed the oral portion and had to put in extra sea time. Fortunately Sarships Aloe needed a third mate, and I signed on under Scotty Edwards. Sat for orals again in Adelaide, Australia, and was successful there. Remained on Aloe for a further year as second mate, until she was sold to Greek interests. I then signed off and Safmarine, whose entire fleet consisted of three Victory ships, needed a Fourth Officer, and I signed on Vergelegen.

When I had accumulated enough sea time for Masters, I signed on the Warwick Castle as a Quartermaster to work a passage to the UK. Attended school at Warsash, and became a paid up member of the Rising Sun, as well as the Bugle in Hamble. In spite of that managed to pass Masters and worked a passage back to Cape Town as ordinary seaman on the Athlone Castle

Shortly thereafter, Safmarine acquired four more ships. This opened up tremendous promotion possibilities, and I received command of Constantia in January of 1959. Safmarine had also opened their own offices in the States, and I was sent over as Port Captain, Houston to oversee operations in the US Gulf and South Atlantic. Held this position for three years, and then moved to New York as Marine Superintendent. Then to Cape Town as Marine Manager for a further three years. Went back to the States as Vice President, and served in various positions there until finished up as President.

Retired to Huntington Beach California, known as Surf City.”

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