This page is an off-shoot from the Bank Hall/Birkenhead/Liberia pages which detailed the railway memories of Mal Pratt. The story told on this page recalls the time spent by Mal's father as a sailor from about 1935 - 1981. The foundations of the story are the four log books that record Walter Pratt's career and the memories recalled by Mal of his father's adventures. Whilst the intent of this website is biased towards those objects powered by Sulzer engines, it did not take long, looking through the list of ships to find that some were powered by engines built by Sulzer or their licensees.
Obviously some of the ships listed spent their lives in relative obscurity whilst others have been on the front pages of world history for a while. Certainly the first vessels that Wally sailed on fall in to this category.
When first creating this page the oldest logbooks still held by Mal suggested that the first employment on a ship by Walter Pratt occurred just prior to World War II, with service during 1938/39 on the Duchess of Atholl. However Walter had mentioned visiting Canada earlier than this but no records were readily available to support this. Matters were not helped by the fact that Walter's original documents and many of his personal effects were lost when the Chrobry was sunk in 1940 or when his home in Liverpool was destroyed during an air-raid in 1941. However with your webmaster thinking that this might be an interesting story to tell it gave Mal the impetus to dig further back into the public records with the result that Walter did infact begin his seafaring career earlier than had been thought.
After some research across two continents an entry was found dated July 24th 1935 showing a Mr Walter Pratt employed as an assistant cook on the Duchess of Atholl, the document referred to the Montreal - New York leg of a voyage. Further research brought more entries dated 1936, 1937 & 1938 indicating Walter was consistently in service on the Duchess of Atholl. Interspersed with these Montreal - Liverpool voyages were several in March & April 1937 on the Empress of Australia, travelling between New York & the West Indies and New York & Kingston, Jamaica & Havana.
Duchess of Atholl 1935 - 1939
Details: O/N 160505, gross tons 20,119, under deck 14,457, nett 11,772, built 1928 by W. Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir for the Canadian Pacific Railway Co; (Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd), length 582 feet, width 75.2 feet, draught 41.7 feet. Home port London. Powered by 6 water tube boilers & 6 steam turbines connected to 2 screw shafts.
The Canadian Pacific's Duchess of Atholl was the first of their new luxury Duchess class liners, sailing from new on the Liverpool - Montreal crossing. For a brief time during 1928 the Duchess of Atholl held the record for an eastbound crossing from Canada to Liverpool at 6 days, 13 hours. A brochure for the January 3rd 1936 sailing of the Duchess of Atholl indicated departure from Liverpool via Belfast and Greenock to Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John, New Brunswick, with 3 - 4 days in the open sea and a total sailing time of six days.
Although Walter was known to have sailed on the Duchess of Atholl between 1935 - 1938 his surviving log books of the period officially record at least five periods on this ship commencing late in 1938, always as a member of the cooking staff. The log books don't indicate for certain the exact ports involved, but the Duchess of Atholl was regularly assigned to the Liverpool - Montreal sailings:
November 4th 1938 Liverpool to Montreal November 26th 1938
(It must be assumed that the log book recording the time period 1935 - 1938 was the one lost on the Chrobry).
Walter was one of three brothers, remarkably the other two, Arthur & Stanley also worked on trans-Atlantic ships. Arthur also worked for Canadian Pacific, starting out on the Empress of France as a bell boy in February 1922. Arthur would also sail on the Duchess of Atholl, some immigration records indicate that Arthur & Wally may have sailed on the Duchess of Atholl at the same time.
On the Duchess of Atholl Wally started out as an assistant larder cook, then kitchen porter, then relief cook. Promotion to assistant ship's cook followed, on the Duchess of Bedford he became the petty mess cook for the two trips, then ship's cook. When Walter moved on to the smaller ships he became chief cook, Wally described it as being the chief cook and bottle washer. Possibly the smaller ships had a chief cook, second cook and galley boy. Quite a few of the cargo ships at the time carried passengers, maybe four or five cabins, on routes not served by scheduled passenger ships. When the cargo ships had a small complement of passengers the work was more complicated, Wally had to produce a special menu for the passengers, this was different from meals served to the crew.
With the arrival of World War Two the Duchess of Atholl saw service as a troop carrier making many voyages from the United Kingdom via Capetown and Durban to India, usually sailing with other large troopships under heavy escort.
The Duchess of Atholl did not survive the war. On October 10th 1942 the ship was sailing unescorted from Durban to Capetown and the United Kingdom with 534 passengers and cargo. Shortly after 8.00am the ship came under torpedo attack from the U-178 about 200 miles east-north-east of Ascension. The attack continued for about an hour in which three torpedos found their mark, it took about three hours for the ship to sink (at position 07.03S, 11.12W), allowing all but five crew members to escape the ship. This was one of the largest passenger ships sunk during World War II.
Sister ships were the Duchess of Bedford, Duchess of Richmond & Duchess of York.
When Wally returned home he had several options. One would be to have a few days off, then work by the ship, coming home in the evenings, then sail. Alternatively he would stay home for a longer period then sign on another ship.
Twin Screw, 11,442 tons gross, 8,991 under deck, 7,106 net, built 1939 Nakskov Skibs A/S Nakskov for Gdynia-America Shipping Lines, length 478ft, breadth 66.7 feet, depth 32.8ft. 2x 16cyl B&W oil engines 1,716nhp. Home port Gydnia
The Chrobry was built for the company's South American service, at the outset of World War II it took on the role of an Allied troopship.
Shortly after the start of World War Two the Chrobry was in service between Freetown and London in the latter half of October 1939. Following this the Chrobry assisted with troop movements across the North Atlantic between Halifax and the Clyde making at least two round trips in December 1939 and January/February 1940. The December trip saw the Chrobry in convoy with the Polish ship Batory whilst the January/February run saw the Chrobry in company with the huge passenger liners Empress of Britain & Aquitania, with an equally large escort to protect the troop movements.
On April 11th 1940 convoy NP1 sailed from the Clyde with transports Empress of Australia, Monarch of Bermuda and Reina del Pacifico, they were joined near Cape Wrath by the Batory & Chrobry which had sailed from Scapa Flow bound for Narvik. Escorts for the troopships were the Manchester, Birmingham, Cairo and five destroyers, other capital ships would also be added to the escort during the course of the voyage. On the evening of April 14th the Empress of Australia & the Chrobry detached from the convoy, with escorts Manchester, Birmingham, Cairo and three destroyers now headed for Namsos. The deteriorating situation at Namsos saw troops transferred to the destroyers prior to landing, whilst changed plans saw the ships diverted to Lillesjona, 100 miles further north and better able to handle the two large troopships.
The ships remained out at sea until the night of April 15th, but made for Lillesjona on 16th to unload the supplies and stores for the troops. The size of the Empress of Australia had alarmed the authorities so the Chrobry was used to transfer troops and supplies for landing at Namsos during the night of the 17th. The Chrobry returned to the open sea (65N,7.5E) during the day and returned on the evening of the 18th to unload the remaining stores, even picking up a load of timber from Namsos. With this part of the job done the Chrobry returned to the United Kingdom with escorts Sikh & Mashona.
On May 14th the Chrobry sailed from Tjeldsundet heading for Bodo with escorts Wolverine & Stork. On board the Chrobry were members of the 24th Brigade Headquarters, the Irish Guards, troops of the 3rd Hussars, some sappers, a field ambulance, anti aircraft guns and other supplies. German aircraft had already attacked the ship whilst at anchorage but no damage was sustained. After departing and near midnight further attacks began with German JU87 dive bombers from 1/StG1, three attacks took place which eventually set the Chrobry on fire. The Wolverine came alongside and took off about 700 troops and crew whilst the Stork provided defense. The Wolverine then sailed for Harstad. The Stork drove off further attacks and rescued a further 300 persons before also heading to Harstad. The Chrobry refused to sink and it was left for aircraft from the Ark Royal to sink her on May 16th at position 67.40N, 13.50E.
Mal remember his father recalling that there were only a small number of British sailors among the crew, it was every man for himself, he jumped in a lifeboat, leaving behind all his belongings, including his books and papers.
With the cessation of hostilities Walter returned to work for the Canadian Pacific Lines on the Duchess of Bedford, a sister ship of the Duchess of Atholl. The Duchess of Bedford survived World War Two with a huge number of voyages to her credit, starting days after the War erupted with a troop voyage to Bombay, then later in 1939 with more troop movements form Halifax to the United Kingdom. 1940 saw more trips to Halifax and to Durban. 1941 saw much activity to ports in the Indian Ocean and Suez, including the movement of many prisoners of war. Early in 1942 the Bedford visited Singapore, by the summer the ports in the Indian Ocean had given way to more North Atlantic trips between New York and the Clyde. Autumn brought Operation Torch in North Africa so the Bedford took troops to Oran, Bone & Algiers, these voyages rolled into 1943 with most voyages involving Mediterranean destinations - Salerno, Port Said, Alexandria & Naples to name but a few. February and March 1944 saw the Duchess of Bedford back on the New York - Clyde run with more troop movements. The summer found her back on runs to the Mediterranean, then to other ports around Africa - Aden, Lagos, Takoradi & Freetown. During November two visits were made to Bandar Abbas to transport Russian ex-prisoners of war to Aden. 1945 saw things being reversed with troops moved from Gibralter to the United Kingdom and in the middle of May it was a trip from Liverpool to New York City with homebound troops.
Duchess Of Bedford 1946
O/N 160482 twin screws, gross tons 20,123, under deck 14,366, nett 11,801, built 1928 by John Brown & Co Ltd, Glasgow for Canadian Pacific Railway Co (Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd), length 582 feet, width 75.2 feet, draught 41.7 feet. Home port London. 6 water tube boilers 6 steam turbines to 2 screw shafts.
The log books show two periods of service by Walter on the Duchess of Bedford, serving as a petty mess cook, in both cases joining & leaving the ship at Liverpool.
August 23rd 1946 to October 10th 1946
After Wally's two trips in the latter half of 1946 the Duchess of Bedford continued in service until early March 1947 at which point the ship was received by Fairfields at Govan for a refit. Following the refit the ship was renamed the Empress of France and resumed service on the Liverpool - Quebec - Montreal run. The ship arrived at Liverpool during December 1960 having made its last passenger run from Montreal. This was the last of the four Duchesses to remain in service. By year's end the ship had been received by John Cashmore of Newport, Wales for breaking up.
Having spent Christmas 1946 and the New Year at home Walter went back to work for the Canadian Pacific Lines, but was now sailing with the Empress of Australia, a ship that he would remain on until 1951.
Empress Of Australia 1947 - 1951
By the time Walter stepped onto the Empress of Australia the ship was already thirty years old and had witnessed some significant events over those years. The ship was built for the Hamburg Amerika Line at the Vulcan shipyard in Stettin, Poland to be named the Admiral Von Tirpitz. It was launched in 1913, but World War One hindered its completion as resources were diverted elsewhere to other repair work and U-boat construction. Her name was changed to Tirpitz, but when finally completed in 1919 the ship was part of the war reparations and was used by Great Britain in troop ship service. In July 1921 the ship was purchased by the Canadian Pacific Lines for use on the trans-Pacific routes. Initially renamed the Empress of China, this was changed to Empress of Australia during August 1921.
The ship had been built with unusual propulsion machinery which kept her from maintaining her designed top speed and had higher than expected fuel consumption. This would not be corrected until a major refit during 1926/1927 at Fairfields, Govan.
For a very brief period of time from September 1st to September 12th 1923 the Empress of Australia took on the role of a refugee ship. By chance the ship was about to embark from Yokohama on Saturday September 1st when just before midday the great Yokohama earthquake occurred. The earthquake measured 8.3 on the Richter scale, the inital movement lasting four minutes and over 300 aftershocks were recorded the next day. Over 140,000 died and 40,000 reported missing, many being victims of the ensuing major fires. The ship initially provided a place of refuge not only for her passengers and crew but also for many people trapped nearby who were given shelter on the ship. At some point the ship became entangled in the anchor line of a nearby freighter preventing her departure until the line was released by Japanese Navy divers. In the meantime the ship's boats had been sent out to search for survivors and make available whatever supplies were on the ship. The tangled anchor line had not damaged the ship so finally on September 23rd the ship began its sailing to Vancouver.
After the previously mentioned refit the ship was transferred to the North Atlantic sailings until the outbreak of World War Two. Similar to the Duchess of Bedford the Empress of Australia served as a troopship to the end of the War with a long list of ports visited in several theatres of war. Ports visited were very similar to the Duchess of Bedford but also included Narvik, Rekjavik and Murmansk.
Her final wartime voyage took place in September 1945 bringing ex-prisoners of war home from Hong Kong to Liverpool. Following this the ship remained in troopship service under charter from Canadian Pacific Lines. These voyages mostly involved trips to Port Said or Bombay. It was early in January 1947 that Walter signed on for a lengthy series of sailings after the ship had been returned from Harland & Wolff following a refit.
O/N 145300, regular tonnage 12,177, HP 21,000, Homeport London.
In all voyages listed below Wally joined and left the ship at Liverpool:
January 9th 1947 to March 9th 1947.
The end came for this grand old lady after her 234th voyage, reaching Liverpool on April 29th 1952 for the final disembarking. About a week later, on May 8th she sailed to Rosyth scrap.
Mal remembers that his dad recalled being on the Empress of Australia berthed in Bombay when the last British Regiment was leaving, they marched down to the Bombay Gate, with the band playing, ready to embark on the Empress of Australia.
F/S Campania 1951
The arrival of 1951 brought the Festival of Britain, in celebration of the 1851 centenary, a show case of the future for Britain and a means of raising the post-war spirits of the people. Whilst many of the celebrations occurred in London, one of the larger mobile exhibits was the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Campania (D48). The ship had been in reserve status at Rosyth since late in 1945 but was deployed in 1951 on loan as an exhibition ship, suitably repainted in white and decked out with bunting and flags. The ship was manned by civilians and visited many UK ports.
Walter joined the ship at Birkenhead on April 2nd, with the ship on exhibit between May 4th 1951 and October 6th 1951, which also marked the end of Wally's time on the Campania. The ship visited Southampton, Dundee, Newcastle, Hull, Plymouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Belfast, Birkenhead and Glasgow, staying at each port for 10-14 days. As a nine year old, Mal remembers visiting the Campania whilst it was docked at Birkenhead.
SS Luminous, 1951
After coming off the Campania a month's break was taken before signing up as ship's cook for two weeks service on the tanker SS Luminous from November 12th 1951 at Liverpool to November 27th 1951 at North Shields.
The Reynolds was a 1942 built Ministry of War Transport tanker, becoming the SS Luminous in 1946 for HE Moss & Co. London. In 1956 the ship was sold to Cia.Sicula di Armamento Cosarma, Sicily and renamed Potere, then Miriella. The ship was scrapped at Trieste about 1960.
The next vessel showing in Walter's logbooks is the MV Dryden, the engagement entry being dated March 11th 1952. However the log also states 'Engagement cancelled by consent' with a stamp of March 18th 1952. There is a large stamp from the German Consulate, London dated March 19th 1952 which includes the phrase (in German) 'only valid for a trip to the signing on SS La Place in Hamburg to March 31st 1952. There are several other German stamps in the log dated March 21st 1952. The next entry in the log is for March 18th 1952 for the Laplace, so its unclear if the MV Dryden took Walter to Hamburg for him to pick up the Laplace.
The Dryden was a refrigerated cargo ship, completed as the Empire Haig in December 1944. It was sold in July 1946 to the Lamport & Holt Line Ltd and renamed Dryden. Equipped with a B&W six cylinder diesel engine the vessel remained in service until 1969, when it was sold to breakers in Taiwan.
O/N 169822, gross tons 7,219, under deck 6,690, nett 4,486, IHP 2,600; length 442 feet, breadth 57 feet, draught 34 feet.
The next two entries were recorded for the Laplace with Walter signed on as the Chief & Ships Cook:
The Laplace had begun life as the Samannan, a Liberty ship built by the New England Shipbuilding Corp., West Yard, South Portland, Maine during 1944 as a Ministry of War Transport. The ship was later acquired by the Blue Star Line and renamed the Oregon Star. During 1952 it was transferred to Lamport & Holt and renamed Laplace - it looks like Walter's time on this vessel was entirely when it was operated by Lamport & Holt. Shortly after Walter finished his engagement on the Laplace its was sold to a Panama company and renamed San Panteleimon. On March 27th 1967 the ship was damaged in a storm after breaking her moorings at Kobe and was later scrapped at Yokosuka.
Further information has come to light about the sailings of the Laplace during 1952. Radio operator David Sumner was with the Laplace from February 7th 1952 to November 9th 1952 and advises the ship sailed from Liverpool to Hampton Roads in ballast, then returning east to Hamburg with coal, then ballast back to Hampton Roads, the next load was more coal but now bound for Buenos Aires, although it was actually unloaded at nearby Empalme Villa Constitution (Rosario). On this voyage it had been necessary to stop in Trinidad for bunkering. The ship returned north in ballast to Hampton Roads for more coal which was destined for Moji, Japan via the Panama Canal & Honolulu. The ship left Yawata, Japan at the end of July 1952 heading for Port Tahsis, British Columbia, after loading with timber and mixed cargo it was off to Quebec via Los Angeles, the Panama Canal & New York. More mixed cargo was loaded at Montreal & Sorel before crossing the North Atlantic to Dublin and Liverpool. Nine months and twenty or so ports!
SS Lassell, 1953 & 1954
After ten months with the Laplace, followed by a month's break Walter would spend the next the next year and a half working on the SS Lassell as the Chief & Ship's Cook, sailing over the Liverpool - Lisbon - Brazil - Uruguay - Argentina route.
February 21st 1953 Belfast to Liverpool (?) June 21st 1953.
The Samariz was completed for the US War Shipping Administration during September 1943 in Baltimore, Maryland. After service for the British government during and immediately after World War II the ship was purchased in 1947 by the Lamport & Holt Line and renamed Lassell (3). During 1962 the ship was sold and renamed Ailos II. Late in November 1968 the ship was sent to Shanghai for scrapping.
SS Dahomey Palm, 1954 & 1955
O/N 157536, gross tons 4,876, below deck 4,344, nett 2,777, NHP 461. Length 422 feet, width 56.7 feet, draught 23.6 feet.
After about a month of leave Walter took up duty on the SS Dahomey Palm as Ship's Cook from October 23rd 1954 to January 29th 1955. This ship was operated by the Palm Line, the shipping arm of Lever Brothers, famous for their soap production. The palm oil required for the soap making process was shipped from West African ports to the Liverpool area.
The Dahomey Palm had started out as the Conakrian built by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, Haverton Hill-on-Tees, being delivered during November 1937. The Conakrian survived World War II and in 1949 was transferred to the Palm Line and renamed Dahomey Palm. It was sold in 1959 to Wallem & Co., Hong Kong and renamed Southern Mariner. By September 1968 it had been received for scrapping at Hong Kong.
O/N 145492, gross tonnage 1,919.08, below deck 1,489, nett 1,084.06, NHP 199. Length 268 feet, breadth 37.9 feet, draught 17.6 feet.
Walter's next duties were brief, signing on to the Kylequeen at Port Talbot on February 23rd 1955 and finishing at Swansea on March 15th 1955. The Kylequeen was one of the smaller ships that Walter served on. It had been built as the Lightfoot, a cargo ship, in 1922 by Crown of Monkwearmouth. In 1953 it was acquired by the Kyle Shipping Company (Monroe Brothers) and renamed Kylequeen. It was frequently used to transport iron ore, often from Spain to the Barrow area. It was broken up at Antwerp in June 1962.
SS Oguta Palm, 1955
O/N 168857, gross tons 7,221, below deck 6,637, nett tons 5,055, NHP 321. Length 423 feet, breadth 57.2 feet, draft 34.6 feet.
After the short stint on the Kylequeen Walter joined the SS Oguta Palm at Liverpool from March 30th 1955 to April 13th 1955, disembarking at Liverpool. This ship would have seen service similar to the time served on the SS Dahomey Palm earlier in the year.
The Oguta Palm had started life as the Lafian (3) being completed in 1943. Transfer to the Palm Line took place in 1949 when it was renamed the Oguta Palm (1). In 1960 the ship was sold to the Aristides S.S. Co. S.A. (Rallis Shipping), Thessaloniki and renamed Aristoteles. On December 16th 1962 about 500 miles west of Gibralter (at 36.48N 14.46W) whilst working from Detroit to Calcutta the ship sank after springing a leak the day before.
SS Bayano, 1955
O/N 141870, gross tons 6,815, below deck 5,204, nett tons 3,778, HP 1,027. Length 425.5 feet, breadth 54.2 feet, draught 30.4 feet. Homeport Glasgow.
After a break of almost two months Walter travelled down to Avonmouth to meet up with the SS Bayano (2) on June 10th 1955. After a month on the ship discharge occurred on July 12th 1955, also at Avonmouth. The SS Bayano was built by A Stephen & Sons Ltd, Glasgow in 1917, this may have been the oldest ship Walter worked on. After leaving the ship it only remained in service for a brief while longer, during 1956 it was broken up at Ghent.
The SS Bayano had been built for carrying cargo and passengers, perhaps most well known with its association of the shipping of bananas from Central America and the West Indies to the United Kingdom. During World War II the Bayano is recorded as making the most Atlantic crossings for a merchant ship in convoy.
Riebeeck Castle, 1955
O/N 180830, gross tons 8,322, nett 5,029. Speed 16 knots. Homeport London
After a brief time on dry land Walter joined the Riebeeck Castle at Liverpool on July 22nd 1955, remaining with the ship until disembarking at Antwerp on October 15th 1955, presumably working the United Kingdom - Cape Town, Durban & Beira route.
Riebeeck Castle had been completed as a refridgerated fruit carrier during 1946 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast for service on the United Kingdom - South Africa route, carrying fruit northbound and general cargo southbound. The ship was sold for scrap in 1971 and broken up at Kaohsiung later that year.
El Gallo, 1955 - 1956
By October 27th 1955 Walter had reached Ellesmere Port where he joined the tanker El Gallo for three months, disembarking at Liverpool on January 27th 1956. Most likely Wally's service was over the Liverpool - New York North Atlantic route.
The tanker had been completed during October 1941 by the Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill on Tees as the Empire Emerald for the Ministry of War Transport. It became the El Gallo in 1946, surviving for another thirteen years until sent to Briton Ferry for scrapping in February 1959.
Duchy of Normandy, 1956 - 1957
Four days after leaving the El Gallo Walter quickly joined the Duchy of Normandy for the next thirteen months, listed in the log book under three separate entries:
January 31st 1956 to May 14th 1956 Liverpool to Liverpool
This small ship had been completed during June 1948 by Ansaldo, Sestri Ponente as the cargo ship Verna Clausen (owners C Clausen, Svendborg). In 1955 it was sold to the Duchy Ship Company, Guernsey and renamed Duchy of Normandy, it was sold in 1960 and renamed Cimbria and finally Nahed in 1975. It was involved in a collision on October 30th 1977 with the vessel Euro Carrier at location 21.28N/39.07E situated in the Red Sea, ten miles south of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Nahed had been working empty from Jeddah to Dar-Es-Salam, it later sank.
MV Dunadd, 1957
O/N 185773 gross tons 10,682, nett tons 5,391, BHP 4,500. Length 505 feet, Breadth 69 feet, Draught 27.5 feet. Homeport Greenock.
After taking a break for about a month Walter joined the iron ore carrier MV Dunadd at Birkenhead on March 24th 1957 and discharged at Middlesborough a month later on April 25th 1957. This vessel must have seemed a complete contrast to the previous ship, both in its size and the fact that the Dunadd was only about eighteen months old. Typical of the ore carrier workings was the Seven Islands, Quebec - Birkenhead round trip in three weeks.
The MV Dunadd was completed by Lithgows, Port Glasgow in December 1955 as an ore carrier with a Doxford 2SCSA four cylinder engine producing 4,500 bhp and 13 knots, built by D Rowan & Co, Glasgow.
As the Alfa Cementa the ship ended up as a hulk for cement storage in Saudi Arabia in 1978.
MV Sarmiento, 1957
O/N 168866. gross tons 8,335, below deck 7,710, nett tons 4,843. Length 448.2 feet, breadth 62.8 feet, draught 34.8 feet.
After leaving the MV Dunadd Walter took a six week break before embarking on the MV Sarmiento on June 6th 1957 at Birkenhead, spending four months on this ship, discharging at Newport, Mon on October 4th 1957.
The Sarmiento was completed during August 1943 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast as a cargo ship for Pacific Steam Navigation Co, Liverpool. During peacetime the ship would have sailed on the Liverpool - Valparaiso, via Panama route, with many stops along the way.
The ship was broken up at Shanghai during March 1971.
Amakura, 1957 - 1958
O/N 183733 (1588 N.R.) Length 107 meters, breadth 14.4 meters. 2,961 tons
After a short break Walter signed up for the first of four continuous tours totalling nine months with the Amakura, the third vessel of the Booker Line to carry this name - the dates were:
October 18th 1957 to December 5th 1957
The Amakura (3) was completed during June 1949 by the Smiths Dock Company Ltd, South Bank on Tees as a cargo ship for owner Booker McConnell but including accomodation for 12 first class passengers. The principal route was Liverpool to Georgetown, Guyana, for the movement of sugar.
From 1963 the ship was sold and renamed the Aba Prince - it was sent to Karachi for breaking during September 1972.
On a side note, Mal (Walter's son) remembers visiting the Amakura sometime in 1957/58 with a friend for lunch whilst it was docked in Liverpool. They both worked in the shipping office in the Georges Dock office building, the office provided a grand view of the South Docks. The Amakura always docked in the South Docks, around Toxteth dock. Liverpool had seven miles of docks, the northern most dock was the Gladstone, the last one built. Pier Head was in the center, then Albert Dock, the furthest south was the Herculaneum dock, which was for oil, Esso had a concern there. On the Amakura they had a big slap up lunch full to the brim.
After nine months on the Amakura followed by a six week break Wally took a very brief trip on the Rockabill from August 2nd - 27th 1958, joining & leaving at Liverpool.
The Rockabill was one of the smaller, older ships utilising Wally's services. It had been completed during January 1931 by D & W Henderson of Meadowside, Glasgow, for owner Clyde Shipping Co Ltd, Glasgow as a cargo/livestock carrier. It would be broken up at Passage West during April 1962.
MV Athelking, 1958 - 1959
O/N 183757 gross tons 11,182, net tons 6,515. Length 522 feet, beam 67 feet, twin screws.
The short time on the Rockabill would contrast with the next ship, on the tanker Athelking Walter did a tour of eight months.
September 1st 1958 to February 10th 1959, Liverpool to Tilbury
The Athelking (2) had been completed during January 1950 by Hawthorn Leslie & Co, Hebburn, Newcastle, replacing its namesake which had been sunk during World War II. The Athelking (2) was the first of six 'Athel' series tankers built by Hawthorn, Leslie, a further eight were built by five other United Kingdom shipbuilders, all the names were prefixed 'Athel'. The trade for these ships included molasses, oil and caustic soda liquor.
The molasses trade centered on the Caribbean & Cuba, later supplies came from Mauritius & India. Oil came from Aruba, Curacao & Punta Cardon, the caustic soda liquor moved from Birkenhead to Port Esquivel, Jamaica. These varied types of cargoes required extreme cleanliness within the holds. Presumably it was over these routes that Wally spent his eight months on the Athelking.
Being one of the smaller tankers in the Athel fleet the Athelking was an early candidate for retirement, it was taken out of service and sent to Valencia for breaking up during August 1962.
SS Ledbury, 1959
O/N 169652 Gross tons 7,219; below deck 6,696; net tons 4,384. Length 422 feet, width 57 feet, draught 34 feet. Homeport London
Embarked March 19th 1959 at Liverpool, finished on June 17th 1959 at Victoria Docks.
Completed October 1943 as the John Russell Pope by Bethlehem Fairfield, Fairfield for Ministry of War Transport, London as a cargo ship. Renamed Ledbury in 1948. Broken up Faslane February 1973 as Kopalnia Czeladz.
SS Clangula, 1959
O/N 185479 Gross tons 1,549, net tons 574. Length 88 meters, beam 13 meters
Embarked July 1st 1959, ended August 24th 1959, both at Liverpool.
Completed February 1954 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead for British & Continental Steamship Co. Liverpool
Renamed Effigyny in 1965 and wrecked in the Indian Ocean about forty miles south west of Mumbai (position 18.58N/72.51E) on April 18th 1980 after dragging her anchor.
SS Dotterel, 1959
O/N 144713 Gross tons 1,541, below deck 1,178, net 625. Length 283.8 feet, width 42 feet, draught 15.8 feet.
This was certainly one of the smaller veseels that Wally sailed on, embarking on two tours, firstly from September 1st 1959 to September 14th 1959 and then September 15th 1959 to October 27th 1959, all Liverpool
Completed February 1934 for £69,686 by Caledon, Dundee as passenger/cargo vessel for the Dundee, Perth & London Shipping Co. Dundee, as the Dundee. It was renamed Dotterel in 1948.
It was broken up at Bilbao during August 1961.
MV Ivinghoe Beacon, 1959 - 1960
Wally completed two trips on the Ivinghoe Beacon:
Completed October 1954 by De Noord, Alberlasserdam for the Crawford Shipping Co Ltd, London as a cargo ship, the first voyage was from Southampton to New Zealand. Powered by a Doxford four cylinder 60LB4 engine producing 3,450hp for a speed of 12.5 knots. During late 1962 the ship was cut in half and a new center section added. It was sold and renamed the Georgios T in 1970. The end came in late May 1974 when the main engine crankshaft broke off the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada. Repairs were deemed uneconomic, the ship was sold to shipbreakers in Tadotsu, Japan and broken up there in January 1975 by Miyachi Salvage.
MV Seamew, 1960
After a two week break Wally returned to Liverpool to join the MV Seamew on March 31st 1960 Liverpool, disembarking at Glasgow on April 25th 1960 only to rejoin the next day for a three month stint ending on July 29th 1960 at Liverpool.
The Seamew was completed in August 1947 by Austin of Wear Dock as a cargo ship. Renamed Marigo in 1966 & Capetan Chronis in 1972. Involved in a collision on June 3rd 1974 in the Mediterranean Sea about 150 miles due north of Daryanah, Libya at position 34.05N/20.45E, sunk in about 2,100 feet of water.
MV Queensbury, 1960
ON 185900, NRT 3,415 tons. Length 139.3 meters, width 18.3 meters. Homeport London.
After a six week break Wally embarked on the Queensbury at Liverpool on September 20th 1960, leaving on New Year's Day 1961 at Dover.
The cargo ship Queensbury was completed in June 1953 by Burntisland Shipbuilding, Burntisland, being equipped with two Gray-Polar six cylinder diesel engines geared to a single shaft. In 1971 the ship was sold and re-named Sandra. Later named the Fong Lee and then Lien Chang, before being scrapped at Kaohsiung in November 1978.
MV Tewkesbury, 1961
London ON 300929; gross tons 8,532, deadweight 11,860, NRT 4,792 tons. Length 457 feet, width 62 feet, draught 29 feet.
After a two month break Wally joined the Tewkesbury on February 27th 1961 at Liverpool and disembarked May 12th 1961 at Liverpool
This was one of the newer ships that Wally worked on. The Tewkesbury had been delivered as a cargo ship during late June 1959 from Burntisland Shipbuilding, Burntisland to Alexander Shipping Co. Ltd (Houlder Bros), London. The Tewkesbury was powered by a five cylinder Hawthorn-Doxford diesel engine. As with many of the ships of this Line it was named after a town ending in 'bury'.
The ship was sold in 1972 and renamed Caminito. Final disposal took place at the end of September 1983 with the vessel delivered to Pusan for breaking up.
MV Knightsgarth, 1961 - 1962
After a lengthy summer break Wally joined the ore carrier Knightsgarth at Birkenhead on October 5th 1961, disembarking at Middlesborough on November 30th 1961. This must have been one of the newest ships that Wally worked on, it had only been completed during February. A second tour commenced on December 1st 1961 at Middlesborough, disembarking at Falmouth on January 12th 1962.
The Knightsgarth was completed during February 1961 by Blyth Drydock & Shipbuilding Co Ltd at Cowpen Quay, Blyth as an ore carrier for St Denis Shipping Co (Wm Cory & Sons Ltd). It was renamed Theoskepasti in 1976 and was broken up at Aliaga during September 1986.
MV Athelfoam, 1962
ON 183822. gross tons 7,486, nett tons 4,145, IHP 5,300. Length 440 feet, Width 61 feet.
Just over four months were spent on the Athelfoam, joining on February 28th 1962 at Birkenhead and disembarking on July 9th 1962 also at Birkenhead. Wally had spent time on the sister ship Athelking during 1958-1959.
This tanker had been completed during October 1951 by Smith's Dock Company Ltd, Middlesborough for the Athel Line Ltd, Liverpool. The ship was powered by a Hawthorn, Leslie Doxford 2SA diesel. It was the third ship to carry this name, the first two both having been lost to enemy action during World War Two. It would be broken up during July 1963 at Osaka.
SS Cotopaxi, 1962
ON 185485, gross tons 8,559, nett tons 4,552. Length 156 meters, width 20 meters
After a month off Wally joined the Cotopaxi on August 4th 1962 at Liverpool, disembarking at Hull on August 14th 1962. The routes included service to Caribbean ports and South American ports as far as Valparaiso, but Wally's short time on this vessel suggested a sailing local to the United Kingdom.
This cargo ship was completed during April 1954 by Denny Brothers, Dumbarton for Pacific Steam Navigation Co. It was sold and renamed Kavo Longos in 1972, later broken up at Shanghai during December 1975.
SS Flamenco, 1962-1963
ON 183799, gross tons 8,491, nett tons 4,513. Length 512 feet, beam 66 feet.
Wally's logbook has four entries with regard to his ten months service on the Flamenco:
The Flamenco was a cargo ship completed December 1950 by Greenock Dockyard at Cartsdyke East for the Pacific Steam Navigation Co. It had been ordered by the Clan Line but was sold to PSN prior to completion. The vessel was powered by three steam turbines built by Parsons Marine Turbines Ltd, providing 10,240shp to deliver a speed of 16.5 knots. It was sold in 1966 and renamed Pacific Abeto. The vessel was scrapped at Chittagong, noted arriving during August 1981.
MV Cienfuegos, 1963
ON 301323. Gross tons 5,224, nett tons 2,817. Length 360 feet, width 54 feet, depth 33 feet.
September 17th 1963 to October 14th 1963, on and off at Liverpool.
Cargo ship completed November 1959 by Hall Russell of Aberdeen for sailings from the UK to Nassau, the Bahamas, Cuba & Bermuda. The ship went through four more owner after being sold by Pacific Steam Navigation in 1971, it was scrapped Chittagong during November 1982.
Reina Del Mar, 1963 - 1964
ON 187132. Gross tons 20,234, nett tons 11,233. Length 600 feet, Beam 78 feet, twin screw 2x3 double reduction steam turbines, 17,000 shp, speed 18 knots.
After quite a while working on cargo ships, some which might carry a small passenger complement Wally returned to working on a large passenger ship, the Pacific Steam Navigation Co's Reina Del Mar. Wally's log book shows two tours on the ship, with a short break in between the two tours, the break occurred whilst the ship was docked at Liverpool during Christmas 1963. The log book describes Wally's position as 'Ship's Cook', no doubt a busy position on such a large ship. The dates of the tours were:
October 25th 1963 to December 19th 1963
When Wally signed off on March 5th 1964, it was also the end of the line for the Pacific Steam Navigation Co's ownership of the Reina Del Mar. Her days were now done for the South American route, a victim of increasing competition from air travel.
The Reina Del Mar had been completed as a passenger/cargo ship during April 1956 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast at a cost of £5,000,000, At the time of her delivery she was the largest, fastest and only fully air-conditioned passenger ship operating a regular service between the United Kingdom, France, Spain and the west coast of South America via the Panama Canal. Specifically the route was from Liverpool (her home port) to La Pallice (France), Santander (Spain), Corunna (Spain), Hamilton (Bermuda), Nassau (Bahamas), Havana (Cuba), Kingston (Jamaica), La Guaira, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles), Cartagena (Colombia), Panama Canal, La Libertad, Callao (Peru), Arica (Chile), Antofagasta (Chile) and Valparaiso (Chile). There were accommodations on the ship for 207 first, 216 cabin & 343 tourist class passengers.
After being taken out of service in March 1964 the ship returned to her builders to be refitted as a two class cruise ship, now chartered by the Travel Savings Association, a consortium of three shipping companies and a South African businessman.
The ship was retired in July 1975 and broken up at Kaohsiung during December 1975.
MV Sarmiento, 1964
ON 168866 - Wally had previously worked aboard the Sarmiento from June to October 1957.
There were only five days between Wally disembarking from the passenger liner Reina Del Mar and joining the Sarmiento on March 10th 1964 at Liverpool, disembarking on March 26th 1964 at Victoria Docks. After a short break he rejoined on April 7th 1964 for one week, ending on April 15th 1964, from Liverpool to ??
SS Kenuta, 1964
ON 183788 Gross tons 8,494, nett tons 4,510. Length 156 meters, width 20 meters.
Wally's first trip on the Kenuta was very brief, boarding on May 18th 1964 at Glasgow and disembarking at Liverpool on May 20th 1964. The logbook notates Wally's position as 'Chef' rather than Ship's Cook.
The cargo ship was completed during August 1950 by Greenock Dockyard at Cartsyke East. It contained accommodation for 12 passengers. It was broken up at Tamise during June 1971.
SS Flamenco, 1964
This was the second time around for Wally on the SS Flamenco, having spent much time with this ship between November 1962 & August 1963.
Joining June 1st 1964, leaving June 21st 1964, both at Liverpool
MT Regent Royal, 1964
Joining December 3rd 1964 at Liverpool but released December 7th 1964 at Liverpool, voyage not completed due to medical note provided.
This tanker was completed during May 1954 by Blythswood of Scotstoun for C T Bowring & Company. It was sold and renamed Lorenzo during 1968. The vessel was delivered to the Phillipines for scrapping during 1977.
SS Kenuta, 1964 - 1966
December 30th 1964 to January 2nd 1965, Liverpool to Victoria Docks
O/N 181018, nett tonnage 5,092.
A very brief trip for Wally - just three days - April 29th 1966 Liverpool to Victoria Docks May 1st 1966.
Cargo ship delivered May 1946 from Harland & Wolff, Belfast to Pacific Steam Navigation Co Ltd. Renamed Navmachos in 1967 and broken up Villanueva y Geltru during December 1971.
MV Salinas, 1966
July 19th 1966 Liverpool to Liverpool August 4th 1966.
Cargo ship completed November 1947 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast. Renamed Polyfimos in 1968, delivered to Shanghai during December 1972 for scrapping.
MV Baltic Exporter, 1967
After almost four months on the MV Salinas Walter took a break of two months which including being at home for the Christmas & New Year. Two trips were worked on the Baltic Exporter (homeport London):
The Baltic Exporter was completed as a cargo ship during March 1953 by Nobiskrug, Rendsburg, Germany for the United Baltic Corp, all its ships had names beginning with 'Bal' or 'Baltic" and provided service from the UK to various Baltic ports. Memories recalled by others suggest these could be cold trips in winter, always with the threat of ice in the Baltic and the close proximity of Russia during the days of the Cold War. By the time Wally served on the ship its days with United Baltic Corp were nearly over - it was sold to Ankan Shipping Co, Somalia & renamed Eastern Dragon in 1969, following with five other owners & names before delivery to Kaohsiung during June 1980 for breaking up.
MV Cape Franklin, 1967 - 1968
After a ten week break Wally spent two months on the Cape Franklin:
November 2nd 1967 to January 4th 1968 joining Birkenhead, leaving Glasgow?
During July 1974 the ship was sold to Gino Gardella, Genoa and renamed Vittoria Gardella - it was sent to Alang during July 1988 for scrapping.
MV Florian, 1968
Ten weeks were spent on the Florian, as recorded in the logbook:
In 1971 the ship was sold to Maldives Shipping & renamed Maldive Loyalty, and finally dispatched to Gadani Beach during October 1982 for scrapping.
MV Iron Ore, 1968 - 1969
O/N 186895 gross 10,949 tons; deadweight 15,970 tons; length 157m, beam 21m, BHP 4400
Completed as an ore carrier during October 1959 by Austin & Pickersgill, Southwick for Common Brothers Line. This was one of five ore carriers ordered with 'Iron' names which were chartered to Bisco for ten years.
It was renamed Siroco during 1969 and sent to Aliaga during May 1986 for breaking up.
It is perhaps interesting to note there is an unusual job connection between Wally and his son, Mal in that as Wally sailed on the MV Iron Ore which brought iron ore from Canada to United Kingdom ports, including Birkenhead, so Mal, operating out of British Railways Birkenhead depot frequently took the iron ore on its next step from Bidston Dock to Shotton for use there.
Ulster Prince, 1969
No. 305572 Gross tons 4,269; net tons 2,114; length 115m, beam 16m, draught 4m.
Wally's next trip was very brief, just four days on the Ulster Prince, presumably working between Liverpool & Belfast (homeport for the Ulster Prince):
Completed April 1967 as a ferry (pass/roro) by Harland and Wolff, Belfast. The ship was equipped with two 12 cylinder Pielstick diesel engines producing 10,742kW, for a speed of 17 knots. Approximately 1,300 passengers and 230 cars could be carried by the Ulster Prince.
It remained on the Liverpool - Belfast service until November 1981. Then followed service with at least four other owners and several charters before being sent to Alang March 2004 for scrapping.
MV Derwent Fisher, 1969
After about a month's break Wally return for a three week stint on the Derwent Fisher (homeport Barrow)
Delivered to Turkey for scrapping April 2002
Empress of Canada, 1969
After leaving the Reina Del Mar back in March 1964 Wally served on a variety of ships, big & small, mostly cargo ships although some did carry accommodation for a small number of passengers. After leaving the modest Derwent Fisher on August 15th Wally took a break of two weeks and then returned to sign on with a very familiar company - Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd, on their passenger/cruise ship Empress of Canada, which, depending on its configuration could carry over one thousand passengers supported by a crew of 470. A lot of mouths to feed for Wally working in the galley! And if all the research with regard to this page is correct, then the Empress of Canada was the largest ship that Wally worked on.
Wally would spend two months on this impressive vessel, joining on September 2nd 1969 and leaving October 4th 1969, both at Liverpool.
The Empress of Canada was built by Vickers-Armstrong, Newcastle, the keel being laid in January 1959, launched on May 10th, 1960 and delivered to Canadian Pacific on March 29th 1961, with her maiden voyage commencing April 24th, 1961 from Liverpool to Canada. During the summer months the ship was used on the trans-Atlantic services, the winter months saw her on cruise sailings. By 1969 the summer Atlantic crossings had been reduced to seven, possibly it was one of these worked by Wally?
By November 1971, after 121 Atlantic crossings the Empress of Canada was put up for sale. Three months later the fledgling Carnival Cruise Lines acquired the Empress of Canada which received a refit and was renamed Mardi Gras, the ship becoming a critical part of Carnival's success. For the next two decades the ship would be a familiar sight out of US Atlantic ports, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1993 the ship was sold to Epirotiki, but was chartered and renamed the Star of Texas to become a casino ship operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The following year she was renamed the Lucky Star for the cruise ship market out of Miami. Briefly renamed the Apollon by Epirotiki she was later renamed Apollo for charter by Direct Cruises for cruises out of the UK which lasted until 2000, at which point the ship was laid up in Greece.
The Apollon returned to service with Royal Olympic Cruises out of Piraeus on short three & four day cruises. This proved to be shortlived as the company (unexpectedly?) sold the ship for scrap during 2003, making her final trip to Alang late in 2003 for scrapping.
Booker Viking, 1969 - 1970
After the classic grandeur of the Empress of Canada Wally spent two months at home prior to joining the cargo ship Booker Viking, of course much smaller than the Empress of Canada, but nevertheless a handsome, well proportioned vessel in its own right. The Booker Line transported bulk sugar from the East Carribean and Guyana to the United Kingdom, the company having been a fixture at Liverpool since the mid-19th century.
Wally joined the Booker Viking on December 12th 1969, leaving February 4th 1970 both at Liverpool.
The ship had been delivered during June 1967 from the Fredrikststad Ship Yard in Norway, gross tons 5,393, net 1,753. producing 15.5 knots through its single propellor. Power was provided by a six cylinder Sulzer engine, possibly Wally's first ship to be powered by Sulzer. It was sold during 1979 to Qatar Navigation Company Qatar and renamed Al Amirah. During February 1986 the ship was sent to Gadani Beach for scrapping.
MS Villegas, 1970
O/N 186215 gross tons 1,215, net tons 464, length 86m, beam 11.7m BHP 2,000
After a month at home Wally joined the Villegas for two tours (this must have been close to the time of the sale of the Villegas to C J Cotzias):
The Villegas, homeport London, was completed during April 1955 by Rolandwerft, Bremen for MacAndrews & Co. with emphasis on the trade with Italy & Spain, in particular fruit.
During 1970 the ship was sold on to C J Cotzias and renamed Aghios Lazaros. The ship would then pass through seven other owners prior to delivery to Tripoli, Lebanon for scrapping during 1987.
MV Fernfield, 1970
O/N 301284, 561 tons; length 61m; beam 9.1m, draught 3.68m
The cargo ship was completed during November 1954 by Van Diepen, Waterhuizen as the Haaksbergen for Zuid Hollandsche. It was powered by a six cylinder Werkspoor diesel producing 485 kW. The ship was sold during 1958 to WA Savage and renamed Fernfield. The ship was sold on in 1971 (renamed Shevrell) and again in 1972 and renamed the Coudres De L'Ile.
On June 15th 1988 the ship was lost whilst hauling steel scrap from Sept Iles, Quebec to Saint Catherines, Quebec. The eastbound loaded bulk wheat carrier Algowest collided almost head on in dense fog with the Coudres de L'Ile. It was tragically a David & Goliath situation with the Coudres de L'Ile quickly sinking at 48.26N/69.12W in about 100 feet of water off Pointe au Boivert, Quebec. The Algowest was able to complete her journey to Baie Comeau, Quebec. Nine crew were rescued by the Algowest, regrettably the ship's cook was lost with the ship.
MV Torr Head, 1970 - 1972
O/N 300052 homeport Belfast
Wally spent just over a year working on the Torr Head, with several breaks in between:
Joining December 31st 1970 at Belfast - leaving January 18th 1971 at Clyde Ports
The Torr Head was completed during October 1961 by Austin & Pickersgill, Southwick for the Head Line, this was the fourth vessel since 1894 to operate under this name for the company. Iain Gibsons, who sailed with Wally as his Second Cook & Baker during the early 1970s remembers the Torr Head sailed from Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool & Dublin, with cargoes mostly of whisky on the outward sailings to ports including Montreal, Toronto and Chicago. On the return voyages sweetcorn was frequently the cargo. Iain remembers Wally as a real gentleman who helped him alot with his knowledge. The ship was sold during 1972 and renamed Sheng Li, disposed of ?
MV Inishowen Head, 1972
O/N 305536, gross tons 9,098; net tons 5,200; deadweight 10,547;
After just over a year on the Torr Head Wally returned to a ship from the same company - the Inishowen Head, most likely being used over the North Atlantic route between the UK and Canada :
This general cargo ship was completed during May 1965 by Austin & Pickersgill, Southwick, Sunderland. The ship was powered by a six cylinder Sulzer engine built by G Clark of Sunderland, producing 9,600hp and giving the ship a maximum speed of 17 knots. It was converted to a containership during 1970 and able to handle a maximum of 340 twenty foot containers.
Sent to Pusan, South Korea during August 1986 for scrapping.
MV Torr Head, 1972
After leaving the Inishowen Head Wally returned to the Torr Head for two more trips:
Joining April 24th 1972 at Manchester? - leaving June 6th 1972 at Liverpool
MV Galway, 1973
O/N 300830; Gross tons 9,538; net tons 5,639 tons, deadweight 12,781 (after alterations in 1967); length 525 feet, beam 60.6 feet.
After a six month break Wally's next tour was on the Galway (homeport London):
This cargo ship was completed February 1959 by Smith's Dock, South Bank, Middlesborough for Avenue Shipping Co, London, being powered by a Hawthorn Leslie built five cylinder Doxford diesel. It was sold during 1975 & renamed Strathinver. Resold in 1976, renamed Golden Fortune and wrecked Kau Yi Chau, Hong Kong September 9th 1983 in a typhoon, becoming well and truly beached on a rocky outcrop and later scrapped in-situ.
MV Makaria, 1973 - 1975
O/N 357424, Liverpool gross tons 2,686; net tons 1,196; deadweight 4,092. Length 310 feet, beam 53 feet, draught 21 feet.
Completed March 1972 by Hall Russell of Aberdeen for the Moss Hutchison Line, transferred 1973 to General Cargo Division of P&O. Sold 1979 and renamed Los Teques, sent to Tuxpan for scrapping June 1987.
After the passenger liners Dutchess of Atholl and the Empress of Australia the MV Makaria comes in third in the list of length of time served by Wally. Just over four years were spent with the Makaria, with one very brief break in August 1975 when Wally served on another P&O cargo ship. It cannot be ascertained now as to why this ship was so popular with Wally.
April 4th 1973 to May 25th 1973; Liverpool to Clyde ports
MV Kypros, 1975
O/N 183765 Gross tons 3,499; Net tons 1,611, Deadweight 4,890; Length 112m, beam 16m. IHP 3,930, homeport Liverpool
This was a very brief tour for Wally, just four days from August 19th 1975 to August 22nd 1975, joining and leaving at Liverpool. This was also one of the oldest ships sailed on by Wally in recent times, and no doubt quite a contrast to the recent trips on the Makaria which was barely a year old when Wally first signed on to her.
Cargo ship completed April 1950 by W Pickersgill of Southwick, Sunderland for the Moss Hutchison Line routes to French Ports, Spain and Portugal, Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Briefly named Aurania during 1967 whilst on charter to Cunard, then transferred in 1971 to the General Cargo Division of P&O. Sold 1976 and renamed Angeliki, sent to Beypore during April 1982 for scrapping.
MV Makaria, 1975 - 1977 - continued
September 2nd 1975 to October 17th 1975; Liverpool to Liverpool
MV Calderon, 1977
Joining August 31st 1977, leaving September 14th 1977, both at Liverpool.
This bulk carrier was completed July 1971 by Van Der Werf, Deest as the Brathay Fisher, for James Fisher & Sons. It was renamed the Calderon during 1976 and then back to its original name in 1978. It was sent To chittagong for scrap during June 2003.
LM Odin, 1977 - 1978
O/N 334229, gross tons 1,236; net tons 1,036; homeport Liverpool
Joining November 10th 1977, leaving March 26th 1978, both at Santos, Brazil. The Odin was a static ship, laying sewer pipes off the coast.
MV Ferring, 1978
This cargo ship was completed during November 1969 by Hall Russell of Aberdeen. It was sold in 1987 and renamed Ronne. As the Eri S. it foundered off Cape Mayor on March 24th 1992.
Booker Valiant, 1978 - 1979
O/N 306509, gross tonnage 6,660; nett 3,526; deadweight 7,500; length 130m, beam 18.8m; homeport Liverpool.
Wally returned to the Booker Line for the next couple of voyages:
Cargo ship completed as the Nova Scotia for the Warren Line during April 1965 at Burntisland Shipbuilders, Burntisland. During 1978 the ship was chartered by the Booker Line from Shaw, Savill & Albion Line and was renamed Booker Valiant. It was sold during 1980 and remained active until March 1998 when it reached Alang for scrapping.
Germa Gracia, 1979
A brief tour on this ship for Wally joining July 9th 1979 at Dublin and leaving at Sharpness on July 18th 1979.
This cargo ship was launched in September 1972 by the Gdanska Lenina yard, Gdansk.
During 1972 the ship was sold and renamed West End and was still in service as at 2003 after being resold several times.
Pass of Balmaha, 1979 - 1980
O/N 364394, gross tonnage 2,497; nett 1,386; deadweight 3,500; length 97.5m, beam 13.6m; HP 5,000.
Joining September 25th 1979, leaving December 9th 1979, both at Stanlow.
This chemical tanker was completed during April 1975 by Dunston of Hessle. It was widened to 16m during 1976. It was sold in 1985, renamed Deltauno, throughout its life the tanker would receive ten names. During May 2008 the ship was received at Alang for scrapping.
MV Wiltshire, 1980
One tour was completed on the Wiltshire, from June 20th 1980 ? to ? July 17th 1980.
This liquid propane gas tanker was launched during April 1968 by Swan Hunter Tyne at Hebburn. It was sold during 1994 and renamed Zallaq, during November 1997 it was received at Alang for scrapping.
MV Pacific Swan, 1980
The second to last ship worked by Wally was frequently the center of attention when it sailed, carrying irriadated nuclear fuel between Japan and the United Kingdom, Wally completed one tour on the Pacific Swan:
Joining October 27th 1980, leaving December 3rd 1980, both at Barrow in Furness - it is not known if Wally's trip was without incident with regard to world publicity.
The cargo ship was completed during January 1979 by Swan Hunter, Hebburn for Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL), for the shipping of irriadated fuel from Japan to Sellafield, with occasional shipments from France to Japan. Two Ruston BATCM diesels, each producing 1,856hp at 600rpm gave the ship a service speed of 13 knots.
The Pacific Swan became the focus of world attention via the world press and the likes of Greenpeace during 1998 & 2001 as it moved 30 tons of plutonium from Cherbourg, France to Mutsu-Ogasawara, Japan via the Panama Canal, other similar trips had taken the ship via Cape Horn.
It left Barrow under tow on January 25th 2005 for the last time as it was sent for scrapping at 'sGravendeel, Netherlands.
MV Mobil Lubchem, 1980 - 1981
The last ship recorded in Wally's service records was the Mobil Lubchem, a modest vessel to end his career with when compared to the beginning - the large passenger ship Duchess of Atholl.
Wally joined the ship on December 30th 1980 at Birkenhead, leaving January 29th 1981 at Gravenchon/Port Jerome. The next day the ship sailed for Venice. The Rouen - Port-Jérôme - Le Havre industrial-harbour complex includes the adjoining refineries of Port Jérôme and Gravenchon which handle fuel, lube and chemicals.
The tanker was completed during June 1973 by Cantabrico Y Riera, Gijon.
In this excellent view of the last ship worked on by Wally we are fortunate that the view is taken in Wally's backyard - the Mersey - with a small portion of the Liverpool shoreline visible. The picture was taken on June 2nd 1997 and the Mobil Lubchem is now the Lubchem, having had its name shortered during 1991.
Walter 'Wally' Pratt taking a break at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul during a holiday in June 1993. By this time Wally's ocean adventures are of the cruise ship variety. In the background is the Sea of Marmara with a ship to complete the scene.
Wally was the middle brother of three, the oldest was Arthur, the youngest was Stanley, remarkably all three spent a lifetime at sea, fortunately the log books of all three have survived to provide an outline of their sailing careers. Below are the log book summaries of Arthur and Stanley.
Sailings by Arthur Pratt: 1919 - 1970
The first entry recorded in the log book is for the Empress of France O/N 136266, Arthur would sail with this ship for almost ten years with only occasional service on other vessels between 1919 & 1929.
The Empress of France had been built for the Allan Line by the William Beardmore & Co Ltd yard at Glasgow during 1912-14 as the Alsation (18,481 gross tons, length 600 feet, breadth 72 feet). It was the first North Atlantic liner to be built with a cruiser stern, passenger accommodation totalled 1st 287, 2nd 504 & 3rd 848. Launched just before World War One commenced her commercial service was brief before conversion to an Armed Merchant Cruiser. Following the end of hostilities the Canadian Pacific took over operation of the Allan Fleet fleet but the ship was not renamed the Empress of France until April 1919 whilst undergoing a refit. The ship would return to the Clyde to be scrapped at Dalmuir during 1934.
From 1919 until 1922 the Empress of France would operate on the North Atlantic route between Liverpool & Quebec (ice permitting). Ports of engagement and discharge are therefore Liverpool unless otherwise stated. It is interesting to note that Arthur was on the first sailing of the ship following her refit.
On May 3rd 1922 her regular route became Southampton, Cherbourg to Quebec, on May 31st 1922 this was further changed to include Hamburg. Therefore from this point the ports of engagement and discharge for Arthur are Southampton unless otherwise stated.
November 2nd 1922 to November 22nd 1922, to Quebec as lift attendant
An undated view of a very young Arthur Pratt, presumably taken when his employment began in 1919 on the Empress of France.
The Empress of France was one of four ocean liners to circumnavigate the world during 1923.
June 13th 1923 to August 26th 1923, to Quebec as lift attendant
January 11th 1924 to February 2nd 1924, to St John NB as cabin waiter (Vessel was the Montlaurier O/N 144402, engaging & discharging at Liverpool)
During July 1926 the passenger accommodations were altered with the addition of 'tourist class'. Six months later further changes saw the elimination of 2nd Class.
November 10th 1926 to December 31st 1926, to St John NB as cabin waiter (Vessel was the Montnairn O/N 144402, engaging & discharging at Liverpool)
With the completion of the September 8th sailing from Southampton to Quebec the Empress of France was transferred to service in the Pacific.
October 31st 1928 to November 25th 1928, to Hong Kong as 1st class deck steward (discharging at Hong Kong)
Presumably Arthur preferred the North Atlantic sailings, with the Empress of France now on the Far East/Pacific sailings Arthur transferred back to the North Atlantic run.
January 4th 1929 to April 26th 1929, South America / Africa cruise as assistant deck steward
Arthur's regular ship now becomes the SS Montclare O/N 145964 with the ports of engagement and discharge remaining as Liverpool unless otherwise stated.
October 23rd 1931 to November 15th 1931, to Montreal as deck steward
Arthur now returns to the Duchess of Atholl as his regular ship with the ports of engagement and discharge remaining as Liverpool unless otherwise stated.
November 4th 1932 to November 26th 1932, to Montreal as deck steward
The ordered routine of Arthur's journeys across the North Atlantic and the various cruises comes to a halt towards the end of 1938. For reasons now lost in time Arthur took a break after his discharge from the Duchess of Atholl at the end of October 1938. Regretably Arthur would not work on this ship again, for almost three years later in October 1942 the ship was torpedoed and sunk by U 178. After a three month break Arthur takes up passage on the Empress of Australia (O/N 145300) working to & from Southampton as a deck steward on a cruise between January 21st 1939 to February 28th 1939.
The next sailing occurred on the SS Montcalm (O/N 145908) as a cabin waiter on Mediterranean cruises, sailing from Tilbury on June 16th 1939 and discharged at Liverpool on October 11th 1939.
Following the ending of World War Two Arthur returned to his former duties. The first entries in his logbook are dated April 1947 and one change noted in the recording of his sailings is that the destination was no longer specified, now just abbreviated to 'Foreign' or 'Fgn'.
1947 - 1950
1952 - 1953
From November 1952 to July 1955 Arthur worked continuosly on the sailings to the West Indies with many trips being made on the SS Bayano O/N 141870 out of Avonmouth:
After nine months service on the SS Bayano Arthur served on a variety of ships, as indicated below;
September 29th 1953 to November 3rd 1953, on the SS Ariquani O/N 148890 as 2nd steward.
1954 - 1955
March 30th 1954 to May 5th 1954, as 2nd steward.
After several years working out of Avonmouth on the Elders & Fyffes vessels Arthur returned to Liverpool for his next series of sailings.
After three tours on the MV Dominion Monarch Arthur now starts a lengthy series of sailings on the Empress of Britain O/N 187376 out of Liverpool.
1957 - 1964
After his discharge during April 1964 Arthur took an almost two year break from his life on the sea, not taking up his next tour until February 1966.
1966 - 1970
February 15th 1966 to March 24th 1966 as N/steward
The discharge dated March 31st 1970 at the port of Liverpool brought to a close a career of fifty years on the sea for Arthur.
Logs for Stanley Pratt: 1933 - 1972
All three brothers started their careers working on very large trans-Atlantic passenger lines, Stanley throughout his career would remain on these larger liners, starting with the Duchess of Bedford and ending with the Queen Elizabeth II. In order to do this Stanley moved to Gosport after World War II to remain close to Southampton, the port for the Cunard liners.
1933 - 1940
Before being interrupted by World War II, Stanley was a fixture on the Canadian Pacific services operating between Liverpool and Montreal (St John in the winter months). Occasional cruises were made to the Mediterranean and the West Indies. The logbooks indicate siging on and signing off was at Liverpool.
Duchess of Bedford O/N 160482
Melitas O/N 136367 - cruises to the Mediterranean & Norway.
Duchess of Bedford O/N 160482
Duchess of York O/N 161202
Duchess of Atholl O/N 180505
January 3rd 1936 to January 25th 1936 as Bellboy (St John)
January 22nd 1937 to February 13th 1937 as Bellboy (St John)
February 17th 1938 to May 8th 1938 as Tourist Waiter - R A Canada & cruises
February 18th 1939 to March 25th 1939 as Tourist Waiter - West Indies cruise
Empress of Britain O/N 182582
Empress of Australia O/N 188505
Duchess of Atholl O/N 180505
Dominion Monarch O/N 166828
1940 - 1943
1950 - 1972
When Stanley returned to his sailing career after World War II he worked out of Southampton on the Cunard Line for twenty two years on some of the most famous British passenger liners from that era.
Queen Mary O/N 164282 from/to Southampton
Date unknown - a walk-out by some members of the Queen Mary. Stanley Pratt is in the second group of men, center right.
January 10th 1951 to April 5th 1951 as 1st Class Waiter
March 4th 1952 to April 8th 1952 as 1st Class Waiter
February 13th 1953 to May 4th 1953 as 1st Class Waiter
March 23rd 1955 to May 31st 1955 as 1st Class Waiter
February 19th 1956 to May 29th 1956 as 1st Class Waiter
July 23rd 1957 to October 8th 1957 as 1st Class Waiter
February 10th 1958 to May 27th 1958 as 1st Class Waiter
February 25th 1959 to May 26th 1959 as 1st Class Waiter
March 29th 1960 to June 7th 1960 as 1st Class Waiter
January 20th 1961 to April 11th 1961 as 1st Class Waiter
January 18th 1962 to April 24th 1962 as 1st Class Waiter
February 21st 1963 to May 22nd 1963 as 1st Class Waiter
March 4th 1964 to June 16th 1964 as 1st Class Waiter
February 8th 1965 to May 4th 1965 as 1st Class Waiter
February 7th 1966 to March 30th 1966 as 1st Class Waiter
February 6th 1967 to June 21st 1967 as 1st Class Waiter
Queen Elizabeth O/N 166290
Queen Elizabeth 2 O/N 366703
Chef de Rang = assistant headwaiter, 'rang' refers to range of tables.
The following notes come from Jim B and were addressed to Mal & his family:
Hi, that was some career your grandad had. Looking through his ships I had sailed on three of them albeit not at the same time as him. And strangely enough my son did his first trip on the Booker Viking although this was ten years later. My son was still with Bookers when your grandfather went back to that company in 78/79.
It was Arthur I sailed with on the Britain, he was funny as you say. I remember one occasion two days out of Liverpool when the Atlantic was really rough so not many passengers were coming in for their meals. We were carrying lots of Hungarian refugees at the time. This Hungarian man came in alone for his breakfast, his family were all sea sick up in their cabins. After his meal the Hungarian asked the waiter for six raw eggs to take upto the cabin for his family. Arthur spotted this and as the man was leaving the saloon, Arthur approached him asking "did you enjoy your meal sir?" and at the same time giving him a friendly pat, slapping his pockets with the eggs in. I didn't work at the Tourist end much but the two lads that did had some fun with Arthur as I remember, they would talk in the cabin about him.
Hi, if you have seen the video "Cunard Yanks" all those guys sailed under Arthur when he was Head Waiter. The "Cowboys" and different characters that made up that waiting on crowd that he was in charge of was unbelievable. If somebody could've written a story and put it onto film it would've been a best seller. As regards your Grandad he was the first in line of attack on any ship where there was no overtime or any other thing that the crew were upset about. If everyone was on four hours a day overtime it was a very happy ship, the food was great. If there was no overtime and we have idle hands the food was the first complaint and up they went to the galley "Would you eat that cook", it would end up with the Chief Steward and then upto the Captain. Your Grandfather could only cook to what he was allowed to cook with.
Different companies had a different daily rate per person of what could be spent on food. Some companies could've been four shillings per day per man others (like Bowaters) could've been seven shillings per day. Thats why different Shipping Companies got names, Lamport & Holt became "Lousy & Hungry" and many more. I can tell you looking at some of your Grandads ships he certainly worked hard and it certainly wasn't like cruising around the world. The years he started working all I can say he must've been a "Hard Case" or a good cook.
Hello there, just to let you know I've spent an enjoyable couple of hours absorbed in your Dad's website, not only about your Grandad Wally's ships, but also about your Dad's railway career, too. Lot's of nostalgia and info there for anyone. Great! Thank you for posting it.
Page added April 29th 2009