After the two previous short voyages, I decided on a longer voyage, but this did not go to plan. It turned out to be another continental voyage, if it had been longer I would have been going to Australia.
I set off as usual from home with my luggage, and made my way into town on the local bus and then the train to Woolwich and the ferry beyond. Then onwards to the docks.
I had reported to the federation offices in the royal group Docks on Monday 27th November 1961 and was given the Shaw Savill ship Aramaic.
What a mess this ship was in, all the port side bridge front was smashed in, she had been in a collision with another ship on her previous voyage. Once unloading was complete we would be going to Bremen for repairs. We only sailed with a skeleton crew. I was employed as a scullion which is a cross between a galley boy and an assistant cook. My job consisted of cleaning all the pots and pans that were used within the galley. This job was carried out in a special room, I also had to prepare the vegetables for every meal, and I had a different area to do this. I was also responsible for keeping the stores and fridges clean and tidy.
My cabin was situated on the main deck and was a two berth cabin, with two bunks, two wardrobes, a settee, a chest of drawers and a chair.
We all signed on Tuesday 28th November, My wages were £36-10s-0d a month. We left on Wednesday 29th November out of the docks assisted by tugs and a pilot on the bridge, who was to disembark at Gravesend to change with the river pilot who would embark. Once in the English Channel, the Walker’s Patent log would be put into use, this was a bronze rotator attached to a long line, which rotated by the ships movement forwards, measured the distance travelled and the speed. This would be used every time we left a port. The fire/boat drill was not carried out due to the damage of the ship as it also included the boat deck. We arrived in Hamburg on Thursday 30th November to unload the remainder of the cargo, I had made several trips ashore and we left on Saturday 2nd December for Bremen, where we arrived on Sunday 3rd December. We unloaded a bit of cargo, then proceeded to the repair yard/dry dock of Bremer Vulkan to have the bridge front repaired. This is where the ship was originally built. As there was a lot of time here, lots of trips were made ashore. Because we were in dry dock, if we wanted to go to the toilet, we had to use the toilets on the dockside. The bridge front section had already been fabricated at the shipyard and transported to the ship. The damaged part was removed and the new part put in its place. Once welded and repainted, you would never have known the ship had been damaged. When the work was completed and the clearing up done, we were on our way for Hamburg sailing on Thursday 21st December for loading. We arrived the same day and I managed to get ashore a few times. We left on Saturday 23rd December, and arrived in Antwerp on Christmas Day morning, Monday 25th December where we had our Christmas Day celebrations. I did not go ashore here as it was a busy time for the catering staff. Loading did not start until Wednesday 27th December, and we left Antwerp on Thursday 28th December and arrived in Rotterdam on Friday 29th December where we signed Off.
My wages for this voyage were £35- 7s-8d and I had spent £10-4s-10d during the voyage.
We left the ship here because the original crew had been ferried out to Rotterdam to take over the ship and we made our way to the hook of Holland by local train, and the day ferry, the Avalon, to Harwich, then to our own homes, just in time to celebrate the New Year.