16 years old, still in the sea school uniform,and posing for the Discharge Book ‘mugshot’ prior to  entry into the Merchant Navy.  Ready to join the first Bank Line ship , the ‘ Forthbank’.    Cardiff to Trinidad.                                                                     Inchanga 3

M.V. Inchanga    –   one of two so called ‘white ships; running between Calcutta and Durban.  Apprentice in her from 1951 to 1952.   Can still recall the spice smells on the deck, coming up from below.

                                                             Inchanga 3


                                                    The ‘Ernebank’ in drydock in 1953.   Apprentice in her                                                     on a round the world memorable voyage taking in                                                          Cuba,USA, Japan, Nrew Guinea, and back home viaSuez lasting 8 months.

                                             Westbank-03                                              M.V. Westbank 1953.  Joined her for a trip home   from Durban to Middlesborough with manganese ore.  She had just been dragged off the beach after grounding on an island –  Juan De Nova, in the Indian Ocean, and had temporary iron beams welded on the outside.


                    Stern view of the 1930’s Irisbank loading grain in Australia.Third Mate                      on her for 2 years and twice around the world before paying off in the                          Gambia and flying home one summers night in 1957


Southbank 1961 –Apprentice, self as Mate, and third Mate, posing in the alleyway when alongside Harmony Wharf in New Orleans 1961


Irisbank 1956 – Engineers and Mates plus Electrician and an apprentice at ‘ Smoko’


The deck crew and the Chief Officer of the Southbank homeward bound in 1961


The Kelvinbank breaking up at Ocean Island approx 1 year after she grounded

lancaster under way

The ‘ Duke of Lancaster’ in cruising mode 1964


                                                                               A Bank Line Liberty ship




                                                                                                                                                                                                              Last piece of the Southbank on the beach at                                                                     Washington Island, 700 miles south of Hawaii

On the summit of the local volcano in Rabaul PNG – Ernebank 1953


Maplebank football team 1955



Levernbank-01 (2)





s3SOUTHBANK TRAGEDY 1964.    Washington Island 












6 thoughts on “Some Bank Line ships and other pics of my seagoing life…….

  1. Was an engineer with BPC during 1969. on the ”Triaster”. Remember well the ”Kelvin bank” which still remained on the coral reef at Ocean Island. Later worked with Nauru pacific line for 6 years until 1984. Good days. Dale Collins.


  2. Dear Alen,

    I read your various Bank Line accounts with much admiration and respect. I too was a Bank Line Deck Apprentice between 1961 and 1964. During that period I served on “Weybank” (Master H.K.Stevens) and Levernbank (Capts Holland and Louis Wigham).
    I spent most of my time on the Oriental Africa service with the occasional trip to India and the Phosphate Islands. Since those very happy days I served in various companies, mainly within Asia and Middle East (incl Swire Group and P&O Group). Finally ending as a General Manager/Director and then Marine Advisor to DSME in Korea, engaged on an FPSO building project.

    I lived most of my life in Hong Kong and wonder if you knew my brother Cliff Walker who I recall mentioned someone bearing the name Rawlinson! He served on Riverbank and Cloverbank in the mid 1960s.

    I am now retired in Melbourne and like you spend most of my time writing, drawing and collecting Maritime Art.

    I seek your approval to use 3 of your stunning Photos, Namely;
    a/ Kelvinbank at Ocean Is. still with both sections, about a year after she grounded.
    b/ Inchanga at Madras, the image with you on the foc’sle.
    c/ Levernbank approaching Port Swettenham (from the air) and same ship in Durban ca 1962.

    These are for inclusion (hopefully) in an account I am writing concerning some seagoing anecdotes. Of course, should you agree, I would naturally give you full accreditation.

    Meantime, I continue to read your seagoing exploits with avid interest. and pleasure
    My Best
    Geoff Walker


    1. Geoff

      Humble apologies!!! Only just seen your note. What a life!

      Great to read your news and career details. Seems we have followed similar varied paths and both enjoy writing and maritime history. No problem to use any of the photos if it’s not too late. As I have trouble administering this wordpress site, please email me directly at aar@btopenworld.com should you finally read this. Very best wishes/Alan


  3. Thank you for the pictures of M.V. Westbank.

    I was looking for it, after finding my Grand-Fathers watch, which was presented to him for the rescue of the M.V. Westbank in 1952, after it had ran aground! He was the captain of the ship that recovered her.

    Do you have any other information on the M.V. Westbank?


    1. I sailed on her. She was close to being lost on the Juan De Nova reef when a further attempt got her off. I then joined her in Durban after temporary repairs.

      The information I have is that a BI tug freed her, so would be interested to read your information on your Grandfather’s ship and any other information. My email is aar@btopenworld.com

      Many thanks/Alan


  4. I joined the M.V. Irisbank in Bathurst Gambia as 3rd Mate ( Capt Mendus) when you must have paid off.


    Mike Lindsell


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