1955 A First Tripper voyage to the South Seas – an interesting account kindly submitted by Captain R.P.Blowers.
In July 1955, at the age of sixteen, having spent three years at the London Nautical School and taken the General Certificate of Education in six subjects, which included Navigation and Seamanship, I was prepared to go to sea, It was first necessary to pass a full medical examination and eyesight test, which sadly caught out a few of my fellow classmates who suddenly had to find alternative careers.
To avoid oil tankers and experience worldwide trading, I signed indentures as an Apprentice with Andrew Weir’s Bank Line and was appointed to a new ship, M.V. Foylebank, then nearing completion at Harland & Wolf’s shipyard in Belfast. A large list of uniform, work clothing and other items of equipment required were sent by the Bank Line and I showed this to one of my school’s ex-seagoing Navigation Teachers and he said, rather depressingly and erroneously, that all I would need for the Bank Line was a couple of boiler suits. A visit to outfitters in London was necessary to purchase all the requirements and at quite some expense for my Father.