Like so many of the sailing ship fleet, and of that era, she went missing at sea in 1917 when under Norwegian owners. R.I.P.
Left the fleet in 1978 and became the Greek owned GOOD SPIRIT until 1984 when broken up under the name of DISCOVERY
The LAGANBANK was built in 1978 and sold after only 3 years. She then had 13 years as the Greek vessel AMPHION. Scrapped in Vietnam a bit early in 1994 after suffering a fire.
The Singapore owned NEW LARK from 1978 to 1983. Scrapped in China Nov 83.
Tweedbank was built in 1964 and after 10 years trading, she grounded in the Barrier Reef, Austalia, near Cairns. She survived this and was sold in 1979, taking the name of GOOD LION. 4 years later was wrecked on the Spanish coast.
Built 1965 and sold in 1979 when she became the FAMILY UNITY. Sold on again in 1982 to Bengal Liner Ltd who named her BENGAL STAR. Finally scrapped in Chittagong in 1988, a 23 year career.
THE COPRA RUN
It doesn’t seem so long ago,
Joining sometimes in the snow,
But what a life on the Copra run,
Cruising round the Pacific sun!
First, a visit to Gulf Ports,
The hectic loading of all sorts,
Sailing down to the Antipodes
Then island hopping in Southern Seas.
There were those times, – a precious thing,
When island folk began to sing,
The natural lazy way of life,
Free from worry, free from strife.
It was a gift, we never thought,
Just a job that we had sought,
But looking back it was something special
Joining on that Copra vessel.
A new lightship SHIRRABANK floating out and thrashing the water
From the Sept 81 magazine announcing the loss of the Gulf/Europe service.
SOME SERIOUS CRANEAGE THERE!
Greek owned. 1998 Chartered in for the Bank/Ellerman service but off hired in Dec 1999. The name was abbreviated to RICKBANK and then sold to become the YAAD-EL-MOSTAFA. Scrapped 2009.
Subsequent names: SANJOHN BAY (1981)SOTIRAS(1985)APOCALYPSIS(1987)SEA GLISTER(1988)VIGOROUS SWAN(1991)LUCKY 25(1998 and scrapped)
December 1978 Magazine extract…
From the Bank Line magazine 1978 when the ship was sold and became the IRINI G.F. under the Greek flag.
artist is Tony Westmore
This is a photo taken in Lyttleton harbour showing the Bosun (left) and AB’s – all from Liverpool and on the Liberty MAPLEBANK. The rather beautiful models are made from chicken breasts mounted on a base, and sold for beer money. circa 1956
The ‘ ISLE OF ARRAN’ was sunk by a U boat in 1917
The days when just about everyone had a fag in their hand! Author on the left with Jim Haig on the right.
One of 5 vessels built by John Readhead, South Shields in 1937 to 1940. Only the TEVIOTBANK made it safely through WW2, the others all being lost. The TIELBANK was torpedoed by U 124 and 4 people died. 7 years later, the company renamed one of the purchased Liberty ships – TIELBANK.
Taken from an old 1980’s magazine….
This is a true story about a boy’s good spirited journey through life, and the slow transition from being a naive, innocent, and wild eyed kid in the London blitz, to a somewhat reflective and philosophical old man residing happily deep in Cornwall. It is a path that all men tread more or less, but having the good fortune to follow a seafaring career, topped up later with a world wide shipping career, makes this a varied and somewhat gifted life. The time spent at sea, and in the Bank Line in particular, had a deep and lasting effect, and why wouldn’t it? It was far more than a set of job descriptions. Meeting so many nationalities at all levels, from the Pacific islanders to the urchins of Asia and Africa , and grappling with ever changing demands at sea and in port made for a rich education. The only thing that never waned throughout all the years was a love of the world and its people, and a breathless admiration for the sheer beauty of our surroundings, coupled with boundless enthusiasm and optimism.
Chesham was near the American air base at Bovingdon, and the high street always had many smart uniformed Americans. My memories of the airmen and the activity are still vivid. In the town, the flyers couldn’t have been more generous to us scruffy lads. They parted with gum and money, which we asked for shamelessly. ” Got any gum, chum ? ” were the magic words that did the trick, and I can still hear it ringing in my ears. It never failed to work. In later life, I read all the books on the air war I could find, fascinated by the horror and torment of the daily battle. It gave me a slight appreciation of what those young smartly dressed American boys were going through mentally, and I could imagine what their thoughts might be as we youngsters held out our hands. They sacrificed so much more than mere gum. A major attraction at this time, was the display of crashed German planes In the park. The centre of the bandstand was used for wrecked German planes placed on display, and linked to the ever present need for money for the war effort. This area, with it’s swings and the lake was our playground, and I was attending the church school that lay next to the church bordering the park. Suddenly, it was the town focus, with war bond drives, and displays of all sorts, all designed to stimulate the flow of cash. There were endless campaigns, characterised by a huge wood and cardboard thermometer in gaudy colours placed near the planes. This colourful creation had a moveable column of pretend Mercury which was raised in line with the daily contributions. Buckets were distributed around for the money, which people gave to generously. A target was set at the top of the display, and there seemed to be yet another giant wood and cardboard thermometer towering over us in the park, when the previous target had been met. The downed planes were beyond fascination for young boys! We were allowed to sit in the often battered cockpits, and the smells and sights of the instruments, together with the weird and wonderful array of knobs and levers made this an unforgettable moment. It was heaven for lads of the right age, like me. We fought to climb into the magic pilot’s seat. Best of all for me was the seat in the Perspex bubble, either at the nose or on top of some of the exhibits. There were fighters and bombers, and we eagerly awaited the next arrival, which came on the back of a trailer towed through the town centre. At that age, there was never a thought for the poor soul who may have lived and died at the controls.
I think the most emotive part of this experience was seeing the swastikas plastered all over the wings and fuselage.
Printed in the Bank Line Magazine of September 1982
This old Bank Line favourite started life as the CHRONOS for Howard Smith of Melbourne, Australia in 1915. Became the CABARITA in 1929 and purchased by the Bank Line. Served right through WW2 to 1952 (32 years) before spending her last 10 years with Pakistan owners as MAULABAKSH. – after 42 years afloat went to the scrapyard in Karachi.
The three vessels mentioned above were built for the EAST ASIATIC COMPANY in 1909, and changed hands a few times before the Weir purchase in 1927. FORAFRIC was owned by a HK company from 1935 and was bombed and sunk in the Philippines in 1941.
This ship had quite a career. Originally the NARA in 1977 owned by Chargeurs Reunis S.A. on their S African service. Chartered by the Bank Line as MARABANK 86 to 87. Was the Greek CHRISTINE 1 until 1989 when she became the RICKMERS NANJING on charter to Deutsche Afrika Linie. In 1990 purchased by an Andrew Weir subsidiary as OLIVEBANK under the flag of Panama. In 1993 fitted out for 10 passengers. In 1999 went under the British flag to breakers for just over $1.0million.
1964 – 1979 then sold on. Later names: ARGONAUT (79/82), MASTURA ZAHABIA (82/85), GOLDEN SINGAPORE then scrapped 1985.
Within a few weeks, I was told that I would be acting third mate. Shock, horror! There was I still working out my ass from my elbow at 16, and I was catapulted up to the bridge deck to keep the 8 to 12 watch. In the event of course, all went reasonably well, especially as there were sympathetic fellow officers to lend a helping hand. The second mate at that time was a rare bird, who managed the Herculean task of sitting his tickets effortlessly without recourse to school. He was later to rise up to become the company superintendent for South African ports. To set the mood of life in 1952, there is nothing better than the pop tunes of the day, and I recall that Johny Ray was all the rage, singing about ‘ Just crying in the rain ‘ and ‘ The little white cloud that cried’. Other hits were Jim Reeves with ‘ I love you because’ and Guy Mitchell with his ‘ Red Feathers’ !
Life on board the Inchanga for me fell into a pattern. The stint as third mate lasted only briefly, when I reverted thankfully back to apprentice duties. However, on the bridge watch there was one memorable night sailing through the Maldives Islands at night which is burned in my memory. Down below a party was in full swing, and I could hear the muted music and laughter from the saloon. The Captain had a reputation as a lady’s man so it all fitted. On the bridge we were swooshing silently through the tropical night, phosphorescence in the bow wave, and a balmy breeze out on the bridge wing. At this time, the Inchanga had yet to be fitted with radar, so we were sailing blind through a quite narrow passage and relying on the last star sight position, which meant that I was hanging over the bridge wing straining my eyes to see any sign of the islands or surrounding reefs. I was apprehensive in the extreme. Events in the Bank Line fleet over the next few years more than justified my terror, as it happened. There seemed to be a fatal attraction to the many islands we visited, lit and unlit, with consequential casualties.
Back as apprentice, a twice daily routine was the unlocking………….