26 March 2004

First draft: South Shields. Farewell South Shields

Two weeks after passing my examinations and then applying for a position with Marconi Marine I was accepted into the company. I was instructed to apply for a Seaman's Record Book and Certificates of Discharge. This Book complete with photo and details could also be used as a defacto Passport when necessary to join ships in other countries.

I was officially entered into the Merchant Navy on the 16 June 1951 at the South Shields Marine Office. Now all I had to do was wait until Marconi Marine needed me. At this point after a few days I headed for home at Kidside.

It was now farewell South Shields. I did not see South Shields again until 2003 when I made a trip to the UK and visited my cousin David living in Ponteland just north of Newcastle. Unbeknown to me he had made arrangements to take me down to South Shields and view some of my old haunts on the afternoon of my arrival. That was 52 years later but that is of course another story.

Reaching Kidside towards the end of June I did not realize then how long I would have to wait before a suitable position was available for me. In point of fact my wait for a position stretched into August before anything suitable was found.

I'm not sure how I filled in my time at home. I have only vague recollections now. In fact during the previous 2 years I do not really remember how I filled in my time during the holidays between terms. Most of my friends were working now and coming home after a hard days work, an evening out was not on the top of their list of activities. I do remember looking forward to Friday and the weekend activities.

Postscript to South Shields

Leaving South Shields I felt a pang of nostalgia, I still feel a little pang for South Shields even now. Although I had my ups and downs, trials and tribulations I enjoyed my 2 years stay. I learnt a lot at the Marine College, not only the syllabus of the course but how to work under pressure, to run to keep up. Not to be daunted by failure and not to refuse a helping hand. I enjoyed my leisure time and the company of the other students both at the hostel and at Mrs. Greenwell's. I knew when I left I would miss the harbour, Mill Dam and the Missions to Seamen, the town centre and the trolley buses but life moves along and I knew I must move along with it.

This concludes another Chapter of my life and the beginning of a new phase in the next Chapter, the beginning of a new learning curve.

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