14 November 2010

Sea Life 1951. The Modasa. London.

First draft:
Leaving Malta our next call was Tilbury Dock in London. Our passengers disembarked here and some of the cargo also, I think.
During our few days stay at Tilbury, over the weekend, I made the opportunity to visit my Aunt Florrie (Florence), she was my father's sister, who lived in nearby Rochester about 5 miles distant. She and her husband had moved from Cumberland to Rochester in Kent just after the end of WW2. I made the journey by early morning bus and they were more than surprised to see me. She had 2 children, my cousins, Valerie and Carl who were younger than I. I was made most welcome by the family and I finally caught the bus back to Tilbury in the late afternoon.

My aunt's husband, John Ritson was a close friend of my father's and he was also my godfather. He was said to be a very clever man who worked on seaplanes during WW2 based in the English Lake District . His son Carl Ritson following his father's footsteps, becoming an aircraft engineer. Eventually he went to Florida, USA to follow his profession.

We were now due to leave Tilbury and sail to Newcastle-on-Tyne, the Modasa's home port to discharge the remaining cargo.

Note: To be amended. My visit to my Aunt Florrie above may have been with another ship (British Piper), an oil tanker sometime later.  Maybe not.
Sea Life 1951. The Modasa. Homeward Bound.

First draft:
We left Lourenco Marques heading for Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar where we were to pick up our first passengers. We would also picked up more cargo, what it was I can no longer remember. Then onwards to Mombasa where we picked up the majority of our passengers and more cargo. Our ports of call were more or less the same as on our outward voyage with the exception of Marseilles, in southern France.

We then passed through the Suez Canal again and back into the Mediterranean. Following the north African Coast we made our way to to the island of Malta an additional port of call to pick up even more cargo and maybe an extra passenger or two.

. We stayed here only 12 hours. We were berthed close to the old town so, to stretch our legs, a few of us had a short exploratory walk through the old town with its narrow cobbled streets, small shops and cafes. I remember the buildings were high in these narrow streets  but the light coloured stone of the buildings seemed to reflect the daylight down into the streets making them quite bright. Leaving Malta our next call was Tilbury docks in London.

Notes and thoughts.

Now, remembering Malta I wish we could have stayed longer. There is much history here, going back to ancient times. As a school boy and later I did not care for History much at all, although I did enjoy Geography very much. As a boy, I would often dream of those faraway countries.

During my early 50s I became interested in genealogy and then the history of the county of Cumberland which is now Cumbria were I was born. This lead to the history of its peoples through the ages. My fathers people were yeoman farmers in the Wigton and Carlisle areas and I was able to get back to the late 1700s before I started to be unsure who was who. My mothers line was much easier to trace. They had not moved far going back to about the mid 1600s. They were in the main yeoman farmers and stonemasons.

4 November 2010

:Sea Life 1951. Lourenco Marques, Mozambique.

First draft
We left Dar es Salaam, heading south to Lourenco Marques now renamed Maputo. When we visited, Mozambique was still a colony of Portugal. The name change took place shortly after Mozambique became a republic. The old name has always seemed to me, since a small boy to have had a grand ring to it. From my eight birthday I have been a keen stamp collector with a few temporary periodic lapses. First stamps of the world, then British Colonies, then in my later years, theme related. The older stamps of Mozambique had only the name Beira wrote across the bottom. There was no country of Beira and it took sometime to deduce where the stamp came from. I found it eventually from a large school wall map, the word Beira jumped out then the name Mozambique. Looking further on the map lower down was the name Lourenco Marques, that name stuck in my brain, it now seems for ever!

Lourenco Marques was a long way from Dar es Salaam about 1500 miles or a little more, a few days steaming. If we still had a passenger or two on board I am now unable to remember or whether we still had cargo on board. I do remember we had cargo to load mainly large bales of hides, mostly cattle hides. I seem to remember wild cattle mentioned during loading, added to that we were not far from the South African border and the railway ran into Lourenco Marques from South Africa and down from the north also.

We, or I did, got quite a surprise when we got an invite to a cricket match... could we raise a team? The word spread though the ship. I don't think we quite made a team, we made up the eleven from spare British locals. In 1951 Lourenco Marques was a thriving port and railway junction. Then, British officials of kinds seemed to abound in all kinds of unlikely places. Oh, and the cricket match, I think we did managed to lose.

We were here 3 days, we all enjoyed  the hospitality of the local expatriates and the stories swapped.