2009 Updates     

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News Date Dec 2009     Apologies.....
Having had a nagging toothache for 4 weeks....(seen dentist twice at expense),
my bad leg playing up and a minor trip which resulted in tearing load of bits in my shoulder I've been a bit subdued of late, sorry for no updates. However all is on the mend hopefully, and those wonderful 'Thai Girls' will do 'miracles' in a week or two? - when we're away in January.
Rather than go though the couple of hundred who have sent cards and e-cards this year, I can report that all are keeping well - yes yet another year older, the very good news is that I have not attended any funerals this year for our old sea-dogs and I hope for 2010 it remains that way. I spare a moment or two in reflection and 'happy memories' of our 'friends' who are no longer with us and their families. I and most of us remember some fantastic times at Christmas with LOF, even on occasion loading crude at the horrible place Kharg Island - Iran in the 70's..... we still managed a good time irrespective of the authorities trying their best for us not too !!!!
The laughs, jokes....same old ones from the same people....party time and normally good humour and camaraderie.

During the next year, besides holidays and my many other 'community lead positions',
I am hoping to get permission to copy and publish the story and history of the SD14 by John Lingwood. This is another lengthy long term project.

We are still looking for photographs - the older the better?

I can report that our ex M.D. Norris Jackson is proud to inform me of his new 'job' - as village 'paper-boy' at the princely salary of £3:00/week.....it keeps him fit and active.

So it remains for me to wish everyone seasonal greetings, a healthy and prosperous 2010
Many thanks for your support and to those who generously sponsor this website, without whom it would be difficult to sustain.

Best wishes...... Roy & Connie Gerstner

News Date Dec 2009     Tom Brown..... Hi Roy, 

Have always enjoyed  looking in to  your website of LOF. I started seafaring as Jnr/Eng on 'London Explorer' in Vlissingen  Holland 1966 
Was also on London Resolution, Ambassador, Harmony and Adventurer
I came to live in Canada where I worked on the Great Lake-Ships 1972 to 1988. 
All this time then I bumped into an old shipmate Alex McElwee who has lived just down the road  from me in Bramalea Ontario. It was his wife who got me a blind date and ended up married. Anyway.... I have returned to live in Canada after15 yrs working on Caribbean Yachts so now staying at the Toronto Flying Angel  Seafarers  Mission Club.
Unfortunately my "blind date" wife of 20 yrs took off on me and the family 14 yrs ago.......so single  now.

My son is Captain/Chief Eng on the big yachts in Miami, daughter a Head Nurse in Texas, so all good with them.
Our Flying Angel Club here will always welcome any News/Magazines from UK.
I worked on the last Canadian coal burning Lake-ship 'The Robert S Pierson.'

Tom  Brown
416 469 5391
905 872 9218
Son  is doing good as Captain/Eng

News Date Nov 2009     Happy Birthday.... Bob Blake (Ex Jnr/Eng - Eng Superintendent)
From Sue Blake.....
Bob and I are very well.  Bob is presently attending a dry dock in Portugal and will hopefully be home within the next 2 weeks. 
Unfortunately he will be away for his 60th birthday on 1st December, but we plan to celebrate over the Christmas period.
Our youngest daughter, Stephanie, returns from Hong Kong, where she presently works, on Christmas Eve. 
Victoria and her husband Dominic will be joining us too.

(This from R.G.'s archive locker .....a picture of Bob in his cabin on the 'London Resolution in 1976.....

Like the Hair!

News Date Nov 2009     Roger Fuller. (Ex Rad/Off)
I was wondering if anyone could shed light on this vessel, it is an oil painting of a vessel 'Polaris' painted in 1958 by artist G. Yamataka. I purchase it at a local auction last Saturday. It is similar to a vessel on ship spotting photos called Polaris #3 but this one has one hatch missing. Can not find any information re the artist.

(R.G. - With LOF funnel markings and flying a Greek ensign, it could well be one of R&K's vessels. They tended to name vessels after 'stars' or other heavenly bodies.
The last vessel we took over into LOF was the ex 'Nestor' - which was renamed 'London Enterprise'
and was a sistership to the 'London Victory' & 'London Spirit'

Don Dunlop
Ex LOF Engineer and since Surveyor for ABS and Lloyds was onboard a R&K vessel a few years ago called the 'Star Polaris'

No news of what R&K's are doing these days or whether they still have any vessels of their own or still maybe manage on behalf of other owners.


News Date Nov 2009     Bill McGuire
Roy, The LOF news is a great reminder of days gone by and it is
really enjoyable to read the contributions from the ex LOF staff. Naturally there is some sadness as I read about
those who I knew well and have passed on. Re the Valour I have a lovely model of the ship before conversion to a
bulk carrier. To all who knew me at sea and ashore I send my very best wishes for the coming festive season and
the future. I would be pleased to hear from any of the LOF personnel. Best regards to everyone.
Bill McGuire e-mail astro1966@talktalk.net
News Date Oct 2009     'London Valour' - Remembrance.  Eric Hill (Jnr)
Grandson of Radio Officer Eric Hill London Valour.

My uncle was in Genoa last month and visited the Anglican Church where he saw the bell, ex London Valour
He was told that someone from the western isles had been in contact with the church a few years ago asking for the bell. However, due to the history of the bell and because it was gifted to the church they refused to hand it over. But now due to a decreasing congregation and concerns regarding the fabric of the building, the church wish the bell to be passed to somewhere where it will be looked after and accessible to anyone who wishes to see it. They suggested to my uncle that it be gifted to the Maritime Museum in Genoa as a memorial to the tragedy and as an item of maritime interest and history of Genoa. 
I've spoken to my father and uncles and they are in agreement that it would be nice for the bell to be kept by the Maritime Museum. However, we do not represent all of the relatives and survivors. 
I'd therefore appreciate if you could use your contacts to ask the opinions of those you know who are still with us and any of the families of crew who were lost.
If there was an agreement that the bell be looked after by the museum, it would be a nice touch for the official hand over to coincide with the 40th anniversary.
From discussions, it appears that my father, both uncles and I will be going to Genoa for the 40th anniversary do you think more from LOF would make the trip?
Regards Eric

Webmasters Note, I have sent the above to the 3 contacts ex Valour and awaiting response from 2 of them.
It is my intention along with Robert Kitchener (Ex Ch/Off London Valour) to join with the Hill family next April in Genoa.

If anyone else would like to join us for the occasion, please
contact me

There is plenty of time to arrange the travel and other logistics.
Further updates will follow. (R.G.)

News Date Oct 2009     Confidence Bell Found.... Tony Goldsmith

Also find a picture of the old ships bell that came home with me when
the poor Confidence went for scrap in Pakistan I think. Cheers and
regards from Tony Goldsmith
News Date Oct 2009     News from Tony Goldsmith....

Hi Roy thanks for the chat and email    I found a photograph of the Mv Shackleford The vessel is a fully automated ship 85000 tons and known as a Panamax a maximum size that is allowed through the Panama Canal. She was sold to a rich chappie called Phostoferles in Skaramanga 0n 9th October 1977.

News Date Oct 2009     Shackleford!.....  Hi I did an eight month stint on the Shackleford/GUMJ around 1975 but try as
I might, I can find absolutely nothing about it – I’ve searched all the usual web sites – nothing - it’s almost as though it never existed !
It was owned by LOF/Rethymnis &Kulukundis, and was fairly big bulk carrier. I’d love a photo, but anything would do.

Dave Corbin EX R/O

News Date Oct 2009     Mavroleon Family..... Following on the death of Mr 'Bluey' Mavroleon, you maybe interested to know that his Mother, Mrs Violet Honora Mavroleon (nee Withers), wife of Mr Basil Manuel 'BM' Mavroleon, was my grandfather's sister. 
My grandfather was William James Withers (born in Ireland).  The latter was father to William Norman Withers who was my Father. I have in my possession the most beautiful photograph of Great-aunt Violet that she gave to her brother on 2nd June 1920 with the message 'Fondest Love, from Sister Vi', written on the photograph.  She married BM Mavroleon on 28th September 1925 in Paddington. 
On Violet's death certificate, dated 26th December 1965, the name of the 'informant' given is H Mavroleon, son, - a family mystery as we have never been able to establish the gentleman's name.  Last year, en route to Ireland, I visited Violet's grave in the Putney Vale Cemetery. 
I thought you just maybe interested to know this bit of Mavroleon Family news.
Rosemary Edwards (nee Withers)
Webmasters note : This part of the family reside in Zimbabwe, another arm of the family was in Mozambique for a while
News Date Sept 2009     Keith & Barbara Cederholm + Jonathan Plunkett.....



Keith & Barbara were recently in Jersey for a short break and whilst there met up EX LOF Electronics Officer Jonathan P..... who is still in gainful employment with the Jersey Airports Authority.... all look very well....


News Date August 2009     Michael Cuff. (Ex 3rd/Off - Personnel Superintendent) Mike has been in and out of hospital for the past 2 months. He went to see his doctor feeling ok.... for a regular check up and was found to have some serious cancer in the colon/stomach area. After surgery and then getting infection and pleurisy, he informs me he is feeling a lot better and they have re-piped him. I am sure we all wish him a good recovery. He has just turned 82 last week. (R.G.)
News Date August 2009     Obituary..... DEREK AVRIL CLULOW  Derek was our preferred pilot on the Manchester ship canal and a man held in great respect and affection by those who met him on the Hunter Cambridge and other LOF vessels transiting the Canal.
Our thoughts go out to his wife Jean, and to their daughter Wendy who lives in Canada.
It is with regret I have to inform you that Derek passed away peacefully in hospital on Sunday 9th March 2008. He will be sadly missed by his many friends in Liners Old Shipmates, with his ready humour and his wonderful approach to life.
(Dave Meare)
News Date August 2009     Everyone on Holiday?..... News drifting through has been extremely spartan.
I have been keeping very busy with various 'community' projects that I am involved in since enforced semi-retirement.

I am Chairman of a local community group -   environmental volunteers, besides removing near 5,000 Kgs of Litter & Rubbish from our town and villages in the last 3 years.
We recently placed a small boat filled with flowers and bulbs in a gateway to our town.

Such is success? that someone has found me another boat about twice the size of this one and we are well advanced into doing something similar - hopefully in place by the end of October. The small boy in the picture named the boat -
The 'Litterpicker'

Good News from Eric Hill
(Jnr) The grandson of Radio Officer Eric Hill Ex London Valour. Eric informs me that he has now located the 'original' bell from the 'London Valour' - it is in the Anglican Church of the Holy Ghost - Genova Italy.
I hope we will get some up to date photos at some stage.



Dave Meare..... Is still 'working' even at part-time for Satellite Company 'EchoStar' - he is hanging in to December 2010.

Jean Kirkham..... Is keeping OK, I've had contact with Jack's nephew and put him in touch with Jean as they lost each other sometime ago, Peter is planning to make a visit to Brittany.

News Date July 2009     Malcolm Thain (Counties Ship Management) (Exciting times to be had)
Currently resident Dorset -retired.
I joined Counties as deck apprentice in April 1947 and completed my indentures in 1951. For the final months of my apprenticeship I was signed on as A.B. My first ship was the 'Finnamore Hill' later renamed 'Wye Valley'. The first voyage was to Three Rivers and back to the U.K. with a cargo of grain.
Before we left the Thames the Chief Engineer died of a heart attack and we anchored off Gravesend awaiting a replacement.

Our next voyage was to New Orleans in ballast where we loaded grain for India. Thereafter the vessel was chartered to B&I for 18 months trading on the Indian coast.

The 'Wye Valley' suffered a lost propeller whilst entering the port of Rangoon. The cause was either pilot error or a wrong engine movement in any event we were swept by the current and were in collision with several vessels moored at the buoys. Whilst repairs were being carried out the Chief Mate was drowned returning from ashore at night. Eventually we returned to the U.K. via Russia and Romania where a guard shore and killed our quartermaster.
Two positives resulted from this voyage - we changed from U.K. crew to Indian crew which vastly improved our lot especially the food, The Master was Captain Cambridge who was a strict but fair man who ensured we learned the important seamanship necessary.
My next ship was the 'Mill Hill'. Joined in London loaded general and cars for Australia where we again were long term chartered trading between Australia and N. Zealand. This ship suffered a casualty in the Australian Bight when the cargo of pig iron shifted and the vessel was abandoned. It was possible to anchor the ship and it was towed to Port Lincoln and eventually resumed the voyage. The Chief Mate lost his life in the incident the Master was Captain Church who was later
replaced .The voyage terminated in London some two years after its commencement I left to obtain my second mates cert. and thereafter avoiding British shipowners as much as possible much to my financial benefit.
I trust this short tale will be of some interest to ex Counties seafarers and would be happy to hear from any old shipmates
Best wishes Malcolm Thain Master Mariner
News Date July 2009     In Memoriam..... Tommy March..... Sad loss never forgotten RIP
News Date July 2009    
  Godfrey Nash.....
Congratulations on picking up his 'bus pass' @ now 60 Goff can make the best
  of the   Abergavenny Express. He has recovered recently from a hernia operation and was on the
  point of   getting bored during his convalescence. Now back at work he is keeping busy with
   building/plumbing general engineering jobs. His son is now 21.
                             Meurig Caffery (Mogsie)..... Collected his bus pass a while back.
                             Alf Rutherford......74 recovered from a stroke sometime back.
                             Dave Vincent..... Enjoying the UK winters in Australia and back to the UK from the summers.
News Date June 2009     Graham Nuttall has more information about the 'London Pioneer' Bell - see story below, he is away on his holiday in Portugal at present and will update us with the story on his return.
News Date June 2009    
Alec Priestley.....
Congratulations on reaching three quarters of a century.....no news as yet from Alec, but I dare say he will get back to me.
Adrian Latham..... Adrian is getting to be our 'geriatric rocker', he is working for the I.O.M. Steam packet Co, as acting 2nd/Eng. News is that at 50+++ he is planning to get married. More news
                           when it happens.
                          Alistair Roaf..... will be a young 39, he is working for a survey and brokerage co - out of Sidcup in

A Reminder for 6th September.....


News Date June 2009     'The Pioneer Bell' Further to the previous articles re April & May this year. On returning from showing my Sister-In-Laws 'most of England Wales & Scotland in two weeks (They had already covered 8 other European countries in 10 days?). We stopped off as promised in Church Stretton, where Headmaster of the St. Lawrence Primary School - Mr. Dick Langford made me very welcome. Here are the pictures of the 'Bell' still in situ, it looks slightly different to the original photos, with the overlaying name 'London' on top of 'Overseas' more prominent.

There 'appears' to be something 'adrift' with the story....maybe someone can put some light on it.....
Launched in 1958 as the 'Overseas Pioneer', converted to bulk carrier in 1967 and renamed 'London Pioneer' in 1968
The Pioneer' incident (See story on sidebar - happened in December 1975)
Captain Connor presented this 'Bell' sometime in 1975, the ship was not sold on until December 1976.....
Was the ship without a Ships Bell? or did she have two 'Bells' - anyone know the answer?..... (R.G.)
John Richardson has sent another interesting history of his time at sea (LOF Yarns - Long Stories)
My good friend Geoffrey Baskerville (and his wife) are in the UK at present, not sure where, but he and I joined the Stamford Hill  62 years ago tomorrow – 21st May 1947! Those were THE days!!


News Date May 2009     North East Meeting.  Our thanks to Malcolm Cuthbert who arranged a meet up at the Missions to Seamen in South Shields.
Pictured Left to Right

Peter Staddon (Ex Ch/Eng)

Jack Knowles (Ex E & EO)

Jim Stronach (Ex Catering Off)

Ean Curle (Ex Ch/Eng)

Colin White (Ex 4th/Eng)

Malcolm Cuthbert (Ex Ch/Eng)




No news from Gordon Emmerson, Dick Cunningham, Ozzie Bland, Malcolm Watson.
Dave Simpson and Trevor Swatton are both still at Sea.

News Date May 2009   Memorial Service for Bluey Mavroleon. Will be held at the Guards Chapel London on the 21st May 2009 at 12:00 mid-day. Unfortunately I am unable to attend. (R.G.)
News Date May 2009     In Memoriam     Andrew Gillie (Ex Counties & LOF) sadly passed away in 2006.
Our thoughts are with Irene and her family.
News Date May 2009     Meet - Up in North East.... Please see Malcolm's invitation for the 20th.....

Happy Birthday.....this week Bryan Watkins (Still Master with Vela)
                                                    Barry Moore (Retired to the Philippines)
                                                    Paul Cartwright (Retired & enjoying his Golf)
News Date May 2009     In Memoriam     Jack Kirkham who sadly passed away on this day 2005.
                                            Keep smiling Jack, we know there are a few jobs that needs to be finished off.
News Date May 2009     Colin White  Very sobering to see so many former shipmates have passed on but very glad to hear that Ian Hughes (With whom I shared a cabin on the Viscount for 6 months from Jan to June 80 and both paid off in Bremen) and Trev Gatley (With whom I attended Highbury College, Portsmouth 78-79 and also South Shields Marine & Tech 81) are still around.
Some others I sailed with include,
Malcolm Cuthbert Ch/Eng London Viscount Jan-Apr 80
Tony Bragg 3rd/Eng             "              "           "
Brian Laing 4th/Eng              "              "           "
Malcolm Watson Jnr/Eng     "              "           "
John Dunsmore 3rd/Off  accompanied by wife Lil.
Dick Ethell 2nd/Eng Viscount Jun 80
Graham Nutall 3rd/Eng Viscount Jun 80
Clive (Oggy) Munn 4th/Eng.
3rd/Engs Courtney Grove, Pete Whitehead, and Alec Priestly on 'London Enterprise II' Sep-Dec 1980;
E&EO Bill Allan & wife Evelyn,
Elec/Off Tom Dewar,
Chief Off. John (JWW) Peters,
Jnr.Engs. Steve Whitaker (accompanied by wife Helen) ,Wayne B. Furlong, Jeff Anson, Kev Wilkie,
Adrian Latham
Radio Off. Ben Killeen.
Is this anything to go on ???
A few details about myself
School-St. Ambrose Barlow S.M.1971-1976 De La Salle Grammar School 6th form 1976-77.
Joined LOF Dec 1977
Highbury Technical college 1978-79.
Sea service Jan 1980 -June 1980 'M.V. London Viscount' -joined East Float Birkenhead Jan 3rd 1980.
Returned to Liverpool Seaforth (Twice!) - left at Brake (Bremen) with Ian Hughes 10th July 1980.
'M.T. London Enterprise II' joined Willemstad Curacao 9th Sep 1980 left 31st Dec 1980 New Orleans (still made it home for new year-another story).
South Shields Marine & Tech college 3rd Jan-17 Dec 1981
Received exam results and notice of redundancy March 1982.
After 9 months on standby joined Royal Air Force (as Workshop Fitter) for 10 years - Oct 1982 - Jun 1992.
Various jobs as fitter/welder until 1999.
Joined Airbus UK July 1999. Here still-worked as fitter and now materials inspector.
Have been married 19 years; crew-me, Jeanette, Ben and Charlotte, plus neurotic Yorkshire Terrier-Meg.
All the best and kind regards,
News Date April 2009     Trivia.....(Overseas/London Pioneer) After Robert Connor sent the various pictures of his mother and father (see below). I was fascinated on seeing the 'Bell' from the 'Overseas/London Pioneer' presented to the 'St Lawrence CE Primary School' in Owen Connors home village of Church Stretton. I am pleased to say that the present Headmaster Mr. Dick Langford, confirms that the 'Bell' is still in situ and was very interested in the how and when the 'Bell' had come to be presented to the school. Around mid-June I will be passing close by Church Stretton (Shropshire) and he has welcomed me to call in and take some photos if I wish. Many thanks again to Robert for opening up another small piece of LOF/ship history. (R.G.)
News Date April 2009     Brian Ashby (RIP) Today (25th) Myself and many thanks to Carl Suffield (Ex Ch/Eng) for his help and assistance. We attended the memorial service for our LOF friend Brian Ashby who passed away last year. We were very humbled by Gill, their family and friends in our attending the service. Brian was born and brought up in Sussex, although he lived many years and spoke with a west country accent?. The service was in the quaint hamlet of Bramber - St Botolphs Church. Afterwards the ashes were placed nearby Brians brother.
We were invited back to Stenning, a village close by for refreshments and a talk with the family.
Gill is coping under the circumstances and is as yet undecided whether she will remain in Normandy France or return to the UK.

News Date April 2009     From Robert Connor (Owen Connor Master)
Have been enjoying looking around the LOF-News website and the memories it has triggered of a childhood often spent aboard.  My father was Owen Connor, and as I couldn't find any reference to him I thought you might like a few pictures to include in your photo gallery. Not sure when the pictures of him was taken - probably 1965 or 1966. The one of my mother Vera Connor was taken onboard in August 1969 off the coast of Italy (don't know the ship's name and suspect my father was then still Chief Officer) and the third is from April or May 1970 onboard ship unknown at Falmouth - that's Mr. Waterfall and Mr. Dixie (Agent?).
My father was with LOF through the 50s, 60s and 70s, eventually getting his Master's ticket and serving as Captain for many years.  He passed away in 1997.  Have various other pictures through the years, including many crew members who served with Dad through the decades.

Owen Connor was born on February 6th 1926 in Liverpool to John and Sally Connor (John was himself a merchant seaman at the time). Owen attended Grant Road Elementary School in Liverpool between 1937 and 1939, but he always claimed that the war disrupted his education, not least because the school was taken over for ARP purposes!
Not sure what he got up to between '39 and '44, (his father John was lost at sea on the MV Zealandic in early '41) but in 1944 he joined the Royal Navy as an A.B. Gunner and served until 1948. In 1948 he joined the Merchant Navy and held various ratings up to Boatswain in 1955. His first Discharge Book commences in 1953, and between 1953 and 1956 served on a number of merchant vessels (no idea of companies but vessels worked upon included the MV Atlantic Coast, MV Australia Star, SS Rhineland and the Lalande).
Between March and June 1953 he studied for and obtained his Mate Home Trade Certificate at Liverpool Nautical College and in July 1955 he obtained his 2nd Mate F/G Certificate at Liverpool Nautical College.  This was further followed by obtaining his Mate F/G Certificate at Liverpool Polytechnic Nautical Dept. in December 1957 and his Master F/G Certificate at the same Polytechnic in October 1960.


The first record of an engagement on an LOF vessel is the 'London Victory' in April 1956 as 3rd Mate.
He married my mother Vera in April 1957.  My sister Lynne was born in June 1960 and I came along in August 1963.
Dad's final command was aboard the London Voyager between December 1982 and March 1983. He was made redundant from his position in June 1983 at the age of 57 and although he tried to seek further employment as a ship's captain (if it had been up to him he'd have carried on going away to sea for ever!), he spent a few years working for a small electronics company in Shropshire before retiring and moving North Wales. He gradually succumbed to ill-health (cardiac and renal problems) and died on August 2nd 1997 aged 71.
My mother passed away as a result of complications caused by Alzheimer's in November 1999.  She was 69 years old.
My sister is a GP and lives with her family near Dover.  I am an IT consultant in live with my partner near Stroud in Gloucestershire (an oasis of rural calm after 25 years in London!).

The rumour that Dad had an old lifeboat in the garden is sadly untrue.  He DID however buy an old lifeboat off the dock side in Belgium or Holland in the late 60's and had it brought back to Shropshire where it sat in a local mechanics yard (surrounded by road traffic accident wrecks!).  Dad's intention was to turn it into a pleasure cruiser, but as it eventually involved him being away from home from morning 'til night during shore leave, my mother put her foot down and the boat had to go!  He did have an old brass ship's telegraph in the garden ('salvaged' from an old Polish MV) which today sits in my garden here in Gloucestershire.
My mother often sailed with him but never found her sea legs.
In 1975 he presented a ship's bell to St' Lawrence's Primary School in Church Stretton, which my sister and I had attended.  I believe the bell came from the London Pioneer, although am not absolutely certain.  Have attached a picture, which appeared in the local papers of the time.

Thanks again for the website and all the work you have put into it.
Robert Connor
News Date April 2009     Ambrose Jones.....   I was delighted to read Geoff Baskerville's comments in the L.O.F.-News because recently  I have been saddened to read of so many L.O.F. personnel who were younger than myself, and who have already " crossed the bar"
It is good to know that some of the "Old Hands" like Geoff are still about and I confirm that I certainly remember having sailed with 11  out of the 12  he mentioned I would also like to have added to the list the following Characters.
Master  C.E.D. Brierley,   George Fox,   W. King, 
              McKenzie,            Morgan,          D.M.Muir,      
Ch/Eng       Bill Boyes    Freddy Staincliffe
R/O             Phil Morris   John Moss
Ch/Stwd     Shadforth  
and so very many more,  even two which I would like to have forgotten !
News Date April 2009     Today April 9th..... Reflection of Geoff Baskervilles story below, it is perhaps a timely
reminder that on this day 39 years ago, commemorates the sad loss of those on board the 'London Valour'

May we all remember our 20 lost ship mates and friends, our thoughts are with those who survived.
News Date April 2009     Message from Down Under..... Was looking through an old journal the other day and came across a little incident that is perhaps worth recalling. I note that the story is now over fifty years ago, my how time flies when one is enjoying oneself.
'London Valour '
It was June 1958 and we were bound up channel heading for Thameshaven, having been away for the best part of twelve months on a Shell time charter.
The Master was Captain Donald Ward and I was Mate. We had joined the ship at Thameshaven the previous June. Captain Ward had brought onboard a budgerigar, which he called Peter and he had over the course of the voyage been in  the habit of locking his cabin door and releasing the bird, thus allowing it to fly around his day room.
This particular day, a calm, summery Sunday, we had done the usual morning inspection, had a drink with the Old Man, lunched and those of us that could were having an afternoon siesta, prior to picking the pilot up off Dungeness, where we were due at 1700 hours.
There was a sudden shout down the Old Man's stairs of Mate, Mate come up here quickly, I dashed from my bed to find Captain Ward's hands up to his face, which, together with his shirt was covered in blood. Sitting him down and looking around his cabin, I noted that lying on the settee, on a cushion, was Peter, who sadly not in this world. He lay, on his back, feet in the air, gone to the great bird sanctuary in the sky.
Dressing Captain Wards nose and cleaning his face up, the story emerged. Apparently the bird had been flying around the dayroom, when suddenly it landed on his face and had bitten a rather bulbous blue vein which ran across his nose, the result blood shooting all over and he had, reacted by swiping the bird off, in the process killing the poor chappie.
As Captain Wards wife was coming down to Thameshaven to meet him it was decided to place Peter in a small cardboard box, for his wife to see before committing him to his grave.
I note from the journal that the 2/O was Gerbi, 3/O Robson, 4/O Willie, the apprentices were Wareham and Witherick and the C/E Kelly.
Keep up the good work with the web site, some very interesting reading. Most of the names that now seem to appear are from the late 60's onwards which in turn has resulted in some of the real characters who made up the LOF personnel lists now receiving no mention. Who remembers Mates and Masters such as D'Arcy Patterson, Murgatroyd, Humby Snr, Freddie Osler, Chief Engineers like Douglas, Steamboat Graham, Alderson and Thomas, Chief Stewards like Buff Turnbull, Harry Jones, Ken Allan.?????

Geoffrey Baskerville
from a wet, windy Sydney NSW. Australia
News Date March 2009     Memorial Service for Bluey Mavroleon. Will be held at the Guards Chapel London on the 21st May 2009 at 12:00 mid-day.
News Date March 2009     Adrian Cook. (Ex Eng/Cad - 4th Eng) Adrian is still managing to hang in with his job at Corus/British Steel in Middlesbrough.... he sends the following...






Here is a picture of my son Philip (all 7ft of him ) with his daughter Mellissa born 9/3/09 at 11lbs 14oz .My 6th grandchild ! He was mentioned in "dispatches" August 1982 edition of LOF news .
He did pay a visit to the London Baron when we where in Middlesbrough in May 1982
Keep up the good work
News Date March 2009     Brian Ashby (RIP) Gill Ashby has been in contact and as promised has provided the following information:

A memorial service for Brian is being held at St Botolphs Church and cemetery, near Bramber, West Sussex on Saturday 25th April 2009 at 12 noon. Anyone wishing to attend will be most welcome.

Mrs Gillian Ashby
La Fauveliere
53300 St Mars sur Colmont
t: 00 33 243 04 90 64

It is my planned intention to attend this memorial on behalf of all friends and shipmates of Brian, if anyone else is planning to attend I would be pleased if you could contact me and we can make arrangements to meet before the ceremony. FYI Bramber is near Shoreham Airport and the church is close by the postcode of BN44 3WA
I will take as usual a 'LOF' Anchor - Wreath and if anyone wishes to contribute towards this, again I would be most grateful.
contact me
News Date March 2009     Happy Birthday.....this week
Bob Fullagar - 57
Ronny Aird - 42
Dave Corbin - 58
News Date March 2009      Bluey Mavroleon, who died on February 16 aged 81, was a ship owner, Grenadier Guardsman, yachtsman, pilot, patriot a good shot and a famously generous host.

Manuel Basil Mavroleon was born on April 17 1927, the son of Basil Mavroleon and his English wife Violet (née Withers). The name "Bluey" arose from his interpretation, as a small child, of his first names, and it stuck with him for the rest of his life.
His father, a Greek ship broker, ship builder and owner, was a great Anglophile; his vessels were built in British yards and his fleet sailed under the British Flag.
Accordingly he sent his son to an English prep school, Wellesley House, at Broadstairs, Kent – Bluey arrived armed with a huge scale model by Basset-Lowke of one of his father's early freighters, ensuring his popularity with pupils and masters alike.
Mavroleon père foresaw the outbreak of war, and moved with his family to Los Angeles and then to Canada, not returning to London until 1942. Bluey then spent two years at Charterhouse, leaving at 17 to join the Grenadier Guards.

To his lasting regret he was commissioned just too late to see active service, but his three years with the colours left him with an enduring love of his regiment. He regarded British traditions as the greatest bastions of freedom in the world.
After time at sea as a deck hand on one of his father's ships and a spell in France, at Grenoble and Tours, ostensibly to polish up his French, Bluey Mavroleon became a director of his father's new company, London and Overseas Freighters. He was appointed managing director in 1965 after his father suffered a heart attack.

In 1975, after the Labour government imposed punitive taxation and nationalised the Austin and Pickersgill shipyard in Sunderland, in which his family had a substantial investment, Bluey announced that he was leaving Britain to live in Switzerland. "Certain things are happening in this country that make my eyebrows shoot up," he declared. He none the less remained on the board of London and Overseas Freighters, although he relinquished the role of managing director. He eventually resigned from the board in 1985.

For all his business acumen and sporting skill, Mavroleon will be best remembered for his generosity, his infectious humour and near-professional artistry as a comic actor – at parties he would entertain fellow guests with a song and dance routine, and his friends believed that, had he not been supported by a family fortune, he might have pursued a career in show business and become a household name.

Mavroleons first wife, Ruth, was a London policeman's daughter. They married in 1951 and divorced three years later. In 1956 he married Gioconda de Gallardo y Castro, with whom he had two sons, Carlos and Nicholas. The marriage was dissolved in 1961, and he married thirdly, in 1963, Camilla Paravicini, the granddaughter of Somerset Maugham; they had two daughters, Syrie and Sacha, before this marriage too was dissolved.

In 1982 Mavroleon married Caroline Tomé, and it proved a long and happy union. They entertained many of their friends at St Moritz, where Mavroleon was a long-serving vice-chairman of the Corviglia ski club.

Their hospitality extended to his houses at Rolle, on Lake Geneva, and (in the summer) to Porto Helli in Greece – the harbour there was home port to an armada of small craft which he sailed and skippered expertly under the Blue Ensign of the Household Division Yacht Club. He also flew helicopters and fixed-wing light aircraft. He was a member of White's.

Bluey Mavroleon is survived by his wife, his son Nicholas (a former husband of the actress Barbara Carrera) and his two daughters. His son Carlos, a journalist working for CBS who had converted to Islam, died in mysterious circumstances in a hotel room in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1998.

Acknowledgements, John Peard (LOF), Noris Jackson (LOF) The Daily Telegraph (UK)

News Date March 2009     Andy Dow Here is a picture of my wife and l that was taken during my youngest daughters wedding. The reception was held in the Hyatt on the Rocks at Sydney harbour, really nice venue and of course the Aussie beer is good.


People in a Cambridgeshire town have raised more than £5,000 to help the victims of the Australian bush fires. Residents of Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire are sending money to their namesake city of Whittlesea.

More than 200 people have died in wild fires in the south eastern state of Victoria and many thousands more have been left homeless. After World War II, the Australian city sent food parcels to the small English town in the Fens.
Eight people from city of Whittlesea died in the fires that raged through the state of Victoria.
The fires also saw 300 hundred homes razed to the ground. (BBC East)

News Date March 2009     Obituary of Peter White..... This will go into the Obituary section in the next day or so, in the meantime here are some photos of Peter with wife Maggie, in Happier Times.....

News Date March 2009      Gordon Shaw Clarke (Apprentice to Chief Officer) With LOF 1960s to mid 1970s.  He emigrated to Australia in mid 70's
Thank you for your concern, for the time being the Mornington Peninsula has been spared and temperatures are down from 48 to 15. It is quite horrific and quite unprecedented, especially as some fires have been deliberately lit. One of the areas we spent many lovely summer holidays - North East Victoria, has been involved and I have not been able to locate the people we stayed with. 
You won't know that Gordon died on 4th November from cancer. Our daughter Kendelle died on 2nd July also from cancer. Kendelle was ill for eighteen months after diagnosis and Gordon and I looked after her when she was not in hospital.  She had her own home and for the most part was able to stay there with our help. Gordon did not say anything all the while he was driving us up and down to the city hospital and fetching oxygen bottles or wheelchairs when we needed them. After Kendelle died we noticed he was 'odd' and put it down to grief until he started falling asleep even during conversations. He did try and organise a colonoscopy which was eventually scheduled but in the meantime David (2nd son) went with him to the doctors and insisted on a CAT scan that day.  We were called in and told of the very extensive involvement of the cancer. Gordon just 'let go' and died five weeks later. 2008 was not a good year as there were several other minor upsets.  My garden which took 35 years to grow from nothing, has been trashed/scorched with the weather we've had but it is nothing compared with the people who have been burned out and have died or lost entire families.
Regards Kendelle

(Thanks to Dudley and Lynne Fry)

News Date March 2009     Greg Pinfold.....
I am a Canadian who served on the London Splendour in the summer of 1965. I was 16 years old at the time and was only on board for 3 months. We cruised from Saint John's Newfoundland to Lake Maracaibo Venezuela. At the time I believe John Douglas was second mate and I have always wondered how he had made out. If there is a way of contacting him or getting a ships staff listing for that year it would be greatly appreciated

Greg Pinfold
e: pinfoldl@nbnet.nb.ca
Saint John, N.B. E2l 1G5

News Date Feb 2009     Thanks..... Many thanks for the e-mails from all the well-wishers on transferring to a new webhosting service, just a few more minor issues to sort out and hopefully we shall be trouble free for a while.

Received some good photos from Campbell Dobie (Ex Ch/Eng) and they will be uploaded to the Staff & Party Pages shortly.

What happen to Phil Barber????.... Phil was the Radio Officer onboard the London Pioneer when the turbine coupling sheared.

Does anyone know what became of him or his wife....did he have any children or where did he live?


Your help would be appreciated.

contact me

News Date Feb 2009 .....  The LOF - News Website. Hello, Greetings and Welcome back I hope?
After a multitude of communication with the previous and soon to be defunct Lycos Webhoster, it looks like we are back in business once more, my apologies for the delays, but as everyone else says - its beyond our control. There is still a bit of fine tuning to do over the coming weeks and a few photo's have been misplaced, which hopefully will be recovered all in good time.
Just bare with me for a while as the new set up behind the scenes will take a bit of getting used too.

In the meantime, I need some update from yourselves in order to keep the Latest News Page 'fresh'.....

So - here's looking at hearing from you all. (R.G.)

News Date Jan 2009     Peter White (Ex E&EO) It is with sadness and regret to announce the passing away of Peter. I have only just been made aware of his death. He had been in poor health for some time and had lost his sight some years ago, whilst still relatively young. Peter started his seagoing life as a Radio Officer with MIMCO - Marconi Marine in the 60's. He came to LOF in the 90's and afterwards sailed on small passenger/cruise vessels, until ill health caused early retirement. Our condolences to his wife Margaret. More details to follow.
News Date Jan 2009     Bruce Thomas (Ex 3rd Off/Ch Off) I did not get round to filling you in on  last year. 
It turned out to be rather different. In April I was at a  friends wedding when another friend who I had not seen for a while came up to me to say that my nose had grown (stop laughing) and that my hands were very fleshy with that the medical experts at the wedding told me that I must go and see my doctor as soon as I got home. Not thinking that there was anything wrong I headed I went to see my doctor who diagnosed me with  very rare condition called acromegaly which is cause by large amount of growth hormone caused by a tumour in my pituitary gland. It was benign tumour but I still had to
undergo what was almost brain surgery which I had back in June. I was off  work for 3 months but have made a full recovery and have been completely cured which was not expected as it was thought that I would require some replacement hormone for the rest of my life but that is not the case and even the doctors were slightly surprised that I did not need any further treatment.
Sally opened a tearoom in village in February which we spent 3 months doing up and has proved to be very successful selling local organic produce and homemade cakes, have to do some baking myself.  She is having to fit all in around still flying for BA. Christian is now 10 and doing very well at school winning many wards at prize day.  Proving to be a very good musician on both the violin which and has won a local music
 competition and the piano. He also enjoys lots of sport, skis for his school and got to national finals, playing hockey for Havant as well as golf and sailing our life is kept busy going from one place to the next.

Good to hear from Bruce, and pleased all has gone well with his recovery..... (R.G.)
News Date Jan 2009    
I went to More House school with an Irene Mavroleon in the 1970's. I wondered what became of her, is there any connection here? she would be about 48 years old now.  
Mary Anne Paterson.
contact me - (R.G.)
News Date Jan 2009     LOF News Website..... Is 4 years old? - this week, with 150,000+ hits and 500,000+ pages viewed, this 'niche & small' website is visited on average around 100 times a day, by mainly our ex colleagues and shipmates, but further testament of finding new friends occasionally. Two very successful reunions and the bulk of LOF's history. Thanks to your support and help sponsoring this website. Please keep in contact and any 'stories/photographs are always welcomed.

Roy Gerstner - LOF News.....
News Date Jan 2009     Request Information on 'Donald Marchbank Muir, (RIP)  I am looking for any information (and photographs if available) about my great uncle  formerly Master of 'London Valour'. We are trying to further our knowledge and history of Donald for our genealogy family tree.  Donald, like most of the rest of that branch of the Muir’s spent time in Japanese internment camps, fortunately all survived. 

I am Iain Lourie, I did my time with Denholm’s and after a couple of trips as third mate, I went to NZ to see family, still there I actually had an interview with LOF, I remember a big logo in the floor of the foyer......... but that’s about all.  I didn’t know if Donald was with them then.  I thought he was Ben Line / BP.
I will pass on any information contact me - (R.G.)
A silhouette of Capt Muir awaiting the                                                                       
London Tradition in 1966

This April will signify the 39th Anniversary of the sad loss of the 'London Valour'.
News Date Jan 2009     Welcome to another Year of LOF News..... As requested before Christmas, if you have saved your used Postage Stamps, please send them on to me. We are still deliberating our Web Host migration, and trying to put it off as long as possible, but sometime within the next couple of months it will need to be done - as Lycos our provider is selling up. There maybe as much as 5 - 7  days where the site is not accessible - but I'll try and give notice when it happens.

Belated Birthday Wishes to Richard 'Dick' Cunningham
Happy Birthday..... Jean Kirkham.
Happy Birthday..... Bruce Thomas.
News Date Jan 2009     Dick Ethell.     Made good contact with an old mate of his Frank Warmsley, via the LOF-News Website - Dick, whose correct name is 'Peter Richard Ethell' is also trying to track down Tina & Irene Austin, who were Mother & Daughter living near Stylis/Maliakos in the late 70's, they befriended the ships staff and did many favours for people whilst the ships were laid up in Greece. Does anyone else have any information?
contact me

This picture taken some time ago, shows son Simon passing out ceremony.
News Date Jan 2009     Eric Drinkwater. My wife and I recently visited the UK after 30 years living in
Australia, during our stay we visited Aberdeen and an old ship mate Billy Cameron who I sailed with, it was through the LOF website that we made contact again, the ship was the 'MV London Craftsman'. We had a
fantastic time, Bill and is wife Liz really did us proud, great hosts I enclose some pictures of our reunion as you can see there is a distinct Aussie /Scottish theme( I'm on the left) then a picture of all of us.
I also notice Ken Baxter fifth year wedding anniversary has arrived I sailed with Ken a long time ago on the 'MV Victore'. please pass on our (my wife Anne who sailed on the Victore)  best wishes to him and Ruth.


Best wishes & A Happy New Year to all .....Eric Drinkwater
News Date Jan 2009     Tony Pendleton. (aka Biffo!) I found your website while researching for my own 'memoirs' - I was looking for photos of LOF ships - so when I've done the framework of my LOF years, I'll let you have a copy! I have lots of photos, diaries and other memorabilia - including several crew lists, etc. 
With LOF I sailed in:
'London Majesty' (Joined Feb 64*, Capt McNaughton, until she was sold to the Chinese - in Dec 64?)
'Avon Ranger', 'London Confidence',  'Overseas Pioneer' 'London Advocate' (x 2) - "Ed Humby's Yacht" and 'London Craftsman
*The early '64 date for the 'Majesty' was an interesting one, following the (very well hushed-up?) mid-Atlantic jolly-boating exploit... (See LOF News 2008 for the story/R.G.)
Since leaving LOF (to 'export' myself to Australia). I sailed with Shaw Savill (two one-way trips only, 'Corinthic' and 'Cedric') in between on the Aussie coast aboard the 'Abel Tasman' - that was well paid fun - then went into 'specialised ships' - four fascinating years as Mate of research ship 'Sarsia'; two years in subsea investigations as Ch/Off with George Wimpey on the first (real!) dynamically positioned drillship 'Wimpey Sealab' (a story in itself); then as Mate and Master of two ships both called 'Relume' (two very different ships!) great job looking after all the navaids in the Gulf and ended up with shorter spells in port ops in Saudi, with an offshoot of Denholms on a new DP diving ship, and as an Mod Salvage Officer in Plymouth.  In between I did some relief work on a sand dredger, owned my own fishing boat - and (very memorably!) sailed under Captain James Onedin and his First Mate - Mr Baines as a dirty, scruffily dressed 19th century sailing-ship deckhand... but very nicely paid by the BBC! 
As with so many, the call of family life ashore was too strong to keep up a real MN career and I started my own (leisure equipment) business in 1983; I'm still on the payroll as Director but don't do much actual work there these days. It has allowed me to keep world travelling, both on business and for pleasure; including to re-visit many of the places that LOF took me to all those years ago...  
There is one ex-LOF chap I'd particularly like to hear about, if there's anything in your archives; Patrick Stott from Aberdeen who was my 'mate' as Senior Apprentice on the Majesty in 1964.   
I had a nickname, given to me early in my LOF days - "Biffo" - though I never found out why!
Most people remember me for my height - I'm 6ft 7.
Best wishes to all I sailed with TP


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