2011 Updates     

Back to Home

News Date 31st December 2011


                                          A Very Happy 70th Birthday to Dick Cunningham (31st December)

News Date 23rd December 2011     A Merry Christmas and A Healthy and Prosperous New Year.


News is slow this Christmas, my thanks to those who have generously sponsored the website this year, although not covering the costs, I treat this a one of my hobbies and will continue to 'fund' the shortfall.
Most of our co responders are keeping fairly well and reasonably 'active' with visits to doctors, dentists and hospital appointments (including myself).
One of our old friends 'Ben Killeen' from Gallows Hill - is still managing at 88 (89 in January) to bash out a very nice letter to me on his 1960's typewriter - I keep asking him to put a new ribbon in it, but I am sure it still has the original.
One or two are still sailing - mainly on tankers and Noris Jackson our ex MD and superintendent informs me that the recession will be over when we see new tanker orders......

As this year passes - Connie and myself will be taking our winter holiday, with an extended visit to New Zealand and Borneo with some R&R towards the end in Malaysia.

I am contactable by e-mail and the website remains active.

Our peaceful wishes for the New Year.

Roy and Connie G......


News Date 24th November 2011     Derek Panagakis (Counties Ship Management)

Counties Ship Management 1950 - MD Basil Mavroleon.

When I joined, Counties Ship Management they operated about 45 Ships. These included:
34 Canadian Fort Type Ships.
7 Liberty Ships also called Sam Boats. (US built).
6 Empire Ships built in the UK

All the ships were called after London Hills, (Denmark Hill, Mill Hill, Richmond Hill, Tower Hill, etc).
My first ship was the 'Dover Hill'  - a UK Empire Ship.3 voyages March 1950 to June 1951. Liverpool to Australia, India, USA. Then USA twice before arriving in Malmo Sweden, she was then sold to new owners.
My second ship was 'Mill Hill', a US built Liberty ship formerly called 'Sam Eden'. She was one of hundreds of Sam Boats built to UK design in America during the War. They were operated by - The Ministry or War Transport during the conflict, and played a major part in keeping Britain supplied, making up for the huge losses British shipping suffered to the U Boats.
Spent the Summer 1951 trading in Northern Baltic, Gulf of Bothnia. (The land of the midnight sun).

Finally arrived in Antwerp, she was also sold to new owners. My third ship was 'Muswell Hill'' (was on this ship in total of 3
years at different times.) Joined in Liverpool late 1951, sailed to Australia, Japan, India.
Next voyage Antwerp to USA, sank German fishing vessel in North Sea on outward journey to US in dense fog. No one on our ship was much concerned. Some still remembered the first 'Mill Hill'  torpedoed and sunk off the Scottish Coast.
She was lost with All hands. My fourth ship 'Woldingham Hill' joined late 1952. to Australia and New Zealand. Traded for several months on Australian Coast, (considered staying, however returned to UK and Warsash for 2nd mates certificate).
Late 1953 now qualified, rejoined 'Muswell Hill' in Liverpool as 3rd officer. Off to Japan and commenced NYK charter. Australia, then Japan to South America, twice - a dilemma! which way round? East or West - Captain decided West.
Yokohama, Borneo, Sunda Straights to Indian Ocean, Durban, Cape Town, across South Atlantic, via Tristan da Cunha
Buenos Aires. (About 8 weeks). This voyage lasted 18 months. Paid off March 1955.

Once again 'Woldingham Hill' , joined Tilbury for US returned to Rotterdam ,May 1955. Back to Warsash Naval College for 1st Mates Certificate. January 1956 left Counties for good - joined Booth Line of Liverpool. 'RMS Hubert' newly built at Cammel Laird - Birkenhead. Flagship of Booth Fleet. 2nd Navigation Officer. Commenced series of 3 voyages to the Amazon. A very smart cargo passenger (200) ship. Final trip with Booths 'SS Denis' to Brazil, Amazon trade, then to Rio. Arrived back in Liverpool Dec 1956. Left Booth Line, took longest leave in 6 years about 5 weeks. Considered my future!
Watched marine vacancies in Far East. Mollers of Hong Kong appeared. East of Suez pay rates applied. (double UK pay).
Appointed 2nd Officer 'MV Blyth Trader'. Formerly 'Silver Sandal' of now defunct Silver Line. (Famous for their very fast
round the world service). Flew to Singapore on Super Constellation, (jets had not yet arrived). Joined ship Feb 1957 -
Singapore sailed immediately for Yokohama (great to be going back to my far eastern home port?)

Several short trips later, arrived in Hong Kong. Severe engine problems kept us there 6 months. During this time our Chief Officer was promoted Captain of 'Blyth Adventurer' and flew to Japan. This left me as senior officer on the' Blyth Trader'
After 4 months as provisional Chief Officer, the Company bowed to the inevitable and gave me the full rank of Chief Officer. I was 25 years of age. Visiting Blue Funnel officers from Liverpool on Alfred Holt Ships were disbelieving.
Sailed from Hong Kong November 1957. Chinese crew worked hard and effectively. (I had given the Serang full powers of
engagement at the HK crew market). Arrive back in Antwerp Feb 1958, the owners arrived on board and praised the
Captain for his fine looking ship. He was an Extra Master and an academic, and became an Examiner of Masters and Mates in Liverpool. James Bachelor was my mentor, and I am eternally grateful for his support and the opportunity he gave me at such an early age. Finally Qualified in Liverpool Dec 1958.  Master Mariner. My Career at Sea was over, little did I
realise that 10 short years later the Merchant Navy, as we knew it at that time, would cease to exist.
A great loss for young people, with the spirit of adventure.

Why did I leave the Merchant Navy? The family business in Liverpool was calling, and I had travelled the world thoroughly, it felt like I been everywhere several times. It must be remembered that in the 50s few people travelled privately, package tours started later. Ships passenger were either wealthy or immigrants.
1959 commenced work in our television business. TV had just got going and we had a good trading time. The business grew to about 8 shops ranging from central Liverpool (Liverpool Radio Supplies) to Southport. 1966 took over Allen & Appleyard in Liverpool, have run it to this day, although we are now in Gemini, Warrington. (Via Manchester and Cheshire).

'Editors note, Many thanks to Derek and his reminiscences - there are only a few Counties Men still around, few and very far away?

News Date 22nd November 2011     Gus Robinson MBE (See below)

Police have not confirmed the circumstances surrounding what happened, but said they are not treating it as suspicious. Gus was well-known in the town due to his work in business and in boxing, with his success seeing him awarded the MBE in the 1998 New Year’s Honours List.

Published on Tuesday 22 November 2011 11:00

Thanks to Terry Gardner

News Date 20th November 2011      Gus Robinson MBE (See Below)

The funeral will be held on -

Thursday 24th November / 12:30
St Josephs Church
Hutton Avenue
TS26 9PN


News Date 19th November 2011     Gus Robinson MBE (EX E/O - E&EO)


Very sad to report the sudden passing away of Gus Robinson, who sailed with LOF 1973 to 76. Gus was one of the first
Electrical Officers to train up as E&EO. He went ashore and became a very successful businessman and sports promoter.
He employed over 150 people and was made a MBE in 1998.
Our condolences go to Judith and his children.

If and when I find any further information I will post up....
See also link Tributes flood in for Gus - Local - Hartlepool Mail


News Date 10th November 2011     Help..... Brian Harper...

Does anyone have 'Good quality' photographs of the Victory (1) and Endurance.
Please contact me , I will arrange to have copied and returned.....

Brian Harper who is a retired merchant seaman (receives pension from MNPA ) is a client of mine. He has moved into long term residential care and has a diagnosis of dementia. He does however have recall to his days as a merchant seaman and remembers working on the 'London Victory' and 'London Endurance' I was hoping to get a picture or poster of these ships to personalise his room and was hoping you would be able to help me.

Regards Helen
Helen O'Flaherty
Client Affairs Officer

ps Did anyone sail with Brian, he is 78 years old.


News Date 10th November 2011     100th Anniversary of the Titanic Loss.....
The 15th April 2012 will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

There is to be quite a lot of events - one site to visit Click Here (Titanic Heritage Trust)

Jack Phillips was the 1st Radio Operator....
John George "Jack" Phillips was born in Farncombe, Surrey, England to George Alfred Phillips and Anne Sanders. Phillips finished private school in Godalming in 1902 and began working at the Godalming post office where he learned telegraphy. He started training to work in wireless for the Marconi Company in March 1906 in Seaforth and graduated five months later in August.

A search on Google or Wikipedia will bring several months worth of reading?

After the Titanic tragedy it became mandatory to carry Wireless Operators.


The Public House 'The Jack Phillips' is located in Godalming and is owned by JD Weatherspoon.

There is a commemorative plaque in the park nearby, which is undergoing some renovation as at November 2011.

Above Roy Gerstner at the Jack Phillips.....

News Date 16th October 2011     Happy Birthdays.....
Many thanks for the get well messages.... getting back slowly, unfortunately had to cancel some of my 60th celebrations - like sunny ourselves in 5* Turkey, but still had a good and very wet time near Skipton staying in a themed Orient Express converted railway station (Connie was in the top bunk!).
One of my community groups which I run and am chairman has launched yet another 'Planter Boat' - this our 5th, this along with a 'Plough Garden' - 3 other adopted gardens and 2 major lay-bys keeps us very busy.
My latest 'free' community positions being a Board Member of the CAB and Chairman of the area Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (NHW). So almost back in full time community working (7 days a week).

  Happy Birthdays ..... Rod Tarbuck (80+)
                                         Annwen Lewis (40+)

Gordon Emmerson
.... who I was informed recently is not keeping too good will be 93 in a few days, I'll see if I can get hold of him.....
News Date 01st October 2011     Good Bye Phil (RIP)


                                                                Tony Fox, Adrian Cook & Keith C

The ceremony was conducted as a "Humanist Celebration of Phil's life." There were 3 "shipmates" attended Tony Fox, Adrian Cook and myself. Phil was best man for Tony and Pam Fox, Tony only just made it having arrived back from Kuala Lumpur the previous evening. Phil's wife Hilary and daughters Sherry and Gemma thanked all old shipmates for their support at this sad time.

My sincere thanks to Keith Cederholm in organising the LOF Tribute Anchor.

My thanks to Roger Squires, Graham Nuttall and Keith for their generous donation towards the LOF Wreath.


News Date 24th September 2011   Phil Thompson.....
I am very grateful to our Ship-Mate Keith Cederholm who is keeping me informed and has kindly made
arrangements for a LOF Anchor Wreath, I understand Keith will be attending the funeral..... the arrangements are:

Thursday 29th September @ 11:00am
St Bedes Chapel - Acklam Middlesbrough.

Afterwards at the Ship Inn Guisborough.

Keith is kindly arranging for a LOF Anchor Wreath to be presented at the funeral, if you would like to donate towards our LOF funds please contact me

News Date 23rd September      Thanks.... well wishers and mail.....
Gall bladder wiped out and feeling a LOT better, now just the torn ligaments and sciatica...????
News Date 20th August 2011     Phil Thompson...(RIP)

Once more I am sorry to inform you of the passing away of one of our Ship
  Mates. Phil I understand passed on - yesterday (19th).
  Our condolences to wife Hilary.

  I will arrange to have a LOF Anchor wreath in respect of his old ship mates.
  When I find more information regarding the funeral arrangements I will update.




News Date 18th August 2011     Bob & Margaret Stinchcombe......
  Happy Anniversary... 56 years.
Bob & Margaret celebrate 56 years of Happy Bliss this week
  Bob has been up to his usual tricks..... several visits to the
  Hospital, this time having climbing up a ladder to cut some
  branches down, only to fall off and head butt the ground?
  He is bruised and battered but otherwise in good spirits.

  Margaret is keeping well.

Bob S                    Gwyn Howells    Margaret S

News Date 18th August 2011     Arthur Finney (Ex Catering Off)
Happy Birthday......
 Arthur celebrated his 70th Birthday this week, he tells me - he is keeping well -
 with the usual aches and arthritis.
 Wife Mary is well and does quite a lot of walking with their dog.

 Arthur carried on working at a 4 star hotel up until he was 68

 Mary informs me that Arthur is still hoarding things..... something he has always
 done - especially second hand books, thousands of them? stacked up, although
 Mary insists that at least one room is 'Arthur Free'

News Date 25th August 2011     Alf Rutherford (Ex Elect Off)

I am very saddened to hear that Alf passed away quite some time ago, (2009)
 Alf was 74 and suffered from MND - Moto-Neurone-Disease, and was very
 unwell in his last 6 months.

 He leaves wife Margaret and 3 children.

 Margaret informs me that Gordon Emmerson has the beginnings of Alzheimer's,
 but he is still self sufficient and lives on his own, Gordon is now 94 years young.


          Alf Rutherford.

News Date 25th August 2011     Tim Johnson.....
Don't know if you'll remember me, I sailed with you on "London Earl" in the late 70's. I was a Nav Cadet at the time. Many a happy memory listening to the traffic lists and waiting for a turn with Niton Radio.
After a varied career I am now a Master with Condor Ferries, fast craft between UK and Channel Islands and France.
I live in St Malo with my second wife who is French, and am enjoying myself immensely.
I am currently in command of "Condor Rapide" and have ten years to go to retirement.
I hope you and Connie have been keeping well over the years.
I am saddened by the obituaries I have seen, so many old shipmates passed away, but am heartened by those still left, especially Rod Tarbuck, who used to run up and down the foredeck of "London Glory" when I was 3rd Mate, and hope they have many years to come.
I will follow the site with interest, and hope at some stage I can attend a reunion. I still believe that LOF were the best company I have worked for.
Kind Regards
Tim Johnson

News Date 17th July 2011     Adrian Cook (Ex Eng/Cad - 4th/Eng)


Congratulations - Adrian who has married
 Wendy earlier this year.
Adrian 'retired' from Corus last year, but took
 up the post of Union Official.

 I now have 7 grandchildren so the cost of
 Christmas is rising even higher.
 I have completed 25 years as a rugby referee
 and who knows I might have a couple of more
 seasons in me.
 To keep me a little busy I have just completed
 a course to do some Mental Health Advocacy
 for a local charity.

I have come across about 30 copies of the  Merchant Navy Journal dating from 1957 to  Summer of 1969
(which was the last one  before becoming the Telegraph). If you know anyone who may have a use for  them they can have them . some are a little worse for wear but most seem ok.
All the best to everyone......

If you would like Adrian's offer of the MN Journals contact me and I'll pass you onto him. (R.G.)

News Date 10th July 2011     Stuart Booth
Stuart sends some photos of his time onboard the 'Victore' - a Mavroleon Ore Carrier which was originally manned by 'Mavs' personnel - later amalgamated into the LOF fold. Photos taken around 1972/73

  Stuart Booth & Roger Bancrofts Pay Off Party                   Stuart Booth with Dick Cunningham


  Stuart Booth in Narvik                                    Bob Robinson, Stuart Booth & Lenny Philips

News Date 10th July 2011     In Memoriam     Tom March




   Who sadly passed away on the 11th July 2007

   Keep on smiling Tommy......


News Date 10th July 2011   
     Alf Rutherford (Ex Elect/Off)
     Godfrey Nash (Ex 3rd/Eng) - 62
     Moggsie Caffrey (Ex 2nd/Off) - 63
     Dave Vincent - 73

News Date 10th July 2011     'London Pioneer Incident'
Charles "Chuck" Salome was my First Sergeant when I got to the 474th CRS at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas Nevada back in 1984.  He was a Senior Master Sergeant at that time, made chief a couple years later.  Unfortunately, Chief Salome passed away September 5, 1998.  Thank you for posting the story and the picture of him as a much younger man.  I've sent the link to his son.
Here's part of his bio:
Charles was the eldestson of Colonel Richard A. Salome, Sr. And Helen M. Salome of Cape Coral, FL. He attended military dependent schools in Europe and the U.S., graduating high school from Augusta Military Academy in 1964. He enlisted in the Air Force in1965 and was assigned to the prestigious Maroon Berets (Pararescue) at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.  Serving his country for three tours in Vietnam, he was awarded many honours during his distinguished service career. Among the military decorations are the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (5 Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal (21 Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Force Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Force Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Navy Outstanding Unit Award, and the Air Force Achievement Medal. He married his wife, Janis in 1979. His career in the Air Force included assignments at: Da Nang Airfield and Bien Hoa Air Base Republic of Vietnam; Kindley AFB, Bermuda; McCoy AFB, Florida; Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand; Plattsburg AFB, Plattsburg, NY; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Kirtland AFB, NM; and Nellis AFB, NV.
Robert Hearn
SSgt, USAF 1984-1994
News Date 31st May 2011     Happy Birthday.....


 Mick Howells - 64                Mick Ward - 52                       Nigel Lewis - 47
News Date 21st May 2011     Roy Gerstner (Ex R/O)
Independent knocks off entrenched councillor in local election.
Local community activist - Roy Gerstner and his small team give local council a surprise, he was the only candidate to successfully stand in the local elections.

'quote' It was the electorate who decided for a slight change - however there are 13 of them and 1 of me? -
That's par for the course for me.....I've always backed the underdog'



News Date 21st May 2011     Jeremy Philips (Ex R/O)
I obtained my R/O's certificate from Newport Gwent college and joined Marconi as a trainee. I sailed on the MV Border River, tanker on BP charter starting on 17/2/67.
After that I joined Cazer Irvine as it was then, Union Castle, Clan line etc. I sailed on various ships with them for a number of years and then joined LOF on 13/10/70. I also got my Radar Certificate whilst with Cazer Irvine.
I sailed on MV London Confidence, MV London Banker and MV London Statesman.
I was R/O on 'MV London Statesman' when she was nearly sunk in Vietnamese waters, after which she was towed to Singapore for repairs.
I then left the sea, promptly got married and joined the gas board! I was in the communications department dealing with mobile radio, telemetry and microwave links. I was lucky enough to get day release which ended up with me getting an HNC in Electrical Engineering with distinction in communications. I then joined the local Electricity board, still in telecommunications and ending up as a 1st Engineer/Project Manager. I was fortunate enough to get early retirement when I was fifty (voluntary redundancy when there was a big shake up going on in the power industry), and spent the next five in consultancy for the mobile phone operators'.
I have not been in employment wise for a number of years and enjoying retirement , and the grand children of course. We have two daughters, one married, and two grandchildren. They live in Bristol so not too far away. We live in south Wales and we also have a place in Crete so we tend to spend equal amount of time in each location. It makes it a bit more interesting as we drive over and take the dog with us. Hotels are much more dog friendly in France and Italy compared to the UK.
I am afraid that I at a loss to remember any colleagues names, it was quite some time ago!
Regards Jeremy

  All pictures taken of the 'London Statesman'







News Date 21st May 2011 In Memoriam     Capt Andrew Gillie.


 Who sadly passed away on the 23rd May 2006
News Date 21st May 2011  
Bryan Watkins @ 57
Barry Moore @ 70
Paul Cartwright @ 65


News Date 02nd May 2011     In Memoriam     Jack Kirkham (A good friend and old salt)

Well Jack we won't even add up the number of 'unfinished' jobs and projects.
 But you know we still think about you and enjoy a good laugh on some of
 our sailings.


 Roy with Jack (on right) at the 2005 LOF Leicester Reunion.

News Date 09th April 2011     In Memoriam     London Valour (09th April 1970)



News Date 08th April 2011     In Memoriam     John Dunsmore.

John passed away 08th April 2010

   I hold it true, what'er befall;
   I feel it when I sorrow most;
   Tis better to have loved and lost;
   Then never to have loved at all.

   Alfred Lord Tennyson

News Date 05th April 2011     'The Sinking of the Primrose Hill - 1942'
At the bottom of the sidebar - there are articles about 'War Stories.  A fantastic article about the 'Primrose Hill'

The Master Captain Maxwell Dunnet Mackenzie, 37 crew and 8 gunners were picked up by 'Elder Dempsters'
  'Sansu' - its Master being Captain Anthony Foulkes.
   A very interesting artefact has come to light.
   After they had been rescued and repatriated. Captain Mackenzie sent
   a Silver Salver & tea service to Captain Foulkes who was back at sea.
   After his death the Salver was passed onto his daughter Heather and
   tea service went to son Irving.

              Captain Mackenzie


                                             My thanks to Sam & Heather Foulkes. (R.G.)

News Date 05th April 2011     More Sad News.....
Ambrose Jones (b 19-02-35 d 27-03-11) & Val Jones (b 23-02-37 d 20-03-11)
You may have seen the brief posting on the message board by Ron Mortimer about the deaths of Ambrose and Val. I am awaiting further details and will update as I have them. Ambrose had suffered for a number of years from Myasthenia gravis (MG) and had difficulty in breathing recently .
Val had suffered from a couple of Strokes. Their funerals were held together at Seven Hills Crematorium Felixstowe on March 31st.



News Date 22nd March 2011    Happy Birthday.....

Alan Sinclair.... Contacted Alan whilst I was in Malaysia, he is keeping OK, business
   could be a bit better, wife Daisy works and son is studying in Scotland





   Bobby Fullagar....
Bob is getting closer to the magical '60' I haven't heard from him,
   other than at Christmas. He is still Master on Tankers with Hong Kong Company AMCL.
   Wife Elsie is still working as a senior physiotherapist and his two sons have done well in
   their work.



   Ronnie Aird .....
(2nd Eng) Came to us in the 90's, haven't heard from him for a while
   was still at sea.


     Dave Corbin .....
(Rad/Off) first ship was the 'London Advocate' the Master was
     Bill Jaeger, last ship 1978 was the 'London Bombardier.' Last I heard he was in semi-


News Date 19th March 2011     William Lomas.....

I came across your web site dedicated to LOF by chance. I congratulate you on the quality of the website.

I sailed as an Engineer with LOF from 11 November 1960 until 24 January 1964 on the following ships, 'Overseas Pioneer', 'London Tradition', 'Overseas Courier',' London Resolution', 'Overseas Ambassador' and 'Overseas Explorer'.  I commenced as a Junior Engineer and progressed to Second Engineer with a second class certificate of competency for steam ships obtained in May 1963.

I have difficulty to decipher the names of the Masters from my discharge book (D 671500), but amongst them are Captains Armstrong, Mackenzie, Murgatroyd and Morton.  As for Chief Engineers I sailed with Sammy Mitchell, Jim McIndo, Joe Hasdel, K. Collinson, ‘Steamboat’ Graham, Jim Hamill, J. Wilson, L. Thompson, J. M. McLeish and K. A. Francis.  I have particular good memories of Sammy Mitchell, Jim McIndo and Joe Hasdell, all excellent men.

During the late 1970’s and in the 1980’s, when I was based in London, I often met Jim McIndo at receptions and technical meetings. I have good memories of LOF, its ships and its staff, particularly of Dimitri Nicholaidis, with whom I had contact until about 1999.

The only photo, taken in late 1963, that I have of my time with LOF is one taken on 'Overseas Ambassador', a tanker propelled by twin Goterverken diesel engines. I had obtained my second class steam certificate in May 1963 and asked for time on a motor ship as my intention was to eventually obtain a combined first class certificate of competency for steam and motor. In it from left to right are Jimmy Quinn, J/Eng; R/Off; Frank Martin, 2nd/Eng; the 4th/Eng; ? Lacy, J/Eng; ‘Chalky’ Taylor, 3rd/Eng; a J/Eng (a Swiss national);  and finally me William ‘Bill’ Lomas, lying on the table.

I left UK in the 1980's and lived and worked in Italy, Belgium and France, before retiring on my 65th birthday in 2004.  I have had French nationality for many years (my deceased wife was from here).  My visits to UK are rare, only three visits, each of a few days, in the last ten years.  Only in retirement does one find time to look at old photos and search long lost friends on the web, but such nostalgia is not always positive.  I live ten kilometres from the sea at fifteen kilometres from the centre of Toulon.
Regards, Bill Lomas

 'London Tradition' - 1962 'Skyphotos'

News Date 18th March 2011     Many Thanks.....

     Connie and I enjoyed our extended holidays to Bali Thailand and Malaysia, she
     remains for another 8 weeks.

      I am extremely grateful to Bob Bruce who organised the LOF wreath for
      Malcolm and those who made both generous donations at the funeral and
      to me - for the wreath. It was very unfortunate that I was unaware of the demise
      of Jim Stronach until the day before his funeral.

      I have made contact with Bob Stinchcombe, see below, seems his e-mails
      are not getting though to me. He is keeping sort of OK, the regular visits to the
      local hospital. Margaret tells me that Bob is a month older than her.....?

      Mick & Gwyn Howells are keeping themselves busy, in the property market.

News Date 03rd Feb 2011      Happy Birthday Bob Stinchcombe.


I haven't heard from Bob for a while......hope all is OK and the knees are holding up.....

News Date 30th Jan 2011     From Julie Grant (Malcolm's daughter)

My Mam wanted me to email you with regards to my dads funeral. It would be much appreciated if you could put on the LOF website the families gratitude for all those who attended it was very much appreciated and to let everyone know that the donations to cancer research totalled £431.39 which was made up to £500 by the Cuthbert family which I'm sure dad would have liked and no doubt it will go some way to helping other cancer victims like himself. He had a great send off and at some point his ashes will be sprinkled in the Caribbean sea which is where he wanted to end his days.
Thank you very much. 

News Date 23rd Jan 2011     Farewell Malcolm.

Tuesday (18th Jan) was a perfect northern winter day, bright sunshine, clear blue sky and a light, cold wind. The Red Ensign was draped over Malcolm’s coffin with his cap and the Anchor resting on top. Peter Staddon acted as one of the pall bearers.
The crematorium was full, every seat and every place in the standing area at the back was taken. It was a humanist service led by a lady who reminded us that it was a celebration of Malcolm’s life. She spoke well recalling his life with a couple of light touches of humour. She said that he was known to different people by different names, even Mighty Mouse. I thought that was a nice touch as did other LOF people. She acknowledged that there would be people with varying beliefs and none and paused to allow everyone to remember Malcolm in their own way. I believe everyone considered it to be a fitting farewell to a good friend. He departed to the music of Neil Diamond.
The family invited everyone back to the Britannia in Cleadon Village. Again, the place was well filled and LOF was pretty well represented.
Ray Appleyard
Bob Blake
Andy Burns
Paul & Gwen Cartwright
Dick & Mary Cunningham
Ean Curle
Don Dunlop
Kelvin Ferries
Norris Jackson
Brian & Linda Nicholls
George Pringle
Peter & Mary Staddon
Rod Wilkinson
Captain & Jeannie Tarbuck and Sharja

I hope I got everyone’s name. Convey my apologies to anyone I have missed. I’m afraid I didn’t get a group photo.

Our thanks to Bob Bruce for the above, an Anchor wreath similar to the one above was made. My appreciation to those who have contributed for this befitting farewell.


News Date 22nd Jan 2011     Brian Whitmy - Smith. (Ex 2nd/Off)
My thanks to John Swift (Ex Mavroleon Bros/Counties) who has been trying to contact ex ship mate Brian WS.
I gave him an address which I had from 1994.

Dear Roy,
I wrote to the address indicated and just recently received an email from an Anita Stuart on behalf of Trish who has some doubts about writing in English.
Sadly, it turns out that Brian passed away two years ago to the day on which my letter arrived, so that would be early January
I believe. Apparently Brian had looked for me over two years (I don’t know how far back) but I left the UK in 1966 and probably did not leave much of a trace.  Sorry now, that we did not keep up, and some guilt at not having done just that. 
As it turns out I met Trish in Poland (as did Brian) when she was a small girl, so I  now hope that the contact will continue: Nostalgic, and I am indebted to you.

'Brian started with Blue Funnel/Glen Line until 1951 He joined Stanhope Steam & Headlams as 3rd/Off.
Spells with Burmah Oil, Commercial Cable and RFA followed. He joined Mavroleon Bros/Counties Ship Management in 1963 and was made redundant in 1979. He spent some time with Hartlepool Steam Nav Co.
His final 6 years was as Ch/Off relieving Master with Hudson Steam Nav Co. He took early retirement due to medical issues. On passing away I think Brian was around 80 years old. (RIP)


News Date 19th Jan 2011    James Stronach (Cat/Off).


Another loss has just been posted. Ex Ch/Stwd (Cat/Off) Jimmy (Chips) Stronach. It is my understanding that
he passed away just after Malcolm Cuthbert, and of the same symptoms (asbestosis).
Jims funeral is tomorrow (Thursday 20th) I am grateful to Davy Simpson for this information.
Again my sympathy to Jims family, I know he has a son, but I've had no contact.
Maybe there was some news about Jim by those attending Malcolm's funeral, and I would be grateful for
any information. contact me

News Date 11th Jan 2011     Malcolm Cuthbert (Ch/Eng).

A very sad loss to us all, Malcolm passed away at approx 14:25 on Friday 07th January 2011 at South Tyneside General Hospital, after a long battle with lung cancer and asbestosis.

The funeral will be at Sunderland Crematorium on Chester Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR4 5SU Tuesday 18th January at 2pm
Peter Johnson Funerals Ltd, 108 Imeary Street, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE33 4EL

I am organising a LOF Anchor wreath (thanks to Bob Bruce). If you would like to make a contribution then please  contact me

I am sure there will be a very good attendance, I of course apologise for not being able to pay my respects to wife Jean, son Ian and daughter Julie.

Thanks for the memories Malcolm RIP


News Date 08th Jan 2011     Sad loss of Malcolm Cuthbert (Ex Ch/Eng)

I am extremely sorry to inform you of the passing away of Malcolm. He has not been well for some time. It is believed that he contracted asbestosis. A few years ago he was knocked off his bicycle by a 'hit and run' driver,
since then has never fully recovered. He was a very fit man.

We are away for an extended vacation to the far east and will try and keep the website informed as and when I receive any information.

News Date 01st Jan 2011

'Lots Of Fun'..... My thanks to Norris Jackson for his continuing sponsorship of LOF News, he tells me that the 'trusted - old Range Rover' which he inherited from LOF when he retired - alas is no more. It was one of the Mk I relics of the early 80's and although he didn't say what its demise was - probably rusted to bits. The very valuable number plate LOF 1 has been transferred to his motorcycle an old Yamaha RD350. He still rides it regularly and he coming towards his 80th claims the number now stands for 'Lots Of Fun.....sounds good to me.

David March..... Congratulations On obtaining his 1st Class Chief Engineers certificate, I am sure that father Tom would be over the moon and very proud of David. If LOF had been still in operation I would have thought David would have sailed with us.

A Morsey Story for the New Year..... During our expansion period LOF took on a few Junior Radio Officers, one being 'Ted (The bed) S'...... After a couple of months he hassled 'Ben Killen' to let him go 'solo'. On his first watch, sure enough the ships callsign came up on the Portishead traffic list. It was a busy time - with ships having to wait several hours to get their messages. The conditions changed over those hours and the signal faded. Ted was called up and he tried in vain to receive the message, asking for several repeats.... The message addressed to the 2nd Engineer - read ... 'Sorry Dog In Bed'

Ted asked one more time for a repeat.... The operator was getting pretty fed up by this stage. Ted took the message first to Ben - who was woken up from his siesta also could not make any sense, so duly took it to the 2nd Engineer - whom was also having his afternoon sleep. The 2nd read the message several times? - Only to inform Ben that he could make no sense of it and in any case he didn't own a dog as far as he was aware. Ben went to the Radio Room only to find that Ionosphere conditions had deteriorated even more. Later in the evening conditions became better - Ben making contact with Portishead, explained the miss-understood message, the operator had to physically go to the archive basement to find the said message and after some considerable delay, resent the message which Ben received as..... 'Sorry Bob is Dead' . The bad news was the 2nd's brother-in-law had died. Ted was not allowed to go on his own for some time - Ben making sure his Morse skills were up to scratch especially the differences between 'B's' and 'D's'.

Just in case anyone is interested Morse still lives outside of the Amateur World visit....


Foot note..... Captain Cuff (Personnel Manager) in his wisdom, employed a female R/O Barbara K, who was married to a 2nd Officer (Another story at some time). Thinking he was getting value for money Cuff had not anticipated the somewhat 'volatile' relationship that existed..... She went AWOL in Vancouver with Hubby in fast pursuit. They both returned some days later, to find their relief's had been sent out from the UK. Not sure what became of them?

I was at College with the first commercial merchant navy R/O in the UK fleet, her name was Dallas Bradshaw. She was Sea savvy as she had worked several years as a press correspondent on the Canadian Pacific passenger vessels out of Liverpool. Dallas is still around and is well retired.

Back to Home