Dowey Lad Goes to Sea In the Fifties
Derek developed a love of the sea and ships as a schoolboy in Hong Kong in the 1950s.
He returned to the United Kingdom to finish his schooling and then joined Clan Line as a navigation cadet.
This is the story of his voyages to South Africa and to India on the MV Clan Macleod.
Those who sailed with the British Merchant Navy before the container ship revolution may find
themselves associating with Derek’s stories. More recent mariners may enjoy reading about life on
the ocean waves of more than a half century ago - the waves are the same but nearly everything else is different.
I was born into a military family in India in 1940 andREAD MORE
we travelled by troopship to several places in the old
Empire. By the time Dad was posted to Hong Kong in
1954 I was already in love with the sea and ships and
Hong Kong confirmed my love. All sorts and sizes of
vessels used the harbour and the way to see them was
to take a trip on the Star Ferry which links the island
of Hong Kong with the Kowloon mainland. Ocean
liners tied up on the Kowloon-side right beside the
Star Ferry terminal. It was possible to go on board
providing you had a pass from a shipping company
office so, together with some friends, I would visit some
of the ocean liners. Our favourites were the British
P&O liners (Chusan, Canton and Corfu) and the French
Messageries Maritimes vessels (Laos and Cambodia).
They were splendid. Now how about the Merchant
Navy as a career?
Well yes, I believed I would enjoy
that but, in early 1957, as we left Hong Kong to return
to the UK on the British India liner Nevasa the plan
was for me to finish my school studies in Northern
Ireland and then take the Sandhurst military academy