A bit nostalgic today. I was remembering a day early in my apprenticeship . December 15 1954 at 3.30 pm. All the apprentices were assembled in the college hall singing Christmas Carols. When the Principal walked in and stopped the service. He said that we were all to collect our immediate things and exit the yard immediately. That we were forbidden to return to our respective workshops. We didn’t know at that time of a serious accident. When we next returned to work we discovered that a disaster had happened. The Caisson in no 3 dry dock had failed. The dock had filled instantly with the in rushing river. Lifting a submarine off its blocks and hurling it across the river. The death toll was 4. The admiralty decided that a re think on caisson design was needed. So a program was designed to re place all the caissons. My 3rd year apprenticeship job as a shipwright was to join this team on new construction. I reported to my new gang and I was appointed to my new skipper. A Welshman named Bill. Known as taffy . I thought this would be a good opportunity.
But it was not to be. Usually we were moved around on a 3 monthly basis in order to gain varied experience. But my first 3 months with Bill were not very nice. In order to start building a new caisson involved daily trips to the plate wharf in the freezing cold to mark out plates ready to go to the machine shop for cutting and bending. Most of the plate was 40lb plate. Thats 1 inch thick so it was too heavy to be manhandled. During this first 3 months with Bill I hardly got a word out of him except to snap commands at me like I was something off his shoes. I looked forward to my next move. When it came I found I was not moving on. I was to stay with Bill for another 3 months. I requested an interview with the senior inspector of Construction Mr Beard. I asked him for my normal move. He blew his top. He said You are on a New Construction Program. A chance men would give their right arm for. So get back to it. He refused to listen to my requests. I asked for a new skipper but he said No.
This caisson was being built inside Number 7 Slip. Which was a giant building open at both ends the wind blew through end to end freezing cold. No heating at all and in winter, not very nice. I actually ended up a whole year on new construction. The Senior Inspector later told me I was privileged and one day I would thank him. So looking at this picture today reminded me of those days so long ago now. I never felt the need to thank him.
So much for nostalga.
I was asked to do a yahoo satisfaction survey for my recent enquiry . So I told them. Not sure they will like it.
I am off shortly for my needles session.
My last needles session over , I will miss Garry . Its upto 6 today which is a lot warmer that recent 1 or 2 degrees.