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Interview with Captain John Kelly of the Ramsey Steamship Company

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Date(s): between 1950 and 1970

Scope & Content: Captain John Kelly of the Ramsey Steamship Company talks about leaving school at 13 after illness and going to sea; his father who worked for the Ramsey Steamship company and previously the Salt Works shipping company on the 'Ben Seyr'; Salt Works ships the 'Lively' and the 'Leader'; ships in the Ramsey Steamship Company and Captain Cowley; the 'Ben Veg', the 'Ben Seyr'.

Captain Kelly recalls conditions for crew on board, including straw mattresses and wages; voyages around the west coast of Ireland delivering coal to lighthouses of Tory Island, Donegal Bay, Black Rock; bad weather; clothes and equipment; coal as cargo; Arran Islands and their fishing boats; mackerel and herring; supplying Scottish fishing boats with coal at sea; crew of a cargo boat such as the 'Ben Seyr' or 'Ben Veg'; work duties; various cargos.

He talks about the Ramsey Steamship Company vessels, including the 'Lord Milner', the 'Fawn', the 'Staffer', the 'Ben Seyr' and 'Ben Veg'; laid off by the company and working as a farm hand at Ballamoar, Jurby for Jimmy Callow; childhood in Jurby East; Jurby School and Sulby Glen train station. He recalls going back to sea as a skipper; delivery of coal for Isle of Man Railways; delivery at Ramsey Harbour; cargos between Irish and UK ports; vessels and captains Robert Wales, Fred Gawne, Dougie Corkish, Herbert Caine; bad weather at sea stories including severe weather in the west of Ireland Malin shipping area and Eagle Island lighthouse; passage to Channel Islands in thick fog; Maryport, Cardiff and lightships; and the unpredictability of destinations and cargoes when setting out.

Language: eng

Extent: 1 hr. 6 min. 13 sec.

Item name: magnetic tape

Collection: Sound Archive

Level: ITEM

ID number: SA 0136

Subject tags : #UOSH


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