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Talk by Captain Corteen on the history of the Ramsey Steamship Company, 1914-1964

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Date(s): after 1964

Creator(s): unknown maker

Scope & Content: Tracks 1 and 2: Captain Corteen, who worked on the coaster vessels, talks about the Ramsey Steamship Company from when it started in 1914 to its end in 1964. He talks about the wages and life of the crew on board; sheltering from storms; docking at Portrush, Northern Ireland and the voyage to Liverpool or Bristol and elsewhere; sailing through the Calf Sound; ballast tanks; the Ben Veg ‘coal burner’ steamship (which the company started with in 1914) and her voyages; Sunday newspaper delivery by the coasters; loading the furnace with coal and dumping the ashes in the sea; Jack Bridson swept overboard ‘off the fiddly top’ from the Ben Veg and lost; workings of the steam engine and engineer killed in the steam pit; sails on the Ben Veg; sinking of the Ben Veg on 22 May 1941 which she ‘ran foul of a north bound convoy’; dropping and raising the anchor; steering gear; the Starling (bought 1916) renamed Ben Rein which his father was ‘chief’ aboard and on which the narrator had his 1916 holidays when aged 9; story of the Ben Rein sunk by German submarine in 1918; the Whitestone (bought 1917) renamed Ben Varrey and the Redstone (bought 1918) renamed Ben Vooar; standing at the wheel at sea; Stanley Ball from the Ben Varrey helped with rescue of survivors from the Lusitania on 7 May 1915 by the Wanderer; Ben Varrey sold in 1946; Ben Vooar lost in June 1936 on the north Irish coast; navigating the westerly gales and huge seas on a small coaster; danger of the north Irish coast and the sea swells; the Turn (bought 1919) mined in February 1941; the Ben Seyr (bought 1920), sank 2 November 1938 with loss of all crew and cargo of oats; loading cargo and spreading tarpaulins; the Sarah Blanche (bought 1920) renamed Ben Blanche lost 17 December 1933; the Jolly Basil (bought 1924) renamed Ben Jee and sold in 1933; the Glenmaye (bought 1928) sold in 1937; Ben Ellan (bought 1936) sold 1961; Ben Vooar (bought 1938) sold 1956; Ben Ayn (bought 1938) which he served on, sold 1963; Ben Veen (bought 1944) sold 1962; Ben Jee (bought 1946) sold 1953; Ben Varrey (bought 1954) sold 1957.

[woman’s voice says ‘now please turn the cassette over’]; Ben May, sold 1964; cargo the coasters carried and how they sat low in the water; securing the hatches and tarpaulins; mast head lights and paraffin ‘duck’ lamps; simple engine power and compass [recording stops mid-sentence]; names of the small piers, bays and lochs the coasters moored at in the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland; contract for the coasters to supply the Irish and Scottish lighthouses; coal cargo; meals on board; coaster crews; piles on Port Anne jetty in Douglas to break the swell; varied cargo from coal to oysters; story of funnel falling over on a coal-burner coaster he was on when coming into Douglas harbour during a gale and, on the same vessel, losing its spirit compass near Langness; wedges on the Trevor; a vote of thanks to the ‘captain’.

Language: English

Extent: 58 min. 12 sec.

Item name: cassette tape

Collection: Sound Archive

Level: ITEM

ID number: SA 2019-0052/16

Access conditions: All reasonable attempt has been made by Manx National Heritage to trace and request permission (where needed) from the copyright holder(s) in this sound recording. If however you think you are a rights holder then please contact Manx National Heritage.

Subject tags : #UOSH

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