About Lands End for Orders

“E’va bin smacked in the mawf Son? Well you have now…”

It was his ‘welcome’ on board, meted out within hours of joining his first ship in Jarrow on the Tyne.

This is the true story of going straight to sea from a prestigious English Public School, in 1961 as a cadet, in the British Merchant Navy. How dreams of wearing a crisp, white uniform, binoculars slung around his neck, were shattered within hours of joining a British Tramp ship in the North of England.

Despite the bullying, the physical hardship, seasickness, open hostility and intimidation, a grudging acceptance from the crew finally emerged. But such was the ingrained hatred, that divided those who came from ‘posh schools’ and a middle class background, from the ‘working class’ of the North, that nothing then could bridge that gap.

From South America to China, Hong Kong and the Philippines and across the North Pacific in winter to the USA, he struggled to ‘belong.’

Befriended by the Radio Officer, eventually he was recognised by the Chief Officer, an incurable alcoholic, who realised that a sound education and ambition for a career at sea, could be harnessed.

Following an encounter with a typhoon in the China sea, the ship was badly damaged and dry docked in Hong Kong. Assigned to work with the surveyor during the extensive repairs, he gained invaluable knowledge.

It marked the beginning of a degree of acceptance and from this inauspicious start, he climbed the ladder obtaining his Foreign Going Master’s Certificate in 1970. After spending over 20 years at sea, he took a ‘shore’ posting as cargo superintendent in Australia’s Port Botany, to read law.

In 1984 he was called to New South Wales Bar. Admitted as a solicitor in 1986 he became an internationally recognised Maritime Lawyer, travelling the world for shipowners and delivering papers on International Maritime law.