December 2014

At our December meeting we held our AGM. Unfortunately, Robin Butcher, our chairman since October 2009, retired from the position for family reasons. His report was relayed through the Hon. Vice chairman, Ian Wells who also chaired the meeting. The secretary thanked all those involved in running the branch and thanked the membership for attending the meetings. The treasurer reported that our finances were found to be sufficiently sound that no increase in the monthly meeting contribution was thought to be necessary for another year. Ian Wells was unanimously voted in as Chairman. Robin Butcher remains on the committee which was strengthened by the addition of David Berg.


The Officers and committee were unanimously re-elected for a further year.


Current Committee:


Chairman: Ian Wells


Secretary: David Brown


Treasurer: John Hampson


Vice Chairman: Jerzy Swieszkowski


Honorary Vice Chairman: Robin Butcher


Honorary Auditors: Ray Smith and Michael Vincent


Committee: Andrew Smith, John Raven, John Harrison, David Berg and Ray Smith.


The remainder of the evening was taken up with a presentation by Chris Nursey featuring the preserved steam tug PORTWEY. Chris told us of the history of PORTWEY, which was built in 1927 at Harland and Wolff, Glasgow for the Portland and Weymouth Coaling Co. She worked in the Weymouth area delivering coal to ports along the coast as well as general towage and salvage.


In WW2 she took up various war duties including rescue duties on D Day. After the war she returned to normal duties until 1967 when she was laid up. She was rescued from the scrap yard and joined the Maritime Trust’s Historic Ship Collection at St Katharine’s Dock, London. With the help of a lottery grant and a dedicated volunteer “crew” she is still in steam and making short voyages on the Thames. However, she is still in need of funds for her continued sailing.


Our thanks go to Chris Nursey for taking the time to come to Ingatestone and relate the fascinating story of this important little ship in our maritime heritage.


November 2014

At our meeting on November 3rd we showed part 1 of the presentation “A Central American Cruise”. This comprised of photographs taken by Martin Wright on a month long cruise he made in October 2012 on board QUEST for ADVENTURE. Sadly Martin died earlier this year and we felt privileged to be able to see this excellent show. Martin was not only a ship enthusiast but also a wildlife devotee so we were treated to photos of the birds and animals he spotted along the way. Also featured were the towns and cities he visited and the sights seen on the excursions. The cruise started in Havana and took in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica. The shipping shown in each port visited was both numerous and varied. We look forward to screening Part 2 of this fascinating show in January.





October 2014

The presentation at our October meeting was given by Bill Mayes, WSS Treasurer and cruise ship and ferry doyen. This covered the hotel visits, cruises, ship visits and ferry voyages made in 2010. On a visit to Istanbul he successfully found the Ferry Hotel SS Turan Emeksis at Guzelyali, original an Istanbul ferry built at Fairfields in 1961.  Also sampled was the hotel, SS ROTTERDAM, Holland’s last transatlantic liner now moored in Rotterdam. His cruise on SAGA RUBY was from Southampton through the Mediterranean and into the Black Sea and return and featured the many ships seen during the voyage as well as on board photographs. As a shipping journalist he made visits to several cruise ships including MSC OPERA, BLACK WATCH, DISCOVERY, SAGA PEARL 2, PRINSENDAM, OCEANA and QUEEN ELIZABETH. A second cruise around the Mediterranean was on board BLUE de FRANCE.  Ferries of all sorts were featured during the show which culminated on a carefully timed, round northern Europe journey, taking in as many ferries as possible!  Thank you Bill for taking your time to travel the vagaries of the M25 to visit us once again to show one of your excellent presentations.



September 2014

We welcomed Peter and Christine Ives to our September 2014 meeting. They showed us video and stills taken on a cruise to the Atlantic Islands and Morocco over the Christmas / New Year period last year on board Thompson Celebration. They joined at Las Palmas and showed us the surprisingly busy port. In the harbour were Brazillian and Spanish warships bunker tankers, the sailing ship ALEXANDER von HUMBOLDT 11, the layed up KRISTINA KATARINA, layed up coasters and fishing vessels and tugs and ferries.The itinerary included Funchal, Agadir and Lanzarote. She and AIDA STELLA were on a similar programme and seemed to follow each other about! Also seen in Agadir was the cruise liner MSC ARMONA, reefers loading fruit and the container port. Peter had videoed the ships and activities in each port visited and ended with a selection of photos of the 1981 wreck at Lanzarote of the Greek flag TELAMON which was formerly Lambert Brothers TEMPLE HALL from 1954. Her stern section is still looking in remarkably good order. Our thanks to Peter and Christine for coming once again to show us their cruising exploits.



August 2014

At our August meeting we continued with part 2 of the Mid-Essex branch PowerPoint presentation, “Tropic Voyage 1976” (see report below). This show was compiled from slides taken by Captain Edwin Gregson which have been left to the branch. Part Two covers Tropic’s voyage from the Panama Canal to Australia and New Zealand and her return to the Caribbean. The trans Pacific voyages were uneventful but covers the many ships in the ports of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. TROPIC then returns through the canal and visits Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Barbados, before Edwin returns to the UK on leave. The show includes the investigation of a wrecked yacht off Melbourne and Edwin’s pictures of the burnt out STAVRONIKITA at Barbados. Our thanks go to Ian Wells & David Brown for this presentation and of course to Edwin for taking the slides. We know that Edwin would be delighted that his slides were being shown to a wider audience and we hope to be able to share both presentations with other branches in the near future.




                     Sydney Harbour Bridge                                                          Straat Singapore


                                  Tropic                                                                     Stavronikita


July 2014

At our July meeting we premiered the Mid-Essex branch PowerPoint presentation, “Tropic Voyage 1976 Part 1”. This show was compiled from slides taken by Captain Edwin Gregson and left to the branch. The slides have been scanned and undergone some digital “cleaning” and were taken during the first voyage on which Edwin took a camera to sea with him. The commentary was researched by Ian Wells who was able to augment his script from the regular letters sent from Edwin to the branch at that time. Part One covers Edwin’s early career and ships, including views both inside and out of Queen of Bermuda and Ocean Monarch, on which Edwin had served in his early career. Then followed pictures of ships in and around Falmouth where MV TROPIC was dry docked prior to its charter to Shaw Savill and Albion. TROPIC left Falmouth in July 1976 in ballast destined for the U.S. Gulf where the ports of call were New Orleans, Port Arthur and Houston. Many slides were taken by Edwin from TROPIC's bridge of ships seen alongside or awaiting a berth. Part 1 ends at the Panama Canal before the long voyage to Australia and New Zealand. Our thanks go to Ian Wells & David Brown for this presentation and of course to Edwin for taking the slides. We know that Edwin would be delighted that his slides were being shown to a wider audience and we hope to be able to share this presentation with other branches in the near future.




  MV TROPIC at Falmouth              

    Edwin Gregson as Chief Officer

              of Pacific Reliance 



The tanker KOCHI GEIR leaving Port Arthur, Texas 3rd August 1976


June 2014

At our June meeting we welcomed Ken Larwood on what is now an annual visit. He presented his show “The Port of Ramsgate and Sally Line”. Ken lives near Ramsgate and visited the port and ships during his working life as a marine electrical engineer so was able to display all his local knowledge of the commercial port from its beginnings with Olau line in the 1970s through its improvements during the 1980s and 1990s to its demise in recent years. Olau line started their car shipping business to the port of Ramsgate operating as Thanet Line and using the chartered Ro-Ro ADMIRAL CARRIER. The Olau backed Dunkerque-Ramsgate Ferries in 1980 pointed Finish owned Sally Line the way for the potential use of Ramsgate. Their service began in 1981 with THE VIKING (ex-VIKING V). The port saw a £multi-million expansion with a new harbour, breakwaters, equipment and warehousing.  Dredging the facility was constant requirement and even today when there is little port activity dredging is still maintained. In 1984 Shiaffino Lines moved their freight only service from Dover to Ramsgate along with the opening of a second berth. A third berth was completed in 1985. Sally line acquired Shafffino Line in 1990. Sally Lines association with the port ended in 1998. Trans Europa Ferries then provided a freight only service to Ostend but that ceased in 2013. The port is still involved with the offshore London Array wind farm but is only a shadow of its former busy days of the 80s and 90s. We thank Ken for visiting us and showing us an interesting and well researched presentation. We can only hope that he will be able to share another show next year.


May 2014

At our May meeting with a good number of members for a Bank Holiday, Ray Smith presented his show “Gibraltar 2013”. The seas around Gibraltar are among the most crowded waters in the world. Every year some 110,000 vessels pass through the Strait of Gibraltar and each one has to sail within 14 miles of the Port of Gibraltar. Perhaps its most important role is as a refuelling or bunkering hub. This was a four day three night visit to the rock. DOLPHIN ADVENTURE 2 was chartered for the group to see the ships rather than the dolphins and visited the anchorages around Gibraltar during the four days. Weather was good and Ray demonstrated his photo competition wining skills taking a variety of shipping around the rock starting with the ex RN ship Vine Trust which will provide sailing medical and dental facilities on Lake Victoria. Ferries such as ALBORAN, CUETA JET, CIUDAD de MALAGA, SF ALHUCEMAS, STENA FERONIA, and VRONSKY (ex PRINCESS BEATRIX) were seen. Many tugs were also seen along with the numerous bunkering tankers. It was noted that the bunker tanker “mother ships” had all but disappeared with supplies believed to be sourced from nearby Spain. Oil tankers were numerous and an increasing number of gas carriers were covered. One notable tanker was the UK flag London registered CPO RUSSIA. Numerous container ships featured both under way and at nearby Algeciras. Bulk carriers such as VENUS, STAR LINDESNES, TRANS NANJING and UNITED JALUA were viewed.  Cruise ships were represented by pictures of FUNCHAL and VENTURA. Our thanks to Ray for an evening of impeccable photography and expert ship research.


April 2014

A change of venue enabled us to view the film "Captain Phillips", the recently released film about the highjack of MAERSK ALABAMA. This enabled us to see first hand the problems experienced by ships in areas plagued by this problem. Unusually the membership were on the edge of their seats all evening!


March 2014

At our March meeting we viewed “Emigrant Ships” from the WSS tape slide library, a show compiled by the late Bert Novelli. This is a comprehensive history of those ships engaged in the mass transport of emigrants to South Africa, Australia, the US, Canada, South America and the East Indies following World War 2.

The tape was too long for our evening and was digitally edited to 1 hour 45 minutes without any loss of content. A disc of this edited commentary is now available for this show.

The devastation of the passenger carrying fleets due to the 2nd world war left no option but to use many ships like GEORGIC that were long past their useful life. Many ships had been requisitioned and were also being used for trooping duties. As these troop ships became available they were taken up as Emigrant carriers. The show covered many ships from the UK such as those of Cunard, Union Castle, Orient Lines. Later Italian and Greek lines supplied a large number of ships. By far the largest destination was Australia with people taking up the £10 assisted passage scheme. Many of the ship’s histories were told and gave us a very informative evening. Our thanks to Bert Novelli for presenting such an interesting evening for our members.


February 2014 

Our February meeting is traditionally the photo competition for the Colin Viney Trophy.  Pictures must have been taken in the previous calendar year and may be digital, slide or photograph. Slides and photographs are scanned for incusion into a PowerPoint presentation.  David Berg, David Brown, Ray Smith John Raven and John Harrison submitted their best six images for judging by the members. The selection included images from Tilbury to Terneuzen and from Lake Garda to New Orleans. One member noted that of the 30 ships displayed only 7 were in UK waters. During the break scores were totalled, followed by the entrants giving information on their pictures. Our 2014 trophy winner was agin Ray Smith, but there was only 17 points between Ray and runner-up David Berg. Ray also took best picture with a fine image of BIANCA RAMBOW and also the second best image of HMS NORTHUMBERLAND. 


Click HERE to view the images entered int the competition.


Listed below are the score details of each image and each set.



PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 1-135ALTENA=5
Image 1-235BOBO=5
Image 1-329CFL PROSPECT =19
Image 1-429DANIEL LAVAL =19
Image 1-536NORDPOL3
Image 1-634PEACE GARDEN=8
TOTAL198                                              SECOND



PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 2-232BRESCIA=13
Image 2-324SOUTHWARK27
Image 2-433GOETHA12
Image 2-534


Image 2-632G ZANARDELLI=13
TOTAL185                                              THIRD



PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 3-125ASSHEIM=24
Image 3-226LADY MALOU23
Image 3-425MINERVA RITA=24
Image 3-525SEA ARIRANG=24
Image 3-630USS ALABAMA17
TOTAL165                                              FOURTH



PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 4-129ROTTERDAM19
Image 4-227ROTTERDAM22
Image 4-314AURORA30
Image 4-421NORSTREAM=28
Image 4-535AURORA=5
Image 4-621       F931 LEOPOLD 1        =28



PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 5-136BARRACUDA=3
Image 5-334DESERT CALM=8
Image 5-531PEARL K=15
Image 5-631   STINA  =15


January 2014

At our January meeting our Chairman Robin Butcher was pleased to announce that the branch’s lifeboat had undergone it’s annual “overhaul” and realised £80 for RNLI funds. This did not include the money raised through sales of tea, Christmas cards and calendars.

Our secretary David Brown celebrated his 50 years as a member of the World Ship Society by presenting “Golden Monochrome” a PowerPoint showing a selection of black and white images of ships taken in his schooldays during the late 50s and early 60s.These were scanned from the original negatives which had recently come to light after the disappearance of the original prints. The story starts at the age of about 7 with a voyage on ROYAL SOVEREIGN to Margate followed by many trips on the Woolwich ferry to visit relatives in the late 1950s. Holidays on the South Coast gave great opprtunities for ship photography. The photos included many ships in Portsmouth some laid up awaiting disposal such as Crown Colony Class Cruisers, the aircraft carrier (HMS?) LEVIATHAN, HMS AUSONIA, the aircraft carrier HMS VICTORIOUS and the newly commissioned HMS HAMPSHIRE and various destroyers and frigates old and new. Ships in the Solent and at Southampton included Esso Tankers, NIEUW AMSTERDAM, RYNDAM, the two QUEENS, CARONIA, FRANCONIA, CARMANIA, several Union Castle liners including REINA Del MAR. Also seen was EMPIRE FOWEY, ORIANA, EMPRESS of BRITAIN, FRANCE and the UNITED STATES. Ships taken at Tilbury included IBERIA, ORSOVA, DINTELDYKE, ROYSTON GRANGE, LA PAMPA, URAGUAY STAR, and the very attractive VELAZQUEZ. An evening back to a time before containers, car carriers and dedicated cruise ships.