December 2015

At our December meeting we held our AGM. Ian Wells chaired the meeting. He and Secretary David Brown gave their reports on the branch activities during the year. 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 in 2016. The vacancy of Auditor caused by the resignation of Michael Vincent following his move to the Liverpool area was filled by David Berg.


An earlier meeting start time was discussed and it was unanimously agreed to trial a 7:30 p.m. start time from March 2016.


It was decided to meet sometime in the spring/early summer to celebrate our 500th meeting.

Suggested was a pub lunch at the Queens Head Maldon which coincided with a sailing on the Viking Saga, weather permitting.


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 David Berg


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


The remainder of the evening was taken up with the conclusion of the slide show “Maritime Merseyside” compiled by Bert Novelli. This finished the story, started last month, (see below) of the docks at Birkenhead and covered the decline of both the docks and Cammell Laird Shipbuilders and the rise of Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and the rise of Liverpool as a cruise ship destination.


November 2015

We borrowed the slide show “Maritime Merseyside” compiled by the late Bert Novelli from the WSS slide show library for our November meeting. This was a most entertaining and informative show illustrated by Bert’s slides taken from 1959 to 1999 with lots of information on Liverpool, its docks, iconic buildings and the nearby ports of Birkenhead, Tranmere, Ellesmere Port and Eastham. Ships from the small but well known Mersey ferries to the large ocean liners drew remarks from the audience. In particular ships of Cunard, Blue Funnel, Palm Line, Elder Dempster, Canadian Pacific, Blue Star and Alexander Towing were featured giving us a very nostalgic evening. We managed to display about ¾ of the show before time overtook us. We anticipate showing the remainder after our branch AGM to be held next month. A recommended show for those who have not already seen it.


October 2015

We welcomed Steve Spouse to our October meeting where he presented “Thames & Medway Nostalgia”. Steve is well known for his knowledge of local tugs and loves nothing more than taking photos from unfamiliar angles and heights. One unusual photo he had taken was from the yet to be completed Canary Wharf tower! Other remarkable photos were from high rise flats and other structures. Impressive aerial photographs of the Thames in the 1980s also featured, originating from the rubbish to be disposed of from the London Docklands Development Corporation. These were of aerial pictures of the Thames and old dockland sites. Many tugs were featured including some old favorites, CHALLENGE, PLATOON, PORTWEY, TOUCHSTONE and KENT. Other ships included in the presentation were ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA, BLACK PRINCE, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS, KINGSWEAR CASTLE, MEDWAY QUEEN, the motor yacht CHRISTINA O and an aerial photo of VIKING STAR passing through the Thames Barrier. Coasters from Prior’s, which bring sand and aggregate to the Capital from Fingeringhoe on the river Colne were also shown, one or two in embarrassing positions!

Our thanks goes to Steve for crossing the bridge and giving us a great show from his vast library of photographs.


September 2015

At our September meeting we were pleased to see Peter & Christine Ives who paid their regular visit to share their travels over the past year. Shipping in the Dardanelles was their focus this year. All the ships bound for the Sea of Marmara, Istanbul and beyond into the Black Sea travel through the Dardanelles Straight, a narrow channel between Europe and Asia. This was the site of the (in)famous Gallipoli campaign in 1915. Peter and Christine documented several of the monuments and graveyards associated with this ill-fated campaign. We saw Anzac Cove and the Lone Pine Cemetery and memorial. The memorial lists 3,268 Australians that died in the campaign with no known grave.

Carnakkale, is one of the narrowest parts of the straits and an ideal spot for observing the shipping. Also there is the minelayer NUSRET built in 1911 supposedly the ship responsible for the mining of HM Ships IRRESISTIBLE, OCEAN and INFLIXIBLE and the French Battleship BOUVET. She has been restored as a memorial/museum ship.

Shipping traveling through the strait was also displayed both in still and video which included livestock carriers, bulkers, tankers and container ships. A similar selection along with tugs and ferries was seen from their vantage points in and around Istanbul. The 1960s ferries still seemed to be numerous even after the opening of the Bosphorous rail tunnel. The patrol and anti-submarine warship BUYUKADA commissioned in 2013 also featured along with the bulker KING BULK box boat NEDLOYD TASMAN and GAS HAGI. The 1931 built, Blohm & Voss built, Turkish Presidential motor yacht SAVARONA was also shown looking very smart after her recent 10 month refurbishment.

Our thanks go to Peter and Christine for visiting us again with their highly interesting presentation. 


August 2015

We welcomed Krispen Atkinson to our August meeting where he presented “Cornish Ports 2”. A native of Cornwall now living in Kent, Krispen obviously retains a passion for his birthplace and its maritime heritage. We “visited” Mevagissey, Pentewan, Charlestown, Par, Looe, Lerryn, and Fowey. Mevagissey has for centuries been a fishing port. Today modern fishing boats are still working from the harbour. There is also a ferry running between Mevagissey and Fowey which Krispen had never seen and knowing the sea conditions in St Austell Bay he was not surprised!

Pentewan’s harbour dates back to medieval times. Last century the small harbour exported china clay and imported timber and limestone with Everard’s coasters making regular visits. As ships increased in size trade declined and over the past 50 years the harbour has silted up.

Charlestown was originally a fishing village. The harbour and dock was built in the late 18th century initially to export the locally mined copper followed by china clay. It’ imports were coal, timber and farming supplies. China clay exports declined in favour of Par and Fowey and the last commercial coaster ARDENT left in 1999. In 1994 the harbour was bought by “Square Sail” as a base for their sailing ships. These ships and the port are in demand for film sets.

The small port Par was built on the Par estuary initially to export copper to Swansea, and then later china clay. In recent times the clay was piped down as slurry from the quarry and dried in large drying sheds before  being exported. In recent years a decline in trade has been seen.

Looe harbour’s importance was due to the building of the Looe to Liskeard canal which was initially used to import sand and lime to improve the areas soil but after the discovery of minerals in the area it was used for exporting copper and granite. The canal became silted and the railway took most of its trade. Today the harbour primarily concentrates on fishing and tourism.

Fowey is by far the largest port covered in the presentation and has been a major exporter of china clay for many years to destinations all over the world. Today the port handles timber and aggregates. The port is situated upriver from the town and requires vessels to swing before being towed stern first on to the dockside and loading berths. There are ship building and repair yards, lay up berths, and cross river ferries. The largest cargo ship to visit Fowey is the 12,500 grt KENT FOREST. The port is also becoming a venue for cruise ships having had recent visits from BLACK PRINCE, BODICCA and CRYSTAL HARMONY which anchor off and passengers are bought in by tender. A typical destination is the Eden Project.

We thank Krispen for showing his most interesting show on the china clay ports of southern Cornwall including many excellent photographs both old and new.


July 2015

We were pleased to see Jimmy Poole, the Society Secretary, at our July meeting. He showed us his PowerPoint presentation of an Australasian tour he made titled "Trip Down Under 2013"

After a two day flight from the UK Jimmy had 3 nights in a hotel in Sydney and one night on board his cruise ship CELEBRITY SOLSTICE. He took advantage of the time to use the local ferries to view the shipping in the harbour. In particular the Ferry to Manly which passes the iconic Bridge and Opera House. Some vessels the of Australia Navy were also seen at the Garden Island Naval base. Jimmy showed us pictures of the interior of his ship. An almost full complement of the various Sydney ferries were shown. The next port of call was Melbourne where Jimmy took to the city streets and photographed a selection of the Cities trams and heritage buildings which seemed to nestle in between high rise office blocks.

The ship then made it's way to the remote, sparsely populated sounds on the south west coast of South Island New Zealand reminiscent of Norway and it's fjiords. From there the ship made it's way to North Island via the East coast calling in at Port Chalmers/Dunedin and Christchurch.The ships seen were container ships and bulk carriers exporting lumber along with a good number of tugs and ferries. CRYSTAL SYMPHONY called at Wellington and Aukland on North Island where Jimmy found a good selection of container ships, bulk carriers, ferries, tugs and warships to photograph.

Thanks to Jimmy for making the effort to make the jorney across London to show us his excellent set of photographs. We look forward to a further visit  next year.


June 2015

We were pleased to welcome Ken Larwood for our June meeting. This was at least his eighth visit to Ingatestone so we knew we could expect a show with superb photography and thorough research. We were not disappointed! Ken remains a slide film devotee and has resisted the temptation to go digital.

The show was titled “Ferries of the Mediterranean part 3” all taken by Ken whilst on holiday or on cruises. The ports of call included Rhodes, Malaga, Capri, Mikanos, Genoa and Split.

There were a good number of ferries which we recognised as ex Northern European such as Corsica Ferries MOBY BLU which traded as FEE ENTERPRISE 2 on the English Chanel. Mediterranean ferry ports have a tradition of stern only docking and many double ended ferries were modified having any bow ramp and doors welded up. One such was the SUPERFLEX FOXTROT, the last big ship to be built in Sunderland. Operating as PANTOKRATOR she had been radically altered and left with only a stern loading ramp.

Another memorable photograph showed ex SENLAC and ex HORSA laid up together in Piraeus, but still recognisable from their familiar profiles.

In later times, as ferries increased in size, they were built locally in Italy or Greece and like the UK, FastCat ferries were employed. Ken also showed us a selection of Jadrolinija ferries.

We thank Ken for journeying from Whitstable to share some of his vast collection of slides. We look forward to another visit sometime soon.


May 2015

Our bank holiday meetings are usually members evenings as attendance is marginally lower and there can be transport difficulties when asking an outside speaker. Our May meeting was no exception when our secretary David Brown entertained us to a profile of our local ports on the river Blackwater, only a matter of miles from our meeting venue at Ingatestone. A tour of the rivers Chelmer and Blackwater at Maldon revealed some interesting craft, along with a good number of Thames barges. At Heybridge a brief history of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation was told and some old pictures of the canal portrayed the ports of Chelmsford & Heybridge.  Osea Island further down river revealed it's past as a test area for flying boats. The Island also was a Coastal Motor Boat base during the 1st world war. The river to the east of Osea was host to many a layed up ship during the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s and the early 1980s. Photos of a selection of these were shown. Also included were points of interest such as the nuclear power station at Bradwell and round the coast, St Peter's on the Wall chapel built in 654, and the venue of the battle of Maldon in 991.







April 2015

At our April meeting we viewed a compilation of clips and films from the Internet compiled by John Luxton of Merseyside Branch and titled SeaTube. This proved to be a most entertaining evening with amateur clips of mishaps at sea (and canal), of commercially made shipping films and films of shipping events past and present. Some older film of ship launches shows how incomplete ships appeared at launch stage compared to today. Thank you John for your diligence in compiling this interesting and often amusing set of clips and films. We look forward to being able to view SeaTube2 should it becomes available.


March 2015

At our March meeting we welcomed Derek Sands from our neighbouring Haven Ports branch who gave us a very enlightening evening with his slide show “British Connection”. This featured a selection of slides that he had taken with a “British Connection”, some very obvious, others somewhat tenuous but nonetheless a connection. The show started with ships taken in the 1970s in and around London’s KGV docks with his 1st camera, a “Kodak Instamatic”. We were shown many vessels with familiar profiles that had moved on to other companies and trades along with ships such as WAITANGI, LANCASHIRE, ANDANIA, ROTHSAY CASTLE, SCOTTISH EAGLE, PRINCESS DANAE, AMERIKANIS, and BALTICA. The connections early in the show were ships that were both British built and owned, but as time went on ships were maybe British owned, British Built, British designed or merely chartered to British companies which reflected the slow decline of Britain as a ‘world leading’ maritime nation. A wide variety of ships were illustrated in the show having a wide variety of long gone British builders. Ships built at Harland and Wolf Belfast, Robb Caledon, Austin & Pickersgil, to the small Colne yard of Cooks at Wivenhoe. Ships were initially taken within the distance Derrick could travel on his motorbike, but soon extended to cover ships in the near continent. Thank you Derek for coming down to see us and show some of your excellent slides with an amazing connecting thread running through them.



February 2015

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 and John Harrison submitted their best six images for judging by the members. The selection included images from Gibraltar to the Lofoten Islands and from Poole to Terneuzen. During the break scores were totalled, followed by the entrants giving information on their pictures. Our 2015 trophy winner is David Berg, but there was only 23 points between David and runner-up Ray Smith. David also took the best picture with a fine bow shot of ATHANASIA C and also the second best image with a picture of the tug UNION 6 Ray Smith ended the evening with some views of Gibraltar experiencing some abnormal weather conditions.


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 1-1 45 CROWN TOPAZ14=
Image 1-2 47 FIVEL8=
Image 1-3 40 ROTTERDAM18= 
Image 1-4 46 SAN REMO10= 
Image 1-5 49 HMS SCIMITER6=
Image 1-6 53 VEMAOIL3
TOTAL280                                              SECOND



PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image2-138 SUDERAU 20=
Image 2-2 37 ORIANA22=
Image 2-3 42 APL TEMASEK16=
Image 2-4 51 SB KITTY
Image 2-5 47


Image 2-6 38MARCO POLO 20=
TOTAL253                                                THIRD



PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 3-150  AURORA5
Image 3-240 TROLLFJORD18= 
Image 3-344 VEOY 16=
Image 3-437 AURORA22=
Image 3-542  GU 17016=
Image 3-627  ORIANA24
TOTAL240                                                FOURTH



PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 3-146  BOMAR MARS10=
Image 3-2 59 ATHANASIA C1
Image 3-3 46 ANSAC PHOENIX10=
Image 3-4 49HC NATALIA6=
Image 3-5 45KAROLI 14
Image 3-6 58 UNION 62
TOTAL 303                                               FIRST



January 2015

At our first meeting of 2015 we continued with Part 2 of “Central American Cruise” from the photos and script of the late Martin Wright. This took in Nicaragua, Columbia, a transit through the Panama Canal, and an excursion on the Panama Canal Railway. Subsequently visits to Guatemala, the west coast of Honduras Nicaragua, Costa Rica (Golfito), Coiba Island (Panama), and El Salvador (Acajutla). After 29 days of cruising and sight seeing they reluctantly ended their journey at Caldera, Costa Rica with a flight back to Gatwick.


The photos, as in part 1, were extremely varied showing points of interest at the visited ports and on their excursions. Views from their ship QUEST for ADVENTURE, as they voyaged through the Panama Canal.  Incredible views of the varied wildlife encountered during their cruise and of course the varied shipping seen throughout their cruise, which encompassed ferries, tugs, coasters, bulkers, tankers, and work boats engaged on the canal enhancement scheme. Our thanks to Martin for these pictures and script and for the continuing support of his wife Anne. 



NORD ORION             PUCK