At our December meeting we held our AGM chaired by Ian Wells. He and Secretary David Brown gave their reports on the branch activities during the year. It was decided that the room hire donation would remain at £4. The accounts were transferred to David Brown during the year. The officers and committee were unanimously re-elected

en bloc for a further year. Officers and Committee members were re-elected en bloc.


Current Committee:


Chairman: Ian Wells


Secretary: David Brown


Treasurer: David Brown


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.


After the break John V’s Nicholls showed us some of the videos that he had taken around the Thames and Tilbury over the past couple of years. We look forward to seeing more at a future date.



We welcomed Derek Sands from our neighbouring branch Haven Ports to our November meeting where he showed us a great selection of ships taken on his Baltic Cruise aboard MARCO POLO in June 2018. First stop was Copenhagen where there were five other cruise ships visiting that day. These included AIDADIVA, BRILLIANCE of the SEAS and NAVIGATOR of the SEAS. Also seen was the sail training ship DANEBROG. The next port of call was Warnemunde/Rostock where several preserved ships  were alongside including DRESDEN, LIKEDEALER, PETERSDORF and the ice breaker STEPHAN JANZEN. A most interesting few images were shown of the town of Rostok. Talin was next to be visited where images of the 13C picturesque town were shown. Ships were mainly ferries and naval but also included six cruise ships. The visit to St. Petersburg included a river cruise past the historic AURORA where sailors could be seen in period costume on board. The next port visit was Helsinki giving rise to more images of ferries, naval craft and ice breakers. Because of an incident in the Kiel Canal the return journey was via Great Belt but gave a further opportunity to photograph ships whilst en-route to Harwich. The last ship seen was TSB CENTAUR seen entering Harwich harbour. She was built in Harwich in 1895.

Our thanks to Derek for visiting us once more with a most entertaining evening of not only the ships that passed but views of the ports visited.



We were happy to have Mick Warrick from Haven ports Branch at our October meeting. He gave us a most interesting selection of ship slides from his collection. An unusual evening in that we had to dust down the slide projector. The slides covered the local area as well as visits further afield. Ships at small local ports were shown such as Brightlingsea, Wells & Mistley. Wivenhoe and Colchester have now fallen out of use but we  were reminded of how busy Cochester port was in its day with 6 coasters alongside. The larger local ports such as Ipswich featured coasters in the wet dock, a fairly rare occurrence these days. Ships in Felixstowe dock basin, now long filled to become part of the container port, were photographed from the Harwich Felixstowe ferry BRIGHTLINGSEA of 1925 believed to be still surviving at St Osyth being converted to a house boat. Still in home waters was the laid up freighter CAPTAIN JOHN in the Blackwater estuary. Several ferries and tugs based in Harwich and Felixstowe were shown.

Further afield we were shown ships in the Hook of Holland, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Piraeus, Dover and Calais

Our thanks go to Mick for coming to see us and bringing picures of a fine selection of ships from the past. We look forward to another visit.



We were pleased to welcome our long standing September visitors Peter & Christine Ives from Kent. This year they showed us a vast selection of ships in Piraeus taken during their visit in May this year. This included Cruise Ships of all sizes, including VEENDAM, NORWEIGIAN STAR, WINDSTAR and OCEAN DREAM. Also seen were tankers, tugs, drill ships, bulk carriers and ferries of many origins including those formerly running in British waters. Notably KING ORRY, HENGIST, DOVER HOVERSPEED, the coastal tanker BURGUNDY, the tug WAKEFUL A visit was also made to the Moundreus shipyard and to Perama to view the shipyards there. Of particular interest to Peter was the “ships graveyard” at Elusuis. We thank Peter and Christine for making their way to see us again and for an interesting selection of ships.



We were pleased to see WSS Secretary Jimmy Pool again at our August meeting at Ingatestone.

He gave us a most interesting presentation on the ports of call and ships seen during a Greek Island cruise starting in Southampton with visits to ports en-route and around the Greek Islands. A most diverse selection of ships was shown which included a few of our ex North Sea ferries. The show concluded on the return leg at Gibralta with its large variety of shipping. Our thanks to Jimmy for taking time to visit us once again with an absorbing programme.


JULY 2019

"At the July meeting our own David Berg gave a most enjoyable presentation “Little and Large at Rotterdam” featuring a trip to his favourite shipping haunts on the New Waterway and surrounding areas. Many ship types were depicted in the excellent photographs taken last autumn which included views of the various vantage points. 


JUNE 2019

We enjoyed our evening of two halves which began with the conclusion of Ian Well’s show number 5,  London Docks and Thames 1963  - 4 which we started at our March meeting.  A nostalgic look at ships as they used to bebefore containerisation. The second half was taken up with a selection of recent photos by David Brown who scans and assembles the images for Ian’s shows. David is a notorious "bad weather" photographer! However he was able to demonstrate the power of PhotoShop to bring images up to a viewable standard even in poor light and misty conditions. These included a trip from Ipswich aboard ORWELL LADY on a very overcast day and ships from the Solent and smaller craft from the local area.


From a sow's ear to a silk purse - well almost



MAY 2019

We enjoyed another show compiled by Maurice Napier, "The West coast of South America Peru to Argentina" The first ship was the AMAZON HOPE 2 part of the Vine Trust organisation that takes medical care to remote places. This was followed by land marks of Lima and the ancient ruins in the surrounding countryside and the inevitable Llama!. The next visit was Valpariso in Chile with a mix of images from the city and the many ships at waterfront area. After a visit to thae Easter Islands and their haunting status Maurice visited Puerto Montt before a brief visit to Argentina. Returning to Chile a visit was made to Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas. At this location we saw many modern ships but were astonished at the number of wrecks seen along the coast, reminiscant of those at the Falkland Islands. A further visit to Argentina followed with ships at the port of  Ushuaia, with  few more old wrecks to be seen at Estancia Remolino.

Thanks to Maurice for a fascinating insight into the shipping of the west coast of South America, a show which was enjoyed by all who attended.


APRIL 2019

We were pleased to welcome Barry Peck from Southampton branch who presented what could be termed as the definitive story of Strick Line. Barry was unable to provide any of the companies personalia as very few, if any, records were kept in the early days except of the ships and voyages. Its main trade was coal and supplies to the Persian Gulf. Surprisingly larger ships were unable to cross the bar over the Shatt al-Arab waterway and had to be unloaded to lighten them to service the ports beyond. Stricks supplied their own tugs and lighters to perform this task. The company was also willing to embrace “new technology” and fitted a gyro compass, radar and automation in the engine room before many of its rivals. Diesel propulsion also superseded steam although steam still continued to provide auxiliary power. Ship designs within several classes had modified dimensions to use the Manchester Ship Canal. Also related was the SEISTAN disaster of 1958 in the Bahrain explosives anchorage where she blew up killing 57 including the ship’s crew, stevedores and a tug crew. In 1959 the line was at is largest having 25 ships and by 1972 it was reduced to 16. In 1971 P&O General Cargo Division took over P&O, British India, New Zealand line, Federal Steam Navigation, Hain’s, Norse and Moss Hutchison. By all accounts this was not executed in the most compassionate way.

We thank Barry for taking time to visit us and relate this most interesting story.

 SERBISTAN in the Thames shortly after Strick's take over by P&O (GCD) 

Photo Copyright © Ian Wells


MARCH 2019

At our March meeting Ian Wells presented the fifth in his series of London Docks and Thames shipping. This show covered the years 1963-1964 whilst Ian was employed in the Royal Docks. A thoroughly nostalgic look at ships that visited London in the 1960's before the advent of containerisation. A show of around 110 slides/images that was so absorbing that we reached only just over 1/2 way through. Shipping companies familiar with some of us of a "certain age":  Ellerman; Royal Mail; British India; Glen Line; Shaw Savill and Albion; New Zealand Line; Clan Line; Elder Dempster; Brocklebank; and Blue Star Line;  Representative ships for each featured, along with a variety of tugs working in the Thames. Also included was a trip to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth with coasters crossing Breydon Water on their way to the Port of Norwich. Some time was given to the Booth line BASIL which had a long and chequered career. There was also a shot of the training ship WORCESTER off Greenhithe and ships at the Thomas Ward Ship breaking yard at Grays. We will complete this show in June.



At our meeting we staged our annual photographic competition for the "Colin Viney Trophy".

Our five entrants submitted their best images taken in 2018 for judging. Entrant’s these days have digital pictures but we are able to scan slides and photographs for inclusion if required. These are assembled into a PowePoint presentation.  The entrants this year were David Berg, David Brown, John Harrison, John Raven and Ray Smith. All images were of a very high standard which seems to improve each year.

The selection included images from the USA to Terneuzen and from Scotland to Wales. During the break scores were totalled, followed by the entrants giving information on their pictures. Our 2019 trophy winner is David Brown, with just a few points between runner-up David Berg and Ray Smith in third place. The best picture of the competition was Ray Smith's image of V ARCTIC TERN.


A slide show of the images entered into the competition is available HERE


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


PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 1-255 AZURA9
Image 1-356 DEMETER8=
Image 1-452 USS HARRY TRUMAN12=
Image 1-551 THALATTA16=
Image 1-664 V ARCTIC TERN1

Ray Smith


PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 2-148 CORRINGHAM                   26=
Image 2-249 DALMENT24=
Image 2-354 MAGGELLAN11
Image 2-450 SKYLGE22=
Image 2-545 Ship Model   28
Image 2-636 YACHT29=

John Harrison


PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 3-158 CARL7
Image 3-250  LE BOREAL22=
Image 3-360 NURI SONAY4=
Image 3-461  POLAR PERU3
Image 3-656 WES AMELIE7=

David Berg


PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 4-149 ARCADIA                           24=
Image 4-247 COSTA PACIFICA27
Image 4-336 GREAT EASTERN29=
Image 4-452 KEY LARGO12=
Image 4-551 NANTUKET  (LS)17=
Image 4-651 TID 17217=

John Raven


PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 5-1        52 MAGELLAN


Image 5-363 DUKE of NORMANDY2
Image 5-556 CK 1348=
Image 5-659 TID 159 & TID 1726
TOTAL341 1

David Brown



At our meeting on 7th January we continued with the showing of promotional films from the Shaw Savill archive that we saw last month. These included the cruising aspect of the business and featured the travelling delights of the NORTHERN STAR. Our late chairman’s Captain Edwin Gregson took home movie whilst he was in command of OROYA . These gave an insight into the day to day working of a cargo ship and also featured the delights of the “crossing the line” ceremony.

Our thanks to Edwin’s daughter for kindly giving these films to the branch.