Ian Warren

I left school in 1971 aged 15, and went to Gravesend Sea Training School to train as a steward. I was there for 10 weeks, from 13th September to 19th November, before going to the join the pool at Southampton.

I joined Pendennis Castle in December 1971 and stayed with her for 8 round trips. During that time I was officially a bell boy but also helped out as assistant steward, and on one trip I was promoted to the Chief Steward’s valet. My role as a bell boy was varied, but included delivering telegrams, handing out streamers before sailing, which meant I could get to meet the new passengers, delivering tea to the first class passengers, and many other things as well. I can’t really remember the names of everyone from those days, but know that there were 2 Kevin’s, a Les and an Andre among the other bell boys. The captain for many of the trips was Captain Charnley.

I do remember that we used to work long hours, even as a 16 year old. I did 7am – c2.30pm, and then 5pm – c10pm, seven days a week, with a half day off in Durban and another half day in Cape Town. As a young boy it was really a big adventure, so the long hours never seemed to worry me, and it was great to see some of the world.

After my 8th trip I left Union-Castle and joined OCL as a steward on a container ship called Flinders Bay, and did a 3 month trip to Australia. After that I came ashore and trained to be a chef, but that only lasted a year or two.

I have many happy memories of my time at sea, and no regrets. I just wish that I had taken more photos and kept notes of people’s names. I have managed to get hold of a lot of postcards and brochures etc on Ebay, which even now has many new Union-Castle items added each day.

My favourite type of holiday now is cruising, as it is great to be on the receiving end of the service and attention.

At the age of 16 from his Discharge Book in 1972

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