Commodore Robin William McArthur Thomson

From the General Botha Old Boys Association Muster List

Robert (Robin) Thomson GB cadet 1067; 1939 and 1940.

Robin joined Blue Funnel during 1941. His first ship Anchises, was sunk off the north west coast of Ireland. Dick (GB 896) and TY (897) were on the quay side to meet him when the survivors came ashore in Liverpool. Robin completed his second mates with Blue Funnel and returned to South Africa as fourth mate on the Sarpedon, an old Blue Funnel passenger ship. He served with Maersk Line on one of their tankers and with SAR Ships before joining Safmarine’s Morgenster in New York during 1947. His first appointment as master with Safmarine was five years later. When Safmarine ventured into stevedoring he was appointed manager of SA Stevedors in Durban. He returned to the fleet serving on the bulk carriers, the big whites (container ships) and finally on the passenger ships before he retired. His lovely wife Helene joined him on most of the ships he served on as master.

Reported in “Old Salts” 1947/48.

“Was Second Officer on the ‘Vergelegen’ (Safmarine) on her first voyage under the S.A. Flag.” Extract from “Mailships of the Union Castle Line.

05/02/1976 the first Safmarine Officer to be appointed Commodore.

Retired July 1983 but was appointed to Safmarine’s new cruise liner Astor December 1983.

Finally retired June 1984.

Extract from “Mailships of the Union Castle Line.”

“A few Safmarine Officers were transferred to the mail ships, one of whom was Captain Robin McA. Thomson.

Having learnt his seamanship on the training ship General Botha, and after a spell in the Blue Funnel Line, he had joined Safmarine as a Third Officer in 1947, gaining command in the early fifties.

His experience and his polished demeanour made him an obvious commander on the S.A. Vaal, before being appointed to command on the S.A. Oranje.

When Commodore Norman Lloyd on the S.A. Vaal retired, Captain Thomson succeeded him as Commodore.”

05/02/1976 the first Safmarine Officer to be appointed Commodore.

Deceased 11/01/2011.

From Safmarine Mariner

Robin Thompson joined Safmarine in 1947 and was sent to New York as second mate on one of the Victory class ships "Vergelegen" which was being fitted out prior to her maiden voyage.

In 1954 Robin commanded his first ship the "Morgenster". He captained many ships for Safmarine, including the passenger ships "SA.Vaal", "SA. Oranje" and later brought out the first of the big white container ships the "SA. Helderberg" to South Africa.

Robin became the first Commodore of the Safmarine fleet. He was in his eighties when he died in Durban in January 2011, after retiring in 1984.

Obituaries from the web site of SATS General Botha Old Boys Association

Service Record

From

To

SA Vaal

Staff Commander

5/1971

9/1971

SA Vaal

Staff Commander

1/1972

9/1972

SA Vaal

Staff Commander

11/1972

12/1972

SA Oranje

Master

1/1973

10/1973

SA Oranje

Master

12/1973

10/1974

SA Oranje

Master

1/1975

2/1975

SA Vaal

Master

4/1975

6/1975

SA Vaal

Master

8/1975

10/1977

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