Colin Dubber

Email Received 3 Feb 2016

You may or may not remember my name we last met very nearly 50 years ago.

 A couple of chance happenings have brought me to this email.  Earlier in the summer my wife, Shirley, and I started the process of thinning out much of the stuff we have accumulated over 40 odd years of marriage in preparation, we hope, for a move to a retirement apartment, anyway amongst all this rubbish I came across some copies of old Safmarine "Wheelhouse" magazines which I was about to dump when I noticed that one of these mags was in fact a "Clansman"..   My sense of nostalgia drove me to sit and see if I could remember any names, and of course  I came across C Isaac, a second Officer on the Southampton Castle, I recalled that I had sailed with you on either the Tantallon or Clan Robertson.

The second thing that brought me to this was a discussion with an old friend, who told me that in his younger days he had worked in East Africa and  he recalled the old lake steamers so I decided to do a bit of research for him, he doesn't use a computer, anyway you can probably guess the rest, I came across one Captain Chris Isaac, couldn't believe my good luck.

Regrettably I didn't bookmark the site I was in but I do remember seeing your email address and making a note of it, anyway I didn't get around to doing anything about my find and lost the piece of paper it was on.  Have just found this scrap of paper and decided I had better strike while the iron was hot.

I still couldn't recall whether we had sailed together on the Tantallon Castle or the Clan Robertson except that I felt that somewhere Geoff Bryce fitted in the picture and I know that he was the 1st Mate on the the Tantallon as I had found an old black and white photo with him on the boat deck of the Tantallon and I wondered if the 2nd mate at that time  was possibly Arthur Slack ? and you 3rd Mate.

Anyway after leaving the Tantallon I went to the Clan Robertson for quite a while and then to the Rustenburg Castle, following that I went to Safmarine serving on the SA Vergelegan, SA Drakenstein and SA Tzaneen, the last few months as 2nd E.

In early 71 anxious to see something of the Southern Africa interior, I embarked on a period of working for engineering contractors mostly in the Transvaal but also seeing quite a bit of Rhodesia and Swaziland where I managed to lose control of my car on a bush road somersaulting it in to a river on the road from Mbabane to Piggs Peak, writing it off and almost myself, losing a kidney amongst other injuries.

Anyway in late 72 Shirley and I returned  to the UK to get married and I worked for a while for an American cryogenics company before being recruited into the MOD(N) where I remained until early 77, this was quite interesting but I couldn't see it giving me a career until retirement.

I had an offer of a position as a surveyor with a large insurance group to start in the summer of 77, so to pass the time I did a few months with Kuwait Shipping, anyway I had a great time working as an Engineer Surveyor in East Anglia and South Yorkshire / Humber areas, to a large extent in the power generation/distribution industry  together with many other public unities, I retired from Zurich Insurance in 2005 at the age of 60 and then returned to them on a post retirement contract for almost 3 years finally retiring in early 2008..

As you can imagine, the sort of work I did brought me into contact with many ex seagoing guys, possibly hundreds, but I never met anyone that I knew and only one ex B&C engineer who worked at a hospital in Essex, he had been on a few tankers and the Elbe Ore.

I came across a couple of other guys on the Grand Princess cruise ship in 2010, one was the Staff Chief ETO who had started his career as an RO on one of the King Line ships, I cant recall his name, the other was a guy called Graham White, he had been a mate on the mail ships, you may have known him, he was working as a Port lecturer on the Grand Princess and we exchanged emails on a number of occasions.

Feb 3rd 2015

Well I started this email back in the early autumn of 2015 and never sent it as I was determined to find something in my archives which would place us both on the same ship and lo and behold I came across a box of old transparencies which have deteriorated considerably but I was able to tinker with them on the computer and found one which is a reasonably clear image of you and I waiting on the catering crew in the saloon, it was probably Christmas Day,  1967.

I hope this catch up finds you well Chris, I really don't know where the years have gone,

Tantallon Castle Christmas 1967

Serving the Catering Crew

Holding the tray  Chris Isaac 3/O  to the left  Colin Dubber 4th Engineer.

Seated at head of table  Chief Cook Arthur Goring

Service Record



King Henry

Jnr Engineer



Margaret Bowater

Jnr Engineer



Tantallon Castle

4th Engineer



Clan Robertson

4th Engineer



Rustenburg Castle

3rd Engineer



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