It was Monday the 20th of November 1967,and I had been working on the M.V. Surrey, which was just up the dock system from this ship the S.S. Dorset with my suitcase I made it up the gang plank and reported to the watchman at the top. He directed me to the chief stewards cabin so that I could report for duty. I was the new steward’s boy, and my area of work was the saloon pantry.
The pantry was adjacent to the galley. The galley had a separate butcher’s and baker’s area. The pantry is where all the food was served for the officers and engineers who dined in the main dining saloon. The remaining crew members had their own areas to eat in, as did we the catering staff. After reporting to the chief steward I was escorted to my cabin. This was on the main deck and it was a double berth. In it were bunks, wardrobes, chest of drawers and a chair. We had decent flooring which was lino. The main alleyways were of lino as well, and it was my job to keep these clean. I had to get on my hands and knees and scrub from the aft end of the ship right up to the galley door. These alleyways also had wood panelling, which had to be cleaned with vinegar to remove the salt, on a regular basis.
We were signed on, all 54 of us on Monday 24th November. I was to be earning £23.00 per month on this voyage. Our cargo for the outward voyage consisted of wines, spirits, beers, engineering products, fabrics, machinery, car parts and from the USA, news print.
We set sail on Monday 27th November 1967 from Liverpool and then traversing the docks assisted by two tugs into the locks out into the river. I did not see much of this as I was working, but I did manage to sneak out now and again to see where we were. We were on our way to Avonmouth, arriving there on Tuesday 28th November to load more general cargo of all kinds and leaving on Friday 1st December.
We then made our way around the coast towards the Royal Group Docks in London, arriving there on Sunday 3rd December. More general cargo was put in the holds and there was plenty of room to spare for more cargo. Once all the loading was finished and we had a new crew on board. Again it was now a crew of 57. We left London on the Friday 15th December with a pilot on board, who was there to guide us out of the docks and down the river towards Gravesend. This was where he would get off the Dorset and another pilot would get on board. This pilot was there to take us down the rest of the river and into the English Channel. This was where he would get off and he would be taken to the main pilot ship, which was anchored in the English Channel. Once he was off we were on our way towards Canada.
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