Waterbodies & Maritime => Chatham Dockyard => Topic started by: pr1uk on March 04, 2012, 08:53:39

Title: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 04, 2012, 08:53:39
Anyone work with the PAS (port auxiliary service) that went on to become the RMAS (royal maritime auxiliary service) that worked all the tugs in the navel base. I worked from 1971 to 1981 and having worked away for the last 30 odd years i often wonder if anyone is still left that i would know or know me. We ran all the tugs and lighters and did all ship movements to do with the navy and even had our own bar in the camp.

All ships were moored ashore by dockyard riggers who lived in the rigging house this was my first job in the base from 1969 till i transfered to PAS around 1971 any old riggers out there i wonder
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: Swamp Kiwi on March 04, 2012, 13:17:26
Hi pr1uk,
I was an electrical fitter apprentice in the yard and spent 9 months at PAS during 1973/74. As a learning experience it was a total waste of time but we had plenty of fun. Two fitters and an electrician were based at the PAS workshop beside the locks and for my first 3 months there I enjoyed the company of 9 engine fitter apprentices and we just ran riot. We enjoyed frequent excursions across to the land reclamation that was going across the river, on one occassion knicking a dumb railway hopper to scoot down the line to take a look at Hoo fort. I got to know a few of the boat drivers and took advantage of every chance I could to get afloat which sometimes involved a trip on a tug or pinnace to Garrison Point, escorting a ship up or down the river. Happy days.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 04, 2012, 14:32:18
Hi pr1uk,
I was an electrical fitter apprentice in the yard and spent 9 months at PAS during 1973/74. As a learning experience it was a total waste of time but we had plenty of fun. Two fitters and an electrician were based at the PAS workshop beside the locks and for my first 3 months there I enjoyed the company of 9 engine fitter apprentices and we just ran riot. We enjoyed frequent excursions across to the land reclamation that was going across the river, on one occassion knicking a dumb railway hopper to scoot down the line to take a look at Hoo fort. I got to know a few of the boat drivers and took advantage of every chance I could to get afloat which sometimes involved a trip on a tug or pinnace to Garrison Point, escorting a ship up or down the river. Happy days.

I was deck side and i dont remember apprentices  but the engineers may have had them we just crewed the tugs, lighters and the launches over Gillingham pier. Was on a few vessels including coxswain training at Gillingham pier the longest vessels i was on was the Mastiff outside river tug and 1504F a fuel lighter but served on many more.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: Lutonman on March 04, 2012, 20:01:55
Anyone work with the PAS (port auxiliary service) that went on to become the RMAS (royal maritime auxiliary service) that worked all the tugs in the navel base. I worked from 1971 to 1981 and having worked away for the last 30 odd years i often wonder if anyone is still left that i would know or know me. We ran all the tugs and lighters and did all ship movements to do with the navy and even had our own bar in the camp.

All ships were moored ashore by dockyard riggers who lived in the rigging house this was my first job in the base from 1969 till i transfered to PAS around 1971 any old riggers out there i wonder
You may have known my Dad Reg Pearson, he was a  Rigger
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 05, 2012, 00:24:18
Anyone work with the PAS (port auxiliary service) that went on to become the RMAS (royal maritime auxiliary service) that worked all the tugs in the navel base. I worked from 1971 to 1981 and having worked away for the last 30 odd years i often wonder if anyone is still left that i would know or know me. We ran all the tugs and lighters and did all ship movements to do with the navy and even had our own bar in the camp.

All ships were moored ashore by dockyard riggers who lived in the rigging house this was my first job in the base from 1969 till i transfered to PAS around 1971 any old riggers out there i wonder
You may have known my Dad Reg Pearson, he was a  Rigger

It was a long time ago but i am certain i remember Reg as a Rigger we spent most of our time spicing and working in the Rigging house but we also went out and berthed all vessels in the base. The berthing of boats was the best part for me getting outside we had a bus to take us around and it was all weathers. Some did not like doing this part but i am sure Reg did it was a good job i remember we used to have our lunch then the lights were turn off in the Rigging house and we all went to sleep for an hour - happy days
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: Lutonman on March 12, 2012, 19:12:23
Found his retirement picture, must be some people here, but what about the items in the background as well

Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 12, 2012, 20:02:43
Lovely photo what year was it taken please

Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: helcion on March 12, 2012, 20:04:31
Swamp Kiwi    -


Quote
on one occasion knicking a dumb railway hopper to scoot down the line to take a look at Hoo fort.


I was interested to read of your exploits on Hoo Ness Island & would be most interested to know if you have any more memories [or even photos !] of the NG railway on the island ?

The line was 2ft gauge gauge & was used for waste-dumping & general maintenance & had at least one steam loco [called, I think, ASCENSION] finishing up with a couple of Hibberd 4-wheel diesels & was rarely visited by enthusiasts due to it's inaccessible location.
The locos & trains of skips could be seen from the 'mainland' & I think that the line closed in the 80s.

Apart from general rubbish from the Dockyard when it was working, large lagoons were built on the island to receive dredged spoil & these may still be in use.
Certainly material is still being dumped on the island.
There was also a railed crane of a much broader gauge on the main wharf opposite Gillingham pier.

Thanks / Cheers

Helcion
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: Lutonman on March 13, 2012, 21:25:01
Lovely photo what year was it taken please


I have it as 1972, as I remember it also appeared in the Dockyard paper "Periscope"   
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 14, 2012, 07:08:56
Lovely photo what year was it taken please


I have it as 1972, as I remember it also appeared in the Dockyard paper "Periscope"   

((    1972 thank you Lutonman ))
Looking at the photograph i remember Reg directly behind him is the chief supervisor always called flash Harry next to him is Charlie the man giving the clock was Mr Dangerfield the Master Rigger. I recognise other faces but names eluded me as said i was only there a short period then transfered to another department and i was only a semi-skilled labourer and remember Dennis, Trevor and Bob other semi skilled. Other riggers i remember were Peter Monk, Bob and Jock and cant see them there mind you i was for the last period working in the small rigging department on Bulls Nose and as well as splicing we did all ships movements into and out of the locks at Bulls Nose.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: capman on March 16, 2012, 00:03:54
I worked on Hoo Ness Island from 1976 until the dockyard closed. We used to get the trotboat over to the island from the bullsnose to the jetty every morning, usually skippered by a maltese chap called Charley zarraffa.(I think thats how you spell it). Sometimes Harry Shrimplin (Shrimpo) would take us. He had a really dry sense of humour. The summer months were really great over there. If we had overtime on the weekend you could have spectacular views of the annual medway barge match. There was lots of spare time to wander off down the fort if we had just pumped a lighter out . We even built a greenhouse.! I used to operate an RB22 dragline building up the earthworks ready for the next area to be pumped into . Lovely in the summer but freezing in the winter. The heater left a lot to be desired. Sometimes we would be sent down to the slipway at ten-ton to paint the bottom of the dredger after it had been pulled out of the water.That was a messy job but nobody ever seemed to bother you whatever job you was given. I remember when the Endurance came back from the Falklands we moored the dredgers up by the Bulls nose and had an amazing view as she came up the river. Those were the days!
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 16, 2012, 03:52:22
Charley who stated every sentence with "let me tell you" was the stoker really but we let him handle the boat as he also had his own private boat and did fishing trips weekends. When i was training as a coxswain i often took the workboat and Charley over the island so he could dig rag worm for his fishing trips he was a real character.
Harry was one of the survivors of the December 1962 RFA Hebe incident when a TID class tug TID 97 got turned over and the tug’s master and two of the engine room crew died in basin 3. Harry was a hunter he used to go over the island rabbeting setting traps and sending his little dog down the holes.
The trotboat had an open bow cock pit and was also open on the stern were the coxswain stood steering with an open tiller there was a small cover midships and we had a coal fire but basically the coxswain or the workers going between the island did not have a charmed life in the winter it was a real open air job i loved it,
Back to your job the mud lighters were moved around all day in turn by three tugs, Betty, Brenda and Barbara as you can tell i know a lot about the tugs as after the Rigging house i move over to the PAS which then became the RMAS in 1971. What i liked was i kept in touch with a lot of the riggers and when they were out i often stopped to chat and when i was near Bulls Nose i would go in the little Rigging house there for a cup of tea. Back in those days a cup of tea was the main stay of every job i know as a semi rigger after completing a ship movement as soon as we got back it was a visit to the tea urn first before starting any inside rigging work, happy days
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: shoot999 on March 16, 2012, 10:47:47
Harry (Shrimpo) was quite a character. Always looking to earn a few extra bob! You would be walking through the yard with him; nattering away, and suddenly find you were talking to yourself. Inevitably he would emerge a few minutes later from the nearest skip with an armful of goodies!
The biggest scheme though was the annual eeling season; involving those on the island. the dredgers and the tuggies. Stopped by the Mod Plod a few times with a bag full of eels; and having no idea what 'offence' they could charge Shrimpo with, in the end they just used to turn a blind eye to the whole practice.
Served with Shrimpo on the Grapeshot until he transferred to the mud. Heard  he eventually went to Portland with the RMAS.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 16, 2012, 12:07:14
Harry (Shrimpo) was quite a character. Always looking to earn a few extra bob! You would be walking through the yard with him; nattering away, and suddenly find you were talking to yourself. Inevitably he would emerge a few minutes later from the nearest skip with an armful of goodies!
The biggest scheme though was the annual eeling season; involving those on the island. the dredgers and the tuggies. Stopped by the Mod Plod a few times with a bag full of eels; and having no idea what 'offence' they could charge Shrimpo with, in the end they just used to turn a blind eye to the whole practice.
Served with Shrimpo on the Grapeshot until he transferred to the mud. Heard  he eventually went to Portland with the RMAS.

I had left just before the yard closed but yes Harry transferred to RMAS at Devonport the name RMAS was ended a couple of years ago its all private contracts now and i was told that Harry had sadly passed on but yes he was a great guy
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: shoot999 on March 16, 2012, 12:35:38
I left in 76 (having been with the Chatham PAS since 66) and moved to Devonport with the RMAS. The harbour services were transferred to Serco in 96; and the sea-going ships followed them to Serco a few years ago.

There is a whole section on Yard Craft/PAS/RMAS/Serco on the shipsnostalga website;plus a few thousand photos of the boats;many ex-Chatham craft.Including Expellar, Grapeshot, Kinloss, Dogs and Girl class, etc.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: capman on March 16, 2012, 13:13:37
I remember the eel season very well. It was usually Dick Stevens and Mole Morrison who managed to get on the eel beds. Another deck hand used to take them up to london early in the morning and sell them. Regarding the Brenda, I did hear that she was sold and renamed, and she sunk opposite greenwich last year. I went to Ramsgate several years ago on a day out and came across the Betty, moored up in the harbour looking rather bedraggled. I think she must have been sold because they were always well maintained when PAS had her. My father worked on the Felicity for a short spell but he died in 1975. I remember Harry Shrimplin bringing his belongings to me over on the island shortly after I started there. I`ve got quite a few photos but i`m still trying to work out how to post them.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 17, 2012, 00:47:02
I remember the eel season very well. It was usually Dick Stevens and Mole Morrison who managed to get on the eel beds. Another deck hand used to take them up to london early in the morning and sell them. Regarding the Brenda, I did hear that she was sold and renamed, and she sunk opposite greenwich last year. I went to Ramsgate several years ago on a day out and came across the Betty, moored up in the harbour looking rather bedraggled. I think she must have been sold because they were always well maintained when PAS had her. My father worked on the Felicity for a short spell but he died in 1975. I remember Harry Shrimplin bringing his belongings to me over on the island shortly after I started there. I`ve got quite a few photos but i`m still trying to work out how to post them.

Mole is a name that comes to mind it was a long time ago yes the Brenda she did indeed sink with loss of life only found that out on here as for Betty well nice that she is still about somewhere. Felicity i worked on as a deckhand on a rare occasion doing relief i spent most of my time on Mastiff, Lighters with Bill Ripley, training for coxswain (3 months at Gillingham pier great fun) and the 1504F which i worked as seaman and years later for my last 4 years before i left as the fuel supervisor this fuel lighter is now in Gibraltar and used as a sullage barge.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 17, 2012, 00:55:41
I left in 76 (having been with the Chatham PAS since 66) and moved to Devonport with the RMAS. The harbour services were transferred to Serco in 96; and the sea-going ships followed them to Serco a few years ago.

There is a whole section on Yard Craft/PAS/RMAS/Serco on the shipsnostalga website;plus a few thousand photos of the boats;many ex-Chatham craft.Including Expellar, Grapeshot, Kinloss, Dogs and Girl class, etc.

I left RMAS in 1980 i follow the RMAS Devonport group and receive email updates from Brian Westmore who was a fuel supervisor (FS/2) the same as i was for my last 4 odd years. When i left i went off for over 30 years working away and returned 18 months ago the thing i never understood was why when Chatham closed all the RMAS crews never kept in touch.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: capman on March 17, 2012, 16:56:27
Do you remember another chap on pas, John Chapman? He was an amazing artist. I`ve still got a painting he gave me of sailing barges sailing up river past Hoo Fort.  He used to live quite near me but I think he moved Sheerness way, still working on boats. Regarding the Brenda, I have since learnt that it was renamed the Chieftain before it was sunk. Such a shame to end like that. Does anyone know what happened to the Barbara or the Felicity?
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: shoot999 on March 17, 2012, 17:57:19
The Felicity transferred to Devonport RMAS  (I was the skipper on her during the early 90s); and then transferred to Serco in the mid 90s. Not sure whether she was scrapped or sold by Serco. But she is no longer at Devonport.
The Mastiff also transferred to Devonport.
I served with John on the Felsted, but lost touch after I  left Chatham.
The Assistant Shipping Master during the 70s was Curly Verrell. He had a soft spot for the young tuggies; and with talk of closure, encouraged us all  to go for our mates certificates. So most of us were able to get transfers on promotion by the time the yard closed.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 18, 2012, 07:43:33
I live on a boat in Cuxton and 26th July 2010 by accident i ran into John Chapman who was taking a vessel named Project a member of the KIngs Ferry Boat Club up for the Maidstone Boat Weekend. I would not have recognised him it was that we started talking river and he was saying Robert Morley took his coxswain test and i said Peter Maas did me. I never took up a coxswain as the fuelling supervisor (FS/2) came up and it was also band 10 so same pay and i took that position on for my last 4 odd years. John Chapman who i can hardly remember looked very well and in great condition.
The Shipping Master was Harry Millen and Curly Verrel was in the bungalow opposite the camp and i remember Curly was always trying to push the ones he thought could (Kevin Marshall comes to mind i know he passed) do it to go for their mates ticket. 
Been back coming up for 2 years and the only person i have met who i recognised was Fred Ives and we had a drink together he look in fine fettle and healthy. He never recognised me over the last few years age as over taken over my waist and i have become a fat slow old man with back back and knees just like the person i always said i would not become when i was young. Oh and as said ran into John Chapman but we never worked together so apart from throwing names about we had no real tales to tale but both he and Fred seem to be on some elixir of life. Still find it hard to believe that when the yard closed no one set up something to keep people in touch like Devonport
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: shoot999 on March 18, 2012, 13:26:11
Im not that great with names but I kept in touch with a few of the tuggies who like me moved on to other ports. Was Kevins best mate for a while. We were both on the Grapeshot until he went to the Brenda I think.We did our mates together and were both into bikes. I went to Devonport and Kevin to Portsmouth. He ended up as a pilot there. Jeff Ward, Bill  Clarke? and Paul Lifton also took their mates and ended up  at Portsmouth. Dave Farrow went to the Clyde, then to mooring boats, and he finally ended up as the Mooring Master in Portsmouth. Didnt know the guy at Chatham (I left before he joined) but came across Kevin Barbar in Devonport. He also ended up as a pilot.
But I really lost touch with most of them once I got my mates in 75. I was called to the office by Curly; told 'congratulations youve passed. There will be a boat at Bull Nose in an hour to take you out to the Kinloss.Youre joining her as Mate'!!! And that was basically me finished with the tugs at Chatham.
Not sure if you remember the Harding brothers, but Andy who was also on the Kinloss is still on the mooring side with Serco, and supplies most of the PAS/RMAS photos for the shipnostalgia website.
From the engineering side Tony Carey ended up as the Head of Engineering at Bath and Jack LeBreton as Chief Engineer on the Navs in Portsmouth.
Yes;  shame nothing was set up on closure, but with a lot retiring or moving to other ports it would have been  quite difficult pre-internet.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 18, 2012, 17:55:28
It seems a long time ago but there again it was a long time ago there was 169 of us on average but unless you were working alongside someone as crew we never really got together. Apart from when we were on duty over the camp i never crewed on the Kinloss but did a period on the mooring section where Kinloss berthed where the mate was Knocker White a large chap who could talk for England eat one large meal a day with one pint of water. I crewed on the Mastiff for a few years with Charlie (AB) the skipper was Peter Mass and Ted Tate the chief engineer and off course Rusty the mate and my favorite seaman special the cook Jim Butters what a meal he could put up. Also worked on 1505(F) with Peter Shilling had a problem getting off that one as not many wanted to work as a deck hand on there with Peter. Did my time on the lighters with Bill Riply he was good we could sheet a lighter up lock it get all the paperwork signed for then go back unbar get a few useful items off then when finished put it all as was sheeted up locked and secure. Started relief work on the mud boats Brenda, Betty and Barbra but only odd days. Did one day on the Collie i remember that i joined at lunch time and we had to go to Sheerness we let go i went up the bridge took the wheel and everyone went to lunch never saw anyone again until we were near KOR. Did a turn on the new harbour tractors run my Boatswains i remember Tom Beswich i was not keen on those not my scene at all. Saw the Shipping Master Harry Millon and said to him all his coxswains over Gillingham pier where around the same age and one day he will lose them all with no back up. Successes next i was on a three months coxswain training over Gillingham pier and other took advantage too like John Chapman. Peter Maas took my coxswain test but then Peter Shilling had a heart problem while climbing the steal ladder in Collier dock and was out sick Curly called me in and ask me to take over the 1504F straight away and that was what i did for my last 4 odd years. Barry Mcquillian ran the 1506F the 1504F ran FFO for the dockyard boilers and the likes of Hebe, Backuss and Rover classes etc and the 1506F ran diesel but when i took over i ask the stores if i could tank clean and also run diesel in the summer and that worked out right as we now worked all the year round. When i moved i was away for over 30 years and if i walked pass someone i crewed with i dont suppose they would recognise me or me them. Still say of all the jobs i have had those were my happiest days and since i have been back i have not entered the yard as it had so many good memories i just dont want to see it as it is now.Peter Shilling recovered and came back on light duty and was a different man a much nicer person.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: capman on March 21, 2012, 23:01:26
Does anyone remember Chris Wigley? He worked on Hoo Ness and usually went with the tugs either bringing the full lighters to the pump or taking the empty ones away. Really nice chap. Always cracking jokes. I think he went to work for British Rail when the yard shut. His father, Sid, worked in the yard as well. I think in the Power House.
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: pr1uk on March 20, 2017, 10:39:28
Bumping there must be other ex PAS & RMAS out there somewhere
Title: Re: PAS & RMAS - plus Riggers
Post by: shoot999 on March 20, 2017, 10:59:58
Bumping there must be other ex PAS & RMAS out there somewhere
They are out there; just not on here lol!

I think we mentioned previously that the RMAS/PAS ports each have their own FB page where most of the online activity happens. But I have noticed that recently on the local FB Medway history sites a lot of the offsprings of RMAS/PAS men are now posting. In recent weeks Ive chatted to the daughters of John Chapman and Jack LeBreton the engineer. (Both alive and well)  And yes, I do mention this site to them!