Saucy tales of the sea from Suffolk’s singing sailor

My lovely ex-matelot friend John, reading of my recent tummy bug, has written in with a couple of yarns from annals of local naval history to cheer me up. He writes: “Back in the 70s, I was a sailor on the oil pollution research ship Seaspring, berthed in Ipswich’s Wet Dock near a fishing boat with the innocent-looking name Our Souls. As you come into harbour it’s normal to say your vessel’s name several times so the station can fix your position. It must have been hilarious when the skipper of the fishing boat called out in measured tones: “Harwich Harbour Radio, Harwich Harbour Radio this is fishing vessel Our Souls, Our Souls, Our Souls....”

John also recalls the ships and boats that responded to the Eleni V collision off Great Yarmouth in 1978. Seaspring was there, along with American rig support vessels Captain Andy and Miss Natalie plus London tugs including Gamecock, Woodcock and Moorcock. And... uh oh... I’m afraid I’ll have to abandon the anecdote about which vessel called up for which vessel... Over.


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