When in 1959 Michael Walsh was offered a deck boy’s job on the MV Britannic it never entered his head that he had been chosen by fate to be the final link in an ocean-going epic.
MICHAEL WALSH ex-seafarer, nomad and author of seafaring books is more aware than most of the awesome size and depths of the earth’s great seas. After all, the once British seaman on reaching his 26th birthday had travelled to over 60 countries, visited hundreds of ports many several times over.
At 4,000 miles it is quite a distance between Los Angeles and the entrance of the Panama Canal. The tranquillity of the tropical western seaboard of the United States was likely the last place on earth where one might expect high drama but on the high or restful seas always be prepared for the unexpected.
On December 14, 1907, a large sailing ship wrecked off the coast of Annet, in the Isles of Scilly, killing all but two of her eighteen crew and causing the world’s first large marine oil spill. The ship involved in the accident, Thomas W. Lawson, was an incredible ship.
British seamen cynically but in friendly fashion describe themselves not as the crew members or shipmates but as Board of Trade Compulsory Companions. That said, the bad eggs thrown together by circumstance were few and far between. From sailing day, a ship’s crew who were complete strangers to each other a day earlier became firm friends.
In the late 1970s, the then STAR newspaper described Michael Walsh as ‘Britain’s most dangerous man’. Unless one can identify with the mindset of a far-left journalist it is impossible to figure out why such an extreme expression.
MICHAEL WALSH is first and foremost an internationally recognised poet who prose has been compared to that of Leo Tolstoy, Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Service. His lyricism has received glowing tributes from leading figures in the theatre and literary world, commercial, and political life.
The less charitable might be forgiven for suggesting that the Reich cruise ship, MV Monte Rosa, might better have been renamed MV Karma. This beautiful 13,882 ton twin-funneled German passenger liner was one of pre-war Germany’s fleet of super liners. Built in 1930 by Hamburg shipbuilders Bohm and Voss, MV Monte Rosa was one of five sister-ships.
With breath-taking insensitivity the locked-down bankrupt and unemployed peoples of Britain learn that a new royal yacht named after Prince Philip is to be commissioned within weeks, costing as much as £200m.
The French Line’s Normandie is one of few contenders for the title Greatest Liner Ever. She was a ship of superlatives: the largest ship in the world for five years, the first liner to exceed 1,000 feet in length; to exceed 80,000 tons; the largest turbo-electric powered liner; and the first to make a 30 knot Atlantic crossing.