Crew aloft overhauling the gear

Derricks swung out and ready to work cargo

Alongside, Sydney, 1961            Photo by: Peter Hull

MV Salsette's officers 1964


Dogs travelling as cargo quickly became passengers and were 'adopted' by the ship's staff, greatly enjoying life on board. They often arrived with their own provisions for the voyage, supplied by their doting owners. Sometimes, the dog's steaks were better than the Chief Steward's victualling - and an exchange was made!

Two pampered pets in the care of a Cadet on board ss Aden, 1965

Dogs shared all the facilities the ship had to offer - including the Cadet's shower!


Although well looked after, once on board, they weren't as well accommodated as the dogs!

"It was normal for P&O cargo vessels to load deck cargoes of water buffalo and caged pigs in Bangkok for transportation to Hong Kong. Cadets were allocated the task of looking after the animals during the six day passage. Three hundred and fifty large animals were duly walked on board and securely tethered round each hatch combing on the main deck. On each hatch were bales of hay, sufficient to feed the animals for the short cruise of a lifetime! However such animals also required copious amounts of fresh water to be delivered in buckets to ever open mouths, at least twice daily to each animal individually. Breaking down the bales of hay was a much easier task.

As you can imagine the decks were quickly awash with high quality manure, not to be washed overboard until the animals were discharged in Hong Kong. Two reasons for this, the sea water deck mains may have irritated the animals legs and they may have attempted to drink the salt water leading to all sorts of digestive problems and, as only the cadets were allowed on deck during that section of the voyage, we simply did not have time to clean up the mess between watering and feeding the animals! As a result the cadets were banned from the bridge and dining salon for the duration of the voyage lest the odour of our endeavours should offend the delicate constitution of our elders and betters! One night a more adventurous animal decided the view of the ocean would be better from the boat deck. How it managed to climb up the fifteen steps from the main deck, let alone break its rope halter that held it to the hatch combing, we never found out - but it took three very nervous cadets pulling and pushing a good thirty minutes to get the animal back unto the main deck and securely tethered among its fellow travellers."

Note: Originally BI's Nardana, she transferred to P&O on 3rd October 1963, re-named Baradine - returning to BI on 30th August 1968.


"Life as a Cadet with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company was certainly full of unexpected variety. At times I thought I was training to become a stable hand or veterinary nurse rather than a navigating officer! My first voyage saw me joining mv ‘Cannanore’ in September 1963 where I was introduced to the thrill of being an assistant stable hand! We were carrying on deck, in specially prepared horse boxes, two polo ponies for the Maharajah of somewhere in eastern India, to be discharged in Calcutta. Unfortunately for the two animals concerned we sailed via a series of ports in the Red Sea and in Port Sudan, where the average temperature is around 40 degrees centigrade. The lure of the cool harbour waters proved too much for one of the said ponies who decided to go for a swim. Too late it discovered its leading rein had been secured in a seaman-like manner to the horse box and as it dived over the ship’s rail towards the water it was sharply brought up and broke its neck. There followed a series of investigations to which as cadets we were not privy but we took great care of the remaining pony until we eventually arrived in Calcutta, having first of all called at Jeddah, Massawa, Aden, Madras, Visakhapatnam and Chittagong. Just how the Maharajah viewed the loss of his pony we never heard - although we were very nervous until the remaining animal was discharged."


Christmas Day - Crew Piggy Back Race ~ MV Somali 1963

Deck Cricket


Toga Party - ss Perim 1962

A good book ~ ss Surat 1965


Socialising on deck


#1 Lower Hold

A Family Business

Chinese Junks - the work-horses

Chinese Tally Men

Cleaning up the foredeck after discharging cargo

Dunnage ~ inexpensive wood used to protect & secure cargo during transportation

Lower hold

Tween Deck


Deck Cargo

Aft Deck Nos 4 & 5 Hatches


Chinese Tank Cleaning Women

Chinese Scraping Rust

Chinese hold-cleaning women in the Upper Tween Deck

Chinese Painting Ship's Side


mv Somali taking it on the nose in the South China Sea

Upright again!

She could roll like a pig on wet grass!

ss Surat rounding the Cape of Good Hope

ss Aden in the Tasman Sea

ss Ballarat in the Indian Ocean

Women on board ship!

Cheery Chinese Galley Girls



    Teak Logs ~ Borneo

Rubber - Malaysia

ss Surat ~ Second Officer's Monsoon Rain Gear

Second Officer ss Surat ~ ship rolling so much - the deck mats shifted!


Phil Messinger ~ Day Work Cadet ss Aden 1965

Quartermaster on the wheel - Bridge Wallah scrubbing ~ ss Surat

Second Officer & Quartermaster ~ ss Surat

Third Officer relieves the watch ~ mv Somali

Ten-inch Signal Lamp

Indian Seaman Reporting For Duty ~ ss Surat

Second Officer - ss Surat

Cadet Phil Messinger taking a Sunday Sun Sight ~ ss Aden 1965


ss Surat taken in tow after main bearings seized off the Canary islands, outward bound for the Far East

ss Khyber taken in tow by the ss Singapore

ss Khyber towline secured around the ss Singapore's crew accommodation and onto the bitts.

Happy New Year!

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