Pompey News: "The Rather Less Glamorous Side Of The Era Of Steam"

Discussion in 'History' started by soleil, Apr 22, 2011.

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  1. fearne_stokers.jpg

    HMS Arethusa?
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    A bit before my time when stokers were well hard (and respect to them). Damn, just chipped my nail on the keyboard..."Nurse!"

    That said, before Health & Safety was invented in the RN, at a time when the MOD thought they were exempt, like many others on here - during my time there were several commonly unpleasant menial tasks expected of a stoker, such as:

    Climbing inside the incredibly restricted & rather hot steam-drum of a boiler to conduct a boiler clean whilst the adjoining boiler was still running - two lashed valves stood between the individual and oblivion.

    Having to literally swim through raw sewage to clear pump inlets to pump out a compartment with a burst pipe...in the tropics. (Yum)

    De-lagging steam pipes with a pointy hammer. Finding out later the lagging contained asbestos.

    Taking readings on an olympus gas turbine at full power - inside the acoustic enclosure module. (Pardon?).

    Scraping limescale off the inside of urinals with a 2P coin. (My bloody 2P, too!)

    Even today, cleaning out grease filters on sewerage treatment plants is none-to pleasant, particularly when they are blocked with rather unsavoury items ranging from sweetcorn to used sanitry towels. "You don't see photos of that in careers publications" I hear.

    Needless to say each branch has it's own menial or unpleasant aspects and it still brings a smile when the pipe is made "Diving is taking place on the ships hull" followed by the stampede to the heads. It also still warms my soul to hear a sailor bleating when they find out that we don't fly a crack squad of Mum's out & parachute them in to the ship to clean-up after everyone. Horror of horrors... some might even have to clean the bog or paint the ship themselves.
  3. Just get Barry Scott in with a few bottles of Cilit Bang. problems sorted. Although you might still have to take the readings of the engine.. :))
  4. My old Granpaw was a Marine Fireman (Stoker) for White Star, those boys were known as the hardest men going when they would hit New York, Jack Dempseys Bar, even Noo Yawks finest would steer clear of any outbreak of "Steam Venting". He was one rough old boy but I worshiped him.

    The UK's MOD has today announced that RN ET ME candidates are withdrawing their applications in droves and shoals after Nina's shocking revelations regarding the realities of 'life in a blue boiler suit'.

    The MOD spokesperson confided to RR that this was all planned as just one aspect of their cunning scemes to drastically reduce the already overflowing waiting lists for RN entries.

    One unexpected result has already been felt at the sub-contractors in Much-Binding-in-the-Titmarsh: As the suppliers of the Royal Navy's distinctive golden propellor badges two thousand of their overworked employees were be laid off with effect from teatime today.

    Similar confessions on the reality of life within the RN's other over-subscribed branches are expected at any time now.

    In the interests of National Security, however, an immediate super-injunction has been placed on all serving and ex-members of the RN's ST Branch to suppress stories of their less-attractive tasks. Like their little sister, the SAS, that ST specialisation is already suffering a dearth of suitable candidates for it's rigorous training and selection programmes.

  6. The breath-holding test for STC candidates has always been among the most difficult to pass. I hope standards aren't lowered.
  7. 72 hours of graft doing this, felt like death at the end of it.

    There was also the soot-blowing; climbing high to the hottest part of the space up between two pulsating boilers to open up the steam valves.
    Thankfully I only ever did this once for a poxy task book signature from the boiler rm pomem.
    Tended to spend my time in the engine room, much more sedate; decent limers, cheese on our baked tatties and time to clean our dhoby under the steam drains.

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