Book Review-‘Sons of Gentlemen in the Days of the ‘Titanic’: The adventures of Greeny, an apprentice in tall ships 1908 to 1912’ by T. B. Greenhalgh, ed. by P. Greenhalgh

By Frank Scott, published November 2020

Abstract

I must confess that I have rather held back from the ebook world. Initially I was put off by the title of this one, but then decided that the low price made it sufficiently interesting for me to take the plunge. Apparently, the original draft was written by the old captain in about 1970, but the publishers of the day regarded it as too technical, and rejected it. Four decades on it has been resurrected by his grandson as an e-book.

What makes Captain ‘Greeny’ Greenhalgh’s memoir particularly interesting is it covers the author’s four-year apprenticeship (1908–12) with the Anglo-American Oil Company, during which he served in two of their four-masted barques, the Brilliant (1901, 3,765 grt) and the Drumeltan (1883, 1,908 grt). I know of no other memoir that covers the sailing tankers at all, let alone in his level of detail. The fact that he went on to serve as mate of the tramping barques Inverurie (1889, 1,417 grt) and Gwydyr Castle (1893, 1,512 grt) gives his analysis of how things were done onboard much more authority than had he only served under sail as an apprentice. Moreover, he comes across as one of the more thoughtful class of officer…

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Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship

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