1919 Heading to the Far East | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1919 Heading to the Far East

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From home I went to Davenport and went through a course of Gunnery and Torpedo this ended some time in the middle of the summer when that was completed I was appointed to an ex-German ship at Singapore and was given a passage out on a Blue Funnel steamer (Emlyn was born in September 1919 I was on the way out). Master appointment when I arrived out there, I found there were about 34 ships there and more to come over from Java, However it took about 5 months to repair the ships before they were ready for sea. 
I first went in command of the Kleist large passenger steamer, then in one of the febs called (the Black Feb).

Later I was shifted to the s/s "Machew" small steamer of about 2000 tons dead weight and trading between the Straits Settlements and Indian ports, also on the Indian coast and Burma - a very comfortable boat, but old and had been a fine little steamer in her day the Scottish oriental first then bought by the N. German Ltd, and were under the North German Lloyd trading between Hong Kong and Singapore. In 1922 she was laid up in Bombay because she was due for a load line certificate - and the Ministry of Shipping did not think it worth while spending money on her. There was a shipping slump setting in all over the world. I made good money in that little vessel and could have made more if finished.

s/s Machew
s/s Machew, by Captain Pritchard


I got tired of waiting in Bombay, although I was on full pay all the time however Neinazee had bought a steamer in Bombay called the “John Saunderson", an old thing, and I got acquainted with a gentleman named Major Clark who was in his office and they offered me this vessel to take her round to Hong Kong. I considered it and took the job 2nd year China Coast pay and 4 months pay and 1st Class passage home if my service was terminated at Hong Kong.

I arrived in Hong Kong after loading sugar in Java and making other two trips on the China Coast when I was informed that on account of having ships and the masters out of a job I would have to be relieved. In that case I informed them that I was entitled to 4 months Master's pay (2nd Year China Coast pay) and 1st. Class passage home - which I got and took passage in Japanese steamer arriving home about the end of 1922, when I saw Emlyn for the first time a fine big boy and a difficult boy to look after as he had been getting too much of his own way by all accounts and little Ellen was not too strong - however on the whole we were not too bad. In 1923 I bought Tan-y-Fron (farm) for £1360 and went there to live in the beginning of 1923. Richard was born 30 March 1923. Father died 3rd April at the age of 84. We shifted to Tan-y-Fron in May it was quite nice there in the summer months but not in the winter. I could do nothing much with it in the way of farming, however in the summer 1923 I had a number of visitors called to see me including Captain Morris of Singapore, and he strongly advised me to go out with him to Singapore as he saw I could do no good with the farm, and I agreed to go and caught the same P. & O. steamer as him. Sailed from London sometime in November.

I arrived in Singapore in December 1923, sailed again the next day for Hong Kong and took a B.I. Steamer to H.Kong, arrived in Hong Kong sometime in January 1924 and put up in the St. Francis Hotel - and immediately went about looking for a job. I was offered a Junior Officer's job in Jardine's, but there was a good demand for me elsewhere, however. I took a Chief Officer's job in the "Wing Hong" Williamson's ship but only made two trips in her then left and went Captain of the s/s Halyard Woo Fat Sing's Steamer only for one voyage went to Singapore and back to Hong Kong and finished with the Halvard and was offered a mate's job which I would not take although not a bad company being entirely Chinese owned.