Where are you now?

This page is for Mercury Old Boys and those with connections to our old school. To let others know what you have been doing and where you are now on this page, please email; tsmercury@btinternet.com

If you are an Old Boy, please include your number. We will not publicise contact details but are happy to put people in touch with one another on request.

Robert James Fearnley (4327) 1955 – 58

The Mercury certainly prepared me for a life at sea!

I served my apprenticeship with Walter Runciman of Newcastle; a tramp company where trips could be up to a year or more long. After obtaining my second mates certificate I worked on various shipping lines including British and Commonwealth and Palm Lines.

I gained my Masters at 25 and joined Fred Olsen Lines as Chief Officer of the Blenheim and then became a Master on their bulk carriers. After leaving Fred Olsen I joined the Falmouth Pilotage which was interesting, exciting and at times, highly challenging.  The job brought tremendous variety including taking vessels large and small in and out of the busy port as well as into dry dock and up the river Fal to be laid up.

I still reside in Falmouth but sadly lost my wife after 54 years of marriage in August 2023.

My 2 daughters and my son are nearby and keep a close eye on me. I have 2 grandsons and 3 granddaughters

Brian (Bradbury) Pratt (2890) 1939 to 1942

I joined just prior to my 12th birthday.   Initially treated as a ‘new’ boy.  Went aboard and turned-in before main ships company.   Being unable to join the R.N. I sat and passed exam to join RAF as an apprentice – 2 years training.   Remained in service until aged 55 years.    Followed by a stint as manager of small golf club before setting up as Private Car Hire  (one man business).    Have been a member of Lions Club International for nearly 30 years.   Now in me 95th year have, through a works injury (RAF),  lost the ability to walk.   Moved into a care home 2020 and spend all day and every day in a wheel-chair.   Did remain in casual contact with two old boys, both of whom have now passed ‘over  the line’. Blunsdon, SwindonApril 2021

Richard Larn OBE (3426)

I was no 3426 at Mercury, Summer 1944 to Summer 1946, when I joined the South American Saint Line as a Deck Officer cadet. Served my apprentiship, got my ticket then left to join the Royal Navy, it having always been my ambition to be part of WW2 in the RN but, of course, I was just a few months too young. Went to Korea, fought for two years on both HMS Vengeance and Glory, quickly qualified in special weapons, and left after 27 years service at Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Radio Mechanician/ Diver. Two years Works Director with Partech Electronics Ltd in Cornwall then Managing Director of Prodive Ltd, Commercial Diving Training in Falmouth Docks, Retired to go treasure hunting in 1981, successfully I might add. Started the Charlestown Shipwreck Museum, Cornwall in 1976, still in business only now owned by the Eden Project. I was Curator and joint owner with my wife Bridget for over 22 years. Started another heritage Museum in the Isles of Scilly, still open, then moved to Scilly to live in 2002. Have written some 55 books, all non-fiction on ships and the sea, the Queen awarded me an OBE for ‘Contribution to Maritime History and Marine Archaeology, then made a Cornish Bard, and the Americans made me a Knight of Mark Twain. Still active on Scilly at 91, still writiing and publishing and Maritime Officer of our Museum here. Scilly Isles – April 2021

Ken Street (3468)

I joined the Mercury in September 1944.

I have moved from Southampton and now live in a retirement complex in the New Forest not far from Lymington, HampshireApril 2021

Peter (James) Dodson (3624)

I was James Dodson 3624, now known as Peter Dodson. I was appointed to the exalted position of “Leading Hand of the ship.” For many years, I have wondered about the system for such an appointment.

From “Mercury”, I went into music (performer, teacher, conductor and composer) and the Church (priest, teacher, retreats specialist – as provincial director or retreats promotion).  I have wondered what I might have achieved had I joined either of the navies. I would certainly have been better off financially! However, for someone who was Blitz orphaned at nine, attended sixteen primary and junior schools, with an aunt who secured a free “Mercury” scholarship, where I became “Head Boy”, 

I did two teaching tours of the USA. The Bishop of Chicago was in one of my teaching sessions. Afterwards he said: “If you, Peter, would like to relocate to this Chicago Diocese, I would make you a bishop straightaway.”  I did not accept his offer; I had too many commitments back in Britain. I have never been offered such a post in Britain; I hadn’t been to the right schools!!

I now consider myself to be one of the world’s happiest people!

Ripon, North Yorkshire – September 2021

Ralph Cawston (3729)

I joined R,N. 1948 as boy seaman and in November1949 was drafted to HMS Chequers, in the Meditteranean with the Duke of Edinburgh in command! Among other things, I was ordered, by him, to clean ships side . In the 2 years and 4 month aboard, I was in Chequers cricket team with the Duke and, on one occasion, played an all day match against the Embassy staff from Damascus. In 1953 I was part of the Duke’s Royal Guard when he unveiled a war memorial  in Gillingham and also took part in marches for London for Queen Mary’s Funeral and The Queen’s Coronation.

I left Navy 1957, having also served on HMS Glory and HMS Birmingham, to become a T.V. engineer and manager in that trade. When I was made redundant in1977, I joined Littlewoods stores, in management, until my retirement. Having been retired now for 23 years, I am kept busy looking after my wife as we are both 88 years old and can’t get about much. Maidstone, Kent April 2021

Paul Eade (3874)

I joined HMS Fisgard, the introductory apprentice school in Torpoint. From there Iwent to HMS Caledonia in Rosyth, Scotland (engine room), after which I ended up on HMS Concord in Singapore. I spent the rest of my 12 years in submarines, including that amazing technical triumph HMS Explorer. Subsequently, I spent two years in the UK working in the petrochemical and power industries.  In 1968, I took my whole family to Ontario, Canada, where I have been ever since. I retired circa., 2000, and with all things being equal, I shall be 87 in September.  

Trevor Wye (3950)

Tevor began his interest in music thaks to ‘Bing Crosby’ and Eric McGavin in the Mercury bandroom. studied the flute privately both with Geoffrey Gilbert and the celebrated Marcel Moyse. He was a freelance orchestral and chamber music player on the London scene for many  years and has made several solo recordings. He was formerly both a Professor at the Guildhall  School of Music, London and for 21 years at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Trevor Wye is the author of the famous Practice Books for the Flute, which have received world wide acclaim and have been translated into eleven other languages and each have sold over one million copies. His highly praised musical biography of Marcel Moyse, An Extraordinary Man was published in English and five other languages. In 2017, his new book, Flute Secrets was published and within the first year, a  second edition was printed.

During the year, he taught at his Flute Studio in Kent, a unique residential course for  postgraduate students, and for many years travelled throughout the world giving concerts including the Carnival Show, including the Carnival of Venice for 60 flutes and piano. He has given master classes with annual appearances in the USA, Canada, Europe, Taiwan and Japan and serving on juries for international competitions. In 1990 he was made an honorary Fellow of the Royal Northern College of  Music by the Duchess of Kent. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 by the National Flute Association of  the USA. Ashford, KentApril 2021

Bill Matthews (4007)

I was a Wiltshire Scholarship boy who joined Mercury in 1950 when I was 12 and spent nearly four years there. In 1954 I became a boy musician with the Royal Marines and went on to serve as a trombone player with the RM Staff Band at Deal and with various RN ships bands afloat and ashore, including a spell on Malta. I left the RM in 1965 and with my wife emigrated to Australia where in time I joined the Sydney branch of the famous music company Boosey and Hawkes and also played in brass and stage bands and orchestras. Later I worked for other music companies and as a Band Instructor for the NSW Education Department. My brother, Paul Matthews (4231) also later settled in Australia. I am 84 this year. For now God bless love to all MOB’s Bill. Tennyson, NSW, Australia April 2021

Cyril Saunders (4063) 1951-52

I won a scholarship to TS Mercury, joining at the start of the summer term, and leaving to join the RN at the end of the summer term the following year. Having a knowledge of the morse code and semaphore set me in good stead at HMS Ganges, where I trained to be a Wireless Telegraphist. Three other Mercury Boys joined Ganges at the same time. Len Ribbons, ;Jack’ Hobbs and my namesake, Michael Saunders. We were there at the time of the East Coast Floods, and found ourselves, damned-near, up to our armpits in mud, as we worked to reinforce the sea defences.

I completed my training in ’54, and was drafted to HMS Glasgow, a Cruiser, Flag Ship of C in C Med, (Lord Louis Mountbatten) After a year, I had a draft to HMS Tyne, and after three months I volunteered for Submarines. I served on both “S” and “T”  classes, operating from Gosport, Portland and Faslane. Having reached the Peak of my Naval Career by the age of 19 (Lord Louis took a lot longer!) I went on Naval Reserve when I was 25

After about 18 months working in two factories in the Portsmouth area, I joined the Diplomatic Wireless Service (Cyphers & Signals Branch) in London, at the FCO. I visited various Embassies and High Commissions abroad, supporting local staff when visitors created more communications traffic. I also had postings to Brussels (NATO), New York and Washington DC.

Having been made and offer that I could not refuse, I took early retirement in ’91 and 18 months later, moved to Portsmouth (The Hampshire Riviera) where I spent some time as a Court Usher in the Crown Courts.

Unfortunately my eyesight is not as good as it once was (Macular Degeneration) so no longer have a season ticket at Fratton Park, but still follow Pompey’s fortunes, and misfortunes. My love for Pompey is about the only thing I shared with Mr Penney!

If 4067 Wood is still around, I would be very happy if he made contact. Portsmouth – November 2022

Barry Wright (4068)

Where am I?  I some time’s wonder. We are a long way from Mercury in Lower Hutt N Z. I have been in N Z since July 1958.  Now 84 years of age, a lot of water has gone under the bridge.   

A  Grand Master & Brother Matlow (The Duke of Edinburgh) has gone to the grand Lodge above. I have my N Z Ensign at half mast ( I have still to buy  a Union Jack) . Mercury Boys were at the Queen’s Coronation lining the Road opposite the Abbey. I was home as my mother was ill at the time. At 84 I still remember my Mercury days, as well as my time in the RN  on HMS Girdleness. Testing the first guided Missile’s in the South Western Approaches off Lands End.

In my early days in N Z I was lucky enough to get a number of trips  on coasting scows from Wellington to Nelson. This has always  been a joy to me as at the time I was in my early 20’s. Two of them used sails only one of the others was a twin engine vessel having two Napier Deltic  engines. Other ones had Gardner engines. Before daylight saving we would leave Wellinton about 6pm , sail across the Cook Straight to Picton, arriving  about midnight. Then reload for the journey to Nelson, leaving about  midday to catch the tide at French Pass for 8pm. Arriving Nelson after midnight –  Cooking Xmas hams for the crew on the way. They were mutton hams – nice and smoky.  I was a guest of a Nelson family for most of our long weekends and holidays for over twenty years, building a boat shed on the Boulder bank in front of the Bach looking towards Nelson across the harbour. My friend’s father was the Wharf Manager at Nelson. I have many fond memories of my many visits to the Bach and Nelson.

Lower Hutt, New ZealandDecember 2023

Clive Spencer (4071)

I attended TSM between 1951 and 1953. My seagoing apprenticeship was served with The Hain SS Co. Ltd., of London.  I had an awful job in passing 2nd Mate’s but finally succeeded.( 2nd Mate’s in 1961, Mate’s in 1963 and Master’s in 1966.) I worked for a variety of firms before settling with the Union SS Co. of NZ Ltd. My last full-time job was as Harbourmaster at an Australian minerals exporting port called Gove, up in the Northern Territory. I finally retired  in 2000 and came home to wife and family here in NZ. Have been back to sea a few time as a relieving ship-master but at 83 I don’t think I’ll be going again.  All in all an interesting sort of life. 

I was saddened a bit back to hear that my best pal at TSM, Fraser Sanders (4154), had died. Another good friend from those days is John Blount who lives up North in the Bay of Islands district of NZ.  Can’t remember John’s number!  None of us are getting any younger but it is still good to keep in touch whenever possible. Tauranag, New ZealandApril 2021

Lawrence Kingsbury (4101)

Lives in the Wirral and would like be contacted by old friends. Wirral, CheshireApril 2021

John Kingwell (4102)

My Wife Rebecca and I are sitting in our Bubble after our Government has screwed up in the Covid Third Wave,on a Stay at Home Order in Sarnia Ontario Canada.  Sarnia, Ontario, Canada April 2021

Andrew Slorach (4129)

I came across the TS Mercury web site and was there about 1951 to 1953.  I remember:

  • the brass tea Billy which tasted more of Brasso than tea.
  • we referred to other cadets by number, not name.
  • the lovely music teacher Bing.
  • the Admiral’s inspection day when we climbed the mast in the sports field without any safety
  • I had to fight a boy called Barneycote in the fwd schoolroom on the hulk. I beat him and next day he ran away and stole a boat which he ran aground on the Isle of Wight and the Sunday newspapers said he was headed for the South Sea Islands. He ended up in Borstal!
  • we had to do a mile swim on the Hamble. It is amazing no one drowned we were so spread out.
  • the winters sleeping in a hammock.

I came to Australia in 1962 and after travelling the bush for three years jointly started a yacht design business which now has more boats afloat around the world than any other designer.

Queensland. AustraliaFebruary 2022

Peter Rea (4318) Rodney Division 1955 to 1958

Believe it or not I find it hard to sit down and engage in socializing on the internet or sit around exchanging stories on social media. So this one of those moments your email captured me just as I complete the weekly time sheets and roster for the security guards I supervise here.  I have worked for a security company, Simply Security limited, for 10 years now after I retired from the shipping industry having qualified, in 1967, as Master Mariner – Foreign Going.

You will recall we had an earthquake here, just after I retired.  People lost their lives, the city was broken and my partner along with many others, lost her shop – I had to do something . I set about getting a container designed and made for my partner to continue operating as a fish and chip shop. After walking all over bureaucracy I succeeded and on land where a hotel recently stood, the shop continued trading. That’s when I was asked if I was interested in being a security officer and the next day was standing guard, in the snow, looking after an ASB bank that was operating out of a purpose built container in a shopping mall car park.  In a few years I became supervisor and at 79 years old still am, doing as much, if not more, than the younger ones, who think their family and social life is more important that being at work on time.   Well that’s me, alive and kicking.  Having had 3 stripes at sea and now 3 stripes as a security officer, I feel something must have come good out of dear old “TS mercury”. Cheers all, hoping the pandemic steers clear of you and you are finding happiness and peace in life.

Christchurch, New Zealand – April 2021

Adrian (Snowy) White (4151) 1952-55

I was a cockney kid who joined the Mercury as a charity boy in September 1952. There I was in Drake Division and apart from winning the History Prize in 1954 achieved very little of note no doubt due to Captain Bradby’s probably correct assessment that ‘he spends too much time talking and playing the fool’.

However, in April 1955 I achieved my ambition by joining the Merchant Navy as a Deck Apprentice when I signed indentures with the London ship owner Trinder Anderson & Company. They were mostly associated with The New Zealand Shipping Company and The Federal Line and I spent the whole of my apprenticeship voyaging to Australia and New Zealand or between North America and Australasia. After passing for Second Mate, I joined Ellerman Lines as a junior officer and served for eight years with their global cargo services before passing for Master in 1967. I then spent a year with the Union Castle Line port relieving staff in Southampton before going ashore to marry a lovely lady and to work in the marine equipment industry. In 1973 I joined The Decca Navigator Company as a Sales Executive. By then I had settled in Guildford and would spend the rest of my business career with the Decca Group and its successors, mostly in export sales marketing commercial radar, radio positioning systems and other navigation aids. In the process I travelled to far more countries than I ever did at sea and survived various takeovers and amalgamations by British and American companies to eventually become a UK based Regional Sales Director with the Sperry Marine Division of Northrop Grumman.

After retiring in 2004 I was accepted by the University of Surrey as a mature student and later graduated with a First-Class BA Honours Degree in Modern History and went on to read for a MA Degree in Maritime History at the Greenwich Maritime Institute. I served on the MOBA committee from 1979 to 2019 and am also a long time Member of The Honourable Company of Master Mariners and sometime contributor to its Journal. Locally I’m a volunteer guide and speaker for The National Trust at Hatchlands Park near Guildford and am also involved with the U3A. Sadly, I lost my wife in 2007 but my son and daughter and lively grandchildren live close by and keep an eye on me because it seems I still talk too much and play the fool as well as being ‘hopeless’ with computers. Guildford, Surrey – April 2021

Footnote Snowy was also our long-time editor of the excellent Mercury magazine, wrote the definitve history of the “Mercury” and, to this day, he remains our archivist. He probably has more knowledge about the history of Mercury and its people than any other living person.

Peter Pamment 4476
I left Mercury in 1961 and joined Shell Tankers (UK) Ltd and progressed from cadet through to Captain serving in all categories of oil transport including LNG.I also spent some time monitoring construction of new tonnage. In the early eighties I was seconded to Sarawak Shell as a marine pilot, berthing tankers and moving drilling rigs and barges. Then came the offer, after a year, of relocating to the island of Labuan and to Sabah Shell as head of supply operations, managing a fleet of supply and anchor handling vessels servicing platforms, rigs and barges in Sarawak/Sabah waters with supplies. Meanwhile, I transfered from Shell Tankers to Shell International ( based in The Hague). Then followed a period in Damascus, Syria as head of supply operations to be followed by a similar job in Aberdeen. In the late 90’s I moved to The Hague and became involved in Supply Chain and Logistics world wide and also Operational and Safety audits. This role saw me working on projects and audits in places like Australia, Iran, Egypt, Oman, Sakhalin (Russia) and US including Alaska. Following retirement in 2002 I continued in Supply Chain and Logistics as a consultant, to work in places like Iran, Dubai, India and Malaysia. I settled, finally, in The Hague where I live with my Dutch wife and family. I also hold a Dutch passport and nationality. The Hague, Netherlands – April 2021

Michael Green (4498)

I now live in New Zealand at Gulf Harbour, 45 miles north of Auckland in a Marina Village which enables me to have my yacht ‘Seaquin’ moored in the canal beside my apartment.  After spells at sea with British and Commonwealth and Palm Line I embarked on an IT career which included Systems Development, IT Management, owning a Software House and finally an IT Recruitment company specialising in helping UK and South African staff relocate to New Zealand.Since retiring my main interests have been travelling, sailing and writing.  I have had ‘The Blood Line Trilogy’ (Blood Line, Blood Bond and Blood Roots) published by Random House (a trilogy documenting the aftermath of a pandemic), and the humorous ‘Big Aggie Series’  (Big Aggie Sails the Gulf and Big Aggie Sails Again).  All available in ebook form through Amazon or www.mgc.co.nz.  

Gulf Harbour, New Zealand – April 2021

Dave Williams 4563 Summer term 1959 – Winter term 1962

Ldg. Hand 3rd Sec. Drake Division & for my sins Ldg. Hand of the Messroom., Ships bugler, Rugby 15, Sailing Club & Church Boy. Navigating (Deck) Apprentice in tramp ships, Plant Hand in a Co – Op Bakery, Semi-Skilled Instrument Mechanic,Motor Boat Crew in the RAF ASR/Marine Craft Branch. 3rd, 2nd, 1st Mates & Master in tankers of various types in the MN. Finished work in 2010. Great Bookham, Surrey – April 2021

Anthony Nicholls 4600  (Joe Crow)

I joined Mercury on a whim from the family farm in West Sussex, Easter 1960.  It was a small intake that year unlike 1959. I have kept up a bit with 4602 Swan from the Isle of Wight who has now sadly died and  Craft 4594, both the same intake as me. I had my own canoe at Mercury.  Mr Pittock asked me to act as safety boat for the 1000 yard swim, much to my relief, as 50 yards swimming would have seen me drown!

Most of my career has been spent teaching Agricultural Engineering in West Sussex.  My sea going experience has been on many cross channel ferry’s, a round Britain Cruise on the Marco Polo now sadly de-commissioned.

I am game for any reunion. In answer to ‘Where are you now’’?’  –  I am 3 fields away from where I was born!. Best wishes. Tony Nicholls. Wisborough Green, W. Sussex – April 2021

Vernon Cumpstey (4616) 1960 – 1963

After leaving Mercury I stayed in the M.N. for 2 yrs – it was the 60’s and everyone seemed to be having more fun! I then moved to London & worked at Sothebys (Fine Arts Auctioneers). Later we had a butchers shop in Acle (Norfolk) from where I retired 10 years ago. I stayed with Alastair MacDonald (4617) where he was working at Browns Hotel in Dover Street, London. I am looking forward to seeing everyone in September at the dinner in Portsmouth. My Fond Regards Vernon – Rotten Marsh, Acle, NorwichJuly 2021

Robin Gellately Smith (4629) 1961 – 1964

Robin served in the Royal Navy from 1964 to 1968 then went on to qualify as an architect and surveyor.

Kotor, Montenegro, April 2021

David Parsons (4709) Benbow Division 1962-1964

I was at Mercury from January 1962 to December 1964. The first two terms were a baptism of fire but thereafter, once we knew “the system” life became a lot easier and very often fun. It was certainly character building and prepared me well for life at sea as a Merchant Navy apprentice, although I still had a lot to learn! Towards the end of my last term, Commander Ronnie Hoyle selected me to go for an interview with Shaw Savill & Albion Line, who offered me a threeyear apprenticeship. I have always been grateful to Ronnie as, unbeknown to me at the time, this was a prestigious company trading to Australia and New Zealand. My first trip began in December 1964 on their m.v. Carnatic. Each round trip usually took five months and time in almost every port was measured in weeks – what a privilege! I remained with Shaw Savill after passing my 2nd Mates and spent 18 very happy months on their passenger liner Northern Star.

From there I joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary which was entirely different but enormously interesting and great fun. After six very happy years there, with a new master’s ticket and a young family, I joined Thoresen Car Ferries (later P&O Portsmouth Ferries) for 16 years where I rose to master. Again, a very enjoyable period. It was on a voyage across the channel that I gave our President, Barry West, a bridge visit and was recruited as a member of the Association. In 1993 I applied for and was appointed as Chief Executive of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, the organisation responsible for co-ordinating the work of the all the other maritime charities.  There I spent the next 24 years, the first 10 of which included the administration of the Merchant Navy Hotel.  A wonderful period where I met and worked with so many great people.  I retired to South Somerset in 2017, but recently took on a voluntary role as national secretary of the Merchant Navy Association. 

In 1995 I joined the committee of the Mercury Old Boys Association and was hugely priviledged to become its last chairman in 2001.  With no one volunteering to take my place, I remained there until we “wound it down” in 2019. 
Over that time I have been reunited with old friends and made many new ones. Yeovil, South Somerset – April 2021

Tony Poynder (4710)

I attended the MERCURY at the same time as D Parsons and D Pockett and while I echo their sentiments regarding character building which stood me well for my sea career.  I attended the MERCURY at the same time as David Parsons and David Pockett and while I echo their sentiments regarding character building which stood me well for my sea career. Unfortunately I did not enjoy my time at the Mercury and will never forget that my parents were told that, “ your son has completely wasted his time and your money being here “. Thanks for that!!

On leaving the Mercury I joined Silver Line as a deck apprentice and enjoyed every minute of my apprenticeship and continued to sail with them after obtaining my 2nd mates and 1st mates FG certificates sailing as ch officer on their coastal and deep sea chemical tankers. Needing a change from chemical tankers I joined Bibby Line where I had many happy years on a variety of vessels and was promoted to Ch Officer on obtaining my Masters FG certificate and took my wife on nearly every deep sea voyage. When Townsend Car Ferries were advertising for 2nd Officers with Masters Certificate for their Dover fleet it was an opportunity not to be missed and so my deep sea days came to an end. I enjoyed ever minute of my time on the ferries although the night of the Herald had a great impact on me as the Herald was my vessel but my wife and I were in London at a concert that night. I was sailing as Ch Officer on the Pride Of Dover when I failed my medical so was forced to leave the sea . That was a bomb shell let me tell you.

After a while I decided to set up my own consultancy/ lecturing company as well as becoming a MCA approved instructor/ lecturer and have taught/ examined at the NSTC college Gravesend ,P& O Dover  and now part time at the Maritime Skills Academy also in Dover.  Throughout I have kept up my enthusiasm for sport and have played cricket for several teams , squash for Deal in the Kent League, and I still ride my horse nearly every day, although my show jumping days are at an end. I also qualified as a National Referee in swimming as my daughter was good enough to be selected to swim for Dover , Kent ,and then Southern Counties. So we had many trips to Crystal Palace swimming pool. To finish off my wife and I are season ticket holders at Tottenham Hotspur!!  On reflection, those comments to my parents spurred me on to prove them wrong and as I look back I think I can say I have. Dover, Kent – April 2021

Mark Stevenson (4711)  Drake Division 1962-1963

I joined Mercury the same day as David Parsons, Tony Poynder, David Pockett and Simon Rabett, so thought it was about time I contributed something about myself to this group. I agree with both the Davids’ as to the character building qualities of Mercury and think it prepared me well for life in general, as you may have gathered from this I did not go to sea. I was supported at Mercury by my inner London local authority and can only assume they started to question what benefit they would get from continuing to support me training for a career at sea, so they stopped. I left to continue my education locally studying for my GCEs and left at 17 not too sure what I wanted to do in the future.  

I tried a couple of careers on leaving school, initially in the travel industry (lousy salary, great perks) but you can’t live on perks, so then went to work as a sales rep for a few years, at the same time I started volunteering with the Samaritans. Through contacts I heard about the changes in Social work to a more generic service and applied to Barnet for a social work assistant post and the stayed with them for seven years. On my return from a year travelling in Canada and America I applied to Westminster Social Services for an area administrator post and stayed with Westminster working my way up in adult services for the rest of my working life.

Prior to my retirement I bought a power /sail boat planning to spend time travelling and sailing unfortunately those plans failed to materialise as two months after retirement at the beginning of 2010 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I am still receiving ongoing treatment which seems to be working well at present keeping me in remission.

David Pockett (4715)

I was at “MERCURY” the same time as David Parsons and echo his sentiments about the character building which certainly set me in good stead for a life at sea.  As David says, after the first two terms, including the dreaded mess hall duties, life was generally good and I enjoyed my time there. I fondly remember the comradeship and support of the many friends I made.

I joined the Blue Funnel Line on the suggestion and encouragement from Ronnie Hoyle and spent a marvellous 3 years as midshipman.  I then went to P&O lines as a junior deck officer and finally a Danish chemical tanker company where I eventually gained my command before seeking a shore job.  

I spent about 3 ½ years with Noble Denton & Associates as a marine warranty surveyor and consultant in the offshore industry and then, together with 3 colleagues, founded London Offshore Consultants in 1979.  Since that time I have specialised in the investigation and management of marine casualties globally and today, I am thoroughly enjoying advising maritime authorities on old wrecks which are leaking oil!

I live on the water’s edge in Florianopolis, Brazil and like everyone, look forward to getting back to some kind of normality as and when this awful pandemic comes under control.   My admiration and thanks to David and the other members of the Advisory Group for their steadfast loyalty to Mercury Old Boys and for continuing the initiative with an excellent web site.    Santa Catarina, Brazil – April 2021

Simon Rabett   (4716) 1962 – 1964  Rodney Division

In 1962 I had recently left Kenya to return to the UK and so  everything was new and strange to me.  This of course was the ideal state to be in to join TS Mercury!  It was probably this state of mind that led me to so enjoy my time at the school – this was normal so you just got on with it.  3 years at Mercury gave me a grounding that has remained with me to this day, and has probably impacted on my children as well as they have both gone to sea! I made some good friends and those friendships, although interrupted, have endured. 

From Mercury I went to sea as an apprentice with Bank Line and stayed with them for 16 years.  Those were good days, tramping around the world, exploring new ports and harbours, making our own charts to get into, certainly one, of the remote Pacific Islands. Nothing and no one could take me away from the sea.  And then came Tessa!  After we were married I left deep sea and went on  the coast for 4 years with Cornish Shipping, running china clay from Cornwall to the Continent, backloading with phosphates for  North Devon, and then with a private company operating a small accommodation vessel.

During the latter part of my time at sea I had joined the Auxiliary Coastguard Service, and when I was home I kept watches, visual and radio, at Falmouth Coastguard. I eventually left the sea and joined the regular Coastguard and was promptly posted to Scotland from where I spent the following 4 years making my way back to Falmouth via Hartland Coastguard.  (The only tankers you saw there had ‘Express Dairies’ written on the side!

I finally made it back to Falmouth and spent the remainder of my time there.  Falmouth was a fascinating station to work at.  The station grew up with Goonhilly Land Earth Station and became  the UK’s International station, dealing with incidents literally all over the world.  I ended up as the Rescue Center Manager and represented the UK at a number of conferences all over the world while still maintaining the ability of MRCC Falmouth to Co-ordinate Maritime Search and Rescue wherever it was required.

Following retirement in 2008 I have been teaching RYA theory courses for a local sailing school, become a launching authority for Falmouth RNLI Lifeboat and an exam invigilator for Falmouth School.  Thanks TS Mercury! Falmouth, Cornwal –  April 2021

Paul Rowe (4764)

Still living in sunny Gosport ‘de Sol’ – April 2021

David Sayer (4765)

The last Chief Cadet Captain and longest serving boy (1962 – 1968) {since the early days of the school*} ! Joined Britannia Royal Naval College in September 68 and served a full career commission, retiring as a Commander in Nov 2002. Career highlights include 2 years exchange service with the Royal Australian Navy, action in the Falklands War, 2 years exchange service with the Dutch Navy and command of the Type 42 Destroyer HMS GLASGOW.  

Was then the Devon Operations Manager of Tomorrow’s People, a charitable trust helping people get back to work and conducting youth training. Retiring in 2017, activities since have included travel to the USA, India and Europe, narrow boating, school governing, playing bowls and Chairing the Plymouth Retired Naval Officers Association. Looking forward to resumption of pre-Covid life!  Plymouth, Devon – April 2021

* There were a number of boys who joined at a very young age during early years of Mercury and served for between 6 and 8 years.

Michael Kernan (4781)

I have now retired to Lincolnshire, but would love to see some of the old crew, if only i could get down that far. Gainsborough, Lincolnshire – April 2021

Fraser Phillips (4783)

I am currently living in Lane Cove, Sydney, NSW, Australia. I have lived in Australia since 1972. Never went to sea, I am now retired with my wife Eve. Most of my working life I was involved in IT. Sydney, NSW, Australia – April 2021

Roy Maunder (4803)

I was at  Mercury 1964/7  Drake Division and the Band member – Trumpeter. I left to train as Merchant Marine Engineer – Southampton and South Shields and joined British & Commonwealth Shipping – Union Castle passenger service to 1974.  Emigrated to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe as a consulting engineer and business development.  Returned to UK 1989, London.  Worked with BT 5 years as Change Management Consultant. Now self employed Management and personal development coach, London.  I hope to connect with some old Mercury friends to see how we have all beedoing over the years. Barking, Essex – April 2021

Graham Haig-Brown (4826) 1964 – 68

When I left Mercury in the summer of 1968, I joined British & Commonwealth Shipping as a deck cadet. I sat for second mates at Warsash and subsequently joined Court Line – just long enough to qualify for study leave at Tower Hill where I sat for first Mates. I spent some time with Esso Petroleum, mostly on VLCC’s, before sitting for my master’s ticket in 1976. Promotion to fist mate and Chief Officer was fairly rapid and the pay & conditions were good. But, having got married the previous year “management” decided my deep-sea days were over and a job with British Rail Ferries running from Weymouth to the Channel Islands followed.

Unfortunately, in the mid ‘80’s redundancy reared its ugly head and I spent the remainder of my seafaring days working for various ferry company’s running from either Newhaven or Portsmouth to ports in France, Spain or the Channel Islands. Finally, with the demise of P&O ferries in Portsmouth I opted for early retirement and although I thoroughly enjoyed my 40-year career at sea I have enjoyed retirement even more!

I am married with two children & four grandchildren and still live in Sherborne, Dorset. More than happy for anyone who knows me to make contact.

Paul Wheatley (4883) Jan 65 to July 68

Having left the Mercury in July 1968, I started an apprenticeship with Shaw Savill Line, joining my first ship SS Ceramic on the 13th August 1968. I stayed with Shaw Savill, obtaining 2nd and 1st Mates certificates, until 1976 when I immigrate to Australia. I was employed by the State Shipping Service of Western Australia. Returning to the UK to sit for my Masters certificate in 1978. Early 1979 I was appointed Master of 3,000 dwt ship trading around Papua New Guinea, with the PNG Shipping Corporation. November 1979, I took a marine pilot’s position at Port Hedland Western Australia. Port Hedland is an iron ore port in the Pilbara region and I soon found myself piloting and berthing ships up 250,000 dwt tonnes. 1981 I moved to a position with the South Australian Government Pilot Service as Harbourmaster /Pilot of Whyalla and Port Bonython. Also becoming a licenced pilot for Port Pirie, Port Lincoln, and Thevenard (the port at Ceduna). I moved to Woodside Petroleum (LNG Project) in 1986 as assistant Shipping Superintendent and Pilot / Marine Superintendent, back in Western Australia. In 1991 I moved to Indonesia to set up a coal export terminal for 200,000 dwt ships.

The move to Indonesia, initiated a change of direction into commercial shipping. Initially taking a position as operations director for an Australian company expanding into Indonesia. The Australians withdrew from Indonesia in 1998. I stayed on, becoming the president Director and taking over ownership of the company. The company’s main focus was tug and barge transhipment / stevedoring services and ships agency.  Early 2008, I stepped back from the daily operations and bought a 120 ft gaff rigged schooner built in 1914, spending 2 magnificent long summers sailing the Mediterranean. 

Mid 2010 I formed an Australian company which was awarded the contract for the transhipment services iron ore at Wyndham Port Western Australia plus the provision of pilotage services, loading master and draft surveying. My wife and I moved temporally (2 years), to Australia from Bali as I held the positions of Sole director, pilot and loadmaster. In 2014 we decided to sell our shareholdings, and moved to Lombok Indonesia. A nice note to finally retire on.

So, this is where we are now.  We purchased 7 hectors (about 17 acres) of land in Lombok in 2013 and in 2015/16 we built our house and two villas for family and friends who visit. My wife and I live with 5 dogs, 9 cows and 5 geese (night watch). I swim and seem to be busy every day. I still keep my hand in at sea with a 45ft boat which I sail single handed. Anyone who finds themselves in this area are welcome to stay with us, we have plenty of room and the separate villas give space for everyone. Lombok, Indonesia – August 2021

Richard Briggs (4920)

I attended TS Mercury from September 1965 until the school closed in July 1968. I completed my education at Ysgol Uwchradd Tywyn (or Towyn Comprehensive School in my time). I did not go to sea but undertook a three year electronics apprenticeship for the Civil Aviation Authority at Bletchley Park. Enigma was still covered by the Official Secrets Act at this time but rumours abounded. I subsequently worked in the control tower at Heathrow Airport, spent a very ‘interesting’ period on installations and upgrades, mainly in the Highlands and Islands, and finally took the opportunity to move into software. During this period I had an 18 month ‘sabbatical’ when I joined the RAF and underwent pilot training. Needless to say, this did not work out in the end. I spent the last 30 years of my working life working in IT for three major US multinationals: Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq Computers and, finally, Hewlett Packard. I retired in 2011 and live in Reading.  Reading, Berkshire– April 2021

Footnote.  Richard was the MOBA Membership Secretary over very many years and even today keeps Old Boys in touch through email and Facebook.

Steve Smedley (4933)

I was shocked and dismayed to see the sad news of the death Jeremy Jones (4880).  Jonah and I renewed our Mercury connection at a reunion in 2008 (I think) and then met again when he was visiting Canada a year or two later, when we had dinner together in Edmonton, Alberta. I haven’t been back to the UK since but a visit to him in Dorset was on the cards.  Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada – April 2021

Kenneth Ramsey (4943)

Living in the USA for the past 45 years, California/Florida & Georgia, it’s been great although there’s a few thing I miss about the U.K. – the pub, horse racin & bangers fish & chips to name a few!   I left TS Mercury about a year before it closed down, unfortunately I couldn’t join the navy as I’d intended. I went onto make a career in USA film production which has been interesting and taken me to a many places around the world.  Personally I had a great time/good learning experience and have good Mercury memories of my days there.

I retired 2 yrs ago and spend as time in Italy as possible with my wife, unfortunately COVID has scuppered plans for all of us.  Hopefully your all well and we’ll get out of this mess.  Our parents/grandparents survived WW11, the Nazis,, the Blitz and all the horrors that war brought.  We survived Mercury – , we’ll survive this!  Thanks for putting this page together! Georgia,USA – April 2021

Nick Goodwin (4964), Drake Division, 1966-68

The journey here is a long a varied one.  On leaving the Mercury in 68 I went onto the HMS Conway achieving the O-Levels I started at Mercury, namely Navigation, Seamanship, History, Geography, Mathematics and English. In 1970 I went to sea as an apprentice deck officer (cadet) with Shaw Savill and Albion Co Ltd serving in a number their vessels interspersed with time at Plymouth School of Maritime Studies doing an ONC in Nautical Science. After serving 6 years with SSA on the UK-NZ, NZ Caribbean and South America runs, I swallowed the anchor and went ashore in NZ where I lived in Wellington, working for the Shipping Corporation of NZ 1976-1979.  I returned to the UK July 1979-1983 working as Coastguard at Calshot Spit, before returning to NZ in 1983 working for their Government in the Computing industry until 1998. 

In 1998 I moved to Australia (Sydney) working in IT for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and travelled to the UK, USA and Philippines a few times, was in LA on 9/11 the day the World Trade Centre was crashed into.  The day the US basically stopped for 5 days.  Our return flights to Sydney had to be rebooked and the flight was very Sombre until landing in Sydney and a big cheer went up, we had landed safely.  In 2005 I moved San Francisco with EDS. Travelled around the US quite a lot, but the highlights would be the Grand Canyon and sitting on the roof of a Lake Tahoe hotel in a hot tub in the snow – magic. 2007 Moved to Singapore with EDS and travelled extensively in China, Beijing, Xian, Hainan, cruised down the Yangtze river from Chongqing to Wuhan through the 3 gorges. Also Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia.

In 2012 left EDS in Singapore and set up my own business which didn’t fly and with failing health and no medical insurer willing to take me on, in 2013 returned to the UK still working within the IT Industry (Merlin Entertainment, Xchanging, Hampshire County Council, Allianz Insurance)  Currently (2021) still working at Allianz and living in Southampton. This has been my journey from Mercury to Southampton! Gosport, Hampshire – April 2021

Michael Harding (4994)

I attended Mercury for the last year September 67 to close in July 68, I returned to my local high school in Maidstone – The Cornwallis School. At this time I went through a series of interviews to gain an apprenticeship with BP Tankers as a Deck Officer, unfortunately in 1971 had a near fatal climbing accident, this resulted in me losing my hearing in one ear. After 3 months of recovery and being rejected on health grounds for my apprenticeship, I had to find another career path.

So it was that I chose to enter the Construction Industry and after attending college and obtaining various certificates and diplomas, I tried my hand at quantity surveying. This wasn’t what I was looking for so I turned my skill set to be a Design Draughtsman in the Building Services sector.  

Started out on the drawing board and gradually, over the many years of change, worked with various CAD programs, with today working with 3D software. I have worked as many guises of self employment ending up with my own limited company for many Teir 1 companies here in the UK, mainly in London & South Eas. I have also worked in Hong Kong on the Chep Lap Kok airportand on various contracts in the Middle East.

I am still living in Kent and presently working & like many during the covid period from home. I have looked at retirement but at present have no plans.  Chatham, Kent – April 2021

Bill Robichez (FM41)

An OB of sorts (2 weeks in ’64 !); after a career in secondary education I have retired as soon as I could & am doing OK at present.. My neighbour John Breckon (3802) sadly passed away this month.  Abingdon, Oxfordshire – April 2021