I joined the ship, as a bright eyed deck boy, in the Royal Albert Dock London in March 1965 and completed three voyages to New Zealand, two as deck boy and one as JOS. First trip as seaman’s peggy, second trip as quartermasters peggy and third on deck. On the first trip we also did a mini cruise to Fiji.
The Rangitoto only visited Auckland, Wellington and Lyttleton but none of the smaller ports in New Zealand. First port of call was Willemstad on the island of Curacao for ship's bunkers. Two days later we arrived at the Panama Canal. Excited and naive as a first trip deck boy could be I was told to save all the old bread to feed the 'mules' in the Panama Canal. As we secured in the first lock I rushed on deck with my bread only to see the 70 ton 'donkeys' connected to the ship and guiding it into the locks.
We docked in Balboa at the Pacific end of the canal for the night to allow the passengers ashore. I followed some of the crew into a bar in Panama City, what an eye opener. Next day we departed for Tahiti where we also stayed overnight before making the final leg to Auckland.
Little did I know that I would soon be introduced to Kiwi Girls and all the good times and broken hearts ahead of me in the wonderful country of New Zealand. Really good runs ashore but the 'old hands' said you should have seen it in the 50s!
On first trip pay off day (25-06-65) the Number One record in the UK charts was: I'm Alive by The Hollies.
On second trip pay off day (11-11-65) the Number One record in the UK charts was: Get Off Of My Cloud by The Rolling Stones.
On third trip pay off day (15-03-66) the Number One record in the UK charts was: These Boots Are Made For Walking by Nancy Sinatra.
First Trip: London, Willemstad, Panama Canal, Balboa, Papeete (Tahiti), Auckland, Lautoka, Suva, Auckland, Lyttelton, Wellington, Papeete, Panama Canal, Kingston, Port Everglades, Bermuda, London.
Second Trip: London, Willemstad, Panama Canal, Balboa, Papeete, Wellington, Auckland, Papeete, Panama Canal, Port Everglades, Bermuda, London.
Third Trip: London, Willemstad, Panama Canal, Balboa, Papeete, Auckland, Lyttelton, Wellington, Papeete, Panama Canal, Kingston, Port Everglades, Bermuda, London.
Hi Bruce ,
My Grandad David Carver was aboard the rangitoto on your first voyage as a ordinary seaman. Then later worked in the same company off shore marine. It would be nice to get a reply for him as he was quite excited when he found this website. Thank you,
Hi Rosie. Thanks for contacting me. I certainly remember Dave, both on the Rangitoto and later on the Essex Shore. I hope that he is keeping well and say Hi from me. After I retired I lived in Phuket several years then back to the UK for a couple and now living in Calpe, Spain.
Take a look at this FB group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/supplyboathistory/
My Dad worked as a steward on the RMS Rangitoto in the early 1950’s. He would love a model of the boat or painting or really any memorabilia I could purchase would be great. Any ideas please? Thanks
Hi Liz, thanks for visiting. There is not much material available for lesser known merchant ships and it seems that official company photographs have all been lost or locked up. You can search for images of RMS Rangitoto online. Here is one page from the results, http://www.newzealandshipping.co.nz/History/Photos/Rangitoto.htm. I quick search on line brings up an artist who does ship painting commissions, http://www.jamesaflood.com/index.html.
I could send you a larger digital image of the Rangitoto from the website, let me know.
Thanks for those suggestions. I did look at google images and printed off 3 photos and put them into a frame for him. Hopefully he will enjoy that. There was also some details I read somewhere so I will print them off and put them together in a folder. Thanks again.
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