I have been thinking about the old days on the Benmhor and wonder if you are aware of the following snippets of information which I believe to be true.
Alan Ladd starred in a movie called Hell Below Zero and some action scenes were filmed onboard the Benmhor, to be specific it was a chase through the ER, which was in almost complete darkness. I saw the movie and I could not have told where it was filmed.
The other fact is that the Benmhor developed more power in relation to the volume of the machinery spaces than any other ship in the British fleet, I do not know if you were or are familiar with the machinery lay out but the boilers were installed high up in the ER and at the after end of the space. In fact the Second and Third Engineers cabins were only a very few feet from the boilers steam drums, a nice arrangement in the Arctic but not so good in Singapore, I remember once remarking that the ventilation system in the Thirds cabin left a lot to be desired. there was one punkah, and it could not have been further from the bunk if the designer had tried, and to make matter worse the vent was at the very end of the trunking system, all you got out of it at the best of times was a very gentle flow of air, not enough to disturb a mosquito. The Third had made a tube of rolled up charts and stuck it in the punkah in a vain attempt to get some air blowing on his pillow. The paper tube was suspended with pieces of string tied to screws which had been backed off out of the deckhead lining, a real Heath Robinson arrangement.
The location of the boilers, which were actually over the turbine & gearing made for a very short ER
The entrance to the ER from the Engineers alleyway was actually lower than the boiler steam drums, you had to ascend a ladder, three or four steps, to get over to the ladder going down to the plates, it could be rather confusing to say the least. One time I was going off watch and found a Deck Cadet wandering around the boiler tops, he had been down below to drop the pitot head for the log and could not find his way out of the ER. He was very glad to see me I can tell you.
On my first trip one of the Chinese painters, we had four, collapsed into Jimmy Traills arm just after turning to on the morning 8 to !2,the poor fellow died and we buried him off Socotra, rather a sobering experience.
The ER was painted every trip, at least around the control platform, Ivan was very keen on that sort of thing and one morning ,homeward bound in the Red Sea, I was on the 4 to 8 with Ivan I was standing on a small grease or paint drum on the plates polishing a copper pipe when the drum slipped and my foot hit the turbine trip and the plant shut down. We got it going pronto, of course the Chief turned out and all hands as well, nothing was said to me but would you believe that exactly 24 hours later Ivan decided to put the low vacuum trip into service, it was normally gagged, he put it in use, and Bingo the plant shut down again. I met the Chief at the top of the ER on my way to open the Main Stops and he looked decidedly annoyed, he asked me what had happened and I told him I had no idea, by the time I got back down below everything was running again and I never found out what Ivan told the Chief.
We had a Junior Engineer from the NE coast and during the painting operation on one trip this nit wit scraped the beeswax out of the engraving on the plates on the manoeuvring wheels, that really delighted Ivan.
We always carried, outbound, cargo which had to be carried semi refrigerated, I think this stuff was canned goods and were cooled just to keep the labels from coming off the cans, we had a Refrigeration Engineer, a little Welshman, who made a great mystery of his plant, he used to spend most of his time drinking beer in his cabin. He only worked outward bound we did not have any chilled cargo homeward. Funny thing is when I sailed with the BI the Second was responsible for the freezers and I picked up the operation of the system in about five minutes.
The Galley was on the other side of the inboard bulkhead of the Engineers Alleway right next to my cabin, all the pots and pans were hung on the other side of the bulkhead, in bad weather the noise of pans swinging around and clattering one against the other would add to the general misery and discomfort.
Of course we did not have access to a refrigerator in those days, things were really primitive, and if we wanted a semi cool beer we had to put some in the scuppers before going on watch porno gratis, warm beer was never my favourite drink! Still there were compensations, one night after coming off watch Davey and I were sitting on No4 hatch when we noticed that a meteorite shower was in full swing, we had a grand stand seat for it with nothing to obscure our view, a wonderful sight.
Another amusing incident, we had had a condenser trouble and had been using fluorescent dye to locate the leaks, I was on the 8 to 12 with Jimmy Traill and our Oiler, who was a tall lanky Chinese made our tea as usual and brought it down to us. He rinsed a cup with tea and threw some of it on the plates, in a flash everything turned yellow, the plates were coated with the remains of the dye we had been using. The look on the Oilers face was something to be seen, he poured a little more tea on the plates with similar results and then, before we could stop him dumped the rest of the potful into the bilges, Jimmy was really annoyed and asked me why I had not stopped the Oiler from dumping the tea, though what I could have done beats me.