David Barrow

It is with deep regret that I advise that friend and colleague David Barrow passed away on Sunday night, 22nd.July 2018. I personally sailed with David on the Seaway Vessels, King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Hobart and Melbourne. He was a good engineer and noted for his friendship and revelry. Loved the odd after hours beverage with his shipmates. He will most certainly be missed at our ‘Retired Staff Association’ Annual Reunions. We extend our deepest Sympathy to his family.


Cormac O’Connor Radio Officer 90th.

Cormac O’Connor
NSW 2259

Received 13th March 2018 from Bernadette, Cormac’s wife.

Cormac is in a home since before Christmas . I could no longer manage . He’s got very thin and usually perks up with visitors.  We are having sort of high tea for his birthday in the home It has a nice dining area We would be delighted to see u and Jan It will be around 3 pm. No presents just u
Is there anyone else from the ships I could invite.? I live I a village nearby
Looking forward to seeing you both Bernadette

His birthday is 30th march but the DO is on the Sat 31. He has good and bad days . I print out messages for him and take them to him. I will ask them but Cormac may not recognise them. He usually perks up with  company. I asked u as I know would know some of the people coming. My best to Jan.
Old is not good



Note from Jimmy Pyle,
Jan and I will not be able to attend due to mobility problems Jan with Her hip and I have been diagnosed today with Osteomylitus in the second toe of the left foot. I am told it will take three months of antibiotics to fix. The bones in the P.I.P joint and the phalanges are infected. I had a bone scan this morning to determine the extent of the infection.

It would be appreciated if we as individuals could send Cormac a birthday card for the occasion, even better if anyone could attend.


Regards Jim

Common Brothers Ltd. Quayside Newcastle upon Tyne

In The early 1960’s I joined Common Brothers as third mate. I was sent to join a dedicated bulk ore carrier, M.V. Daghestan. My cousin, Rowell Gray was the Purser / Chief Steward on the ship. It was one of the happiest ships that I have served on in my seagoing career. The accommodation was absolutely luxurious and all officers were allowed to take their wives or bonafide girl friends with them for a trip. All officer cabins were furnished with two large double beds. Daghestan had a British crew and Afghanistan had a Chinese crew which meant that one had 24 hour room service for food and drinks etc. The three ships were chartered to B.I.S.Co : British Iron and Steel Company. The first three months when I was third mate we traded between Seven Islands and the U.K. Ports. When I was promoted to second mate the ship traded to Santana de Matapi, up the Amazon and Pepple in West Africa. Iron Crown was a third such vessel.


Ian Gasteen : ex Purser

Friday, January 05, 2018 8:16 AM

Subject: Ian Gasteen.


It is with great sadness that I have been asked to advise you all of the sudden passing of ex Purser Ian Gasteen in Palmerston North Hospital yesterday.

Ian’s wife Heather has authorised me to send this notice out to you all and to advise that as per Ian’s wishes, there will be no funeral service.


Should any of you wish to send a card to Heather, her address is 1 Guildford Place, Bethlehem, Tauranga, 3110 .


Bob Dickinson: Would you please let any of the Australian ex Pursers know as I don’t have a full list of addresses.


Graham Browne.

2018 The New Year

Welcome to the New Year, the old one was not that great in as much that a lot of friends and colleagues here and all over the world crossed the bar.

Lets hope for World Peace, good will to all people and above all health and happiness.

Jimmy Pyle.

Garnet (Gunner) Harrison

Vale Gunner Harrison

Desmond “Gunner” Harrison passed away on 11 September at the age of 92.

Gunner was a life member of the MUA and worked for Union Company for many years in Sydney and Adelaide.

Fair seas and a following wind Gunner.

Comment from Jimmy Pyle – Union retired Staff association  – Sydney

Gunner and the late Leo Kane both served in the 2nd World War on H.M.A.S. HOBART

It was good to talk to you on several occasions earlier this year. You will certainly be missed. Rest in peace my friend.

Jimmy Pyle

Seasons Greetings

On behalf of the Union Steam Ship Co. of NZ retired staff association Sydney I would like to wish everyone the Compliments of the Season.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year

For those of us who are not very well we wish you a speedy recovery.

Best wishes

Jim Pyle. President

Tom Dyer Purser

TOM DYER    Born 12 June 1931, Died 23 October, 2017 at Palmerston North.     Tom joined the Union Company in Christchurch in April 1949.   He went to sea as an Assistant Purser in February 1953, serving on the Company trades, including a period in the “Karoon” in the early sixties.   Kiwi pursers sent to Australian ships were usually  there to do penance for some misdemeanour in New Zealand.      In 1966 he went ashore where he worked in the Industrial Department at Head Office.   He had been ill for some time and Bob Dickinson was fortunate enough to visit him during a visit to Wellington shortly before his death.     Bob says he was a great character and a fine friend of over 63 years.

Re Jim Fitzgerald Purser

JIM FITZGERALD     Born February, 1933, died on the Gold Coast, 28 April 2017.     Originally from Sydney, the garden suburbs, Lilyfield,  Jim was at  sea for three and half years back in the early fifties, mostly in New Zealand flagged ships but also in “Wanaka”.   He resigned from the Union Co. while serving in “Tofua” (I can’t believe it.).  After a variety of jobs, in 1970 he commenced work with the new Orient Shipping Services who had been appoint General agents for Australia for Overseas  Container Lines (OOCL).    Jim rose to become the General Manager of OSS which grew rapidly taking on the agencies of the government lines of Malaysia, New Zealand and Indonesia and involved the meat trade to the United States where Jim became the coordinator between U.S. importers and Australian exporters.     Jim also coordinated the Pursers’ reunions on the Australian side between 1980 and 2004.   Bob Dickinson and Rob Lipman attended his wake held on the Gold Coast last May.