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Interview with Captain Harry Kinley about his life at sea

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Date(s): 15 February 1996

Creator(s): Neate, Kirsty

Scope & Content: Track 1: Captain Harry Kinley talks to Kirsty Neate about his life at sea. Captain Kinley talks about his father, master mariner Thomas Wilson, Whitehaven; his schooldays at the boys' school, Port St Mary; his ambition to be a master mariner on an Isle of Man Steam Packet boat; working as an ordinary seaman in Liverpool, then second mate in Whitehaven; he describes his duties on board; master aged 23; weather in the Irish Sea; joining the Isle of Man Steam Packet in 1936 as second mate; talks about the vessels 'Mona’s Isle', 'Rushen Castle', 'Peel Castle', 'Mona’s Queen', 'Ben my Chree'; and how the 'King Orry' was lost at Dunkirk; recalls the Steam Packet involvement in the Second World War with two boats requisitioned for carrying troopsand how how he navigated from Southampton to Calais, Cherbourg or Le Havre.

He talks in general about the Steam Packet including, number of crew and passengers on the 'Ben my Chree'; 'Lady of Mann’s' accommodation; loading cars, coaches and cargo; cabins, food and quarters; passenger seasons; Belfast boats calling at Ramsey; day trips to Rothesay; working during the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) races; navigating in to Peel in bad weather; superintendents’ responsibilities; passenger overboard from the 'Ben my Chree', 1938; Wakes weeks; crew from the Isle of Man and Liverpool; Fleetwood; navigating into harbours through strong tides and fog without radar; and studying for the Liverpool, Heysham, Fleetwood, Ardrossan and Douglas licences.

Track 2: Captain Kinley talks about navigating in to Douglas harbour; seasickness; first aid; saloons and bunks; uniforms and boiler suits; sailing with Captain Tom Woods; sailing to Ostend; picking up buoys; mines in the North Sea; superstitions; Captain Wilfred Qualtrough; Bristol Channel ports; working out routes; fog; keeping watch on the bridge; sailing up the centre of a convoy; Admiralty requisitioning ships for the Second World war; 'Mona’s Isle' fitted with guns; sent to Southampton to join crew of the 'Viking' to help evacuate troops from Dunkirk (although the evacuation had finished in Dunkirk by the time he got there) and Le Havre to Southampton in 1940; attacked by Germans from the air; loaded 4,000 Scottish troops from Le Havre.

He recalls evacuating 1,800 children from St Peter Port, Guernsey to Weymouth 1940. Captain Kinley ends by talking about his pilot license and how he joined the pilot service for the rest of the war.

Administration / Biographical History: Captain Harry Kinley, born 1908 in Colby.

Language: English

Extent: 1 hr. 35 min. 13 sec.

Item name: cassette tape

Collection: Sound Archive

Level: ITEM

ID number: SA 0401

Access conditions: All reasonable attempt has been made by Manx National Heritage to trace and request permission (where needed) from the copyright holder(s) in this sound recording. If however you think you are a rights holder then please contact Manx National Heritage.

Subject tags : #UOSH, #UOSHTT, #UOSHSecondWorldWar


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