E.H.W Barnes - Service in the Merchant Navy 1947 to 1954:

After leaving the Royal Navy (believed to have been demobbed at Portsmouth on the 8th April 1946), EHW 'Sonny' Barnes joined the Merchant Navy. His Ministry of Transport 'Continuous Certificate of Discharge' dating from the 25th August 1947 lists the ships he served on from the 27th August 1947 until he finally left the Merchant Navy on the 5th June 1954.

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His Ministry of Transport Continuous Certificate of Discharge lists the ships he served on, employed as a 'fireman' (also known as a stoker):-

  • S.S. Mahana from 27th August 1947 to 10th March 1948. This is where the crew alleged they were being served 'bad food' and staged a 'small strike' when the boat was in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

  • Monarch of Bermuda from the 8th April 1948 (Leith, Scotland) to 12th April 1948. This was a salvage job sailing the burnt out passenger liner to Southampton. It was rebuilt and used as an emigrant ship.

  • S.S.Mataro from the 1st May 1948 to 25th September 1948. He must have liked working aboard the Mataro as he sailed on the boat two more times from;-

  •                                       21st October 1948 until the 10th February 1949
                                         10th March 1949 until the 28th June 1949 

    He left the Merchant Service on the 28th July 1949, but returned for one last trip on the M.V. Bloemfontein Castle from the 31st March 1954 to the 5th June 1954. There was a good reason for this being his last trip, for he had met Maureen Ellen Sculpher - they became engaged either on the 5th June 1954 or certainly soon after - the bill from jewellers James Walker survives and shows the purchase of a diamond ring on the 5th June for 26 10 shillings. A later bill showing the purchase of a wedding ring also survives, dated 11th December 1954 - '22ct Wedding ring 6 6 shillings'.
    A payslip - "Account of Wages" from the "M.V. Bloemfontein Castle" dated 5th June 1954 was found in amongst the papers of EHW 'Sonny' Barnes. The trip on the Bloemfontein Castle was his last and perhaps that is why this payslip was kept and survived all these years.

    The front shows both earnings and deductions. The total earnings for the period of two months and five days at 28 10 shillings per month was 62 14 shillings. Deductions for the period were;

    Allotments              36
    Cash                        10
    Tobacco                   3 12 shillings
    Income Tax             3 10 shillings
    National Insurance 2 17 shillings and 6 pence
    Leave Insurance             5 shillings and 9 pence

    The total deductions came to 57 7 shillings and 4 pence, leaving a grand total of 5 6 shillings and 8 pence. I assume that the 36 in 'Allotments' was money sent to family and not spent, as spending two months at sea for just 5 6 shillings and 8 pence wouldn't be worth it! The rear of the payslip offers good advice on looking after your money.
    For those unfamiliar with pre-decimalisation currency, 1 consisted of 240 'old pennies' and a shilling was 12 'old pennies'. In today's money, 10 shillings is 50p. 1p (new penny) is 2.4 'old pennies'. 10 in 1954 is probably worth over 250 in today's money (2023). And in 1954, a chocolate Wagon Wheel was as big as a Morris Minor hubcap - honest!

    The National Union of Seamen Members Contribution Book dates from the 29th March 1954, he was a new member, enrolling at the Victoria and Albert Docks branch. He paid 'Sixty Shillings' (3) to join as a Full Member. He then paid a contribution to the union from the 29th March 1954 until the 7th June 1954 (this is when he left the Merchant Service).
    National Union of Seaman Contribution Book