The Great Liners (Episode 18)


Ships to New Zealand (Part 1)

Preparing to sail

Not very many years ago we could proudly boast of having the biggest and best merchant navy and shipping industry in the world. In those days just about every port and estuary in the country was crammed full of magnificent ships, all going about their own special importance.

Today we live in a country where changes have been so great it’s sometimes difficult to recognise it as being the same place. The once busy estuaries and ports are now all but void of shipping, and the mighty industries that lined their busy shores are all but gone and with it, the pride once felt for being British. As an ex seafarer I am dismayed at the almost total destruction of our society and the once unrivalled shipping industry we were so proud of.

Today as I gaze out across empty waters, I can only but dream of those distant maritime days and of the ships I once knew. When I left the Merchant Navy I can honestly say that I never dreamt I would ever be able to see the wonderful spectacle of my ships ever again and that my memories would remain an untold story locked away inside my head forever. After my career at sea I became a television producer and it is with my produce’s hat on that I am able to bring back to the screen all those marvellous sights we never thought we would ever be able to see again.

It has taken twelve long years of hard work to find and restore all the very rare archive film used in the making of this series. In this story ‘Ships to New Zealand’. (Which is being made for parts). 95% of the film used as never been made available to the public before and it’s fantastic. Now at last you will be able to sit back and once again view those ports and estuaries just as they were in their heyday when they were full of glorious ships and we really were proud to be British.

There are many ships featured in this video it’s impossible to list them here, but they include the ships operated by such famous companies as Blue Star, Shaw Savill, New Zealand and Federal Steam, Ellerman’s , Port Line and many, many more.

We watch them as they sail in and out of the ports of the world and sail with them on their exciting voyages, through tremendous storms and on to exotic sounding places that other people of the time could only but dream of ever seeing.

Everyone who had anything to do with ships that their own very special story to tell, for those days were for most of us ‘the best days of our lives’ . I gave you now a story you will enjoy and one that will help to open the covers to your own very special book of memories. This really is a truly remarkable video.

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