Starting work in Greenock Shipyards as a young lad in the early 50's was an experience never to be forgotten, Mother helped me get ready, to enable to catch the " Big Gibby " at 7:30am, in time for my 8:oo am start,
Jas Mitchell & Sons ( Plumbers ) was sub-contracting in Kincaid's on one of the Clan Boats, I was an apprentice plumber, and felt really important going to work on the Big Gibby full of workers
Mother had bought me my tea & sugar tinny, a pair of heavy work boots, my own Bunnet, and most important my Tea Can, to make my tea at our breaks, a man called Hughie Cox from Cobham St was a Plumbers Labourer, who met me at the Gibby bus stop, I was his goal-keeper for a football team he ran, so I felt 100% safe in his company...WRONG !!! as soon as I was aboard the ship, I was surrounded, stripped of my new boots, bunnet, and tea can, plus my tea & sugar tin, and all the workers to great delight to kick them all over the deck, all I could do was look on, I daren't complain, my piece ( sandwich ) which my mother made up for me, boiled egg & apple, wrapped in grease proof paper, went over the side
When my mother bough my boots, my father got his last out, Segs ( Steel Plate ) toe & heel, and steel tacks all over, you could hear me coming from miles away, I was so proud of them, I felt 10 feet tall.
By the time I got my possessions back, my tea tin was all dented, my bunnet didn't look the same at all, and my boots, well, I was lucky they still fitted, they had all been kicked to beyond recondition, My mother had spent money that she couldn't afford to get me to work, and I was very worried of her reaction, considering how many, back-handers or skelps as we called them, but to my amazement her & my father laughed, remember I was only 14 Years