Film ID: YFA 1451 Video of YFA_1451 Working Together- Merchant Navy 1972 WORKING TOGETHER: THE MERCHANT NAVY 1972 Visitor TabsDescription This is a documentary film promoting the Merchant Navy as a career. It follows the footsteps of a young new recruit, Charlie, as he works on the ferry the Spero, going from Hull to Gothenburg. It's part of the series Working Together, a series which took an in-depth look at a wide variety of occupations. Opening Credits: Yorkshire Television Production Working Together - The Merchant Navy A 17 year old school leaver, Charlie, unpacks his bags in his accommodation on the Spero ferry, on which he has just arrived. He explains that he saw an advert for a deck hand with the Merchant Navy and went for the job. As the Spero is being untied, Charlie explains the background to his getting the job. The narrator provides information on the Spero, its ferry service and the crew, with the Spero being towed out of dock. The tug boats untie the tow ropes, and the Captain of the Spero gives directions. Charlie looks on as the helmsman steers the ship, and then, under guidance from the helmsman, takes over the helm himself. The ship steers a course through a gale force 8 winds. Passengers get served in the restaurant, and a steward gives an account of his job as the kitchen workers prepare meals. The rubbish packaging is slung over the side into the sea. Charlie paints the outside of a cabin with another crew member, who explains the problem of seasickness (eating bread helps by bringing up the bile in the stomach, which causes the sick feeling). In the engine room the engineers do their routine checks. The narrator explains the workings of the engines and what happens if there is a fault. One young engineer, smoking a pipe, explains his job. The second engineer explains what he has to do to move up in his career. Another crew member recounts how all his family have been at sea, and that he was on a trawler coming out of Hull for three years before joining the Merchant Navy in order to see the world. He shows Charlie the keys he has to use on the clock that is carried during fire patrol. As the Spero comes towards port Charlie pulls out the rope, the mooring line, for docking. A tug comes alongside and a second Captain comes aboard for steering into dock. A tug eases the Spero into position and a crew member shows Charlie how to fold the mooring line for throwing onto the shore, which he does. The mooring line is tightened. The Blue Peter flag is flown to show that the Spero is leaving within 12 hours. Whilst in port a lifeboat is lowered for testing, and the sides of the ship are painted. As Charlie, in civilian clothes, has a look at the docked sailing ship the 'Viking', the narrator states that the way is open for Charlie to progress all the way to Captain. Charlie continues on a walk around Gothenburg while ashore, declaring that he would eventually like to see the world. End Credits Research Mary Robin Cameraman Charles Flynn Sound Recordist Stan Ellison Film Editor Graham Shrimpton Produced and Directed by Graham Watts Acknowledgement to the Ellerman's Wilson Line, Hull. Context All hands on deck as new recruit takes to the sea. A chance to have a glimpse behind the scenes of a typical ferry in this excellent documentary which lets the ship hands speak for themselves. Charting the progress of a 17 year old Hull apprentice in 1972, who just wants “a steady job” and “to see the world,” we learn just how much the merchant navy is a family affair, why it is so appealing, and how to help overcome seasickness. This Yorkshire Television Production was one of many excellent documentaries that they made in the 1970s covering local topics. The ferry Spero featured in the film started working between Hull and Gothenburg in 1966: the first roll-on-roll-off service of its kind operating out of Hull. It was part of the Ellerman Wilson Line, at one time one of the largest shipping groups in the world. At one time Ellerman was the wealthiest businessman ever to live in Britain. 1972 was in fact the last year Spero operated on this line, transferring to Hull and Zeebrugge at the beginning of April, laid up in January 1973, sold to a Greek company in April, and scrapped in 2004. But what happened to Charlie, the young deckhand?