Castle Roland

The Trader

by Charles Bird


Chapter 12

Published: 3 Mar 16


Copyright © 2012-2015 by Charles Bird


Mariner Class

The characters, localities and happenings in this story are the products of the author's imagination or, are used fictitiously. The story is copyrighted and is the property of the author and may not be copied, reproduced or retransmitted without his express permission.

From Chapter 11: Both the Gyles and the Toby were already tied up as he headed for Pier No. 3. Lomo nosed the Camel II alongside the pier and "burped" the engines twice astern before the lines were made fast to the bollards on the pier. As the last line was made up, he gave the air horn a blast and was answered with two blasts from the Toby and the Gyles! He had passed his most important test, his Daddies' approval! It was a proud Island Man who walked down the gangway and threw himself into the arms of Captains Toby and Gyles! Joe was watching from the office window, he turned to James and said, "There is the next Turner Fleet Commodore!"


Joe brought The Turner into Sydney Harbor after a long run through Southeast Asia, it had been a difficult voyage and he had been plagued by a typhoon between Taiwan and Malaysia.

After docking, he went home to Paddington to rest, intending to complete his voyage reports the next day. When he didn't come down for breakfast, Mrs. Collins became disturbed, Joe had looked wane and pale the night before. She finally went upstairs to his bedroom and knocked on the door.

Getting no reply, she cracked the door open and discovered Joe lying crumpled on the floor.

Her screams brought the yard man on the run and, together, they lifted Joe back onto his bed, Joe tried to speak to them, but all he could do is make garbled word sounds.

She called Dr. Jeems, the company physician and he told her to call for an ambulance and he would meet it at Queen's Hospital. When they finally got Joe to the hospital and Dr. Jeems made his examination, Joe had suffered a stroke.

James started sending Marconi's out to The Camel II, The Gyles and The Toby.

Soon, all three ships were headed for Sydney. Toby refused a cargo in Hong Kong, The Camel II abruptly left Somoa and The Gyles began to smoke as Gyles ordered the engine room to make all possible speed, AHEAD FLANK! A plane was prepared in Nuku 'alofa and Taffy began throwing clothing into a suitcase!

Taffy was the first to arrive, his plane's engines were still spinning down as he forced his way off the plane and ran for the terminal.

James had sent the company car there, waiting for him and the Tonga Royal Flag was flying on the front fender. Taffy had the driver taking the corners on two wheels as they raced for Queen's Hospital.

The Toby and The Camel II docked at the same time and Toby left his First mate to finish docking as he ran down the gangway to meet Lomo as they raced up to the head of the pier, where the Company Car was waiting for them.

By now, the driver knew how to take the corners and he was sliding the rear wheels around the turns as he took the corners barely slowing down!

Taffy was standing outside the VIP suite, trying to convince a sister (nurse) to allow him in the room. Toby and Lomo had no better luck convincing the nursing sister that they needed to be in that room, NOW! They all stood around the door to Joes' room, trying to eavesdrop on what was taking place behind the closed door.

Gyles finally arrived late the next day and the company driver was now used to screeching tires as he raced to the hospital, Gyles ran into the hospital, taking the steps two at a time. Just as he arrived at the VIP Suite, the family was being allowed in to see Joe.

He was lying in the bed, as white as the sheets around him. Dr. Jeems looked as if he had slept in his clothes, which he, in fact, had. He told them that there had been a clot in Joe's carotid artery and they had removed it surgically. He warned them that Joe would likely suffer some impairment, but he thought they had cleared the artery quickly enough that the impairment would not be serious.

He then grabbed Toby and Gyles, telling them that their Dad had to retire, the work at sea was just too hard on him and he warned them that, if he suffers another clot, it could well be fatal!

Lomo was holding Taffy and they both had tears running down their faces, Toby and Gyles had managed to hold back their own tears, but just barely.

James had stayed out in the hallway, while the Family went in to see Joe and he was in no better condition than the two younger boys, he loved Joe like a brother.

As Joe slowly recovered, Toby and Gyles told him that he had retired and this time, he was going to stay that way.

Joe pleaded with his sons to no avail, when he asked, "Who is going to Captain the Turner?" Toby replied, "Lomo is taking his Master's examination right now!"

Gyles and Toby had to sail, they had left their customers in the lurch and they had to make it good.

Taffy stayed with Lomo while he took his examination, before he returned to Tonga.

Lomo sailed on the Camel II with Captain Billy Fable and James had The Turner sent over to the shipyard for dry docking. It was time the hull was cleaned and painted and the stern tubes checked. The insurance company was after them to get it done.

The Consul's office notified James that Mr. Lomo Joseph Turner had passed his examination and the he was to come pick up his new license. James immediately sent out a Marconi to The Camel II, addressed to Captain Lomo Joseph Turner, appointing him Master of The SS Joseph Turner! Billy Fable had already advised James that he wished to stay on The Camel II.

Lomo replied that The Camel II would be in Sydney the next Sunday!

Joe was well enough to come down to the Turner Piers when The Camel II was due in. James had sent the car for him and Mrs. Collins, who was pushing Joe's wheel chair.

This time, the driver drove more sedately and there were no squealing tires! Joe had been told the story of the screeching tires and he was able to laugh at his sons' actions. He included Taffy and Lomo in those he called "His Sons"!

As Lomo strode down the gangway, Captain Billy Fable pulled on the air horn, giving a loud farewell to the best First Mate he had ever sailed with, all the sailors were leaning over the rails, yelling and waving as young Lomo Turner turned and waved back.

Lomo walked slowly, thinking of all those who had helped him along his way. He remembered those first days as a small, scared island boy, befriended by a huge boy who hugged him and carried him onboard a trading ship. That boy, who seemed so big, became his brother and his Father, along with another boy who loved him and encouraged him. Those boys were now his fellow Captains, Toby and Gyles. Both Toby and Gyles claimed fatherhood over him, had raised him into the man he now was.

He smiled to himself, they were both still his Fathers and he knew that he loved them both very much. It was an emotional farewell for an Island boy who had made good, he was now The Master of a major ocean carrier!


Captain Lomo Turner was standing on his bridge as the pilot eased The Turner out of the dry dock. As soon as the ship crossed the sill, Lomo dismissed the tugs and thanked the pilot.

He ran The Turner over to the company piers and tied up in preparation of receiving cargo. The Turner piers did not have installed cranes and automatic ship loading equipment, so the flat beds began to arrive, day and night for the next two days, as The Turner sank down to her Plimsoll line, indicating that The Turner was loaded to her design limits. He had loaded a mixed cargo, destined for the new oil fields at Brunei.

James and his staff was busy arranging for ongoing cargo to keep The Turner busy. The Turner was a fast sailor, so James knew he and his staff was going to be kept busy keeping the new ship fully employed. The Turner was loaded quickly and soon departed on her first cargo run.

Lomo elected to slip through the Sunda Strait and head around the west coast of Indonesia to get to Brunei. From there he had to ride empty to Singapore, where he took on a cargo of textiles and manufactured goods for delivery to Los Angeles in the United States.

By the time he got to Los Angeles Harbor, he had rid himself of any insecurities or jitters he had about commanding his own ship. He was completely at ease on his own bridge. He knew he could not let himself get lax in his duties or endanger his ship, he would do anything to not let his Papas down.

From Los Angeles, he carried a cargo of mining machinery to Santiago, Chile, where a load out of bagged nitrates was waiting for him. The nitrates were destined for Texas City, Texas on Galveston Bay.

That city was still shy from the terrible explosion of 1947 and required many safety precautions before he would be allowed to off-load his cargo.

After passing through the Panama Canal, they off-loaded the cargo of nitrates successfully before heading to New Orleans for their next cargo.

James had gotten them a cargo of bagged rice to be picked up in New Orleans for Delivery to Osaka, Japan. It was a long voyage back through the Canal and across the Pacific Ocean to Osaka, by the time they arrived, Lomo had ordered up a fuel barge to refill The Turner's fuel tanks.

They took on a load of heavy machinery destined for Batangas City in the Philippines. The offloading went very slow, the port had no lights for after-dark offloading and all the cargo had to be handled by LoBoy trailers.

The Head Office had arranged a cargo of cut lumber for delivery at Incheon, South Korea. Again, the offloading went painfully slow. There was no forward cargo, so Lomo sailed the Turner back, out to sea empty. His teeth were grinding in frustration that he had no forwarding cargo. In time, he would learn that would sometimes happen and not to be worried about it.

James sent him a message that he had a cargo of electronic equipment waiting for him in Taipei, Taiwan, so Lomo headed south, through the East China Sea to Taipei. It was a high value cargo and would be a lucrative run to Los Angeles.

In the meantime, Joe was chaffing at the inactivity and harassed Dr. Jeems until he was allowed to spend at least a half day in the office. It seemed like Joe knew every freight agent in the Pacific, cargos for the Turner Marine ships took on an aggressive nature. There were no more empty runs to the next port.

When Lomo arrived in Los Angeles, there was, already, a cargo waiting for him for Valparaiso, Chile. When Toby sailed into Seattle, his forward cargo was already sitting on the pier for shipment to Kanagawa, Japan and Gyles was met in San Diego with a mixed cargo for the Pacific Islands, starting with Hilo, Hawaii, then Tonga, Samoa and finally Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

The little ships were busy running cargos to the smaller islands that the Mariner Class ships could not serve because of their size.

When The Gyles arrived at Tonga, after scraping across the barrier reef, Taffy had wrangled permission from his mother, Queen Salote, to visit his friends in Australia. He would lose that ability in 1965 when his mother passed away and he had to assume the Monarchy and the welfare of his people.

With Taffy safely ensconced in the passenger cabin, Gyles headed for Pago Pago with food supplies and medicines. Taffy went ashore to visit with his relatives before the Gyles set sail for Port Moresby in New Guinea.

It was a peaceful voyage from Pago Pago to Port Moresby and Gyles enjoyed the company of the young Crown Prince, who he considered his brother. The Gyles was an easy riding ship and the two men spent their time enjoying each other's company.

Gyles allowed Taffy on the bridge as he guided the ship into Port Moresby. They had to wait their turn at the pier before they could discharge their final load of cargo. There was two holds of cut tropical hardwood lumber to be taken on, so they spent three days in Port Moresby before they departed for Sydney. The cut lumber had to be hand loaded because of differing board lengths.

As they headed south through the Coral Sea, they encountered a huge typhoon with winds approaching 100 miles per hour! The Gyles tossed and bounced, making little headway, for six days before the storm loosened its grip on them. They suffered no damage to the ship, but the First Mate, Peter Spence, discovered that the cargo of lumber in No. 1 hold had shifted, it was going to be a hand job to unload that hold when they returned to Sydney.


Times seemed to improve, cargoes were abundant and freight rates were high. It seemed like the times were too good to be true. Unfortunately, that was exactly what they were, Too Good To Be True!

As 1960 came to a close, they experienced a series of cargo orders for The United States Government for delivery to Saigon, South Vietnam. The Turner was sent to Los Angeles with grain and cotton filling the holds. There, they took on a full cargo of military vehicles and ammunition. Lomo headed west, out of Los Angeles for Saigon with his cargo and a Battalion of Marines in the forward hold.

Like his predecessors, Lomo invited the senior officers to take their meals in the Licensed Mess and the lower ranked officers and senior enlisted Marines to take their meals with the Crew. They were set for a sixteen day voyage to Saigon.

The Gyles was sent to Honolulu empty, the United States Government accepted a surcharge for the immediate relocation of The Gyles.

There, they took on a full load of tanks and heavy artillery, along with a complete hold devoted to ammunition. The Turner met up with The Gyles off the coast of Oahu and they sailed in convoy toward Southeast Asia.

The Toby, now captained by Captain Billy Fable, loaded food stuffs and electronic gear in Sydney and took it to Saigon. He had returned to Sydney for a second load and was headed back to Saigon when he met up with The Gyles and The Turner off the coast of Vietnam. They sailed in convoy up the river to Saigon Harbor to offload their cargo.

This was to be their employment for the next several months. On one run, Billy Fable had his forward hold filled with Australian Rangers being sent to assist the Americans. Their weapons, equipment and foodstuffs filled the remainder of the cargo space on The Toby.

It fell to The Toby to carry wounded Australian Rangers back to Sydney. Captain Billy Fable would carry the cries of those young soldiers to his grave. They would accompany him during his sleepless nights, where he could hear their cries of pain and hurt.

The war in Vietnam would occupy the Turner Marine Mariner Class ships for the next several years and they would have to rely on the smaller ships to keep their island customers supplied.

On January 23rd of 1964, Joseph Samuel Turner passed away. He was 78 years old and had spent 49 years of his life at sea, being worked hard and put away wet.

In 1965, Queen Salote died and Taffy assumed the throne of Tonga as King Toupu, VI. Taffy would always remember his brothers and, whenever there was a Turner Marine ship in port, a festival was held for the officers and the crew of the ship.

Toby was forced to leave his beloved Toby and become President of Turner Marine. He finally convinced his life partner, Gyles, to come ashore with him and become the Vice President of Turner Marine. The two continued as partners, lovers and canny marine owners as Turner Marine Services continued to grow and remain profitable during the lean years that followed the war in Vietnam.

Lomo continues as Commodore of the Turner Fleet and Master of the flagship, the S.S. Turner. The older ships of the interisland fleet were slowly replaced with newer ships and continue to serve the island peoples of the South Pacific.

The End

The Seas abide, waiting for no man as they crash against the shore,
the waves march across the watery abyss in endless succession.

They seem silent and uncaring as they carry the debris and human gore,
the waves march across the watery abyss in endless succession.

Even the Great Pharaohs they refused to obey,
The waves march across the watery abyss in endless succession.

author unknown

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