I was privileged to be asked to speak at the recent showing of Steelchest, Nail in the Boot and the Barking Dog. After watching the film to a packed audience at the Strand Arts Centre as part of the Digital NI week the audience and my fellow guest speaker was George McCullough another fellow shipyard man.
The audience was made up of Yard men, women and their families and there were some emotional moments when we remembered the good times in the yard and the sad. There was a full audience participation as well when the stories of the people who once worked in Harland & Wolff were told or retold by the men or the remaining family members.
For my part I wanted to remember the two men in the picture that was taken by RTE in the filming of Steelchest and later used in the book and also the oul hand painters like Harry Laurie, Jim Woods, Joe Henry and Jim Forsythe (the Coop.) I told the stories of Sammy Jameson (the ghost,) the ‘Dempse’ and his toothless encounter with a plate of spuds and Tommy Neil (Neiler) and his famous farts.
Remembered too was Waldo (Wallace) Cellars who was a mate who escaped many a death with me in the Yard and in the end was killed there as (hopefully) the last man to die at Harland & Wolff.
The Strand’s Art manager Joanna Leech also managed to show the pictures of me spraying the Bulk Carrier Erradale in the 1990’s as I explained how I ended up in steel bucket 150 feet in the air covered in paint. But the job was done and passed and the ship sailed.
Anyway this posting is for those who aren’t with use today like my uncle Leonard (Rambo) Calder or my Father in law Norman (Stick of Chalk) Beggs who are building those boats in the sky and wondering when it’s the meal hour.