News from 1908 White Star acquires Mersey as a training ship

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Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
Boston Daily Globe, 11 June 1908

White Star Line Undertakes to Fit Young Men to Become Officers in Mercantile

Plans for a training ship to fit young men to be officers in the mercantile
marine have been completed by the White Star line of Liverpool.

In its announcement on the subject the company says that owing to the
ocean-carrying trade having been largely transferred from sailing vessels to
steamers, and by reason of the lack of opportunities for training future
officers efficiently on steamships, this scheme has been devised for
educating cadets as apprentices on a first-class sailing vessel, of a
suitable size for boys to handle.

The vessel which the company has acquired for the purpose is the Clyde-built
clipper ship Mersey, 271 feet in length, 39 feet in breadth, of 1829 tons
gross register and ship-rigged. She will sail from Liverpool for Sydney, N S
W, Aug 20.

The undertaking is the outcome of a report made by an expert committee
formed last year by Bruce Ismay to inquire into the whole subject. The
vessel will be under the control of Ismay, Imrie & Co. managers of the line
mentioned, and will sail to various parts of the world, as circumstances
may render desirable. It is intended to carry about 60 boys, preference
being at first given to those who have had preliminary training on the
training ships Conway and Worcester.

The apprenticeship on the Mersey will be for four years, or three years for
those duly certified from the other training ships named. The boys taken are
to be from 14 to 17 years old, except if they have served two years on the
Conway or the Worcester they will be received up to 18 years. On the
expiration of their apprenticeship they will be eligible to take the board
of trade examination for second mate's certificate, and upon obtaining this
they will be qualified and have preference for appointments as junior
officers on the steamers of the White Star, Leyland, Dominion and Atlantic
transport lines. Promotion thereafter will be according to conduct and
ability, the intention being that the cadets will remain in the service,
passing through the various grades until they obtain their master's
square-rigged certificate, according to the board of trade special
regulations, when they will be eligible to promotion to senior officers of
the watch.

Under the commander of the Mersey there will be a nautical and educational
staff, by whom the cadets will be carefully and regularly exercised and
instructed, and in addition to completing their general education they will
be taught the special subjects required to fit them for their future work.
Lectures will be given on naval architecture, construction, outfit and
measurement of boats, charter parties, keeping of log-books, etc., also on
the different qualities of coal, steam raising and the rudiments of marine
engines. Cadets will work the ship, and in their ordinary duties will become
familiar with its practical handling. In port they will be taught swimming,
boat sailing, discharging, receiving, stowage, ventilation, care of cargo,
surveying mooring and laying out anchors.

On board the cadets will be in school six hours a day, the studies including
English grammar, composition, French or German, history, trigonometry,
navigation, nautical astronomy, meteorology, marine surveying, drawing,
charts and ship construction. In these studies the cadets will be under the
head master. The surgeon will instruct in ambulance work, including first
aid. For nautical work, such as knotting. splicing, signaling, observation
of sun and stars, use of instruments and care of handling of cargo, the boys
will be under the commander and his officers.

The expense to the cadet for the first year is approximately $350, for the
second year $300, third year $200 and fourth year $150. Parents or guardians
are to supply the cadets with 12 months' outfit for the voyage, including
uniforms, navigation and school books, mathematical instruments and a
sextant. Application for admission must be accompanied by a certificate of
birth, of good health, of having passed the board of trade sight tests and a
testimonial of good character from the boy's last schoolmaster. After
approval by the managers, boys must be passed by the medical officer of the
ship or one of the surgeons in the company's service.


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
Boston Daily Globe, 11 June 1908

Another image of Mersey appears here and a third will follow later.
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