I was on a school trip on the Dunera in November 1963 with a group of boys from Privet School, Gosport, Hants.
One of the teachers was a Mr. Smith who taught metal-work. As I recall, we went by train to Genoa in Italy to board the ship.
My memory of the exact trip is a bit vague but, basically, we visited Rhodes, Crete, Athens and a few other places before ending in Venice.
I will always remember the Port of Piraeus with lots of shoe-shine boys and gift shops selling white stone statues and going into a bar aged 13 (you’ve got to start some-time).
I was only at Privet School for a year and don’t remember any of the boys names except one David Watts who lived in Spring Garden Lane, Gosport. He had a Raleigh bike with drop handlebars and Duralio gears (how cool was that)?
I also recall the girls outnumbered the boys which was good. I met a young girl from Basingstoke on the trip called Christine (her surname could have been Watts, I’m not sure) but I do remember her wearing a light-blue dress with a clown on it holding different coloured balloons – I think her father was a builder. There was also a girl I felt very sorry for who had to wear bandages on her legs and had great problems walking, she may have had arthritis but I don’t know for sure.
There was a recreation room on-board where you could buy soft drinks and listen to music on a duke-box or try chatting-up the girls.
Every time I went in there the same record was playing (Surfer Joe) by the end of the trip I knew every word of it.
The funny thing is I had never heard the record before and I haven’t heard it since.
I remember the trip with fond memories and regret not having a camera to record it.
On the day I returned home (22 November 1963) the news of President Kenedy’s assassination was on the TV.
How the world has moved on since then – for better or worse, who knows. All I know is I was 13 on the Dunera without a care in
the world, happy days, you can’t beat them. If anyone has any photos of the trip I would love to see them to remind me of those days.