…A group of boys from Privet School, Gosport, Hants 1963

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.

Ian Hudson
ian.hudson@sfr.fr

05/06/07…Brendan Sparks has emailed us
Along with Stephen Yates and many others, I was on the short Scandanavian cruise in 66 that took in Heligoland and the Kiel Canal. I too remember the rough seas off Heligoland. The trip broadened my mind and I don’t think there was a moment I wasn’t enjoying myself.

4/04/07…Keith Ramshaw has contacted us…
I was at Lascelles sec’mod’ in Harrow in the early 60s and was lucky enough to go on a school trip on the Dunera, we travelled around Turkey and the Greek Islands from Venice, what an amazing experience for any young person, fantastic Dunera thank you…

13/04/07…Jim Heale has emailed in a brief report below
Bearing in mind that it was 44 years ago and I was still only 12 years old, the following is a short account of my trip on the M.S Dunera May/June 1963. It was also my first time abroad and my first holiday without my parents

Ports of call were Lisbon in Portugal, Casablanca in Morocco, Vigo in Spain and Cherbourg in France.

Dunera_3_

Timings are not in my memory at all. We were coached from Plaistow Grammar School in what was then West Ham to Tilbury in Essex where we embarked on to the Dunera. I vividly remember being tugged out of the dock onto the Thames and away we went. The first thing that struck me was that all the crew were Indians, as in 1963 there were very few in the east end of London. They were really friendly and made us feel completely at ease. They were always swabbing the decks and polishing the brass rails and painting whatever they could. At meal times they always made a point of telling us to drink the awful orange coloured drink which they said stopped sea sickness. I drunk mine and fortunately was not sick once. I cannot remember what the food was like but don’t remember ever feeling hungry.

We were billeted below decks but the portholes in our dormitory were well above the water line so we could look out if you did not feel like going on deck. The stairs were extremely steep and because of the constant polishing the rails were very slippery so on a rough day it took a lot of effort to get up them. When we crossed the Bay of Biscay we were not allowed on deck, as it was so rough. Most people stayed in bed as it was almost impossible to stand up as the ship was not stabilised. I remember the crew coming into the dormitory and shutting the metal screens over the glass portholes and tightening them up. It was a bit worrying.

Dunera as sent in by Jim Heale

Our first port was Lisbon. We were allowed to wander round on our own in groups and were told not to go near the dogs. There were lots of unleashed dogs but I can remember that they were all muzzled. Rabies was apparently rife in Europe then. We saw various sights. I have photos somewhere but they are not very good.

Next stop was Casablanca. We were taken to a beach, again I have photos somewhere. When we got back we were allowed to wander on our own for an hour or so and were told not to go down sidestreets and to keep within a close range of the ship. We were also told not to buy watches etc just small souvenirs. I bought an instrument which was a basic banjo with a tortoise shell with a carved wooden stick attached to it with catgut strings. A friend of mine was wearing a hand knitted cardigan with bowling skittles on it (all the rage in those days) he nearly had it ripped from him at one stall where he refused to swap it for a rug. We ran back to the ship.

Next stop was Vigo where all I can remember was the stench of fish. It was the main port I believe for the canning of sardines.

Last stop was Cherbourg after an other horrendous crossing of the Bay of Biscay. We docked on 6 June (D–Day) and all I remember was being coached to the landing beaches but not being able to see much as it was foggy/misty.

I saw one report where someone said that they had to wear uniform, but we didn’t. I do remember the ‘Education’ which was basically a briefing in a classroom of the port we were next calling at and the itineraries for each day. We were pretty much left to our own devices and I cannot remember seeing much of the teachers. I guess there must have been a bar on board somewhere.

01/04/07…Griselda Cann Mussett…has emailed in to say:
Thanks for the site. I’d like to know more about the dates for Dunera…the page on the Merchant Navy site doesn’t seem to say exactly when she was sold and broken up. I was on a trip to Greece via Venice with South Hampstead High School in the early 60s – magic! There was a train strike in France when we got to Calais so we spent our first night away sleeping on the ferry in Calais harbour. Then we crossed Europe on a sleeper, to Venice, and boarded Dunera there. I remember how the colour of the sea changed so dramatically as we went through the Corinth canal. Things look very different in Greece and Crete now. We wondered if Prince Charles would be on our voyage but sadly he didn’t make it. However we had a jolly time with lads from Milton Abbas School. I have just read Griff Rhys-Jones’ autobiography ‘Semi Detached’ in which he describes working in his gap year on SS Ulysses, which must have been very similar to Dunera. I did not realise till now the vast difference in sleeping arrangements for students and staff! (How naive!)

24/02/07…Liz Page (nee Lovelace) has written in… I was on the cruise in 1963 which returned the day Kennedy was shot too. I still dream of going back to Delphi and the Bronze Charrioteer. I was 13 at the time and have never forgotten it.

13/02/07…Les Dalrymple has emailed us
When I was a pupil at Wishaw Public School I was on a Dunera cruise in 1965 we cruised to Denmark Sweden and Poland. I still have my enrollment certificate as a member of the Dunera Shipmates Club and also my E6 Nelson cabin badge. It was a great experience and unlike others who have made contact we did have the girls with us!

30/11/2006…Jane Long (nee Munro)
In 1963 along with 1000 other school children I was on the Dunera as part of a school trip. We sailed around Italy and Greece. On arriving home on 23rd November 1963, heard the news that Kennedy had been assassinated. Later that decade our family moved to Australia, and in the mid 70’s one of my new friends started talking about her trip on the Dunera in 1963, and it transpired that we were on the same cruise together.

08/12/06…Ian Mair has emailed a while ago and I have only just found this! So efficient! Put it down to the festive thingy! Sorry about the delay Ian!

Hi, just found your site after searching for Dunera Cruise. Had a wonderful cruise back in September/October ’64, my first time abroad, I was a member of the South West Ham Tech party.

As a number of people have already mentioned it was the cruise where a girl unfortunately died after a very rough crossing in the Bay of Biscay.

As we know over the passage of time the memory fades, for instance I can’t remember my dorm name but other people on the web site can, how do they do that?

What I do remember though is my 13th birthday, which was celebrated aboard the Dunera. Getting woken up at 7am with a message over the tannoy system to everone on board that it was my birthday and getting dragged out of my bunk and being bumped was not pleasant, but getting a birthday kiss from more girls than I can remember certainly was, it was a great day, if any of you remember a little blond kid having the time of his life, it was me.

I was one of the handful of students who was not ill during the Bay of Biscay crossing, but I saw plenty of kids who were.

I remember the deck disco and dancing with a georgous girl, I do remember her name but I’ll spare any blushes, I also remember sitting with her at the front of the boat whilst in dock, and the fact that I had never seen so many stars, and I still haven’t to this day.

If memory serves our itinery was Lisbon, Madeira then Vigo on the return, but because of the Bay of Biscay we called at Vigo first. And although tinged with sadness it was a very enjoyable experience.

Thanks for the site, it’s good to remember the good old days, would love to hear from anyone else who remembers.

Best regards
Ian Mair
P.S. my home email is mair.2@ntlworld.com

Ian – please let us know if you get any contacts?

Oh Dear! I have missed one! I’m very sorry Jane….

30/11/2006…Jane Long (nee Munro)
In 1963 along with 1000 other school children I was on the Dunera as part of a school trip. We sailed around Italy and Greece. On arriving home on 23rd November 1963, heard the news that Kennedy had been assassinated. Later that decade our family moved to Australia, and in the mid 70’s one of my new friends started talking about her trip on the Dunera in 1963, and it transpired that we were on the same cruise together.

27/11/06…Rita Lynch(Ford) has mailed in…
I went on the 1962 cruise to Baltic and remember that one of the engines failing so we could not come home via the Skagaratt. Also the Junior Leaders Band and Lt. Col Trevor Sharpe who directed the music for Dads Army. I also remember going on deck to watch the midnight sun and going to a museum in Leningrad which had a really smelly plant. We had a wonderful send off from Tilbury but a long train ride back from Immingham. I went with Hampshire Youth and yes, the BBC did make a film of the whole event.

17/10/06…Brian Alexander has emailed in
I sailed on Dunera in 1966. Cherbourg, Lisbon and Amsterdam. I was a pupil at Ainslie Park school Edinburgh. Very rough in Biscay, both ways. Anyone else on that trip?

Do get in touch if you were on any of the trips in this site – we’re getting quite a selection of dates etc…there must be some folks on the same trips…????!!!!

19/08/06…Again from Tom… ….my interest has been awakened and I have just found this link written by someone who was on the 1962 Baltic cruise. http://www.societe-jersiaise.org/geraint/russians/leningrad.html
Regards
Tom
19/08/06…Tom Colbourne has added an interesting item about the 1962 trip – The Baltic Cruise
I was on the cruise Vanessa Etherington refers to, it was the first time a group of that size had been behind the “iron curtain” and as such was something of an event. It was supposed to be educational and certainly was. Coming from an all boys school, I suddenly learnt a lot about girls. Also a good lesson in drinking lager in Copenhagen. Lager was hardly known in Britain at the time.When the Dunera reached Leningrad (St.Petersburg)hundreds of Russian schoolchildren were there to meet us, throwing communist propaganda badges onto the decks. We responded by throwing coins. The captain and leaders suddenly started to make frantic tannoy announcements demanding that it was stopped, as the Russians saw it as a gross insult.As described elsewhere on these pages there was a Southern TV film crew on board, I wonder if the film still exists?I would be interested in hearing from anyone who was on that cruise and can be contacted by email on this link

10/08/06…David Winter has mailed us
I was on the Dunera in 1962 as part of a school trip from Whitton Sec in Twickenham. Ours was the Mediterranean trip to Gibraltar and back. Unfortunately we had to go through the Bay of Biscay which a lot of us, including myself, didn’t take too kindly to, obviously I would have not made a very good sailor, which is probably why I joined the RAF the same year !! Is there anyone else out there that remembers that trip from Whitton Sec?

20/07/06…Vanessa Etherington has emailed us…
Vanessa Etherington (Upton) back then. Was on the Dunera 1961 or 62, Lenningrad, Copenhagen, Stockholm and should have visited Helsinki but something wrong with the ship. Believe BBC TV made a film of the cruise. Wonderful memories.

7/07/06…Richard Cooper has written in…
I was on cruise “E” in 1963. Cruise 45 in ’64 and 65 (?) in 1965. I have many picture if Gabe wants some..

07/06/06…S E Shaw has emailed with this question… Do you have anything on the Easter 1963 cruise to Naples, Malta, Malaga & Vigo?

Any answers folks..?

24/05/06…Pauline Stillman has just emailed us
I traveled on the Dunera in 1964 on a ’school journey’ with the Sacred Heart Secondary School, Camberwell, London. It was a great experience and I wondered if you have a photo of the ship that I can buy. The songs that I remember playing on the jukebox were The Supreme’s ’Baby Love’ and Herman Hermits.
I would like to any of my schoolmates that traveled on that journey…Pauline

01/04/06….Ted Stapley….
Sailed on a school trip in October 1963 from Southampton, Lisbon, Gibralter, Rome and Genoa. I still have the log book and was in Baffin dormitory.

26/03/06….Helen Haw….
Hi, I was on a school trip in 1964 aged 13, a group from Norwich, Lakenham Girls School, the same one where a young girl died, yes the sea was rough, I was sea sick over 20 times in one day, thankfully just the one day! never been seasick since, I thought I was alright until I went to breakfast the first morning, the smell of the food and great big tins of fried eggs were enough to decide that it was the sea and not hunger causing the strange feeling I had when I could see the sea coming up over the portholes, Hermans Hermits were in the pop charts and there was a young boy who played the piano on deck in the evenings, Madiera was fantastic, like a living patchwork quilt, there was a visit to the fish canning factory at Vigo, we went to the beach via train from Lisbon and ate home cooked crisps from a seller on the beach, we had all been told not to eat anything whilst off the ship, we were all starving as the food was so awful, I lived mainly on Munchies chocolates and golden delicious apples that could be purchased in the evenings from a tuck shop, I am sure I have some photos somewhere of a chap in a fez steering the ship, I only put Dunera into Google just on the off chance and found this site, a good memory, Helen

25/03/06….Margaret Steen (nee Stannard)…..
I went to Barnard Castle Grammar Technical School and in February 1963 ( I think) sailed on the Dunera from Genoa. Went to Palermo, Athens, Dubrovnik and Venice before travelling back from Genoa by train. Had a great time. My grandfather, when he heard that I was going on the Dunera, told me to look in the library for his initials as he had also sailed on the ship at some point during the war.
I loved this cruise and always wanted to go on another but it was 35 years later before I got the opportunity.

05/03/06…..Message in from Murray Pope as I’m updating! So slightly more on–time than some!
I was a high school senior from Toronto, Canada who spent a good part of the summer of 1966 onboard the Dunera and the Nevasa. Incredible trip. An education that could not be achieved in a classroom. I met some wonderful young people from different parts of the world and have great memories. I eventually went on to become a teacher and am now retired but the memories of that summer will stay with me forever. I welcome anyone from that trip who I may have met to contact me.

5/02/06….Brian Adams’ message….
1964, I think, travelled by train to Genoa, then on Dunera visiting; Malta, Rome and Dubrovnik. Our School- Mellor Lane Comp, Hayes. In cruise film, Summer Holiday. Loved the trip and the Dunera. Almost wept leaving it.

5/11/05….late entry here, apologies….Christina King……
I was on the dunera 1960 from wayneflete school

30/12/05….Michael Edwards – “Eddie” has been in touch….

…..was on board the Dunera around 1960–61. Two week trip that went to Russia, Sweden, Denmark, through the Kiel Canal and into the Baltic Sea. It was a great trip,I was one of several hundred, some of whom were from my school Dulwich college prep school. I remember coming home through the north sea, oh my god that was a terribly rough sea, but by then most of us had our sea legs. What a great trip it was seeing places such as the Hermitage in St Petersburg.
Anyone else out there on that trip who went to Dulwich??

Hi…
I came across your website which brought back memories.
I was the Drum Major of the Queen Victoria School pipe band which was on a Baltic trip on the Dunera in 1962. Visiting Leningrad was quite something in those days. I thought the attached press cutting might be of interest. The quality isn’t great but it was a while ago! Also, I had to cut and paste the scans.
Alec Michael

Click this small image to allow you to read it, you still might need to magnify it!!!

Dunera Newspaper Cutting

Joan ….Re. Geoff Wade’s notes. I was on the same trip Sept ’64 from Stratford Grammar School. The girl who died was sadly from our party. A bench was erected in her memory in the school playground. My dormitory was called Hood (I think!). The main song played over the speakers was Herman’s Hermits – Something Good.

Geoff – if you see this, Joan would like to contact you, I believe. If you message again – I can get you in touch….

Roy Callcut has written in………a long time ago (don’t think I dare put the date in – suffice to say – earlier this year……

Hi Mike……
At last I have found a few moments to be able to give you some information to perhaps put on your web site for the Dunera.

My experience of the school cruises on the Dunderhead was in 1964. I was a young lad of susceptible years who had never been abroad, and didn’t really think there was much chance of the likes of me going abroad, but then an announcement from the school headmaster in assembly foretold of my first great adventure.

In the February (I think) of 1964 I was thrust into the world of travel, traveling to Genoa by train through France and Switzerland, to Italy to meet the ship, The Dunera.

Once aboard I found I was in the minority! There seemed to be many many more girls than boys aboard and that was fine with me.

I went with some school pals, David Woods, Derek, Andy Powell David Watts, many others I haven’t forgotten but too numerous to make a boring list.

We left Genoa, and traveled down the Adriatic to Palermo, Sicily, then to Greece to see the Acropolis, moving back up the Adriatic we stopped at Dubrovnik in Yugoslavia, Up then to Venice, and back again to Genoa for the return train journey.

I remember the other school children; In particular the girls! I was a rough kid from the east end of London and they were, in my eyes, posh kids from the nice places like (the only place I can remember) RAF Chichester. I hope somebody can remember that cruise and can tell me they remember it, and maybe me.

I fell in love about six times whilst on that cruise and even travelled down to see one of the girls in Chichester, but you know how it is after a holiday romance? Its not the same on a rainy day in Chichester.

The cruise changed my life, It broadened my outlook on life, gave me standards of behavior and speech to aspire to and made me think about bettering my education, and planning a positive future.

Now, I believe I have been successful in life, have successful children, who have had a good university education have four happy Grandchildren, and retired early (53). I really believe that my life was changed and has been good, in part due to the influence of that cruise. Thanks Dunera.

My apologies for the unforgivable delay in posting this….Mike

Stephen Yates…….has written in….You will note I haven’t included a date – I’m afraid I overlooked this and have just found it…My apologies Stephen

I was a passenger, aged 11, on the MS Dunera in 1967(?) or possibly 1966, on a short cruise to Denmark, Norway, and Heligoland. I was part of a group from st John’s Primary School in Crowborough Sussex led by our headmaster Mr Kershaw. It was a major adventure for me and I was pretty homesick but nevertheless I remember almost everything from the Little Mermaid statue to the Kiel Canal and very rough seas off Heligoland. Unlike many of my fellow passengers however I was not at all sea sick and it awoke in me a great love of the sea and seafaring though I was never able to follow this up. I often think how impossible such a trip would be nowadays!

2nd June…Derek Gordon…..

I have come across your page while trying to search out information on the MS Navasa, which I have now learned was the sister ship of Dunera. Having been on a school trip on Navasa in 1968, I was interested to find out if she was still around and more about her history, where built, when, voyages etc., I find instead that there is a distinct lack of any information on the web concerning Navasa, can you help with any information or guidance where to look. Many thanks.

7 May 2005…Geoff Wadehi ya, I was on a school trip on the Dunera in 1964 as an eleven year old from Plaistow Grammer School.We visited Lisbon, Vigo and Maderia. I have loads of memories about the trip, the dorms, mine was called Howe, the food on tin trays and some rough seas in the Bay of Biscay. Unfortunatly we had an unscheduled stop into Brest when a girl passenger collapsed and died on board, a brain tumour I think

I sat on the very prow watching porpoises playing in the bow wash.
There are some pictures somewhere and i will try to find them.

Best regards – Geoff.

Geoff – check out below – were they your trip…….??

We have had this message from David James

I was on the Dunera Easter 1964, on a School Trip to Madeira, Casablanca and Lisbon – 13 days cost £45 leaving from Tilbury, return to Southampton. I was only just about 13 at the time my first time abroad. There were some children on the Boat who had won the trip via the Daily Mail or Mirror. The crossing of the Bay of Biscay was rough, most of the children were laid up. I had never been abroad before let alone on a Troop Ship with no stabilisers and yes, I drank some old orange. We were in Collingwood Dormitory, we won the first prize for the cleanest dormitory. The party consisted of 13 boys and 3 masters, one of which was our Headmaster, Hurstmere Secondary Boy’s School Sidcup Kent. We sighted Madeira after sailing for approx. 2 and half days or so. On the way our boat passed the Devonia or Navarra on its way to America.

Every morning we used to go to the kitchen and get our breakfast I would be interested to know I believe they used to play reveille – does anybody remember? I would like to know, I have heard the tune since, but it was a general muster calling. We had a disco on the boat and also drill. The lifejackets were the old kind used during World War 2 – very inflatable. We had lessons on board ship and also had a Church Service on the Good Friday.

We used to keep a log of the Watches and the general weather and sea conditions. I felt very giddy and remember laying in the lounge; I had a funny sensation, a giddy sort of feeling. We also had a dress rehearsal for a stage show. Everybody put on something or other in the way of entertainement – self made.

We eventually got closer to Madeira and saw the island popping its head up and a shoal of porpoises swam underneath the boat. I remember about Madeira – the arrival of small boats, the locals came to dive for silver coins and then the arrival at Funchal. We had a trip of the Island and went into a most beautiful Church with beautiful chandeliers. At this time we would not have known that the Church must have been the Church of Isabella & Ferdinand Habsburgs and the second highest man made sea cliff in Europe.

The island was beautiful – all you smelt were bannana plantations and orchids. The first night was wonderful we saw fairy lights over and around the town of Funchal – quite a site.

Just before we left we had traders standing on the jetty and trading with the pupils on the boat. Ropes were set up and pulleys were put into motion so that trade could begin and bartering started.

We left Madeira and went on our way to Casablanca. As soon as we arrived, all we saw were fezes and we knew that with the trading houses we were in Morroco. We did have a trip of this area also. A trader tried to give me a tray full of rings and pocket the money in total! I cannot recall too much about Casablanca. Perhaps it was that it was a typical Moroccan town, out of the Orient.

The next port and final port of call was Lisbon. The bridge across the Tigris was well underway, and when we arrived we went into a Trading House for bartering. We had an excellent trip around Lisbon and saw where St Columbus sailed for the New World, and also went to the Portugese Coach Museum and saw the carriage that Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth had been in at the time of the Coronation in 1953.

A lad decided that he was going to go on a trip around the city on one of the coaches used to escort the pupils around. I remember the city of Lisbon and the Tigris well.

There is not a lot more that I can remember – I would like to know about that tune that used to be played at breakfast. Was it the original reveille or something similar – can anyone remember it?

I am a Radio Amateur, and other than the cruise, remember spending one Easter in the Pool of London the HMS Belfast in the Radio Operators Mess. In the early days of the 1960’s trips like these and our first trip to the Adriatic Coast of Italy, were all fairly new ventures. I have never been outside Europe but have been to Roumania, Cyprus and also Burgenland. A friend who I knew in England had been on at least a dozen cruises around the world. They are common place these days, and the ships do use stabilisers!

Quite an experience but one that I shall never forget.

17/02/05 Geoffrey Holt has messaged – what a coincidence in the end `paragraph! – In 1962, aged 18, I was invited by my Uncle (a teacher at John Bright Grammar School, Llandudno) to help him supervise a party of children from his school who were sailing on the educational ship ‘MS Dunera.’ I was “in charge” of a dormitory of about a dozen boys. They were a spirited bunch and, as I was only a few years their senior, keeping order was not always easy.The ‘Dunera’ called at Brest, Lisbon, Casablanca and Vigo and I believe that I had to contribute £35 for my fare. It was my first trip abroad, apart from a school trip to St. Malo, Brittany and developed a lust for foreign travel that I still have today.I’m now aged 60 and each Thursday lunchtime have a pint with an old ex–‘Burma Star’ soldier friend of mine who is a spritely 82 years young. This afternoon I mentioned that I had been on an educational cruise on the ‘Dunera’. It turned out that my friend had sailed on the ship, then a troopship, in 1943 to the Far East……

It really is a small world sometimes.

07/12/04…. Roy Callcut commented: Dunera Med cruise February (I think)1964. An amazing life changing trip! Started with a train ride through France,Switzerland, to Italy where we were to meet the Dunera at Genoa! Then cruising down to Scicily, (Palermo) around to Greece up the Adriatic to Yugoslavia (Dubrovnic) then Venice and back to Genoa! Fantastic! It educated me about the world,and, introduced me to people that had standards and ideals I wanted to aspire to.Thanks Dunera!

Ruth Ritchie – Dunera ’64…….. I went on an Educational Mediterranean Cruise with my school, which was Dore and Totley High School for girls, in Sheffield……

Ruth Ritchie’s story

I was on the Dunera in 1964 – April 8th – 24th. I went on an Educational Mediterranean Cruise with my school, which was Dore and Totley High School for girls, in Sheffield. I still have the log book and itinerary we were given, although I have to confess I only filled the log book in for the first 2 days!!

We started our journey from Southampton and sailed to Tangier, Tunis, Malaga and Lisbon at a cost of £45.

I was in “Hawkins” dormitory and we were supposed to keep it tidy throughout the trip. Daily inspections took place and we were awarded marks…….I notice that our dorm got 604 out of 720. We slept in hammock beds which were held up with chains, which were very easy to dismantle; so it was not unusual to go down to your dorm and find that your bed was missing!!

Our first port of call was Tangier, where I bartered for a set of bongos (which I still have), made from rather smelly camel skin. We were struck by the poverty and primitiveness of the place…….little children were begging for money and we saw snake charmers and water carriers in the streets. Some of us had a ride on a camel. People lived in mud dwellings where they produced local craftware to sell. We must have looked an odd sight, as we were all in our school summer dresses and straw boaters!

After a day in Tangier we set sail once more for Tunis. I remember the sea was quite choppy and friends kept disappearing to hang over the side of the ship! We arrived in Tunis and it was very hot so we all headed to the beach for a swim. As soon as we entered the water, a crowd of young Tunisian men stripped off and followed us in. I remember the police arriving and getting them out. The rest of our bathe was under police protection! We visited the ruins at Carthage after that, where I took several photos.

Back on board, we were entertained with deck games, films, the odd lesson on the next currency we would be encountering and snippets of foreign language.

There was a room with a juke box where we socialised with other schools and danced to the “Hippy Hippy Shake”

Our next stop was Malaga, where we boarded a rickety old bus and set off for Granada. It was quite a hairy drive, as I recall, but once there,we marvelled at the splendour of the palace, orange groves and magnificent gardens and water features. On the way back down the mountain we saw another bus that had gone over the edge since our visit up. I think we all spent the rest of the journey with our eyes closed!

The last port of call was Lisbon, where we were taken round the city in a more modern coach. I remember being very impressed by Prince Henry the Navigator’s Monument, which was huge and only 4yrs. old. I still have the information leaflet about our tour of Lisbon.

Wherever we went we seemed to attract attention, mainly because of our dreadful school uniform which we had to wear in case we got lost.

We must have looked like beings from another planet to the locals………how young and naive we were!

Our cruise ended where it started, in Southampton. We’d had a wonderful time and made many new frienships and seen sights we could not imagine. Our anxious parents waited at the dockside for our safe return………this being the first time that most of us had been away from home!

Ruth Ritchie (nee Lodge) aged nearly 15yrs. at the time!!


Comments

Contacts from folks on the Dunera, 1961 – 1970 — 61 Comments

  1. I was on that Baltic cruise on the Dunera in 1962! I only remember going to the Palace in Leningrad, doing the twist and getting told off by the KGB because they thought it was decadent!

  2. I was on the Dunera (I’m sure) around 1967 on a trip up the Norwegian Fjords, visiting Bergen, Narvik and going to Hammerfest and out to the North Cape for the midnight sun.

    Anyone else on that trip?

    I went to Bellahouston Academy, Glasgow at the time.

    • Hello Robert

      Many thanks for your message here – any more tales and stories you would like to add here or on our Facebook page, please do….

      Always pleased to hear from Dunera travellers. I don’t suppose you know any of the previous people who have added to this site?

      Bye for now

      Mike

  3. Hello Robert and everyone,

    What a lovely surprise to find this site today.

    I sailed on MS Dunera April 28th 1964 for 12 days.
    50 Years ago this month. Along with some of my class mates and school friends from Yoker Secondary School in Glasgow,we sailed from Greenock in Scotland to
    Vigo, Tangeer, Portugal and North Africa. What a wonderful cruise and wonderful memories.
    Wonderful to read all of the above postings on this sunny Easter Sunday. Thank you
    Happy Easter everyone.
    Pat

    • I was on that cruise. We also went to Granada. I was in Vigo on a cruise recently and the berth has never changed in 50 years.

  4. Hi, I was on MS Dunera ’67 to the Norwegian Fjords, I was coming up to age 13 and a pupil at Hamilton Grammar, it was my first ever cruise and loved it, I recall making friends with group from school just outside Edinburgh.

    I remember going to visit a glacier which was spectaculer, raining in Bergen and of course Hammerfest for the midnight sun.

    I was lucky to be able to go on another 2 cruises on MS Nevasa over following 2 years and was able to visit Madeira,Casablanca, Vigo, Lisbon.

  5. I was on dunera cruise in 1964
    Vigo-Lisbon – Malaga-(Granada ) tangier-
    Dodgy ship, great experience I will never forget. Cost my parents £32.00. Pandit Nehru died during the sail. Indian prime minister..

  6. G’day my name is Roy Henderson. I used to frequently turn up to Loanhead High School.

    I think it was 1966 when we left Greenock on the Dunera for Cherbourg, Ceuta and Lisbon.

    Thirteen, never been abroad before, first holiday without my family. Went off sightseeing in Cherbourg by my self and copt a clip over the ear from the teacher when I returned to the pier much to the amusement of my school mates. I don’t know why teach was so annoyed.

    Wanted to see a bull fight in Portugal but teach put a dampener on that as well.

    My daughter is now a teacher so I can’t say to much about them. About 900 students from all over the country.

    Had a great time.

    THANKS, Roy.

    • Hello Roy – many thanks for your story here! It’s always an excellent thing to get these coming in and I’m really pleased you found the site.

      Have you seen anyone else on here who was with you?

      Bye for now

      Mike

    • I am Robert Fraser also had been attending Loanhead Secondary school on the Cherbourg, Lisbon and Cueta cruise. Remember rough crossing of Bay of Biscay and seasickness – many ‘on board’ activities including producing a newsletter and fancy dress competition. Very happy and friendly mostly Indian crew and afternoon break cup of tea and a bun!!!! Smells and sounds of North Africa and poverty observed. Gave me the travel bug as spent over 30 years working abroad mostly in Africa. Fantastic opportunity if I remember right cost about 45 pounds!!!!

  7. Hi All,
    I boarded the Dunera at Venice in 1964 with a party from John Marlay School, Newcastle upon Tyne.

    There were school kids from all parts of the country when we all converged at Dover (I remember it was a very rough ferry crossing and the toilets were awash with the unmentionable).

    Then on to Venice by train to begin the fourteen day cruise. On the Dunera I was in Amunsden dormitory (funny how you recall small detail like that)

    To my recollection we did Port of Athens, Pompeii then on to Istanbul. We returned and docked at Genoa where we picked our trains back UK. Little recollection of the actual ship other than the stench of fuel oil, the aroma of fresh baked bread in the galley and the Deck Hockey.

    My parents paid £80 for the trip for me which, then, was a small fortune. I recall too I had £15 spending money! A weeks wages for a man at that time. All donated by Aunts and Uncles.

    I write this 50 years later whilst in Sorrento on holiday and due the revisit Pompeii later this week. Happy days and happy memories.

    • Hello Michael

      Many thanks for this – it’s stories like yours that keep this site alive and very colourful! Any more to add – always welcome!

      Hope you’re having an excellent holiday!

      Bye for now

      Mike

  8. Hi everyone,

    Having recently come back from my first “adult” cruise on the Arcadia this summer I was thinking that it was 51 years since I did a cruise on the SS Dunera. How things have changed!

    I went to Stratford Grammar School in West Ham and went on the Dunera in May/June 1963 aged 14 – the same cruise that Jim Heale above must have been on. Much of his recollections are the same as mine – including the horrendous crossing in the Bay of Biscay. I believe that we had over 30 foot waves for a couple of days. My recollection of the the order of going ashore was Vigo, Spain; Cassablanca, Morocco; Lisbon, Portugal; Cherbourg, France. Somewhere I still have some photos of the two weeks.

    There were many activities on-board – even a photographic dark room which I recall visiting but not using! It was down in the bilges and not the nicest part of the ship. Another activity was a quiz between the different schools. I know the team I was in did reasonably well and for a year or so treasured the prize – a propelling pencil with a model of the Dunera that moved as the pencil was moved. Such innocent pleasures.

    The first port of call was Vigo and I remember the strange sensation walking on land after having had a rough crossing. We then went to a sardine/pilchard factory in Vigo – what a stench. Things improved from this point. The weather in Casablanca was quite good and I remember we spent an hour or so on the beach.

    Just before we went to Lison, where we moored near to the monument to Henry the Navigator, the girls were taken to one side and warned about Portuguese males!

    In Cherbourg we followed the Route de Liberation towards the Normandy landing beaches which would have been a very different sight 19 years earlier. I also remember several of us buying a kilo of cherries each. The irony is that the last part from Cherbourg to Tilbury was a flat calm, but several people were sick (from the cherries) although they were OK in the Bay of Biscay.

    This cruise was a memorable two weeks, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

    • Hello Ian
      Thank you for your contribution to the Dunera site! It’s all part of why this site is working well – I wonder if anyone will recognise the time and trip?

      Do let me know if anyone gets in touch – it’s a;ways interesting to see how these may develop

      Many thanks

      Mike

    • Hi Ian,
      I came across your post by accident, after reading about the infamous Dunera voyage to transport wartime internees to Australia.
      We were at Stratford Grammar together – I’m John Motley.
      Wierdly, I was thinking the other day about trying to tackle you while playing ‘Cavemans Football’ in the gym. Not a good attempt, I sprained my ankle, and to make it worse, by Monday I was well enough to go to school!
      Didn’t go on the Dunera cruise though. It was £35, and knowing my parents couldn’t afford it, told them I wasn’t really interested.

      • Hello John

        This is an excellent addition to the site!! Many thanks and I hope you get a response – let us know if you can!

        Funny enough a while ago – March 17th, I was in Stratford Arts with a show! And Finally… Phil Collins is a show I am connected with in the marketing team etc and we had a great night in that lovely theatre!!

        Any more information on your trip on Dunera – please do pass it on!!

        Bye for now

        Mike

  9. While on Cruise “E” in 1963 we stopped at Gibraltar.

    I met a beautiful local girl, Yvonne Posso, and we agreed to be penfriends.

    We are still in touch, fifty years on.

  10. hi
    I was on the Dunera in the 60s, we left from Grangemouth, and visited, Denmark Sweden, and Leningrad as it was known then, didn’t know this page existed, great to know other people remember the ship

    • Hello Anne

      Good to hear from you and thank you for your comment here.

      Who knows – you may find someone else who was on the Dunera when you were? If you get any contact – do let us know.

      Bye for now and many thanks

      Mike

  11. I went on a Catholic schools cruise in October/November I think it was 1965.

    We sailed from Southampton to Vigo, Tangier and then three days in Rome which culminated in a ‘private’ audience with the Pope (Paul VI). I say private in brackets because there were nearly a thousand of us including the teachers.

    It wasn’t too rough in the Bay of Biscay and Tangier was amazing – so totally foreign. We travelled back from Italy overnight by train to Calais, then cross-channel ferry to Dover, where each school was collected by coaches from their local area.

    I remember that someone’s father had travelled up on our coach and bought breakfast for all of us on the way home. I don’t remember what the trip cost, but I had to get my first job in the summer holidays to earn half the fare.

    • Hello Christine

      Many thanks for your story here and I appreciate you taking the time to post it.

      If you have any more to add, please do register and post a full blog post!

      Very best to you and yours for 2015

      Mike
      Healthy Homes Club
      “Did you know that vitamins are virtually useless without minerals?”
      Prevention is Better than Cure – Diabetes – Doc said: “whatever you are doing just keep doing it”. Read Den’s Story Here!

    • Hi,

      I was also on this cruise, we waited a long time sitting in the square waiting to see the Pope, I remember each having a packed lunch of sandwiches, an apple and drink. Other memories are of the deck hockey and overnight train from Italy. My school was Bishop Ullathorne RC in Coventry.

      • Hello Patricia

        Thank you for posting this comment and if you have more to add / photos, maybe – click the Register link in the menu and put a full story out?

        It’s always a pleasure to hear these comments / posts as they really do help to keep the site interesting and alive!

        Many thanks

        Mike

  12. I was on the 1964 Dunera cruise which visited Tangier, Malaga (with a bus trip to the Alhambra in Granada),Lisbon and Vigo.

    Left from and returned to Greenock. Spent a lot of time up at the bow of the ship watching dolphins and flying fish.

    Many memories but one was of everyone buying lots of leather goods in Tangier only to be told to throw them overboard that evening.

    The leather had not been treated properly and the insides of the goods were crawling with maggots.

    • Hello Eleanor

      Many thanks for your comment here – great to hear from you, but that must’ve been a bit of a shock to throw all your new gear overboard! Just shows how careful one needs to be “out there”!!

      If you have any more tales, or know someone who does – we would love to see them out on site! Do register and post if you wish

      Many thanks and the Very best to you and yours for 2015

      Mike
      Healthy Homes Club
      “Did you know that vitamins are virtually useless without minerals?”
      Diabetes – Doc said: “whatever you are doing just keep doing it”. Read Den’s Story Here! Prevention Worked!
      Aortic Aneurism – Prevention Worked!

      The FULL Simply Story.

      (Mike’s Photography)

  13. I went on the Dunera to the Holy Land, boarding in Venice in the middle of the night.

    It was about 1963 or 1964 as I went with Worthing High School for Boys and I was only a pupil there from 1962 to 1965.

    It was extremely rough in the Adriatic but we made it to Haifa and had a few days in Israel. A lot of the tourist places such at Bethlehem and Jerusalem were off limits in those days but I do recall standing on the shores of Lake Galilee and thinking that the distant view of the hills and mountains would have been seen by Jesus himself.

    We came home via Naples and visited Pompeii. A great time but sadly no photos to remember it with.

    Peter Hillman

  14. I was on MS Dunera about 1965-66, school trip from Ashburton road secondary school West Ham.

    Went to Vigo Lisbon and saw the Bayeux Tapestry.

    Anyone else remember that cruise?

    • Hello Susan

      Hope you get a response here!

      You just never know and the fact that you have written in is all the more help for this site – there seems to be a lot of people who get to find us!

      Bye for now

      Mike

    • I was on Dunera in 1966 visiting Cherbourg, Lisbon and Vigo.

      Ship left from Leith but called in at Tilbury to pick up pupils from West Ham so it might have been the same cruise. I actually can’t remember the dates of the cruise but perhaps June and still have one photograph of Lisbon.

      We ended up going off on our own without teachers. Being an ex teacher now, I see how foolhardy it was.

      Ah, the good old days!

      Sandra Brown.

  15. This is a totally different Dunera tour – in late September 1961 with the National Trust for Scotland visiting, among other places, Inverewe, St Kilda (no landing, bad weather) etc.

    I am seeking ‘memory help’.

    Did we visit Shetland (Lerwick) OR Orkney? (There is a debate!) We certainly visited one of them!

    CAN ANYONE HELP? Old diaries? Better memories? I’d be grateful.

    Peter

    • Hello Peter

      Great to hear from you and I hope you get some replies on this – I will post out on Facebook and Twitter etc – see if we can get a response!

      Comments and questions are what keeps this site alive!! Thank you

      Many thanks

      Bye for now

      Mike

      Help for arthritis, diabetes and much more – know anyone who might be interested?
      Click to see the video.

  16. Hi Peter McGee – I was on the first NTS cruise of the SS Dunera as a teenager and still have photos somewhere!

    I thought it was also in 1961 but ours definitely took place at Easter time – April. – There was snow on the hills above Loch Torridon when we walked over them to Inverewe!

    Anyway, we also couldn’t land on St. Kilda due to rough weather but definitely visited Kirkwall, Orkney and did a side trip to the ruins of Skara Brae. However, I don’t recall stopping at Lerwick – I think we just sailed around The Shetlands as well as Fair Isle but I’ll ask my brother and my cousin what they remember!

    It was a memorable cruise.

    (I happened on your site as was trying to remember the name of the ship….. as am going to a National Trust for Scotland fundraiser in Ontario, Canada – where I’ve been living for the last 36 years – and wanted to brush up on my past NTS experiences!).

  17. Hi I am so pleased to find this site.

    I was a passenger on the Dunera in May 1964 (10-23) with 44 other girls and 3 teachers from Greymount Secondary School in Belfast. 2 were supposed to board the ship at Carrickfergus but it was too rough and so we went to local hotels for lunch, took the train to Dublin in the afternoon. Dinner was served at the Royal Hiberian Hotel and we finally boarded the ship 12 hours late, at Dunloaghaire. There were several school parties from across Northern Ireland. As 2 sailed the Bay of Biscay the wind force was 7 so a large number were rather seasick. Only 3 from my school were up and about that day, Isobel Breen, Rosemary Hood and me.

    We visited Vigo, Tangier and Lisbon. Vigo was a wonderful cobble street town with a fabulous beach. Loved the market streets of the Kasbah in Tangier and Lisbon offered up great locations with a visit to the monastery (St. Jerome, I think) and the monument.

    Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were in the charts with Goodbye and it played endlessy on the jukebox. Tuesday night (12/9) there was a Treasure Hunt. Isobel partnered Fred and I partnered Colin Tully, both from a school in Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham. I was in touch with Colin until the mid-1970s.

    Sadly, all my photographs were borrowed but never returned to me. I have wonderful memories of those days, a walk on the beach, watching the sunset instead of the provided entertainment (Spanish dancing on the quayside) and great evenings that the very hard working crew prepared for us. Don’t recall much school work getting done but I think we had some lessons on board. Certainly had to hand in a project shortly after our return home.

    Great first overseas holiday. Hope others who were on the trip find the site and add more.

    • Hello Iris

      WHAT a great contribution to this website! THANK you. I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who write in at various times and the stories, short or longer, are great to read. As they must be for others who sailed on Dunera.

      Stories like this keep the site alive! Thank you!

      Do keep an eye out on here – never know others on your trip may write in!!

      This website was all started years ago when pal of mine told me his story!

      Many thanks and apologies for the delay in replying – we have a bit of work on marketing the new And Finally… Phil Collins Show! Mind you if you like the music of Phil Collins, maybe it is something for you to take a look at!!

      Bye for now and many thanks

      Mike

  18. In May 1963 i was seconded by my employer Barclays Bank to BISN to work for a 4 month period on the ‘Dunera’ as Foreign Cashier.

    I had never been abroad before so i my first step was to obtain my first ever passport.

    I joined the Dunera at Tilbury and my first working cruise meant crossing the ‘Bay of Biscay’, not an experience I wish to repeat especially on a ship without stabilizers.!!

    I worked from a small office on board, part of my office equipment on that first trip was a ‘sick bag’ kept discreetly under the desk.
    However after a few days I found my sea legs helped by a very understanding steward.

    In all I visited about 15 countries during my tour, mainly Europe but we also visited Gibraltar and Morocco.

    On board were about 800 youngsters and 400 adult paying passengers. Although I was working, when we docked I was able to go ashore and join in the sightseeing.

    Part of my other duties were dining with passengers in the evening, I seem to recall having my own table with 8 guests and many of the dinners were formal so a dinner jacket was part of my uniform. I still have one of the evening dinner menus, only 2 choices for wine, one of which was Liebfraumilch at 10/6p a bottle.

    Part of the evening entertainment was a ‘race night’, I still have the programme. On behalf of my employers Barclays I sponsored a race (I was never reimbursed)!!

    The youngsters entertainment was dancing on deck, at the time The Beatles had just found fame and they were great favourites every evening.

    Unfortunately I have mislaid/lost any photographs I took at the time, if anyone has any I would love copies which I would pay for.

    For me, 4 months at sea visiting all those countries was a truly wonderful experience.

    • Hello Mike

      What a great story – very pleased to hear from you and, as I say many times, this is the kind of thing that makes this site “live”!!

      Many thanks and I hope you get some responses!!

      Very best to you and yours

      Mike

  19. I sailed on the Dunera from Greenock around 1964, with a party from Hermitage School, Helensburgh.
    We visited Stockholm, Leningrad and Copenhagen, and I think Lerwick on the way home. Whilst we were in Stockholm we saw Mr. Kruschev’s yacht departing the harbour. We visited the Vasa Museum, where the sailing ship, which had sunk and been at the bottom of the Baltic for 333 years was being restored. In Leningrad we visited Hermitage Museum, same name as our school. I still have three or four tin lapel badges promoting the Communist Party. In Copenhagen we visited the Tivoli Gardens and the Little Mermaid. I have no photos now more the pity.

  20. Was on Dunera 65/66 went to Venice Itea, Navarino Bay Delphi, Corinth, Izmir, Ephesus, Pompeii Genoa. 2 weeks away £35.00???? From Bognor Regis Grammar School.

    Regards Andy Billington

    • £35 Andy? NOT a bad price I would suggest!!

      Great to hear from you and I love the way the comments entered by people like yourself make this a “live” website!!

      Many thanks

      Mike
      (ps – if you get any responses, let us know!)

  21. Hi Andy what a great site….I sailed on The Dunera from Greenock July 1965 I was 16 years old and was with our troupe of girls from 3rd Port Glasgow Girls Guildry (now called The Girls Brigade)…we visited Vigo Lisbon Tangiers and Gibraltar I was ill for the first 4 days it was awful going round The Bay of Biscay but a marvelous experience I have lots of photos one taken at Benfica Stadium which does not look anything like it is today ..lol..we paid £40.00 for our cruise great memories

  22. 1967 I think Lisbon, Vigo and Maderia…..Left from Greenock and was filmed by the t.v. cost £36. Saint Marks PRIMARY RUTHERGLEN

    • Hello Ms Yagci

      Many thanks for your comment here – it’s always pleasing and interesting to see how people have been involved with the MS Dunera. When we launched the site WAY back I never expected to see quite such a great following! It all keeps the site alive!

      Bye for now and very best to you and yours for 2017Mike Finding

  23. 1966. I was also on the cruise that visited Madeira, Lisbon and Vigo.

    We visited Lisbon the year before Billy McNeill held the big cup in the Estadio Nacional when we visited Lisbon and my family are going back to Lisbon on the 25 May for an anniversary celebration.

    I attended St Marks Blairbeth from ’61 to ‘ 67. Just remembered that as I had just had an operation on my ears I had to have bandages over my ears every night, dressed by the ships nurse, so someone may remember me for that alone.Any photos of the cruise would be appreciated if possible.

    Cheers

    • Great to hear from you John!

      This site is getting a LOT of comments and visits and it is what keeps the site and memory of the Dunera and trips taken alive….

      Hope your ears recovered ok

      Many thanks and all the best John – let us know if you get any replies.

      Bye for now

      Mike

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