On all the seas and rivers where British seamen go,
From the tropics to the edges of where the icebergs grow,
You will see the ruddy bunting of bright or smoky red,
It’s our Merchant Navy Ensign flying overhead.
Many an eye has danced at our banner flying true,
Our hearts and souls are British and our colours too,
Whipping in defiance when white waves are below,
It flew above the vanquished and defeated foe.

No one should prevent us from hoisting it by day,
Since Eighteen twenty four it’s prominence held sway,
Either flying in the breeze when trading near and far,
Or draped upon a coffin when a seaman’s crossed the bar.

It’s more than just a symbol of a nation brave and free,
Not only just an emblem proclaiming liberty,
For the showing of our `duster` from gaff or lofty spar,
Sets pride among our mariners, no matter where they are.


The Merchant Navy, with Allied comrades, night and day, in weather fair or foul, faces not only the ordinary perils of the sea but the sudden assaults of war from beneath the waters or from the sky. Your first task is to bring to port the cargoes vital for us at home and for our armies abroad and we trust your tenacity and resolve to see this stern task through.

Sir Winston Churchill 1941

I consider the protection of our trade the most essential service that can be performed.

Admiral lord Nelson to Captain Benjamin Hallowell. 1804


So Churchill’s on a banknote - that’s O.K. with me,
But I reckon most sincerely there’s others we should see,
It’s mostly men that’s designated, embellished in art form,
Upon old Britain’s money accepted as the norm.
There are many famous women that earned this special place,
For imprinting on our currency of this island race,
Yes, you say in argument, the Queen is shown a lot,
But she is there by birthright - an automatic spot. 
Perhaps our lady admirals are few and far between,
Or females in high industry seldom maybe seen,
Just delve into our history to find the brilliant minds,
There you’ll see variety and many heroines.
So come on you responsible - for designing notes,
Crack fair the whip for gender that wear the petticoats,
I’m sure the girls don’t need me to let their shackles free,
It’s just a thought in general to help in  c` est la vie.

Leonard Dibb-Western

My Mate Len

Leonard Dibb-Western travelled to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister and received his fifth war medal.

The 88-year-old was a member of the Merchantl Navy who took part in a convoy to Russia in February 1944.

Nearly 70 years on, he has now received an Arctic Star medal and an apology from Mr Cameron that it had taken so long to recognise war veterans’ bravery.

Mr Cameron told the survivors at a special ceremony: “I am only sorry that it has taken 70 years to get to here and to say thank you for what you did.

You were involved in the most important struggle of the last 100 years when you were supplying one of our allies in the battle to defeat Hitler.

“You are a group of heroes.”

Mr Dibb-Western, who lives in Worle, said he was ‘very proud’ to receive the award and believes he is the only one in North Somerset to have an Arctic Star.

The convoy sailed to Russia in 1944 but its progress was blocked by ice, and he believes that, had the weather been clearer, they would have been bombed by German planes.

And their journey back months later was equally hazardous, with the crew told on arrival back in the UK they had narrowly avoided 15 German U-boats.

After meeting the Prime Minister, the veterans were taken to HMS Belfast on the River Thames for a celebration.

The Arctic StarVeterans who served on Arctic Convoys and in Bomber Command during the Second World War are to be recognised for their bravery and service with the new medal and award.

Whilst the aim is to recognise those who served on the Arctic Convoys, all who served north of the Arctic Circle during the Second World War are eligible, including members of all 3 Services as well as the Merchant Navy who crewed the ships taking the vital supplies to Russia.

Joe Earl - Photo taken January 2013 Age 71 and a half. !

My Bond Bill for the Apollo to last 6 weeks - Note I c/s Rum for example; £12.90

Bow damage - M.V.Apollo (See MY STORY)

Master`s Cabin M.V.Apollo 1975

As A young man - Spending my leave in Liverpool

New zealand 1962

Aged 15

M.V.Amarna age 16/17

Training Ship Indefatigable ( At Caernarvon Castle July 1956 )

Joe - (Extreme left) M.V. Sussex Trader going through the Suez Canal 1961

M.V.Sussex Trader 1961

M.V. Cato Antwerp 1962

A.B. on M.V.Cato 1962

M.V. Tasmania Star Littleton, New Zealand Oct. 1961 age 20

Joe ( Able Seaman M.V. Tremayne round the world voyage 1959 )

M.V.Sussex Trader - Joined as A.B. in Jan 1961 `till 8th. July 1961 - another voyage to Australia.

M.V.Sussex Trader

I joined the Sussex Trader on 24th. Jan.1961 in Birkenhead sailing for Casablanca - Durban,and  East London - In South Africa, then to Kobe and Nagoya in Japan - then Freemantle in Australia to load grain, returning to Rotterdam via the Suez Canal, Paying off on the 8th. July 1961

Shark Fishing off Portugal

After SCUBA diving at Sharm el-Sheikh (it`s a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula)

Conning the Point Gilbert

Before we towed a Car-ship out.

Towing in the Royal Yacht

Working on the S.D. Severn in Bristol

Getting ready to tow the `SOUTHSEA` from Southampton to Bristol.

Writing up the log-book Point Gilbert.

Greece 1987

SCUBA Diving - Sharm el Shiekh

2nd Mate of the `Apollo` keeping a bridge watch - 1964

Aboard the `MILO` 1st Mate

Rowing a cutter on the Menai Straits 1956

Mate of the `MILO` at Rouen loading grain 66/67

Master - Tug Sea Endeavour - at work towing. 1992

Playing cricket with my brother Jerry as wicket keeper 1949

Me and my dog Jacky