Some Respect for Stokers!!!!

Alcide engine 2
I joined the Royal Navy in March 1955 and I’m quite sure that even back then we had no coal burning ships in the Navy. Yet the poor old engine room guys were unable to shake the name “Stoker”. Their actual title was M(E), think that stood for mechanical engineer. When I sailed in the submarine Taciturn the Engineer Officer placed a sign over the engine room door. It read “there are no Stokers in here only Mechanical Engineers”. That was the worse thing he could do on a submarine, we just emphasized the use the name stoker all the more. Actual stokers were the men that stoked the boilers on the old coal burning ships, they shoveled coal into the furnaces to keep steam up. Look closely at the submarine Alcide engine room photo with this post. You wont see any coal but should be able to see wedges of wood placed between the hull and the big diesel engine cylinder head. The old engines were tired with thousands of miles logged and a danger of the head bolts shearing from fatigue. Quite an ingenious stop gap repair, and one of many carried out by these remarkable stokers that served in Royal Navy submarines. I think they need to be held in higher regard than merely referring to them as stokers. Most of their tasks were difficult, dirty, noisy, greasy, wet, sweaty and carried out in cold or extreme heat. Well done to all my stoker shipmates, about time seaman recognized their important and valuable contribution.
Please note- do not try this repair on the leaky head of your MGB
God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in HM Submarines, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Some Respect for Stokers!!!!

  1. A McRobb says:

    My Dear “Subbie” amigo, in the 70s actually 1974 I served onboard HMCS Yukon the stokers were still called Stokers. Now to go way back My Grandfather WW1 served as a Gordon Highlander in France. After WW1 he went to Canada where he worked as a fireman( no not firefighter) he shovelled coal to move the steam engines of the CPR across Canada. A dirty job but made him very physically strong, So no matter what they were called STOKERS were very important as you said.
    Keep em coming amigo

  2. irishroverpei says:

    When I was researching my first book I came across an interesting fact. My grandfather’s occupation was listed as furnace man in the Belfast shipyards. I assumed he stoked the boilers or some such thing. However he operated a small portable furnace on the scaffolding around the hull of Titanic and Olympic, heating rivets red hot before passing them on to the riveters

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