Merchant Navy Fleet
Through the Bristol Merchant Navy Association, which is based on the Harbourside in Bristol, we made contact with Hank. As well as being Hon Treasurer of the Bristol Merchant Navy Association and a Merchant Seaman himself, Hank is the Marine Director of the MV Balmoral (built in 1949 as the flagship of the Southampton Red Funnel Fleet and then transferred to, and now the last ship of, the White Funnel Fleet working in the Bristol Channel).
Although the Balmoral was never a merchant ship the retired men who volunteer as Engineers aboard a lot of knowledge, so we interviewed them. On our first visit Hank gave us a tour of the engine rooms and rest of the ship. He gave us a talk about the history of the Merchant Fleet especially during the Second World War. We took pictures and made notes and then took them back to do some more online research.
On the second visit we worked in two separate groups, one to plan a possible performance at the Bristol Merchant Navy Memorial Service and another to research and write songs.