(For news items up to and including June 2010, please visit the Archive)
PONLHeritage was launched exactly 10 years ago, on 8 February 2006. Some of the senior PONL management had recognised that the takeover would result in not only the loss of a company with a significant history but also the end of the contact that we had with colleagues around the world. PONLHeritage was set up to preserve and communicate our shared history and to give people a way of keeping in touch. Some funding was organised to get this website off the ground and to cover the first few years of operation (that funding including a generous donation from the Beagle House Sports & Social Club). As well as the website, the LinkedIn PONLHeritage group was created with invites to join the network being sent out worldwide.
Another initiative that started around the same time was the formation of SCARA, the association for former employees and contractors of OCL, P&O Containers, P&O Nedlloyd and associated companies. From day one, SCARA and PONLHeritage have worked closely together to achieve the common aims.
So where are we after ten years? This website is still very much up and running with just over 3,000 visitors and 18,000 page views in 2015. We also get 2-3 email enquiries per month. Some of those messages are rather speculative (sadly we can't offer people jobs on ships!) but we've been able to provide assistance to people trying to trace their pension by pointing them in the right direction and have also helped a few times with research for a book or magazine. The PONLHeritage LinkedIn group has 750+ members but with the growth of that social media site over the years it's fair to say that the number of people now connected is far greater than that.
SCARA has also grown from strength to strength since its first reunion lunch in 2006. Sadly many of the communications we post on this website on SCARA's behalf relate to funerals but with the new faces that appear at its events every year the membership is clearly growing.
While the above story is about objectives successfully met, what no one could have envisaged was how informal networks would spring up to also help keeping us together. The PONL Facebook group with its 2,000+ members and regular posts about reunions aropund the world is perhaps the most obvious and it is great to be able to read about the events being held in Hing Kong, Japan, Milan, New York, Rotterdam, Singapore, Sydney to name just a few of the venues. It was that Facebook group that was used to bring over a hundred people together a couple of weeks ago for a gathering linked to the imminent demolition of our old London HQ, Beagle House (now Maersk House).
The PONL Facebook group is just one of several which are being used to keep people in touch around the world. There are groups related to locations and roles (the Bay Boats Facebook group has nearly 550 ex-seastaff members). There was a time when we tried to keep a track of them all but that's now become an impossible task!
Who could have imagined at the time of the takeover that in 2016 we would have such a thriving community around the world, staying in touch and sharing news? The bond that exists between former colleagues is surely a reflection of how special that company that we all worked for was.
PONL Heritage - celebrating the past, staying in touch in the future...
Since leaving Beagle House for the final time Paul has spent the last 10 years gaining an MA in History from the Open University, learning to play the saxophone, travelling to exotic locations with his wife Carole, and generally enjoying life with his family (as he puts it, his "wonderful wife, 3 great children and 5 superb grandchildren") and friends.
Paul used to talk about his rugby but in more recent years he was also actively involved with the Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers Running Club.
This news has come to us via Paul's Facebook page and funeral details have not yet been provided. An update will be provided here when that information becomes available.
UPDATE: Paul's funeral takes place at Crownhill Crematorium, Dansteed Way, Crownhill, Milton Keynes MK8 0AH at 10am on Friday 11 December 2015. After the service there will be food and refreshments from 11:00 - 15:00 at Flitwick Football Centre (92 Ampthill Rd, Flitwick, MK45 1BE opposite One-o-One Shell Petrol Station). The bar opens at 12:00. The family have said that the dress code is whatever makes people comfortable. Black is fine, but something colourful will be fine too.
We have been passed the very sad news that former OCL/P&OCL veteran Geoff Bolton passed away in hospital in Shoalhaven (New South Wales, Australia) on 5 October 2015 following a fall at his home.
In recent years Geoff has been very active keeping people in touch, organising events and circulating news about reunions etc. He set up the OCAL People site (http://www.geoffbolton.net/OCAL_PEOPLE/) and has submitted several news items that have been published here on PONLHeritage.com. One of those items was a report of a reunion that he attended in Tokyo last year which included this summary of his career in shipping:
OCL/P&OCL veteran of thirty years from the 1967 startup of the OCAL head
"November 2014 saw a long-wished reunion in Tokyo: Geoff Bolton,
office in Sydney, had moved to Japan soon after the first ‘Encounter Bay’
voyage arrival from Europe - for a 3-year secondment to the Swire Shipping
Tokyo office during 1970-73. Geoff was systems project manager alongside
local Swire Systems department manager Teru Noma for the initial AJCL
(Australia-Japan Container Line) container trade to Australia from 1970,
followed two years later by the OCL Europe-Japan trade.
An additional New Zealand service by CSCS (Crusader Swire Container
Service) was also supported by this department in later years.
After his later return to OCAL Sydney in 1973 Geoff became commercial
manager for the AJCL trade for six years, then later becoming Australian
Container Manager for a similar term."
In the picture on the right which accompanied the reunion report Geoff is pictured third from the left in the back row.
managed the Port Adelaide office for many years passed away yesterday, Tuesday 14 April 2015.
We would normally provide a short biography for Mike here but we don't think we can do better than publish a link to the Australian Daily Telegraph article:
We are sure that all of Mike's former colleagues worldwide will want to add their congratulations.
Were you working for OCL in the early 1970s?). James Grahame is in the process of completing a book on his sport and was looking for information on the shipment of some cabers from the UK to Melbourne by Overseas Containers Limited (OCL) in the early 1970s.
Being honest, expectations weren't high on this but we had underestimated how effective a network of ex-colleagues could be!
James had been hoping to secure a copy of an article covering the shipment that appeared in the OCL in-house magazine. After SCARA kindly circulated the request for information to its members former General Manager of Group Commercial Division Dennis Greenland stepped forward and sent a scanned copy down to James (to access a legible version of the image, please click on the picture below).
The next breakthrough came from Australia and again showed how useful email can be! Via Paul Windfield, Geoff Bolton, Charles Burne, and Don Bienvenu contact was made with Barry McDonald who provided James with the following account:
In his response to Barry, James confirmed that Billy Binks is still with us and continues to referee/run the heavy events at Maryborough, Geelong and Beechworth every year. He has several of the cabers under his house which he selects from for the games.
We've also had a note from James in which he says::
We've had contact from James Grahame, a Scottish Highland Games enthusiast. James, who was born in Edinburgh but now lives in Australia, is researching the shipment of several cabers from the UK 'Down Under' for a book which he is just completing and which he hopes to have self-published soon.
The first caber on James' list is one transported to Australia in 1965 on the MV Tenbury. This shipment is mentioned in a book by David Webster (OBE) titled "Scottish Highland Games" which describes how four kilted athletes boarded the Tenbury at the docks in Sydney only to find the caber (a telegraph pole-size wooden log) was missing. It was eventually found in one of the holds being used as a roller to move some crates by a team of dockers!
Braemar Gathering, the major Highland Games event held each year in Scotland) to request help with sourcing a replacement. The Committee agreed as long as all transport costs were met at the Australian end.
Billy Binks, a famous 'Heavy' competitor in Australia undertook to organise the shipping arrangements. Billy contacted OCL in Melbourne and he was put in touch with Geoff MacDonald, then OCL's National Marketing Manager for Australia who had strong Scottish links.
Two Braemar cabers were selected, cut and prepared by Scottish 'Heavy' Henry Gray and shipped in a 40 foot container (as LCL?). On arrival at Melbourne's Swanson Dock they were met by representatives from the Australian Scottish Highland Games fraternity and OCL.
James understands that the shipment was covered by an article in the OCL house magazine and is hoping that someone might still have a copy of that edition from 40+ years ago. We are sure though that he would appreciate any information that anyone may have, so if you were around at the time and remember the event then James would really appreciate hearing from you.
We understand that former General Manager for P&O Nedlloyd South East Asia, G.P. Sinha passed away this morning (Saturday 10 May).
On the PONL Facebook page former colleague Kaustubh Khandekar has posted the following tribute:
"Very sad to share that Mr. G. P Sinha PONL - Mumbai passed away today morning in Mumbai. He was GM - PONL south Asia and was a great boss! RIP GP!!"
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