Free Enterprise VI

2nd July 1973

I'd been home about three days when the phone went, a Mr. Moran (Bugsy) in Dover, wanting to know if I was still interested in joining Townsends. Could I go for an interview that afternoon? No problem and I arrived at 2pm.

What I didn't realize was that after the interview I had to join the F.E.VI for the 16.30 sailing……………… work! No boiler suit, shoes or anything!

I'm glad to say that a certain Forester Smith and his flat mate Dave Partington looked after me with boiler suits and a place to sleep until I managed to get myself sorted.

I was to stay on the Six for another eighteen months, excellent time, great crack and black gang. I'm sorry to say that quite a few of the lads have died, most in tragic circumstances so I'll pay my respects and leave it at that I transferred from Dover to Southampton in January 1975 and joined the Viking Venturer, the first permanent British ship.

Prior to this the operation had been run by Norwegian ships Vikings 1,2,3 and 4 and a seasonal ship from Dover, usually the infamous FEII. I therefore submit a page for the Norwegians if anyone wishes to contribute, please contact me.

Viking I

Viking III

Viking II

Viking IV

As I've said the Venturer was the first British ship and a year later the Valiant joined the operation, we then started to charter ships in, some I sailed on which are as follows:

Viking Venturer photographed after completion

Viking Voyager

Viking Valiant


Stena Ionia

Viking Venturer

Merchant Trader

Gaelic Ferry

Viking Trader




Pride Of Cherbourg

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee 1977 Viking Valiant and H.M.S. Britannia

During this time 1975 to 1989 we moved from Southampton. We also took part in one of the smartest bits of shoe shuffling (jiggery pokery) I've ever witnessed. First Normandy Ferries were taken off P&O's hands by TTCF and then, blow me down, we were in turn taken over by P&O, clever or what!

I was Union Liaison Officer for thirteen years and a founder member of the National Ferry Committee.

Times changed as did the personnel and I'd just like to say that the good times certainly outweighed the bad.

If anyone would like to contribute anecdotes or photographs, please contact me in the usual way.

Later became part of the P&O Group.