Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
Penarth Dock, South Wales - the heritage & legacy . . .

Volume Eight - Pre-Victorian to the present day - more aspects - Pamir and Passat - the end of an era . . .

Pamir and Passat moored in Penarth Dock
'Pamir' and 'Passat' (nearest) moored up at the northern importation quay of the Penarth Dock in late 1949 or early 1950. The stern of the 'Passat' is close-by the lockgates which lead in the foreground to the basin. [286]
House flag, F. Laiesz & Co. - Hamburg
The house flag of F. Laiesz & Co. of Hamburg, the emblem under which the Pamir and Passat first sailed. [123]

Cardiff Nautical Academy - 1911"One of the many small 'seamen crammers', this card and calendar for the year 1911 was produced by Cardiff Nautical Academy, an establishment long closed and long forgotten." [287]

Phil Carradice describes the circumstances surrounding the formation of the Pamir Passat Foundation in his book "Training ships - An Illustrated History" [287]

"The Pamir Passat Foundation was founded in the early 1950's, to train apprentice cadets on board two fully-rigged sailing ships, the Pamir and Passat. The vessels were intended for scrapping after the Second World War but were bought by a West German ship owner who intended them to run commercially. The enterprise proved uneconomical and the ships were acquired by the foundation. Moored in Penarth Dock, South Wales, they were duly converted into training and trading ships. Tragedy, however, was soon to follow.

In August 1957, the Pamir was lost in a hurricane in the Atlantic, over eighty officers, crew and young trainees losing their lives as the ship simply keeled over and disappeared into the depths of an unforgiving ocean. The Passat also ran into difficulties that year, her cargo shifting in heavy weather and the ship having to be towed into Lisbon with a severe list to port. The training of cadets on sea-going training ships was promptly suspended and, apart from the outward-bound vessels, has never really made a comeback.

From this point on, however, any new training establishments that were created - such as the J. A. Gibbs Home in Penarth and the Prince of Wales Sea Training School in Limehouse - were land-based, albeit equipped with rowing boats and sailing craft to give practical experience at sea or, at least, on the rivers and estuaries where the schools were based. Despite this they was all, most decidedly, rooted to the land. The value of training was not yet in doubt, just the means of delivering it, and incarcerating boys on old hulks, with all the drawbacks such a process involved, was clearly a thing of the past."

The J. A. Gibbs Home referred too above was based at the former Taff Vale Railway 'Penarth Hotel' on the headland. Major Gibbs D.S.O. of the Welsh Regiment, was killed in action during September 1917. The following year his wife bought the property which had just come up for sale by the TVR Co., and converted it for use as a home for boys, around 150 of them! It was presented to the Trustees of the National Children’s Home as a memorial to her late husband. The proximity of the docks of Cardiff and Penarth obviously had great influence and gave the home a purpose to train the boys for a maritime future. The implecation of Mr Carradice's article is that this home continued to train boys for the sea even after the loss of the Pamir in 1957.

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