1965 Baltic Cruise


Dunera Tilbury

Dunera at Tilbury in the early 1960’s

We sailed without any passengers from Tilbury (London) to Edinburgh in the Firth of Forth in Scotland, for a cruise of Scottish students to the Baltic.

Our first port of call was Kristiansand on the southern tip of Norway. I did miss the heat of the Mediterranean, even in May the outside temperature at night was cold. We arrived at 8.00 am and held a regatta for the students – think pirates again, but this time without the nuns.
At noon we sailed for Copenhagen, arriving at 8.00 am the following day.

I loved our visit to Copenhagen. As a cadet I scrounged a seat on the tour bus (free of course), so had to stay with the  group to make sure I returned to the Dunera on time.

TivoliFound the above which is a 1965 advertising poster for the Tivoli Gardens.

The Tivoli Gardens was a ‘must’, over twenty acres of not just gardens, but also a giant fun fair and amusement park. It was opened in 1843 and is still going strong. I would have liked to stay longer, but the tour moved on to the Little Mermaid.


Mermaid 65


I was a little disappointed with the position of the mermaid, because I thought she would be in a park with great views across the water. It was difficult to take pictures of the statue without having the backdrop of cranes, warehouses and shipping industry. At the time I had a Kodak Brownie 127, which was a point and click, and you had to get the film developed, which cost money, so you were very careful as to what you photographed.

Things have changed, today (2019). She keeps losing her head, and when it is replaced it is not the same.


In 2014 (taken from the internet) she was still facing out to sea.


Instead of facing out to sea she is now facing the tourists, I took the above in 2018.
The power of tourism I suppose.

The statue is very close to the shore and as long you want a close-up you can zoom in & miss out the background of industry.

I remember a church that we visited, Church of Holman,


but the memory of the sailing ships hanging from the church’s ceiling has stayed with me over the years.

sailing ship

The picture is from the internet – but my memory has it that there were more than one hanging from the ceiling . . .but. . . . it was interesting to read of the link between the church and the sea.
The main part of a church is a nave, from the Latin navis, which means ship, and this has passed down to us as navy or naval. A Christian life is a journey with our Pilot (Jesus) helping us to navigate through life. The Danes have linked the sea and ships to Christ in a much stronger way than many other Christian countries and the hanging of ships in various churches brings this home.

The world council of churches uses a boat afloat on the sea of the world with the mast in the form of a cross as their symbol.


Prince Frederik & Princess Mary of Denmark latest twins were Christened in this church.

download CPH

The white line across the picture is actually a row of  white umbrellas along the fishing wharf.
The colourful Copenhagen buildings, which were ( & still are I think) restaurants and bars, and in 1965 some still had cannon balls embedded in the walls. They had been fired from Nelson’s ships during the  battle of Copenhagen in 1801 in the Napoleonic war. There was a second battle of Copenhagen in 1807, but Nelson was killed in 1805  at Trafalgar.

Our next stop was Gdansk in Poland. In the late 18th century Poland was divided by the great powers, and in 1793 Prussia took Gdansk, and from 1871 became part of Germany, when Germany became a nation state.
After WW1 Poland was independent again it was decided that Gdansk should become a semi-independent city, which became known as Danzig. When Germany invaded, 1st September, 1939, they annexed Danzig.
In 1945 the city was captured by the Russians, which was when it became part of Poland.

Under the communist system Gdansk (as it was now known) became very important for their ship building industry.

When I arrived only twenty years after the end of WW2 in 1965, I found Gdansk to be a very dour place, giving off an impression of grey dull architecture and the feeling of a black and white photograph with little, if any, colour; so different from Copenhagen.
The Second World War was still a living memory for the Polish people, followed by Russian style communism, so staying alive, and keeping out of trouble was upper most in their minds rather than prettying up their buildings and streets. At that time it was a gaol sentence for anyone who wrote a negative article about the government.


A photograph off the internet to try and give the feeling of the place in 1965.


Aerial view of Gdansk (Danzig) in 1965 – photograph found on the internet.

Once again we cadets took part in the shore excursion, but we were really looking forward to the evening as we had plans.

In the evening, I and some of the ship’s officers who had visited Gdansk previously, took the opportunity of visiting a ‘night club’ called ‘George’s Place’. To us, the name didn’t seem to be all that exotic.

The club was in the basement of a warehouse. To get there we walked along a very quiet dimly lit street, which had a badly broken pavement, until we reached the entrance of George’s Place, which was a nondescript green door at the top of three grey concrete steps. The wall around the door was chipped red brick that seemed to have been there since the late 1800’s.
After knocking we were allowed to enter and followed the ‘doorman’ down a steep wooden stairway to the club.
The club was more restaurant than ‘night club’, with just a very small dance floor and a quartet of musicians playing American style music. We had our meal and where sitting around chatting to some local girls when one of the girls introduced us to a small group of uniformed Polish soldiers who were celebrating a birthday.

One of the soldiers stood and toasted us in vodka and black current juice. We had to return the toast, which was followed by a further toast to our Queen, Queen Elizabeth, and of course none of us knew who was in charge of Poland, so we toasted the Polish people, and the evening went on and on via toast after toast. I’ve never had this mix of vodka and black current juice since.

Among the local girls that we met that evening, one of them was named Helen and she was very attractive, and I took a shine to her. We danced and sang along with our new Polish friends and at the end of the evening Helen and I promised to write to each other.

Sometime later, when I was back in the UK, I received a letter from her asking why I never mentioned that I was in the Royal Navy Reserve, (RNR) because she had received a visit from the Polish (Russian?) security services. This bothered me, because I hadn’t even mentioned that I was in the RNR to anybody on the ship, and the only person who would possibly know about my link with the RNR would be the Captain of Dunera, because it was on my file, but I doubt that he would have mentioned this to anyone.

I wrote back that being a member of the RNR was not a secret, and the subject never arose during our chats. I never heard from her again.

The following morning we sailed for Gothenburg and arrived forty eight hours later.

Gothenburg 65

At that time Gothenburg was a very quiet town and after the tour of the city with the students, three of us did our own tour, which was a giant flop.

The following morning we sailed for the Firth of Forth the cruise was over.

Forth bridge

Photograph, which was taken in 1965, is from the internet.




Wonderful wonderful Copenhagen


As we entered Copenhagen we were being followed – Sapphire Princess again, and later the Queen Victoria.

DSC02489cCopenhagen is located on the island of Zealand.

According to legend the Swedish King Gylfe allowed the Norse Goddess Gefjun to carve out of Sweden as much land as she could plough in twenty four hours. The Goddess turned her four sons in to four immensely powerful oxen to help her. They ploughed so deeply that they raised the land and were able to tow it across the sea. The land that they ploughed is now known as Zealand. Apparently the lake that was created, Lake Vanern,
by the removal of the Zealand from Sweden is similar to the shape of Zealand . . . . .
The above photograph is the statue of the Goddess with her ‘oxen’ sons carving out Zealand. It is the largest sculpture in Copenhagen and is now used as a wishing well.


Next door to the statue is the Anglican church of St Alban’s, often referred to as the English church.
Due to strong trading links over the years a large British contingent had grown up in Copenhagen. The English would hold religious services in rented halls because they didn’t have a church building. A committee was set up in 1854 to try and raise the money to build a church. In 1864 they appealed to the Prince of Wales, and his Consort the Danish Princess Alexandria took up the challenge to raise funds and find an attractive site. The foundation stone was laid in 1885 and it was consecrated in 1887.

St Alban was the first British Christian martyr, who was beheaded in 304 AD by the Romans. If you wish to read further about St Alban click the link.

Attending the consecration ceremony were the King & Queen of Denmark, Tsar & Tsarina of Russia, King & Queen of Greece, Prince & Princess of Wales, the entire Diplomatic corp, representatives of the Army, Navy, church officials, and representatives of the Greek, Russian, and Roman Catholic churches, even though St Alban’s is a protestant church. After the service many of the dignitaries were invited to lunch aboard Royal Yacht HMY Osborne .


Found this picture of the Osborn on the internet as she is seen leaving the Kiel canal. She was also used to carry the Royal family to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. This vessel was launched in 1870 and scrapped in 1908.

Not far from the fountain and St Alban’s church is the most famous of all Danish statues.



The Little Mermaid – commissioned in 1909 by the son of the founder of Carlesberg brewery. The statue was unveiled in 1913.
When I first saw the statue in 1965 she had not long had a new head attached, because vandals had cut her head off the previous year.

The statue is not very big and the background is not a romantic open stretch of water, but a working harbour.

mermaid 01The above is an earlier Mermaid, note the difference in the position of  her head.

A short walk from the Mermaid we came across Copenhagen’s first statue to a black lady.


She is a statue called ‘I am Queen Mary’ – her name was Mary Thomas and she was one of three women who have gone down in history as symbols of the revolt against the colonial powers of Denmark in the Caribbean in 1878.

She was captured and sent to Copenhagen and imprisoned 1.6 km (about a mile) from where her statue is located. The building behind the statue used to house the sugar and rum produced by the slaves.

As a colonial power it is estimated that Denmark shipped about 111,000 slaves from West Africa to work in the cane fields of  St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, in the Caribbean.

In 1917 Denmark sold these islands for USD $25 million to the USA, they are now called the United States Virgin Islands.

The seven meter (23 ft) tall statue is not made of stone or metal, but was created by 3-D computer technology. As I looked at it I could see it move slightly in the wind. Not move to blow over, just the extremities made a slight movement. The lady holds a torch and the cutting knife that was used to cut cane.


Leaving the wharf behind we passed the fountain of Amalienborg near the palaces.


Four main palaces face the square and the one above is where Crown Princess Mary (of Tasmania) lives. They feel comfortable enough to allow their children to go to school, on foot, with very limited security.


Royal guards, outside another of the palaces.


The courtyard in front of the palaces is octagonal – the statue is of King Frederick V can be seen in the photograph.


Another of the palaces – but I can not remember who lives in each, other than Princess Mary’s.


Being used to the guards outside Buckingham Palace in London,I was a little surprised at the casualness of some of the guards in Copenhagen. Not a complaint just an observation.


From the Palace area we visited a merchants house for a cold dink, before walking to the famous Nyhavn waterfront area of Copenhagen. For centuries this area had been a very busy port and only after WW2 when the ships had grown too large to enter the canals did it fall in to disuse. The fact that Hans Christian Anderson used to live in the three of the houses at various times, helped revitalise the area as we know today. Most of the vessels tied alongside were fishing boats, rather than trading vessels.


Once again we would have liked more time to explore this area, but our tour was timed so it was a quick look-see and move on.


Plenty of restaurants and places to buy a drink and watch the world pass by, but we were the ones passing by.


More walking and we came to the parliamentary building or Christiansborg Palace- the work outside is due to a new subway being built.

This is the equivalent of the British Houses of Parliament – the Palace of Westminster.


We saw the outside of this department store – Magasin Du Nord, founded in 1868 and still going strong – a little expensive, but apparently you can get anything. – perhaps the Danish Harrods.

Just a little trivia for those who like shopping – Debenhams of the UK bought Magsin du Nord for £12 million ten years ago, and it is now valued at between £200 to £250 million.

Across the road from the department store we boarded our bus back to the ship.


The tour was over, but from our balcony a touch of yesterday, if you ignore the fact that she is moving without having set any sails.

Overall I think the ship’s tour I took in 1965 was better than our recent tour, I saw much more then than we did this time. I think Maureen was also a little disappointed, which might have been my fault because I talked up the place too highly. I know Wonderful Copenhagen isn’t at fault.