Williams, Ian Edward

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Williams, Ian Edward

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Ian William Edwards was born in Kroonstad, O.F.S. , on 31 March 1925. He was educated in Kroonstad, at Selborne College, East London and on the training ship General Botha at Simonstown. He joined the Merchant Navy, February [March?] 1942. His first ship was City of Dunkirk, which he embarked on in Cape Town and then sailed to Europe in wartime convoys. Wartime voyages were conducted from South Africa and the United Kingdom to the Middle East, and from the United States to North Africa and North West Europe. He served on peacetime voyages to United Kingdom, the Indian sub-continent, the United States, West and East Africa and the Near and Far East. He served most of the time on Ellermans’ ships but also on a Bank boat and Safmarine ship. He studied between voyages for various marine qualifications at Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen. He received his master’s certificate in September 1951. He qualified as Master Mariner at Glasgow 1951 and returned to South Africa in 1952 After attaining his master’s certificate he returned to SA and applied to SAR&H and worked on coasters and as a stevedore until a vacancy found in Durban in 1952. He served as mate and master of many tugs and dredgers between 1952 and 1964 (this included the short Suez Canal closure of 1956/57). He served as a Pilot between 1964 and 1974 (which included the long period, 7 years, of the 2nd Suez Canal closure). He was appointed Assistant Port Captain in 1974, and promoted to Port Captain East London on 1979. He returned to Durban as Port Captain in 1983. Out of 34 years in the Marine Service, he spent 30 year of his career in Durban harbour, except for 1979-1983 as Port Captain, East London. He retired in May 1986 as Port Captain, Durban. While in East London he opened ‘History of the sea’ exhibition at the East London Museum. On retirement he moved to Cape Town, later to the Helderberg Village, Somerset West. H e died late 2010. Throughout his life he manifested a deep interest in naval and maritime history and extensively researched , inter alia, the history of the position of Port Captain of Durban harbour and shipwrecks along the Eastern coast of South Africa. He compiled Haven Meesters and Port Captains at Port Natal/Durban from inception in South Africa in 1939 to 1990.


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