A love song about the Montagu whaler

Montagu whaler – a boat type that inspires a deep affection among some of those who have known them well

There’s a song about everything in my experience, and I’m not shy about reminding folks of this important cultural fact. I find they nod and smile, and pull expressions that show they think I’m being silly.

But this is an important matter, and I know I’m right, and that the evidence is there for those who look for it. So I was delighted this week a thread on the astoundingly bonkers Mudcat forum that led me to a song that pays  tribute to a famous boat used by the British Navy – the Montagu whaler. Made by a chap called Bernie Bruen and sung here by Shep Wooley (thanks for the correction in the Comments John D Salt!) it’s available from the British Library sound archives website.

Bernie has a nice way with words, I’m sure you’ll agree.  Listen to it here.

For more Intheboatshed.net posts about whalers, click here.


5 thoughts on “A love song about the Montagu whaler”

  1. Finding any info about the whaler is rare. Its as though it never existed.
    I first sailed in a whaler in 1958-59, a year before I joined Ganges. I was in the SCC at TS Tiger Chippenham. LtCmdr Cohen took about six or eight of us down to Devonport and Drake. We spent a wet weekend learning to sail her. It stopped raining the day we came back. Ill never forget that weekend as HMS Vanguard was in mothballs waiting to be scrapped. That was the first and last time I sailed in a whaler. Ganges did not have them for the training of us boy seaman. They gave us the cutter. My P/O, ‘Polly’ Perkins said that if we could sail and row a cutter we could sail and row anything. I had fun on a Sunday when we could find a coxwain to take us out in the river Orwell. That was in our leisure time.My mates thought we were mad as we were up to our necks in seamanship already, plus a few thousand more subjects. I joined up for that reason alone.
    Unfortunately it lasted only in training. I was never to see, let alone sail in any of those boats. We had a whaler seaboat on the Puma, but that was used fora seaboat for picking up the mail, if dropped by parachute. Good memories.
    Im trying to find plans now to build a model cutter, out of real wood, not balsa or ply, wish me luck.
    Regards Dave.

  2. I treasure the memory of learning to sail and pull Montagu whalers at a Navy CCF camp at Loch Ewe in the mid 1970s. A small point of correction, though — the performance of Bernie Bruen’s song in the recording is by Shep Woolley. Shep has recorded an extensive repertoire of naval songs. Another of my treasured memories from Navy CCF is being taught how to shoot the SLR by Shep Wooley when he was a POGI at HMS Excellent, then the RN’s schools of gunnery.

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