You want anecdotes?

Well here they are...


(Once again ~  in no particular order)

I was a Peggy (Deck Boy dogs body for the ratings) when I met your Father.

I remember him as the "no nonsense" Chef to keep clear of when I went to collect the meals for the seaman's mess.

At breakfast time he seemed to be always making omelettes. I used to get mesmerised as I watched him, making anything up to eight or nine omelettes at once. He'd deftly flick each omelette over at just the right time. How he kept track of them I never could work out.

Apart from giving me a dressing down for being somewhere I shouldn't be in the Galley, the only thing I remember him saying was, "We should have another war. It's the only time anybody has got any money!"

I'm still at sea. I still tell anybody who wants to listen that the Ruahine was the best job I've ever had in my life.

                                                                                                                                                                             Tony Taylor  
Deck Boy  

"I got to know Mick fairly well in my five voyages on the 'Tiki.  He was a tyrant in the "kitchen" (as he insisted on calling the Galley), but was liked and respected by all.  He was also a great Chef and I have enjoyed many of his creations.  During my time in the stores we were able to choose from First or Tourist menus, provided we fetched it ourselves from the "kitchen", so I was able to judge!

Despite his talents Mick was a man of simple tastes and like to join us down in the stores, after he had fed the 240 or so passengers, in a simple meal of cheese, bread and pickled onions.  The pickled onions were made by us, the humble storemen, from the shallots put on board in London each voyage, but (which) Mick and his staff refused to use.

Michael Fitzgerald

I can vaguely remember your father aboard.  I can remember that a petition was handed to the Purser by a deputation of passengers well into the voyage, stating that we were all quite fed up with the glorious food, and could we please have fish and chips!  Where the fish was suddenly procured from, no-one knew, but on the following night, there it was ~ fish and chips ~ on the menu!

Stuart Andrews
Passenger 1958

Around 1925 - 1930 (my father, Thomas Edwards) decided he would like to go to sea and so he signed on with the New Zealand Shipping Company as a merchant ship's butcher, sailing on the "Rangitata" and later the "Rangitiki" to New Zealand.  When they needed an assistant cook in the kitchen, he volunteered and so was involved, not just in butchery and cooking the food for several hundred people....During the war he progressed to Chief Troop Cook....(He and my mother) were engaged to be married on 3 November 1944 and were married just after the war was over on a day when it poured with rain during the ceremony and photos.  One of the highlights of their wedding was a real three-tier wedding cake.  The wedding guests were amazed as rationing was still at its height....but with Dad being a cook at sea, he managed to pull a few strings and got the Chef to make a proper one with fruit.

John Edwards
Son of Thomas Edwards
Meat Chef

14 May 2004 ~ Looking back into Mick Overall's service records, I see that Mr. Edwards' father and mother became engaged on the day before the Rangitiki departed from Liverpool (4 November 1944).  The ship returned to Liverpool a month later, set sail again towards the end of January 1945 and returned to Liverpool 4½ months after that on 12 June 1945, which is indeed "..just after the war was over...".

A "Working Chef" ~ At 10 a.m. when I called on your dad, he and the Second Cook were generally the only personnel to be seen.  The talk before I interrupted was instructions to 2nd Cook of what was expected and who was to do what for the coming lunch.  The 2nd. Cook had probably started the first task of the day while waiting for the Chef's instructions, and I had the impression that he enjoyed some hands-on work.  Tyrant no, but certainly he had a reputation for being strict.  Having on each trip to contend with some new staff he would need to have had stringent control to ensure things were completed to a precise timetable.  Looking back, I am reminded of the Regimental Sergeant-Majors of my Army days when, to me, it soon became obvious that the regiment was run by the RSM with other NCOs, while the officers were purely figureheads.  In no time they soon had a thousand men doing just what was required.    

Dave Webber
Ship's Printer


Engineers didn’t come into contact with the Galley , but electricians did !!


I was 2nd Electrician of the “Rangitiki” a voyage or two before Len Chapman joined and I knew your father.   We had an arrangement – I made sure that his ovens and hotplates were repaired promptly and he kept me in fried egg sandwiches if I got hungry between meals!!


He was a very nice chap and was well known in the New Zealand Ports – I recall that he sometimes appeared on the local radio stations, introduced as “Mr Overall, the famous Chef of the 'Rangitiki'”


Bill Goyne
Second Electrician

... movements between ships were the norm as various exigencies requiring crew movements and replacements came up.  I did deep sea and some coastal voyages on no fewer than eleven of NZSCo. ships in the 10 plus years I was with the Company, which is very few when I compare myself with other members of the NZSCo. Association and The Durham Association whose members served in many more years and many more ships than I.  Mick Overall’s service all those years in one ship is quite unique!

George Brigenshaw
Chief Steward