THE GREY FUNNEL LINE
I was on the Kiama, when I went to sea,
Little more than a lad, when I joined the Navy.
The ship, she was old, she was built for the war,
But they’d refit her yearly, and she’d sail on some more.
She had guns, Bofor Cannons, one for’d, one aft,
She was a hundred feet long, with a thirteen foot draught.
Her deck it was wooden, till aft of the bridge,
And below was a messdeck, a galley and fridge.
A ‘sweeper’ by trade, and Bathurst by Class,
She wasn’t too big and she wasn’t too fast.
And the sailors who manned her, about eighty in all,
Each slept in a hammock that he lashed to the wall.
Now life wasn’t easy on a ship of her size,
When a storm would approach and cover the skies.
She’d bob like a cork and shake a bit to,
But we’d batten the hatches and sail her on through.
Long years have now passed and left me ashore,
But at night in my dreams, I’m a’sailin once more.
On my old ship Kiama still serving my time,
And the old matelots called it “The Grey Funnel Line”.
©Copyright 1970 by Mike Subritzky
HMNZS Kiama, RNZN: 1952 - 1974