Archibald Duncan Blue

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Archibald Duncan Blue
Born Archibald Duncan Blue
16th September 1904
Port Glasgow
Died November 15, 1989(1989-11-15) (aged 85)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Margaret McFarlane Hunter Blue
Joined CNCo service November 23rd. 1928
Left CNCo service 30-11-1938


After an apprenticeship with Clyde S.& E.Co ltd. and John G.Kincaid & Co. Greenock (1919 1925), which included 9 months in the drawing office, he joined the New Zealand Shipping Co. as an engineer on their vessels, being with the company for two and a half years.

September 10th. 1928. Obtained his 2nd Class Certificate (Steam) No.67149 in Glasgow.

November 23rd. 1928 he joined C.N.Co. on agreement, arriving in Hong Kong by the P&O.S.N Co ship "Naldera".

On joining C.N.Co. employed as 3rd. and 2nd. engineer on the Kweiyang II, and Antung.

October 17th. 1930. Obtained his First Class Certificate (Steam) No. 4770 in Hong Kong. It was noted that he passed a very creditable examination. He then served on the Chungking II, Shengking II, Chekiang I. in various engineering positions as required.

January 1st. 1931 promoted to 2/E. Ichang II, Kwangtung I, Kiating, Shuntien I. Changchow II, and the Nanchang II. He was 2/E on the Nanchang II when the ship was captured by pirates on March 29th 1933, being held prisoner for five and a half months. Refer to the Nanchang II for details. In the book "The Lion and the Dragon" by Christopher Cook gives a detailed account by A.D.Blue and Clifford Johnson of their ordeal and eventual release. Clifford Johnson is the author the book "Pirate Junk" ( published by Jonathan Cape in 1934 ), which includes a prefatory note by A.D,Blue. The book is from a diary he kept on scraps of paper during their five months captivity.

September 14th 1933, after being released by the pirates, Archie had two weeks sick leave in Shanghai, before proceeding on Home leave, by the Blue Funnel ship Philocyetes.

1933 - 1934. The Glasgow Herald reported that he became the first Merchant Navy Engineer to be awarded the "Diploma in Merchant Studies" after completing a course which included the following subjects:- "History of the Merchant Navy", "Literature of the Sea" and "Merchant Navy Administration".

September 3rd. 1934, Appointed to standby the building of the [[Yunnan III]" at Scott's Dockyard in Greenock, for two months prior to returning to the Far East when he sailed on the Wuhu III, Suiyang and Yunnan III.

July 25th. 1935. During a short leave 16-07-1935 to 24-07-1935 in Hong Kong, he sat and obtained his Motor Endorsement on his 1st.Class Certificate. Then served as required, as 2/E and C/E on the Kueichow, Hunan II, Shuntien II, Shantung II, Kingyuan, and Hunan II

After the Kalgan II was blown aground in September 1937, he was appointed 2/E for the refloating.

Between September 1937 and November 1938 he was appointed to the Ninghai I and Kiangsu.

November 30th. 1938. Archie Blue left Hong Kong on the Blue Funnel ship Ajax for the U.K after resigning.

On leaving CNCo. A.D.Blue sailed with the British Tanker Co. from Jan. 30th 1939 until Feb. 13th. 1940.

During and after the 1939 to 1945 war, he was employed by the Colonial Service in West Africa.

June 29th. 1956 to July 27th. 1956. Employed on Macbrayne's vessels

January 21st. 1958. Rejoined C.N.Co on agreement travelling out to Hong Kong by B.O.A.C. Appointed 2/E with seniority from this date. Served as 2/E on the Fukien.

From May 1958 he then served on the following vessels as Chief Engineer:- Chengtu II, Poyang II, Hanyang II, Fengtien II

Promoted to Chief Engineer on March 1st. 1960.

March 30th. 1963. Retired and returned to the U.K.


Events / Stories

Archie Blue is the author of the following short historical articles about China and coastal shipping prior to WW2:-

European Navigation on the Yangtse.

Early steamships in China.

The China Coasters.

Chinese Emigration and Deck Passengers.

Piracy on the China Coast