Apr 13 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
MEET the old shipmates who’ve been reunited after 50 years – by a killer disease.
Merchant Navy boys David Currie and Jim Gallacher only spent six months on the ocean waves together.
And when they went their separate ways in 1964, they didn’t think they’d meet again.
That was until a chance conversation in the waiting room of a cancer treatment centre.
Now the old pals act is in full flow as they join forces to battle their illness and recall Navy tales.
David, of Ayr, explained: “I was sat in the waiting room of the Beatson cancer centre a few weeks ago when I got talking to this chap.
“He mentioned the company, Holder Brothers, and my ears pricked up because I’d worked for them too.”
He went on: “It turned out we’d been on the same boat – the SS Denby Grange – which sailed out of Faslane in ‘64.”
And Jim, of Troon, added: “I remembered David because he was the cook on the boat and made super bread – something which I’ve never forgotten to this day!
“It was a six month trip that took us around the world and we went everywhere from the Suez Canal to the Persian Gulf.
“It’s absolutely amazing to think that the two of us have been brought back together after all this time – and especially by something like cancer.”
The pair have now completed their courses of treatment for prostate cancer at the Beatson and admit fate has played an ironic hand for them.
David, 71, confessed: “It rather freaked me out to be sitting in the same room with Jim after all that time.
“There can only have been a maximum of 30 people on our boat, so the chances of randomly meeting one of them almost 50 years later is almost nil.”
And Jim, 66, revealed: “David is actually the second person I’ve met from that boat, so it must be something about me.
“In a strange way, being ill has been a pleasure for me because it’s given me this nice experience.”