1. Platypus
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    Platypus New Member

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    Illegal trade/Maritime history

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Platypus, Jan 20, 2016.

    Does anyone know anything about Maritime history. Was there any illegal activity via sea around 1950's era, Id like to base a story around this but Im not finding much on good old Google, perhaps my search is too vague.

    If not, does anyone know anything about the Royal Mail delivery via sea, fishing industry of this time or anything elese that may be relevant.
    Thank You
     
  2. Euthymius
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    Euthymius Member

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    There has always been illegal activity via sea, since the beginning of a classification of things as legal or illegal by the nearest civilization to that portion of sea or waterway. The most common shape this illegal activity takes is smuggling. The other is piracy, which is a rather loose term that can cover a plethora of different activities.

    Now, the "1950's era" is an extremely broad statement. What specifically are you looking for here? What ocean are you considering, in what part of the world? Oceans are obviously very large, and sometimes things happen commonly in one part of the world that almost never happen in another. I take it from your third sentence that you are in a Commonwealth country, which? Do you plan on focusing your story near your country?

    Finally, I'm not an expert, but I can't really imagine Royal Mail being delivered by sea in the 1950's. Airplanes were common technology by then, and there were a lot of them left over for government use after the Second World War. Other than that, there isn't much more I can tell you without more information from you as to what you are looking for.
     
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Air mail was in use in the 1950s, but you used special lightweight stationery and paid extra for the more rapid delivery.

    While planes were in use in the 1950, left over for government use after WWII...the B-29 had a maximum range of 3,250 miles, London-New York is 3,459...and most left-overs were DC-3s - max range 1,500 miles.

    Surface mail/sea mail is STILL in use...we still send parcels to Australia and have to make sure we've allowed the 3 months transit time, or pay double to get it there within a couple of weeks.

    To the OP. There has always, as @Euthymius says, been smuggling and piracy. It does depend where you want to set your story, and whether you want violence or sneakiness. Tell us more.

    How much do you know about the sea? Like, are you going to write unbelievable weather conditions or seamanship? Just re-watched Sleeping With The Enemy, and the sailing sequence was clearly written (and filmed) by someon with little knowledge.
     
  4. Platypus
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    Platypus New Member

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    Thank you for your replies. I should have given more detail, my apologies but my idea is still quite vague and therefore fortunately flexible.
    I am in the Uk, my story would be based in the Uk but the location is not set in stone. I was thinking of the activity being between the Uk and Ireland, America is a possibility too but I wouldn't rule out other European countries, if it was suitable.
    I will try to explain a little, my story is based on someone who works within the industry or at a port/railway etc and gets mixed up with the wrong people, helping them with their illegal activity. To cut a long story short a kidnap ensues, hence the ship needed and my characters would end up in a foreign land. I dont know much about the sea, I will admit but the sea wouldn't be my main focus point.

    I hope that makes it a little more clear.
     
  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    UK/Ireland makes me think IRA gun-running as a possibility...depends when you set it, Google "the troubles".

    If you can, watch Ryan's Daughter for general background...the marine scenes are very well done, and the storm when they recover the guns is really realistic. While the ships/guns/vehicles will change depending on era, the sea - and its moods - won't.

    Also, read The Golden Keel by Desmond Bagley...apparently based on real-life gold smuggling just after WWII.

    Also, Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie...based on the shipwreck in 1941 of a ship carrying whisky and cash. While not, in itself, illegal, there's got to be inspiration there!

    ETA: Or go to the original, SS Politician...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Politician
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  6. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    http://rms-st-helena.com/

    Royal Mail STILL delivered by sea. GSTQ,
     
  7. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Indo-China might be all good and murky for 1950s piracy story. Lots of Frenchies in the mix, or maybe Pied Noire, Algeria would be sexy gun-running? Nazis?
     
  8. Euthymius
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    Euthymius Member

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    Huh, that's really interesting. I was surprised at first, but then I realized how stupid I must have sounded in my first post. When mail was mentioned, I immediately thought of postage and letters, I never thought about packages. As a little-traveled, landlocked American, I know little about such things. My primary interest when it comes to history to small-arms and personal weaponry, so my knowledge about ships and especially aircraft is very limited. Thanks for enlightening me Shadowfax.

    Anyway @Platypus , the only other thing I feel knowledgeable enough to add is that the Irish Sea during the 1950s would probably have been very heavily patrolled. As I said, I don't know a whole lot about maritime history, but I would imagine that just post-war the Royal Navy would still be highly active around the British Isles.
     

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