From South Africa, we have received a series of photos taken by inter alia. Edwin Cook. Edwin Cook was Mike's father and was the one with the last board of the Union Whaling. The pictures show scenes from Durban and from Abraham Larsen eksepdisjoner in the Southern Ocean.
My father took some of the photos but instructed a number of others to take the photos for him, such as Arndt Karlsen, Anders Arvesen and others.
Edwin “Ted” Cook was a junior partner in an influential financial company called Unit Securities and Trust Company at the Johannesburg stock exchange. He was captured by Erwin Rommel in what is now Libya a short time before the battle of El Alamein. Rommel sent him to a POW camp outside Frankfurt and he remained there until he was liberated in 1945.
returned to Unit Securities & Trust and was then appointed as General Manager and subsequently Managing Director of The Board Of Executors, who were what in todays terms would be called Asset managers and investment activities. In 1948 Unit Securities invested in and bought the majority shares in The Union Whaling Company. In addition to his other Unit Securities functions Ted was appointed General manager and Director of Unon Whaling and moved to Durban to fulfil this task. Subsequently when A.E Larsen retired from the company Ted became the Managing Director.
He was Hands –On in all the financial and expenditure activities of Union Whaling and controlled all the administrative activities of the company, firstly from their Smith Street offices, then he built the Maydon Wharf office block where the catchers were berthed. He did the admin and financial control off all the activities such as the shipyard works, the foundry, steel works blacksmith shop etc.
He had a competent team of operations mangers to do all of the operational activities. His main workload was the financial, admin and policy decisions in regard to the two shore based stations and of course the Empire Victory [later the Abraham Larsen.] and the personell management of these operations. He did not get involved in the day to day operation of the stations and the Larsen.
He made sure he had the correct people in charge of the whaling activities.
Unlike most Norwegian whaling companies Ted kept the running of the company seperate from the actual whaling activities as he was essentially an asset and investment and administration specialist and realised that his forte was not the whaling operations themselves. He never sailed on the Larsen, but spent 2 days on her in Durban harbour when she was on her way south, and another two days on her return from the Antarctic waters. The factory ship reported on a weekly basis to him by wireless code on how the catching was progressing when down south, and, of course he was informed on a daily basis on the activities of the Union and Premier stations on the bluff
Up until Ted caused the new Head Office building to be constructed he visited the two Bluff stations about 3 or 4 times a year for half a day inspection. As I have said above he did not spend more than a few days twice a year on the factory ship whist she was in Durban Harbour. Ted never went on the catchers except once a year when he took a party of guests out on one of the bigger catchers for a half day cruise off the Durban coastline.
He built the new Premier Head Office building as the old Maydon Wharf site was on lease from the Harbour authorities and they wanted the site back. The catchers however remained as did the engineering works.
The other task Ted did was the negotiation and sale of all the oil and by-products on the London market on a yearly basis, which was a pretty critical function
My father retired from Unit Securities and Union Whaling about two years after the sale of the Larsen and the bigger catchers to the Japanese and he retired to go farming in the Mpumalanga bushvelt region near a town called Nelspruit until he passed away in 1980
My brother and I were able to use our fathers position to enjoy all our free time on either the factory ship or on the catchers.
As we no longer had a position in Union Whaling after Ted’s retirement, my brother went into the travel business and I somehow ended up in the sardine/pilchard fishmeal and oil business. But that’s another story.