A Tribute to the Swedish American Line
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Johan Jarekull

Hyttnisse, Assistant Deck Steward

MS Gripsholm 1969
MS Kungsholm 1971 - 1974

Page 1

(3 pages in total)

Johan Jarekull

I come from Örebro, three hours drive west of Stockholm, where I grew up and where I live today. My original birth place was Gothenburg but my father got a good job offer in Örebro, so we moved there when I was very young. The school start excited me as a child. Throughout the elementary and high school we were four boys that stuck together all the time as a gang of brothers. In senior high school we went separate ways however. My family and I moved to Karlstad where I got a high school diploma in business administration.

After graduation I was terribly tired of school, irresolute about the future and I wanted to leave home. By coincidence I found out there was a seamen’s employment agency in town. I went there and reported my interest. After a medical examination and various immunization shots I went to a photographer to get a passport size photo for my Seamen’s Shipping Book. I was instructed to await a call-up from Gothenburg. As I hadn’t told my parents anything about my plans they got mighty surprised when suddenly I received a letter from the seamen’s employment agency calling me in for a certain date…!

My first job at sea
Equipped with a passport and my cash savings I took the train to Gothenburg. It was a sunny summer day in June and I went directly to Sjöfartshotellet (the “Seafarer’s Hotel”) to book myself a less expensive room. It happened that I had to share the room with a seasoned sailor, an old ruffian…

Read the rest of Johan's story here...

Many thanks to Hans "Hasse" Gustafsson and Tommy Stark for compiling and translating Johan's story.

Please email us if you can identify persons whose names aren't noted below the pictures. If you recognize yourself or a relative, and in any way are offended by the picture being published, please send an email and the picture will be removed.

Please help us identify the persons in the photos.

Johan’s career at sea started as a night cleaner aboard the Swedish ferry MV Svea (1966), going between Sweden and England in the late 1960’s. The ship was owned by the Svea Shipping Company and Swedish Lloyd. She was renamed MV Ancona many years later when serving for the Blue Line in Split, Croatia, and was finally sold for scrapping in 2010.

At your service Sir/ Ma’am: Johan proudly at work on the Kungsholm with his tray under his arm ready to take orders for beverages on Aft Verandah Deck. Photo: Johan Jarekull.

Johan and his workmate Bengt Löfgren with a Kungsholm life buoy that Johan wishes he could have kept as a souvenir today… Photo: Johan Jarekull.

Deck chairs had a little metal frame for name tags as can be seen here. Assistant deck steward Henry Johansson (1974) is really not permitted to sit down with the passengers - but does it anyway, just for the photo. Photo: Ulf Berglund.


Two handsome young assistant deck stewards are getting ready to tempt their passengers with goodies from the afternoon tea trolley. Sten Hovne and Johan Jarekull. Photo: Johan Jarekull.

The postmasters are busy stamping and weighing the outgoing mail, quenching their thirst with a soda they just got from Barsteward Randy Morean.  Photo: Johan Jarekull.

Paquebot was a concept used for vessels that carried both people and post.

Detail of an envelope stamp “Posted aboard the MS Kungsholm, Swedish Amercan Line, South Seas Cruise 7.3.72”.  Letter from Deckwaiter Tommy Stark to his Swedish girlfriend Agneta. They have been married for 41 years (2016).


Johan Jarekull and Bengt Löfgren in the deck stewards’ tropical work uniform, white trousers and short sleeve white shirt, here onboard the local tender vessel upstream the Amazon River to Belem. The child in this photo was son of one of the Brazilian officers. Photo: Johan Jarekull.

Verandah Deck crew members autumn 1973.  Back row from left: Kurt Holm, Per Nordkvist, Bengt Hult, Leif Nyblom, South African florist, Randy Morean, Rune Hagvärn. Second row from the back: Christer Verner, unknown, unknown, unknown, partly hidden, Åke Sandahl, Inge "bar boy". Third row from back: Kjell Karlsson, Bengt Löfgren, Richard Glatz, Stig Arnot, Allan Persson, Johnny Pettersson, Tom Voss, Bengt Persson, Johan Jarekull. Kneeling: Ove Pedersehn, Hasse Andersson, Tommy Klang, Peter Baumgardt, unknown. Photo from Åke Sandahl’s collection.

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