Author Topic: Cunard before QE2  (Read 17036 times)

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Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #80 on: Jul 21, 2016, 09:15 PM »
Yet another insight into life on board! The late night cocoa and the noisy neighbours...

Glad you got to see them rehearsing, so you could picture the scene as you tried to drift off to sleep...

Offline Jane Crosthwaite

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #81 on: Jul 25, 2016, 12:48 PM »
I have not been on the forum for quite a while so have only just seen this.  Ron - I am Ronnie Bateson's daughter, Jane.  It was very nice to read your memories of working with dad.  He passed away 3 years ago and is very much missed by me.  I have found a couple of photos and thought I would post them as you might recognise some of the faces.  They are all from about 1967/68.  I also found a letter in amongst dad's things from an organisation in Japan who obviously travelled on the QE as prospective buyers (see photo of that trip also).  This has intrigued me and wondered if anyone can shed more light.  Assume the sale didn't happen if she ended up in Hong Kong as a floating university??

Indeed dad was on the Britannic before QE and he always had a great fondness for that ship.  Earlier in his career he was also on Queen Mary, Samouse (a liberty ship during war) and The Parthia I believe.  After QE he joined QE2 followed by Adventurer, Countess and Princess before rejoining QE2 up to his retirement.

Has been really interesting to read this thread!

PS.  Sorry, whatever I do I cannot get one of the images to post without being upside down!!

All the best, Jane
« Last Edit: Jul 26, 2016, 12:10 PM by Alan Snelson »

Offline Clydebuilt1971

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #82 on: Jul 25, 2016, 01:10 PM »
  Fortunately I did get a chance in my final year when I went out on sea trails with the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, that was a seven week adventure, my very first.  Do you think the Forum might have room for it?

Absolutely Ron!

Best post it in the "Ships" section!

Look forward to reading about this (and your continuing tales at sea with Cunard)

Gav
« Last Edit: Jul 25, 2016, 01:13 PM by Clydebuilt1971 »

Offline Ron Baxter

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #83 on: Jul 25, 2016, 08:46 PM »
Jane Crosthwaite, how very nice to hear from you, you are the first real link I have had to my Cunard days since joining the Forum.  I'm so sorry to hear that your Father, Ron Bateson, has passed on, I was too late with my little accolade but I meant every word of it, your Dad was brilliant to work with and he liked “Main Stop Tatties”.  When I joined the QE, in 1960, Northerners were in the minority, myself and Neil Parkes, a lad from Liverpool, were outnumbered by lads from Southampton, Portsmouth and Plymouth.  I never knew I had an accent until someone said, “Ay up lad, there's trouble at mill”.  Then the Company scrapped the Brittanic and some of her Engineers joined the QE, your dad being one of them, they were a great bunch, they had loved the “Old Britt.” but now she had gone.  The Brittanic's Senior Second was a man named Tattersall, Stanley Tattersall, “The Tatt”.   He was transferred to the Mauretania first where he furthered his reputation for cleaning up the machinery spaces, chipping off layers of paint and polishing brasswork etc. then he joined us and pursued his quest for the shiniest machinery.  Quite often on watch there was not a great deal to do so picking up a bit of cloth and a bottle of Brasso and getting stuck into polishing the many dials and gauges was a good way of passing the hours.  I began burnishing the main manoeuvring wheels and got really carried away with it, in the end they looked superb, “The Tatt” was really impressed.  Your Dad said to me “Mr. Tattersall is very pleased with your efforts, he thinks you've got the patience of Job”.

The photographs were wonderful, would have loved a few names, the second photo, the colour print, I looked at and focused on the man in the middle in white, that's not the Ron Bateson I remember, looks more like Willie Farmer to me.  The last photo, the one that was upside down was a real frustration at first, I tried standing on my head on a chair but it made me dizzy, then next time I came back on the computer it was right way round and there are faces there that I am sure I know.  The chap on the extreme right, the one with the receding hair line, could that be Alec Mc.Masters a Scots lad from Perth originally, a real shipmate of mine, the slim chap alongside him, Joe Le Blanc?.  Joe was originally from Barrow I met him in a Working man's club here in Barrow just after he had returned from taking the QM to Los Angeles, he was up here visiting relatives.  I crawled home later that night.  Is that my old mate “The Hood” next to Joe?, Ronnie Bateson in the fore there sporting the three gold bars of a Senior Second and I can't say for sure but that might be Ken Bartlett from So'ton peering in from the rear on the extreme left.

Jane, what can I say?, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.  Bloody marvellous!. :D

Ron B.   

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #84 on: Jul 25, 2016, 11:24 PM »
It's topics like this that make me so proud to have created this forum all those years ago. Thanks for making it all worthwhile for all of us, and taking the time to share your precious, precious memories.

This topic has been read at least 3223 times, and will continue to do so as people find it in future.
« Last Edit: Jul 25, 2016, 11:26 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Jane Crosthwaite

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #85 on: Jul 26, 2016, 09:55 AM »
I just love hearing your anecdotes Ron and like you, it has been a real thrill for me to be able to link up with people who actually worked with dad thanks to Rob and this forum!  It is indeed Willie Farmer in the colour photo - it was her final voyage down to Gibraltar and my mum is sitting on the table and also Mrs Farmer is amongst the passengers.  My mum travelled on her own on that voyage and was taken care of by the Farmers as by that time dad had left QE and was involved with QE2.  Am sorry that no names are listed on the black and white photo.  The chap to the left of dad looks a bit to me like Mike Blake but I could be very wrong.....

I also found a notebook amongst dad's things which seems to be some kind of manual put together by him and which extends to about 50 pages of notes and diagrams.  The front cover suggests it is connected to her final trip to Hong Kong but as far as I know dad was not on her for that voyage so am wondering if he put it together for use by someone else on the trip??  The writing on left hand side of first page is not my dad's handwriting and looks like a signature at top but can't make out a name?  It doesn't mean a lot to me as a non-engineer but find it fascinating, in particular the diagrams!  Dad never lost his engineer persona and used to meticulously record all kind of things in notebooks (even when he went on a holiday in the car he used to log the mileage and when he refuelled etc etc).  In fact up until he passed away he would always have a pen and notebook in the breast pocket of his shirt and would only buy shirts if they had a pocket for that purpose!  In retirement he made model steam engines (the kind you sit on the back of) and had a whole workshop in the garden.  He remained independent and living on his own up to last 3 months of his life and passed away just short of his 90th birthday.  Like you, he was a proud Northener (having been born in Eccles but his parents were from Lake District and Lancashire respectively) and despite living down South for many years he never really lost his accent or indeed his love of eating tripe which drove my mum mad as she hated the look of it!

Thank you so much for sharing your memories - there are so few around who can still provide an insight into those days.  They are a joy to read.

All the best,

Jane
« Last Edit: Jul 26, 2016, 12:11 PM by Alan Snelson »

Offline Ron Baxter

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #86 on: Jul 27, 2016, 07:17 PM »
Hi. Jane,
Loved that bit about your Dad enjoying his tripe, could that have been the secret of his longjevity?, myself, I think it's taking being a Northerner to the extremes, I don't recall tripe ever being on the menu of a Cunarder..  My Wife had an Uncle and Aunt who used to come and visit and stay for a while.  The Uncle was a tripe fanatic, he believed it had beneficial qualities, he was always proferring you a forkful at the dinner table as he tucked into a mound of the stuff, it tasted of “Bugger all”, if it was “Tripe and onions” it tasted of onions though most of time it just tasted of vinegar.  There was a humorous strip cartoon in the Daily Mirror during the early 70,s drawn by Bill Tidy that told the story of Sir Josuah Fosdyke, a Manchester Tripe Magnate and his family, I was a regular reader, I'd like to think Ronnie Bateson was too.

Ron B. 

Offline Jane Crosthwaite

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #87 on: Aug 01, 2016, 10:35 AM »
Ron, I have been reading through your stories on this thread and was particularly struck by mention of the amount of asbestos on board back in the day.  Dad was riddled with cancer at end (but strangely and fortunately had no symptoms and remained blissfully unaware until very near the end). The doctors thought it had originated in his lungs and it had certainly spread through whole abdomen.  I did wonder if any of it could be related to asbestos all those years ago - doesn't really matter as he was nearly 90 but even so it did cross my mind.  As dad said "something is going to get you in the end, nobody lives forever".  He was quite philosophical!   He also suffered hearing loss at some pitches which was also an engine room legacy.  Very tough environment - I recall going to see Queen Mary in Long Beach and standing down in the engine room and wondering what it must have been like for my dad and his colleagues, especially during the war crossing the Atlantic.  It can't have been easy to say the least.

Once again I have enjoyed reading your memories!

Jane

Offline Ron Baxter

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #88 on: Aug 01, 2016, 08:07 PM »
I 've scoured the family archives for the few reminders I have of my time with Cunard.  My I.T. Girl,(Grandaughter) has given me a crash course in putting up photos so I hope this all goes well.  There's me taking a break from Hotel Service, with Lower Manhattan slipping by our port quarter, again there is me in my “Whites” and just behind me, to my right, is the gate that the sailor gang never seemed to secure.  There's myself and Andy Reid an Electrical Officer,(The hesitant Scotsman in my story about facing up to the Chief Engineer actually).  Andy was a really snappy dresser, he had a collection of hats that Sinatra himself would have been proud of.  I remember Andy having to almost beat off a chap when we were ashore in New York one time.  The man was hell bent on buying the sports jacket he was wearing off his back.  There's an extract from the log for one of the homeward bound runs, these were issued for every trip, this run was in June, take notice of the weather conditions.  When you watch the weather forecast on TV and they show you the conditions forming out in the Atlantic well that's what we were punching our way through most of the time.

Ron B.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #89 on: Aug 02, 2016, 12:26 AM »
Great to see these, Ron!

And look at the speed of the ship and the crossing! Those were the days...

A question arises : are the days counted there 24-hour days (all counting done in GMT)?

And also : Does the counting begin at the Ambrose Lighthouse? The two hours to get there are not counted?

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #90 on: Aug 02, 2016, 04:59 PM »
Rough sea, moderate gale... 29 knots. Awesome.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Twynkle

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #91 on: Aug 02, 2016, 06:38 PM »
Rough sea, moderate gale... 29 knots. Awesome.

Exactly!

Hi Ron
Your posts  - including those of the photographic variety are superb!
Btw - did your wonderful ship have stabilsers?

Also you mention Mr Farmer - now sadly no longer with us.
However Denny his wife, is one of the 'cruise-mate's who we have met on several occasions - last on the 175th Anniversary.
(Just wondering whether there's a link with Denny Browns's)

Also "I spotted this - and thought of you"
http://www.ebay.com/itm/CUNARD-RMS-QUEEN-ELIZABETH-TWO-ORIGINAL-FLAGS-HOUSE-FLAG-AND-COMMODORES-BURGEE/112080036902?_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D37570%26meid%3D47f44df71b2c449aa56750e83ee08073%26pid%3D100623%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D112079907038

and!
http://www.ebay.com/itm/CUNARD-RMS-QUEEN-ELIZABETH-PARKER-PEN-DELUXE-PRESENTATION-VERSION-No-536-5000-/112079907038?

Wouldn't these look grand flying again!





QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #92 on: Aug 03, 2016, 12:09 PM »
Very good to put a face to the name behind all these fabulous stories, thank you Ron.

The two flags mentioned by Rosie in the previous post seem to have sold for US$1400 !! but the Parker pen has yet to find a home.
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Ron Baxter

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #93 on: Aug 04, 2016, 07:49 PM »
Hi Jane,
I was sorry to read that your Dad died of cancer, more than likely the victim of a deadly product we were not made aware of.  My own Father worked in the Shipyard here at Barrow and he too was a casualty, he died of cancer at the age of sixty four, just ten months before he was due to retire.

I wonder if that meticulous keeping of records was a Cunard thing?, I did it myself for a while.  Not too long ago I found an old diary which contained a record of running cost for a Mini I had owned,(Petrol 3/4d a gallon, 16p,?..............dream on).

Ron B.   

Offline Greg Rudd

Cabin A69
« Reply #94 on: Aug 05, 2016, 01:37 AM »
I notice that in an earlier posting mention was made about how Cabin A69 was rebuilt after a fire as a potential prototype for the Q3. Does any pic's of this cabin exist anywhere as it would be very interesting to see.

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,7210.msg79943.html#msg79943
« Last Edit: Aug 05, 2016, 08:38 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Offline Ron Baxter

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #95 on: Aug 05, 2016, 07:41 PM »
Hello Isabelle,
You've thrown the cat among the pigeons with your questions, to be honest with you I have just realised I haven't a clue how that figure of 29knots was arrived at.  I would assume the mileage figure was arrived at each day at noon when the navigation officers congregated on the both wings of the bridge shooting the sun with their sextants, (I think you can do it on a mobile phone now).  We cynics from the Engine Dept. would watch with interest,(Weather permitting) from our own little quarter.  From where we stood we could observe all the action, our comments out of earshot.  Sextants would be held up to the eye, adjustments made to the slidy bit on the side, then the instruments would be lowered, turned on their sides and peered at for some time, comparisons would be made with fellow navigators, some would have another go.  An assumed conversation would be started amongst our ranks, “What have you got?”, “I've got the same as him”, “That can't be right”, “Well they've both got that”, That doesn't mean it's right”.  We were Officers but we were having difficulty coming to terms with the gentlemen bit.  Give the bridge lads some credit though, they always managed to hit the three ports they were aiming for.  I remember a group of us standing up on the top deck watching the Queen Mary pass us by in mid ocean, she was quite a fair distance away from us when a mock, plummy voice came from the rear of the group, “I say Guns, do you think we could reach her with the six inch”.

There's another of these log extracts on the Cunard, White Star Line, RMS Queen Elizabeth 1938 to 1972 web site.  It's dated Oct. 63, it's west bound and the weather is even more foul.  Outward bound you ran smack, bang into it, they are recording twenty hours of reduced speed and still making 27knots.  There are also a couple of good photos showing the kind of weather that made you reduce speed and wonder “What the hell am I doing here?”.

Ron B. :'(

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #96 on: Aug 05, 2016, 07:55 PM »
Fabulous, Ron! Once again, the scene was right there before my eye...

Do you have many memories of encountering the Queen Mary in mid-ocean?

Presumably you were always travelling in opposite directions, never overtaking the other Queen?

Offline Ron Baxter

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #97 on: Aug 06, 2016, 08:33 PM »
Hi Rosie,
The QE certainly had stabilisers, if you were in the machinery space that operated them you would find they made a hell of a noise, the sound of straining hydraulics,  They were only used to correct rolling and that would be mainly on the homeward run, outward bound the QE ran into the weather and this caused her to pitch and cork-screw, the stabilisers remained housed in those conditions.  In the public areas our local hospital there are some rather nice Manufacturer's model ships, donated by the Shipyard.  When my Grandson was a toddler he always wanted to be lifted up so he could look for the place where the driver stood, (I told him that) and he loved all the little fittings, the cranes, the guns etc. particularly on the model of the old Cruiser, “HMS Newcastle”.  In one, out of the way, corridor there was a large model of the P&O Liner Oriana that HRH Princess Alexandra launched here in 1959, the model was made to demonstrate how the stabilisers work, you could see below the water line.  When you pressed the button, on the side of the display cabinet, the ship began to roll from side to side, you then pressed a second button, the fins extended, began to operate and stabilise the ship.  Myself and the lad made a bee-line for that model whenever we were visiting the hospital, the model eventually ended up in the local maritime museum, it has been rigged it up “Pay to play” and now costs fifty pence to operate.  My little lad is now twenty six and could probably lift me up to look over the models, we've more than had our fifty pence worth.

Ron B.

Offline Ron Baxter

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #98 on: Aug 07, 2016, 07:29 PM »
Hi Isabelle,
The two Queens were always going in opposite directions, that was part of the weekly service they were originally built to operate.  They passed in mid Atlantic, sometimes close too, the incident I mentioned in an earlier post, when we had a film crew on board, didn't happen very often, exciting though it was to watch.  I remember them passing at dusk one evening and they both lit up their superstructure and funnels.  They always gave each other three blasts of their hooters, if you happened to be on watch in the aft engine room you could hear the hooter and three blasts meant we were passing another Cunarder.  It was usually the QM but we did meet up with some of the other ships in the company from time to time.  We ran into a group of French fishing boats late one evening, we were just heading out of the English Channel, they were scattered about a bit, they had their working lights on so we gave them a treat and switched all ours on as we raced by.  In one of the first class public rooms there was an “Art Deco” mural depicting the North Atlantic and it had two ships on it that moved in opposite directions along individual tracks, one was the QE, the other the QM and they moved daily so the passengers would know roughly where they were on the Atlantic and where we were in relation to the QM.  I seem to remember they also ran a book for the passengers to bet on forecasting the daily mileage.

Ron B.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Cunard before QE2
« Reply #99 on: Aug 08, 2016, 12:46 AM »
In one of the first class public rooms there was an “Art Deco” mural depicting the North Atlantic and it had two ships on it that moved in opposite directions along individual tracks, one was the QE, the other the QM and they moved daily so the passengers would know roughly where they were on the Atlantic and where we were in relation to the QM.  I seem to remember they also ran a book for the passengers to bet on forecasting the daily mileage.

This daily mileage betting activity is mentioned quite extensively in the James Bond book I recently read, "From Russia with Love". I was amazed that Ian Fleming set the important closing chapters of this book on the Queen Elizabeth -- I wonder whether he had travelled on her, or whether his knowledge was all gleaned from other sources...

 

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