Author Topic: Bill Bailey, QE2 Carpenter, 1976-1990  (Read 3401 times)

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Offline Alan Snelson

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Bill Bailey, QE2 Carpenter, 1976-1990
« on: Sep 19, 2013, 06:52 PM »
Hi Bob, Do you remember me Bill Bailey I was one of the ships chippies, and I often did odd jobs in the dark room? I knew Tony Secker very well Christine and her brother Alan were also there at the time, another photographer David Ould I will always remember being very comical. I left the QE2 in 1988 and spent the next two years on the Countess,we had a great party at Dave Barnicoates in St Maarten. I Was with Cunard between 1976 until Dec 1990,
I finally finished at sea last year after serving with the Royal Fleet Auxilary as one of the last CPO carpenters.

Hello Bill Bailey and welcome to the forum.

I remember you very well and all the great work you used to do for the photographers, especially refurbishing Tony Seckers cabins!

Do you remember when you were fitting out the little kiosk in the new photo gallery between the Casino and Double Room? Tony flicked the ratchet release button on your screwdriver sending the tip flying out and shattering one of the large windows on Upper deck. It was a good job the handrail was there otherwise you both might have been sucked out into the mid Atlantic! I remember you had to close the area off for a while whilst you boarded it up until we got to New York where the glass was replaced.

Great to have you in the forum, I have no doubt you have some great stories to tell and we all look forward to hearing some.
« Last Edit: Jan 10, 2014, 05:27 PM by Alan Snelson »
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Rod

Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #1 on: Sep 19, 2013, 09:34 PM »
Welcome Bill,
I also remember you well!
What are you up to now?
Rod Fair

Offline Bill Bailey

  • Bill Bailey Chippy 1976 to 1988.
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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #2 on: Sep 20, 2013, 11:11 AM »
Hi Rod, I retired at 62 years of age last march from the Royal Fleet Auxiliaryso I have finished at sea. I am still very fit and healthy and have two houses to keep in good working order plus my daughters house in London which it seems has become my responsibility too ! I don't know how I used to manage that while I was at sea but I used to.i was cpo carpenter for 13 years with the royal fleet auxiliary possibly the best company I ever worked for at sea, got involved in quite a lot activity in the various trouble spots around the globe and  a reasonable pension to go with it. What are you doing with yourself now ? Do you still hear those pipes in your dreams - Niagra -Niagra ,and Starlight-Starlight!? bye for now Cheers Bill B.
« Last Edit: Sep 20, 2013, 11:56 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »
Wbailey63@aol.com
Christine was my my next door neighbor on 5 deck port side fwd never heard her there not like when some of the younger lads came back in the wee hours after printing most of the night.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #3 on: Sep 21, 2013, 12:07 AM »
Welcome, Bill -- so glad to see you here, and wonderful that you have already found shipmates!

I moved your introduction here, so that you have your own topic, where we can welcome you. I hope you will share with us some of the memories of your time on board and some of the QE2 stories that stand out for you.

How many carpenters were there on QE2 during your time? And what were the jobs that kept you busy? There was so much beautiful woodwork on the ship...

Offline Bill Bailey

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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #4 on: Sep 21, 2013, 07:59 PM »
Hi thanks for the help, there were 12 carpenters when I was there three on leave and nine on board.there really was quite a lot of work to keep us going,whenever there was a leak it was always a major job to strip the panelling out to get at the pipe work and replacing it again afterwards.We also used to replace flooded carpets repair and replace tiling it wasn't just carpentry work.I was the chief carpenter officially from 1982 until i left in 1988 to join the Cunard Countess until Dec 1989 when we were all paid off.
Reading another crew members account of a rough crossing brought back many memories as it's the carpenters job to take care of damage control. On one crossing the Bosun asked me if I had any caulking cotton,when I asked why he led me to the foscle to proudly point out the spare anchor protruding through the hull.we managed to stop the water leaking through by using softwood wedges and caulking cotton,the following day as I was about to have breakfast when Charlie the Bosun with a grin on his face informed me it was leaking even more than before,when I went to have a look there was just two holes,apparently we had lost the spare anchor sometime during the night.At the next dry dock the space for the spare anchor in the Bow was plated over and the cable race on deck was removed which gave the lads a bit more room for sun bathing.
Wbailey63@aol.com
Christine was my my next door neighbor on 5 deck port side fwd never heard her there not like when some of the younger lads came back in the wee hours after printing most of the night.

Offline Bill Bailey

  • Bill Bailey Chippy 1976 to 1988.
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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #5 on: Sep 22, 2013, 09:45 AM »
Hi, nice to hear from you
 Actually I had forgotten about that, poor Tony I remember now he was so upset about that but we all laughed it off at the time but those windows were a pain to replace,the window structure was aluminium and they were held in place with about 50 stainless steel csk screws which had been there since the ship was built so sometimes they took some shifting. We're you on board during a hurricane when we were crossing the Atlantic when the ship hit a big one and eight windows disintegrated in the Tables of the World restaurant four port and four starboard side, the gale force winds were incredible and just by shutting all of the doors to the restaurant it became so quite without more than a breeze,we managed to remove the fibreglass surrounds and install Marine plywood blanks to make it watertight then drop the window blinds .after a quick cleanup everything was back to normal . The rest of the crossing continued as usual.When we arrived in New York we replaced some with thick Perspex as we didn't carry enough glass to change them all.
Wbailey63@aol.com
Christine was my my next door neighbor on 5 deck port side fwd never heard her there not like when some of the younger lads came back in the wee hours after printing most of the night.

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #6 on: Sep 22, 2013, 01:55 PM »
Hi again Bill

The TOW windows incident rings a vague bell but I can't say for sure whether it was when I was on board or if I had just heard about it from someone.

The only big storm I remember was in Sept '78 when the Stbd bow observation platform was ripped away and ended up on the Astroturf under the bridge, so it might have been in that one.
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Bill Bailey

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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #7 on: Sep 22, 2013, 03:58 PM »
Hi again Alan ,are you living in Cornwall now and if so where ? While I was with the RFA I spent a lot of my time in Falmouth,when I was an apprentice between 1966 to 1971 I attended technical college there in Killigrew Street where I obtained  a Full tech certificate for my trade. Where Is Christine these days and how is she doing? Please give her my regards the next time you are in touch.
Wbailey63@aol.com
Christine was my my next door neighbor on 5 deck port side fwd never heard her there not like when some of the younger lads came back in the wee hours after printing most of the night.

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #8 on: Sep 22, 2013, 04:52 PM »
Hi Bill

Living in sunny Bude on the North Cornwall coast and have been here for about 12 years. It's lovely as I get to see the sea every day and often find myself wishing I was out there again. Falmouth is about one hours drive away so don't get there too often, we have had a couple of trips down there in the past though and it is a nice little town.

Christine is up in Manchester, she married a farmer and has set up several businesses from the farm and employs about thirty people. She still works hard for a living. I will say Hi from you when we next speak.

Interesting to hear from your first posting on the forum that you remember David Ould, he certainly was quite a character. There is a picture of me and David from the '79 world cruise anchored off Tristan da Cunha, its in the photo gallery. My main memory of him was hearing from one of the security officers that David had been found in the early hours of the morning, fast asleep in the midships lobby, curled up underneath the Grand Piano that used to be there. But then I recall he was rather fond of the champagne!
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Bill Bailey

  • Bill Bailey Chippy 1976 to 1988.
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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #9 on: Sep 25, 2013, 07:17 AM »
hi again Alan,
                   yes I remember David being found under the grand piano,I used to enjoy talking with him very amusing character, can your remember when the ship carried a collection of vintage cars in 5 and 6 hold for an exhibition in the states ? Tony,David and a lovely blond dancer + myself went down and did a photo shoot, I think I still have the photos,Glad to hear Christine is married and still cracking the whip! Only joking I actually thought she was good at being the chief when she was in charge. My daughter is getting married next year so I suppose I'll have to pay for decent photographer for the occasion.What do you think of Digital ? I think it's brilliant but I would as I was crap with my SLR.I suppose that it has probably cost the jobs of a few photographers aboard the ships though.Are Ocean pictures still running the show these days.?
Wbailey63@aol.com
Christine was my my next door neighbor on 5 deck port side fwd never heard her there not like when some of the younger lads came back in the wee hours after printing most of the night.

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #10 on: Sep 28, 2013, 04:30 PM »
Hi Bill

Sorry for delay in responding, I have a few other things on the go at the moment. Ocean Pictures photography concession was taken over by a much larger American company called 'Image' but I don't know when that happened. I am sure there must be someone on the forum who can fill in that blank for us.

Ocean Pictures never went over to digital as far as I have been able to discover. As for reducing the number of photographers on board I am not so sure, I don't know enough about production of digital photographs on that kind of scale to be able to say. From the little information I have been able to pick up there seem to have been at least five photographers on QE2 when Image took over as opposed to the usual four with Ocean Pictures. Whether that was because they took more pictures or just needed more hands I don't know.

As for my own thoughts on digital, I am still in two minds. Modern top end cameras are capable of some pretty amazing things and photo processing software can add a lot to the whole process too. Also of course, if you get it wrong you know about it right away, but for me some of the magic and mystery has gone, and it is not the kind of tactile thing it used to be. Although I enjoy messing about with images on Photoshop it is a bit like chalk and cheese.
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Bill Bailey

  • Bill Bailey Chippy 1976 to 1988.
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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #11 on: Sep 30, 2013, 02:48 PM »
hello again Allen,
                         Thanks for your thoughts on Digital , I have spent many evenings using photoshop and think it's a great programme and even I am surprised by what I can end up with.
Did you eventually marry someone from the ship ? I am still married to Kathy who worked at various jobs all over the ship, she left in 1986 when she was 7 months pregnant , the ships doctor nearly had a fit when she went down to the hospital for a checkup. We managed to stay on until Yokohama crew  leave but had a long flight as we got stuck in Anchorage for nearly two days because of bad weather. Thanks for the reply keep in touch if you can, Cheers Bill B.
Wbailey63@aol.com
Christine was my my next door neighbor on 5 deck port side fwd never heard her there not like when some of the younger lads came back in the wee hours after printing most of the night.

Offline Bill Bailey

  • Bill Bailey Chippy 1976 to 1988.
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  • Was a great life, never a dull moment .
Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #12 on: Sep 30, 2013, 02:59 PM »
PS. Sorry about my spelling Alan wrong ,I only realised after posting it.
P P S Kathy and I are going to a QE2 reunion on the 15th of Nov in Soton, Frank Parkinson has arranged tickets for us,I haven't been to one before but I'm looking forward to it Cheers Bill B.
Wbailey63@aol.com
Christine was my my next door neighbor on 5 deck port side fwd never heard her there not like when some of the younger lads came back in the wee hours after printing most of the night.

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #13 on: Oct 03, 2013, 05:29 PM »
Hi Bill

Yes I did get married to a girl from the ship, she was called Karen and came to work aboard as a photographer in early 81.  We married in late 82 after leaving QE2 in the April, sadly it only lasted for seven years before we split up. Won't go in to too much detail at the moment as I am planning to post the full story in another section of the forum when I have the time to sit down and write it.

Good to hear that you and Kathy managed to stay the distance, now you mention her name I do remember it and I am sure if I saw a photo of her I would remember her more clearly, but thirty years have rather dulled the memories.

Unfortunately I will not be able to make it to the reunion in November which is a shame as it would have been great to catch up face to face. Hopefully there will be another one sometime and I can make sure I am there. Rob has posted a mention of the reunion in the 'Get Togethers' section of the forum, in case anyone else might be interested.

All the best for now. Alan
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Willum

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Re: QE2 Carpenter (Bill Bailey)
« Reply #14 on: Dec 29, 2013, 08:41 PM »
 Hi Bill, Willum here, good to know your in fine form too, I married Sarah Deere-Jones the Harpist and we're now in N. Cornwall Self-employed. We are keen divers now and I wish we'd got our BSAC tickets when on the ship as I recall you ran the dive club. Anyway, thanks for all the help from the chippies shop, we always seemed to be coming there for favours.

Cheers for 2014
Willum

 

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