Author Topic: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea  (Read 5803 times)

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Offline CAP

Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« on: Apr 15, 2012, 07:59 AM »
It appears that around 8:00 on the 5th May 1969 QE2 came to a stop whilst on her maiden Transatlantic Crossing.  Reason being to commit the body of a Mr Ernest Sharp to the deep.

Ernest Sharp had been with Cunard for over thirty years serving as a steward on both Queens.  It was his greatest wish to serve aboard the third.

Within an hour QE2 continued her journey.

God rest his soul!

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #1 on: Aug 23, 2012, 08:52 PM »
Would burial at sea have been the steward's wishes or was it common practice to commit the body to the sea?  Also is it still the practice to have burials at sea?
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
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Offline Rod

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #2 on: Aug 23, 2012, 10:20 PM »
Burals at sea where not common. In 20 years I witnessed 2 and 3 scatterings of ashes. One of them very embarrasing!
If the death has occured on board, then is an autopsy required, by the relevant authority? If the ships Doctor is certain of the cause of death then he may issue a death certificate and with the approval of the authorities then burial at sea may take place. Are suspicious circumstances involved?
Families wishes must also be taken into account.
If it is decided that a burial at sea is to take place then the body is prepared and and wrapped into "Burial Canvas", I kid you not, it is special stuff, with the traditional "last stitch" going through the nose, package is suitably weighted. Encanvassment is usually done by the Bosuns Mate assisted by any Cadets..."for experience" Yes Idid it!
 Burial usually takes place from a forward car door on 4 deck. During the service the Captain gives the order to "Stop Engines" Engine room has already been slowing down. Props are stopped, body committed and Full speed ahead given. Remember, that on a steam ship and a diesel for that matter,,,this costs an awful lot of money! Far more difficult on a steam turbine because, except in case of an emergency you cannot go from 28 knots to stop in a heartbeat without damage occuring, at the very least lifting safety valves....worst case warping turbines! Diesel electric totally different.
During scattering of ashes what would happen is that the ER would be given a verbal order to ignore telegraphs. Telegraphs would be put to stop, noted in ships log, engines stopped for interment of Mr. whoever, position noted, ER would ignore telegraphs, ashes would be scattered, telegraphs would be put
to full ahead, verbal order would be given to ER to obey telegraphs and all up to Captains Cabin for drinkies!

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #3 on: Aug 24, 2012, 10:00 AM »
Thanks Rod for sharing your first hand knowledge. For the young cadets being involved in wrapping the body it must have been quite an introduction to the realities of life at sea.  Do you know why there is the tradition of putting the last stitch through the nose?
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline riskygizmo

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #4 on: Aug 24, 2012, 11:29 AM »
Lynda,
as far as I understand it, the last stich was put through the nose as a "last chance" to revive an unconscious
but not yet dead man.
Full Away on Passage.

Offline Rod

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #5 on: Aug 24, 2012, 10:39 PM »
The last stitch, dates back to the days when sailors were "press ganged" into the Navy... i.e, knocked out and when they woke up they were at sea. Obviously many were unhappy. Some when the ship was near land, would fake their deaths and bribe a friend to put a knife in the burial shroud with them. They would hit the water, sink and then cut the shroud open and swim to shore. When this was discovered, the last stitsch was put through the nose. If a sound was heard.....you were not dead but soon would be as you would be tried for desertion! Then hung! Interesting live in the old navy!
« Last Edit: Aug 24, 2012, 10:41 PM by Rod »

Offline cunardqueen

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #6 on: Aug 25, 2012, 03:17 PM »
Anyone with a copy of C-Six by Dr Nigel Roberts..turn to pages 191 - 201..classic stories on this morbid subject..but they do make you laugh.
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2015, 07:38 PM »
It was required that a burial at sea was documented and we were called on to make a photographic record. I only attended one which would have been around 1980 but don't recall more than that regarding time frame.

The one I photographed, in the company of Tony Secker, took place on the three deck aft mooring deck. As I remember it was Captain Ridley who held the service. Unfortunately it is not an event which I remember very clearly beyond what I have written.
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2021, 02:31 PM »
It appears that around 8:00 on the 5th May 1969 QE2 came to a stop whilst on her maiden Transatlantic Crossing.  Reason being to commit the body of a Mr Ernest Sharp to the deep.

Ernest Sharp had been with Cunard for over thirty years serving as a steward on both Queens.  It was his greatest wish to serve aboard the third.

Within an hour QE2 continued her journey.

God rest his soul!

Burial at sea on QE2's Maiden Voyage of Mr Ernest Sharp.  Sad occasion on her Maiden voyage. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Philippe Spanner

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #9 on: Jun 03, 2022, 05:29 PM »
In 1969 I lost a friend to suicide when his shoes were found on the deck where he must have jumped, after receiving a ( dear John) from his girlfriend. I used to pick him up in my Morris J2 van to take him to the ship. I don't remember his name but I believe the ship did turn back to find him. I did see a burial at sea from an open deck, Was it my friend or Mr Sharp ?.
Phil Spanner. Joined QE2 while in King George dry dock during repairs to turbines in 1969.

Online Andy Holloway

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #10 on: Jun 04, 2022, 11:57 AM »
By my time as Chief Security Officer on QE2, burials at sea have finished, or should I say ceased, however I did do many committal of ashes both on QE2 and later when with Princess, P&O Australia and Seabourn. Between my opposite number on QE2 and myself we devised a respectful and dignified, yet easy to manage, system for committal of ashes, that I took with me to my later companies/ships.
Basically, we had a black 'sleeve' made which in effect was a cloth 'box' with no bottom and a hand strap on the top. When the Ashes Casket arrived at our office the ashes were transferred from the plastic casket to a plain biodegradable paper bag. This was then placed into a cardboard box, painted black with poster paint from the nursery.
On the day, dependant on if it was crew or passenger, the committal would be held on either pool deck/ 3 deck aft by the large swivel windows, or 2 deck aft/mooring deck. After the short service I would take the ashes in their box and hold them with one hand through the hand strap and the other underneath the box. Then at the time of committal all I did was take my box supporting hand away and the ashes dropped into the sea while the sleeve remained held by my hand!
There are a few interesting/amusing stories to add but they can wait for another day.
« Last Edit: Jun 04, 2022, 04:39 PM by Andy Holloway »

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2024, 08:53 AM »
It appears that around 8:00 on the 5th May 1969 QE2 came to a stop whilst on her maiden Transatlantic Crossing.  Reason being to commit the body of a Mr Ernest Sharp to the deep.

Ernest Sharp had been with Cunard for over thirty years serving as a steward on both Queens.  It was his greatest wish to serve aboard the third.

Within an hour QE2 continued her journey.

God rest his soul!

5 May 1969 on QE2's Maiden Voyage there was a burial at sea of a Mr Ernest Sharp, a Cunard Steward.
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Rob Lightbody

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Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2024, 09:05 AM »
5 May 1969 on QE2's Maiden Voyage there was a burial at sea of a Mr Ernest Sharp, a Cunard Steward.

Poor Ernest, a very sad maiden voyage tale.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2024, 11:09 AM »
5 May 1969 on QE2's Maiden Voyage there was a burial at sea of a Mr Ernest Sharp, a Cunard Steward.

It really is wonderful that we have stories like this in this forum. Ernest Sharp is remembered here, together with the ship which he never had the pleasure of experiencing at sea. May his ashes rest in peace.

Offline cunardqueen

Re: Maiden Voyage - Burial At Sea
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2024, 02:22 AM »
Quote
It really is wonderful that we have stories like this in this forum. Ernest Sharp is remembered here, together with the ship which he never had the pleasure of experiencing at sea. May his ashes rest in peace. 

Theres a most beautiful story in Nigel Roberts book C-Six about a burial at sea, to the effect of that body is all prepared for burial at the shell door and they decided to raise the platform slightly only for it to slip down and into the sea. The crew decide to get two bags of potatoes to resemble a body, at the appointed time the platform is raised and the body goes out, and the bystanders are left wondering did they really hear splash splash ! 
 The other one by Captain Bennel when ashes are thrown to the four winds and blow back and cover a Captain in ashes..... 
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

 

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