Author Topic: Cunard Staff Captains  (Read 3460 times)

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Offline CAP

Cunard Staff Captains
« on: Sep 30, 2013, 06:10 PM »
On our recent cruise on QV, the Captain kept referring to his next in command as the Deputy Captain. Nothing to unusual on the face of it but previously, the second in command was referred to as the Staff Captain.  I don't have anything regarding the reason for change, but it could be a simple matter of harmonising the roles across the Carnival Group.  If so, it is probably another example of the dilution of Cunard as I did read somewhere that the company actually pioneered the position.

Offline Rod

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #1 on: Sep 30, 2013, 09:41 PM »
Cap...I believe Cunard did start that position.
Many "modern" companies felt that the term "Staff" did not convey the fact that that the position was actually held by the second in command.
Also do not forget that at one time the Captain was the ONLY person on board to wear 4 stripes too.
The Staff Captain did in fact fulfill the role of the title, the loggings and flogging, crew inspections, chairperson of various committees etc, as the ship became less of a ship and more of a business.
Even when I was on board, the Staff Chief was also known as Deputy Chief and over time "Staff" was used less and less.

Offline riskygizmo

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #2 on: Oct 01, 2013, 01:36 PM »
Before Dad joined QE2,  he'd been "Deputy Chief" on the Princess, and before that, the Adventurer so the title must date back to the early to mid 70s.He still refers to "Staff Chief" when he talks about his days as a junior, though.

Another change in nomenclature is the emergence of the "First Engineer"  to describe the 3rd most senior Engineer.Traditionally he would be the "Senior Second" or the "Walking Second".
Full Away on Passage.

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #3 on: Oct 01, 2013, 05:23 PM »
I have mentioned somewhere in another topic, about how Cunard introduced the role of 'Executive Captain' in the early '80s.

I think that this position was first held by Doug Ridley who at the time held the rank of Captain, and then by Harvey Smith who held the rank of Staff Captain, although I might have got them back to front.

I know the role was mainly administrative, to leave the Captain free to concentrate on nautical matters, but where would the 'Executive Captain' fit in with regard to the chain of command as there was still a Staff Captain involved at the same time as well.

I understand that the position was later held by several others who had been neither Captain or Staff Captain, amongst them Terry Conroy who, when I was on board, was the Executive Cruise Director based in New York, so I assume that Cunard decided that it was not necessary to have someone from a deck officer type of background in that position.
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Rod

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #4 on: Oct 01, 2013, 10:04 PM »
The title Executive Captain?????? Don't know which brain box thought that one up! Was later changed to General Manager.
It was thought that possibly the Captain should be relieved of some of the operational duties that were begining to bog him down.  Also, Cunard wanted to make the ships more responsible for their fates as it were. Engine problems, ship delayed, which port should we cancel, can we get the stores somewhere else, are we liable for compensating pax and bus companies etc. It was decided for the most part to let the ships management handle it...OH yes Union negotiations as well!
Did it work???? I honestly have no idea on that! Way above my paygrade!

Offline June Ingram

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Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #5 on: Oct 03, 2013, 04:14 PM »
Hi All - Does anyone know of an officers' hierarchy chart from 1969 when QE2 went into service and another from 2008 for her ?  Thank you !
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline holynougat

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #6 on: Oct 04, 2013, 10:59 AM »
The Deputy Captain title was reintroduced to flatter the egos of a few very vocal 'Staff Captains' in the Carnival UK fleet.
The idea that 'no one knew what the Staff Captain was' is ridiculous.
The titles and job descriptions in Cunard changed every couple of years - I literally do not have the time to list all of the changes that have happened in the last 12 years.

Offline Andy Holloway

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #7 on: Mar 31, 2021, 05:57 PM »
As this is the only place i can find any reference to Cunard Staff Captains and in particular QE2 Staff Captains here goes.

This Friday 2nd April 2021 sees the retirement of Captain Chris WELLS, who together with Captain Aseem Hashmi commands QM2 currently.

Chris WELLS was with me on RVS many years ago[1997] where we were the only two British Deck/Tech Officers on a mainly Scandinavian Officered ship. Over the years he efficiently & professionally, made his way up through the ranks to finally achieved the 'Ultimate' as Master of QM2, the Flag Ship of the British Merchant Fleet. [Yes, i know that she's registered in Bermuda.]
Some of you may remember him from his time as Staff Captain on QE2 where he kept up the traditions of Cunard impeccably.

I wish him and his wife Hedda well in 'their' retirement.

A link to when he joined QM2 -

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #8 on: Apr 01, 2021, 10:07 AM »
Best Wishes to Captain Chris Wells on his retirement. 

I cannot remember him as a Staff Captain on QE2, but as he was promoted in 1999, he would have been on the ship at the time when I was a passengers on QE2 cruises.  I will have a look at the daily programmes to see if he is listed. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online skilly56

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #9 on: Apr 01, 2021, 12:41 PM »
Is Hamish Sunter still around?
He must be well overdue for command by now.

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #10 on: Apr 01, 2021, 07:29 PM »
Is Hamish Sunter still around?
He must be well overdue for command by now.

Hamish retired at the end of February/early March - a post was made by his eldest son on Facebook on one of the P&O groups.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online skilly56

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #11 on: Apr 02, 2021, 01:12 PM »
Thank you Thomas,
We sailed with Hamish on QE2 & QE, and with Christopher Wells on the QE and QM2.
Retirement age creeps up on us all, and although we don't want to go, eventually we have to swallow the anchor.

« Last Edit: Apr 02, 2021, 01:17 PM by skilly56 »

Offline Andy Holloway

Re: Cunard Staff Captains
« Reply #12 on: Apr 04, 2021, 08:54 AM »
Apologies all round, i'd got my dates mixed up and Captain Wells doesn't retire for another couple of week, the crew change was this week but the oncoming crew then have their quarantine period before taking over their duties.


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