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Author Topic: John Davies' Blog after 44 years service with Cunard  (Read 3744 times)

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Online Twynkle

John Davies (Johnny D) came to The QE2 Gathering on board Queen Victoria on 28th March and spoke about his career.  Before we left the ship on 1st April, he very kindly gave me this to post here on The QE2 Story Forum.

'John Davies Blog After 44 years service with Cunard Line.

On June 17th 2012 Cunard's long service awards were held on board Queen Victoria inside the Hemispheres Lounge. There were a total of 25 nominees - which equalled just over 213 years of service within Cunard! The Queen Victoria culinary team had provided a beautiful selection of finger foods, and the presentation was hosted by Entertainment Director, Paul O'Loughlin

Each individual honouree received their long service certificate and pi., as well as being photographed with their head of department. The finale of the ceremony was the presentation of the 2012 Long Service Award top John Samuel Davies for 40 years of continuous service with Cunard.

John made a touching speech posted after receiving his award, congratulating everyone present on their achievements and telling them that they all deserved a pat on the back. John said he was extremely proud to be receiving such an honour, and after 20 years was very happy to say he still stands by our motto 'We are Cunard'.

John Davies 44 years continuous service began on 15th April 1972. A miserable rainy morning in London, John had gone down to the British Shipping Federation(POOL) to try and find a job after 6 weeks of unemployment. Back then the jobs were posted on a huge white board, and among them the Queen Elizabeth 2 was advertising for 6 waiters. John asked if any of the waiter positions were still available, and though one was, the ship was departing later that day and he would have to hurry if he was to make the ship. Having secured this position, John quickly made a stop at home to tell his wife he was leaving, packed a suitcase and set out for Southampton. After being unemployed for 6 weeks, John was understandably in a bit of a money situation. In Southampton at the train station he was forced to walk to the Southampton British Shipping Federation, and then to South Western House for his medical, not being able to afford a taxi. Once on board QE2, after 6 tries, John managed to find a cabin bed that was spare, by the time he got to the Britannia restaurant John was already late as the meal had already started for the first sitting. John was given a short introduction to his working section by an extremely busy colleague. With no idea of where anything was, John set to work dealing with the 16 guests with also half their tableware missing, and nothing to eat in front of them. That first day, John worked until 1.00 a.m., making sure all his tables in his section were laid for breakfast. Even though John was so tired, he was just grateful to be working again for a living, and for a great shipping line, and on a great ship. After 3 days of exhausting working in the dining room, and starting to learn how to perform his job with ease in the best way he knew. John and 19 other waiters were informed they would have to disembark during the next call to Southampton. In those days, as the passenger numbers fluctuated, crew was also reduced or increased as they were needed. The policy was 'last in first out', and unfortunately John was one of the few that this applied to. However, stubborn, and unwilling to take this as a final word, John made such a fuss that he was given leeway to stay on board, but only if one of the expected crew members didn't report for duty. The rest is history.

John Davies was born in the East End of London in Bethnal Green. He was educated in London and began his working life as an electrician's apprentice. John began his sea career on the SS Mauretania in 1964 as a Commis waiter. From there, John expanded his knowledge in the catering industry on cargo ships and tankers, having to work long periods at sea with very short vacations in between contracts. John re-entered the cruise ship industry in 1967 and joined Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1972, with the lucky series of events detailed above. Since 1972, John has fulfilled many duties on board including Restaurant Management, Restaurant Training Officer, Assistant Accommodations Manager, Night Hotel Officer, and presently is Crew Housekeeper'.

(PS - If there are any queries, please send me a PM;
I will forward these to him.
 Thanks, Rosie)

6th Feb 2019  Edited.
John Davies has been in touch - he served with Cunard for 44 years, not the 40 as previously mentioned.
« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2019, 05:18 PM by Twynkle »
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 Adam Hodson

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Re: John Davies' Blog after 40 years service with Cunard
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2014, 06:29 PM »
A brilliant read. Thanks for posting Rosie, I'm sure the QE2 gathering was fascinating and I'm sure you enjoyed it. - Adam
"The QE2 is one of the last great transatlantic liners, and arguably the most famous liner in the world"

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Online Graham Taylor

Re: John Davies' Blog after 40 years service with Cunard
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2014, 09:41 PM »
I remember John well during our stint together; him as Night Hotel Officer and myself Night Purser. As I was tied to the Pursers Office, which maintained a 24 hr manned policy, I relied on John to visit various areas on the accommodation decks or the various recesses leading to the shell doors to investigate problems reported to me at the desk or by telephone. Creaking cabin bulkheads/deckheads, rattling sea valves in the hull or the odd empty drinks can left by a crew member rolling about in one of the recesses as the vessel encountered heavy seas was par for the course.
Hotel Officer/Purser 1987-1993

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Offline Adam Hodson

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Re: John Davies' Blog after 40 years service with Cunard
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2014, 10:46 PM »
Interesting that you knew him Graham, and thanks for posting this little story. You all must have worked very hard to keep the pursers desk running 24 hours.
"The QE2 is one of the last great transatlantic liners, and arguably the most famous liner in the world"

"QE2 and Concorde, a partnership that lasted almost 30 years... two stunning pieces of engineering, never to be forgotten!"

Offline Rod

Re: John Davies' Blog after 40 years service with Cunard
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2014, 11:30 PM »
I have known John Davies from before he became an Officer.
He was a joy to work with and talk to!
Also, through all his jobs he made sure that they were done to the Nth degree.
Had a problem that was not his...go to John...he made it his!

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: John Davies' Blog after 44 years service with Cunard
« Reply #5 on: Feb 09, 2019, 04:17 PM »
Twinkle has asked for this photo of John Davies and Captain McNaught to be added to the topic. 

Quote
Capt I McNaught and Snr 1st Hotel Officer John Davies at a Wardroom dinner, John was acting Wardroom president at the time .

« Last Edit: Feb 09, 2019, 04:38 PM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
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Offline Thomas Hypher

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Re: John Davies' Blog after 44 years service with Cunard
« Reply #6 on: Feb 09, 2019, 11:56 PM »
Great photo!
First travelled on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and travelled on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008 - we had the better view!

Online Twynkle

Re: John Davies' Blog after 44 years service with Cunard
« Reply #7 on: Feb 10, 2019, 01:48 PM »
Thank you to John Davies for sending this excellent Photo, it is grand, in every way.

About this Chair - Is this what is referred to as the Queens Chair?
Please, does anyone know if it is still in the Wardroom?
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php?topic=3259.msg60129#msg60129
 


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 Thomas Hypher

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Re: John Davies' Blog after 44 years service with Cunard
« Reply #8 on: Feb 10, 2019, 03:38 PM »
Rosie,

The Wardroom has been completely stripped out and is being converted into an "executive lounge" for those staying in the penthouse suites or for VIPs. Various items from the Wardroom have found their way into QE2's "Lobby" (the old cruise terminal she's docked alongside) such as the first RMS Mauretania's telegraph so maybe this chair is in the "Lobby" too?

Thomas
First travelled on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and travelled on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008 - we had the better view!

Online Graham Taylor

Re: John Davies' Blog after 44 years service with Cunard
« Reply #9 on: Jun 29, 2019, 03:54 AM »
I might be wrong, but I believe it was one of the items that was the property of the Wardroom not Cunard so someone exercised their right to remove it from the ship. I meant to have asked Ron Warwick when I saw him last month, but we got chatting about other things and it slipped my mind.