Author Topic: Stuart Bradley, 5th Engineer from 1984 to 1988, mostly in the boiler room  (Read 1367 times)

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Offline Stuart Bradley

I joined QE2 in Cherbourg in September 1984 as my first ship following on my apprenticeship with Shell Tankers. It was a bit different from the 1958 steam-powered oil tanker that I sailed on during 1982!

The trip from Bournemouth International Airport to Cherbourg was "interesting" since the runway was a bit too short for such heavily laded 'planes. But got there safe and sound, and upon joining, got dreadfully lost. I couldn't find the engine room to report for duty. Some might say that I suffered the same problem for the next four years.
To start, I worked on the day-shift, on repair and maintenance. Not one of my strong points since I was not great at splitting rusty nuts, and have the scars to this day (and a bit of Arthritis too). I then doubled-up with Jimmy Hayes, who knew the boiler room inside-out, and was a very good teacher, and a likeable man. Going solo started with flashing up the starboard boiler, which must have had the most gentle warm up in a decade, and I took a full watch to get it on-line. This didn't stay like it, and I learned quickly.
The ship was much more complex than anything I had seen or heard of, but the most fascinating thing was the ship environment effects on staff and passengers - for example, the ship was so fast that on transatlantics we had a clock change every night - bearing in mind that the tankers I had been on did about 12knots, this was a revelation!
Anyway, I have a stack of photos that I will try to recover and scan, including some of the engines and boiler room.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

What a wonderful introduction, Stuart! You are very welcome in this enthusiastic forum, and we look forward to reading many more of your memories and enjoying your photos.

Many of us passengers too used to keep getting lost, and I occasionally overheard conversations where someone sounded really fed up about not finding their way around and decided they did not like the ship... as for me, I used to love exploring all the different ways of getting from A to B and building up a three-dimensional picture of QE2 in my head.

It amazed me to think that, away from the passenger areas, the crew areas would be as big again, with of course plenty of additional ways of getting lost!

I am sure that, after a few weeks, you had discovered all the fastest and most direct ways of getting to your workplace and (even more important!) the crew bars, dining room and your cabin.

Online Lynda Bradford

Welcome Stuart and thanks for posting your introduction.  Looking forward to hearing more about your memories and seeing the photos of your time on QE2. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Offline June Ingram

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Welcome, Stuart, to The QE2 Story and Forum.  We are delighted to have you here and thank you very much for sharing some of your experiences and memories with us.  It must have been terribly disconcerting to come aboard for the first time and not be able to report for duty in the engine room.  What happened then ?  I am looking forward to hearing more about your time on QE2 and definitely will be looking forward to seeing pictures.  You are definitely in the right place for all things QE2 !  June   :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Rod

Welcome, Stuart. I remember you well!

Offline Stuart Bradley

Hi Rod
Same - I remember that you supervised me flashing up the Stbd boiler for my first trip solo in the Boiler Room. I recall that it had been a few years since you had worked in there, and you were a steady hand for me.
Looking back, I realise now that the boiler room days were great experience, and really helped me transition to shore-side, and especially when designing ships systems because I understood the things that could go wrong and would!
Looking back, I also realise that the adaptability and invention we used to keep the ship going was invaluable. One of the things I remember was the brilliant work done by the Harris Pye guys - some of the work they did in the Boiler Room was incredible - I don't think that I ever had the nerve to crawl under the boilers like they did - especially at sea with the bilges sloshing around.
I'm still trying to find the photos. but promise to post them!
Best Wishes All