Author Topic: Committal of ashes  (Read 421 times)

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Online Andy Holloway

Committal of ashes
« on: Jul 12, 2017, 06:26 PM »

Not the most well known part of The Ship's Security Officer's role but still essential knowledge to have, especially of QE2.

There are many stories of incidents surrounding 'The Committal of Ashes' but i'll start with possibly my favourite, it doesn't involve me but had occurred on the 'Trannie' previous to my taking over in S'ton.

As you know east bound 'trannies' are/were 1 hour forward each night to achieve the required -5 hours before arrival in S'ton, this was every night for the first five nights so as to not loose that hour's cleaning time, prior to arrival in S'ton and Public Health Inspection.

Anyway so it was day 3 of an East Bound and the Security Officer - [SSO] - was up bright and early, 0700, to ensure that the Security night staff had arranged everything as per the usual routine.
This involved providing a table close to the opening windows on the pool deck, preferably on the lea side, covered with a The Red Ensign, flowers, cask containing the ashes of the deceased and orders of service for the brief committal service.

So SSO arrives and ensures everything is in order, then realises that he's left the orders of service in his office on Deck " 'H' Stairway, a 30 second trip away! The Night Security Staff have, by this time, gone of to do something else, possibly open a safe or something similar.
For those familiar with QE2 you will know that breakfast is served from the Lido and can be eaten either in the Lido or down on Pool Deck!

So SSO returns a couple of minutes later, but still before the Committal is due to start, having been held up with a phone call in the office. On his return he discovers a German couple sat at the table, merrily eating their breakfast, totally oblivious to the cask containing a former passenger's ashes sharing the table with them! They must have just thought that this was a very pleasant table, with a table cloth and flowers on to sit at!!!

SSO had to use all his tact and diplomacy to move them before the deceased's family and Captain arrived for the Committal!

This could be a lengthy thread!!