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Author Topic: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)  (Read 1879 times)

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Offline John D Hobley FinstR

John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« on: Dec 29, 2017, 02:44 PM »
My name is John D Hobley MinstR.
I joined the QE2 at the age of just turning 17 in 1970 as an Engine Room Boy. This was following initial seamanship training at the Prince of Wales Sea Training School in Dover when I was just 16. (Another great institution sadly no longer in operation)
I still remember today, while at this very young age my parents waving me off ( I later found out with great pride but very concerned in joint measures with me being so young) as I flew out on a charted plane with the change over crew from Gatwick to New York to join the QE2 for my very first trip. I only ever worked for Cunard and only on the QE2 during my time at sea, as I was required to go back and forth to college in between sea time while I trained.
On my first trip though, I wouldn't see them again for 5 months when we returned to Southampton after our Caribbean cruising schedule.
It was a great introduction to life and one that I will be forever grateful to Cunard for giving me.
I know there was one Engine Room Boy before me from PWSTS but he left as I joined so, I often wonder if any more followed me when I left.
I do have a few pictures and other documents including a " Letter from an Old Boy" printed in The PWSTS magazine The Helm, that I wrote back to the PWSTS of my first months at sea. Also other documents of my time aboard. I would be happy to share some of these if of interest to help people understand how this great ship affected for the good, the many lives it touched during its life. One of these documents is ( and for the life of me all these years later I can't remember what it was about..!lol ) was my Cunard Flash Club membership book. I don't believe it was what your thinking..!  but I would love a memory jogger if anyone can remember what this club was..?
I was also very grateful to my Chief Engineer who allowed me to help man the launches when I was not working down below on watch, to enable me to see and experience many of the islands and ports, not to mention the much needed overtime payments..
My best regards and I look forward to sharing a few memories with you all..
John
« Last Edit: Aug 08, 2019, 10:35 AM by John D Hobley FinstR »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Hello everyone.!
« Reply #1 on: Dec 29, 2017, 03:58 PM »
Hello John, and welcome about this Forum! I am sure you will discover many QE2 memories here :) .

You were lucky to have known QE2 in her early configuration, which many of us would have loved to have seen...

Looking forward to reading more of your memories!

Take a look around, and feel at home here among other QE2 fans.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Hello everyone.!
« Reply #2 on: Dec 29, 2017, 04:22 PM »
Welcome John and thanks for writing your first post, which I am sure will generate a lot of interest from forum members. 

What an adventure, at such a young age to wave your parents goodbye and travel to New York on your own.  Looking forward to hearing more about your time on QE2. 

Rod, who was in the Engineering Department in the early 70's may know about the "Flash Club" membership book.
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: Hello everyone.!
« Reply #3 on: Dec 29, 2017, 05:40 PM »
Welcome to the forum John, looking forward to hearing your stories from your time aboard very early in her 39 years of active service.
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!

Offline John D Hobley FinstR

Re: Hello everyone.!
« Reply #4 on: Dec 29, 2017, 05:53 PM »
Thanks Thomas/Isabelle and Lynda for your welcome.
I did try and reply just a while ago but it seemed to fail to post.? not sure why but trying again.
However, I apologise if for some reason it duplicates..
It was asked of me yesterday how I found this site.?
Well it was while searching for early engine room pictures ( just for nostalgia ) of the QE2 when up came this web site on Google. I was amazed and delighted to find a whole site dedicated and so in depth to a ship I have always held in so much respect for what it taught me and gave me in terms of life experience over this years which has carried me through into my adult life.
I will enjoy searching through the web site for sure.
I have added a few pictures already ( hopefully in the right place in 70's crew memories ) and can add a few more once I find the correct post room to add them.
Thanks again for your welcome.
Bye
John

kevinh

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Re: Hello everyone.!
« Reply #5 on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:02 PM »
Hi John!

Welcome to the Forum. Like everyone else have already said, you are bound to share and learn many stories of the QE2 with other members. I'm only 15, so I have no idea still what QE2 was/is like, as I've never been on her before. The fact that you not only got to sail on her, but work on her, just one year older than I am right now, you're LUCKY.

It's my dream to get a scholarship with NOAA, and your story only further pushes that desire. Looks like I got someone new to look up to. ;D

Once again, welcome to the Forum, and I look forward to hearing more from you!
(P.S. You're the first new guy to know: I'm currently proposing a QE2 mini-series that'll be a spin-off of one of my upcoming FanFics, ModernTitan, which is about the Titanic II. Don't have a plot just yet lol, but when I get something, I'll tell you. One more time (que drumroll and stuff) WELCOME TO THE QE2 STORY!)

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Hello everyone.!
« Reply #6 on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:15 PM »

...........I have added a few pictures already ( hopefully in the right place in 70's crew memories ) and can add a few more once I find the correct post room to add them.
Thanks again for your welcome.
Bye
John

Thanks for posting your photos in the Gallery album.  Pictures can tell a story and your photos certainly add to your story about working on QE2. 
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=37

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: Hello everyone.!
« Reply #7 on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:31 PM »
Thanks for posting your photos in the Gallery album.  Pictures can tell a story and your photos certainly add to your story about working on QE2. 
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=37

Great photos and memories John!
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 D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #8 on: Dec 29, 2017, 09:07 PM »
Hello John - and a warm welcome on board
It's really great that you have joined us - and very much hope that you will find much on this website to make you feel well re-acquainted with your very own Old Home!

That journey you made to New York must have been long enough to make you wonder what the future might bring, and the memories that you have of working in the great engine room of QE2 must still be strong - guessing the noise was huge!

Happy New Year
Rosie
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 June Ingram

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Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #9 on: Dec 30, 2017, 02:36 AM »
Hi John and a very warm welcome to The QE2 Story Forum. We are very pleased that you have joined us. What an experience it must have been as a young man joining a young ship ! I am so very much looking forward to hearing more and to seeing more magnificent photos ! June  :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Rod

Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #10 on: Dec 31, 2017, 01:56 AM »
Welcome to the forum John. We must have sailed together, as one of the pics contains me.

trevorc

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Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #11 on: Dec 31, 2017, 02:57 AM »
Hello, John! Welcome aboard! We, all of us at the QE2 story forum give you a very warm welcome!

Online Twynkle

Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #12 on: Jan 01, 2018, 02:03 PM »
Hi again John!

Your photo of You on the edge of your lifeboat is Superb!
By the way, when did the QE2's Crew have to stop wearing the proper Sailor's caps hats?
(Or did they blow off!!)
Today, its just cotton navy blue peaked caps , no braid - and not half as distinguished!
Happy New Year to you
Rosie
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 Rob Lightbody

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Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #13 on: Jan 01, 2018, 02:11 PM »
I've just been looking through John's photos too and they're fantastic!  So reminiscent and a look back in time.  So many of your colleagues and passengers too either never took photos, or have lost them, it's great that you have yours and chose to share them, and your story, with us here.

Welcome aboard!
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline John D Hobley FinstR

Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #14 on: Jan 16, 2018, 04:14 PM »
Hi All. Sorry for delay in replying to some questions but after the Christmas and New Year it was back to work and work life balance taking over once again.. however, I will try and get online now and again to update and look through some of the very interesting sections of this great web site.

Kevin Hicks: Well it is so refreshing to hear of someone so young Kevin to be so interested in what the QE2 was like and what it meant to so many people.

Firstly, you should know there wasn't too many large ships around in those days so it was very prestigious to be working on the QE2 and my whole family where extremely proud of this young man. I too was very proud to be chosen at such a young age.

Also in the early days the QE2 had a regular trip log of Cross the Atlantic from about May to November then Cruising around the Caribbean based from NY from November to April ( can't exactly remember which months now but very close to this ) So we where in NY every two weeks almost in those days. Also the changer over would be a couple of days. On the Cross the Atlantic we would have arrived from NY on the Tuesday night then depart Southampton on the Friday. No such luxury these days for the modern ships in and out same day..

I remember for the first year or so, every time we made home port of Southampton I had family and/or friends waiting for a tour around her. We used to be able to get visitors passes so every home port call I would have to get a number of passes to take them on board. The same in New York too as we made friends there over time going into NY so often we could get Visitor passes to take people on board. everyone was always so impressed.. Sadly this practice stopped when the Northern Ireland troubles flared up and we started to have numerous Bomb scares. Some of which I will tell you about in future posts.

I will also post a picture of a copy of the first letter I sent back to my training school which they included in the School Magazine in the section "Letters from an old boy'' It will give you a glimpse of my first trip and what I thought was important to share with my old sea trading school.

I will also post one of my first salaries sheets once back in the Uk doing cross Allantic. Which makes for interesting reading these days and I wonder now how I ever survived on it.lol. This included as I mentioned before in my pictures I posted, with my being allowed to work ''overtime''  working on the passenger launches. ( only when not on duty down below ) My Chief engineer would let me do this 1, to help out, 2, to get to see some of the lovely islands we visited when cruising around the Caribbean and 3. to gain experience on these launches as they where also our life boats. So knowing how to handle them and get them on and off the davits was invaluable experience. It was also a great help in later life as I owned my own motor boat in Southampton and I used to follow the liners up the Solent water remembering I too used to be on those ships but now with my own son by my side just watching...

The route I took to start my sea career was to join the Prince of Wales Sea Training School. This my parents had to fund to start with. Once at the school, which was run on a military style basis, you where encouraged to write to shipping companies to see if they would consider taking you on and supporting your career from the school. I wrote to many and Cunard came back to me asking me to attend an interview and medical which I was so delighted with. Once I passed this, they then sponsored the rest of my training. I joined the QE2 as I said at 16 with Cunard flying me out to join her in New York. I had to do course work while at sea as well handing this into the Chief on a regular basis. After about a year of sea time experience I was then sent back to Dover in England to attend college where I once again studied. During this time I rented and shared a caravan with some of my fellow students that had previously been at the PWSTS and who had also returned from other shipping companies to attend college to study further. Most of them where with BP and Shell oil tankers.. which was a great help to me as I had little experience on diesel engines as the QE2 was all steam then. ( Apart from the aft emergency desiel generators but they where nothing like the engines these guys had been working on) So they would help me understand and gave first hand experience on such large engines which certainly helped me pass my exams. I too helped with the steam side but if I am honest I needed their experience more than they needed mine..lol.  When my studies had finished we were all sent back to sea and in my case I was sent back to the QE2 to continue with my sea time experience again also completing course work. Enough for now I think Kevin but will post more if people interested and good luck with the mini series.. wonder who could play me..?? Often thought of my own life experiences in a mini series or book ..? maybe one day.. however, plucking up the courage to tell ''all'' is another thing..lol

Rod. Well thats great to hear that your in my pics...thats very interesting so which picture are you in.? let me guess is it the Aruba picture on the beech.? becuase if so we only sailed together a short time I think..but interested to know which one are you.? Its a shame but I haven't met or spoken anyone since leaving the ship..

Twynkle: Hi, cannot remember too much about the hats except as you can see when going from Ship to shore we had to take them off as you can see from my picture I posted. But it was required to wear them as we where securing the boat and helping passengers off. I also remember that our summer uniforms often used to get sold after our long season of cruising at one of our last ports of call often Dakka I remember. We used to trade them for gifts to take home as we wouldn't need them again until next cruising season and we would have new ones then so surplus to requirements .. I still have the odd few carvings which my family now prefer in the loft..lol however I do remember a few of my friends trading them for parrots which to say the least was interesting in your cabin... thankfully not mine..just a few treasured carvings and such like..

For those interested check out in the pictures my first letter back to training school and one of my first pay slips..enjoy..

Offline John D Hobley FinstR

Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #15 on: Jan 16, 2018, 04:24 PM »
Hi As promised in my last post and for those interested, these are a few pictures on my journey to joining the QE2 from my joining the Prince of Wales Sea Training School in Dover, Kent, England which used to train young men to have a career at sea to one of my first pay slips.
Others would have followed a similar route. in deck or engine room careers. However, I would also guess not too many with Cunard as they didn't take too many young recruits like this too often in those days. The majority were sent out to join BP and Shell Oil Tankers or Union Castle line and a few with P&O.
Enjoy anyway.
« Last Edit: Dec 28, 2018, 10:22 AM by Lynda Bradford »

Offline John D Hobley FinstR

Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #16 on: Jan 16, 2018, 04:26 PM »
Apologies one posted twice so here is the First letter I sent back from the QE2 to my training school.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #17 on: Jan 16, 2018, 09:05 PM »
Wonderful memories, John -- what an experience for a young boy!

Looking forward to reading some more when you get the chance. You and your fellow students look so smartly turned out -- and what an excellent letter you sent back, no wonder it got published!

Offline John D Hobley FinstR

Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #18 on: Jan 17, 2018, 09:04 AM »
Thank you Isabelle for your comments. Re the letter I have to remember I was just a very excited 16yr old when I joined the PWSTS with my first time away from home.. but not homesick.. the adventure was to exciting to let me get homesick. I joined the QE2 in New York as I say just turning 17 in 1970..
Just to put some names on faces.
1. I am pictured with my late mother.
2. Group Picture at training school I am one with tilted head.
3. At the school recreation ground I am one on bottom left.
Thanks again for taking time to read it and hope it helps paint a story how we all arrived on the QE2 over the years and as you can see, it was in many ways and from all walks of life and at many ages.
Bye for now
john
« Last Edit: Aug 08, 2019, 10:41 AM by John D Hobley FinstR »

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: John D Hobley MinstR -- Engine Room Boy (1970)
« Reply #19 on: Jan 17, 2018, 06:40 PM »
Thanks John for posting a fantastic record of your experience on QE2 and at the Prince of Wales Training school.  This information is priceless and it is a privilege to read your story. 

I noticed there is a big reduction to the gross pay noted on the pay record, but I suppose the net take home pay would have been a reasonable amount for a young man training on the ship. 



 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com