Author Topic: My time on the QE2 Acceptance Trial, 23 December 1968 to 2 January 1969  (Read 282 times)

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Offline Pat Newman

At the time I had the opportunity to help aboard the QE2 I lived in Brentford. Now I am happily retired in beautiful Bounemouth. I am in my 80s. I’m very much a ‘silver surfer’ and I have just found your site and thought you may be interested in my connection with the QE2.
 
I was on board for the Acceptance Trial Dec.68-Jan.69. I worked in the Print Shop. In fact I typeset the daily programmes and menus, so would have typed the ones shown on the website. The Print Shop 'boys' had attended a course I had given to learn their typesetting machine. They had so many new machines to learn that they requested some help, and this is where I came in. A daily newspaper was printed in the Print Shop (doubtless not needed now in these days of the internet!). After I had finished the typesetting I would go back to being a ‘guinea pig’ passenger. This involved being at certain places at certain times. For example, guinea pigs 200-400 (I think I was 480) may have had to go to the café in 1st Class at a specific time to get a coffee. The instruction to do this was printed in the daily programme. This was to ensure that the staff were able to cope with so many people at once should this occur on a cruise. There were many people such as myself helping the staff. I befriended a lady who was helping out in the telephone exchange.

I just wondered if I could provide answers to any unanswered questions! Please let me know. I have still quite a lot of memorabilia of the trip, for me a once in a lifetime experience. I have the 1969 Timetable ... I notice I could have gone on the maiden westbound voyage for First Class one way from £267 to £1608, depending on the accommodation! How times have changed!
Working in the Print Shop during the Acceptance Trials, 1968-69.

Online cunardqueen

What was your most abiding memory of that amazing trip.  At what stage of the day did you set up the menus  daily programs and ships newspaper ? and how long did they all take to first of all set up and then print . As a passenger in later years it was always nice to return to the cabin and find some printed matter under the door beit the QE2 times, Daily Programme, party invites , landing arrangements .

As a print shop was there anything that wasnt printed onboard, ie the little in cabin note pads ,  What about the official papers for shipboard use ? 

Im sure we all look forward to hearing more about the stories from the printshop and as well as being a Guinea pig passenger.  Did you have to feed any reports back ?
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Those are fascinating memories, Pat! I too would love to hear more and perhaps even see some of your products.

Did your trainees stay in touch afterwards, did you stay interested in QE2 and her adventures?

I love the idea of the "guinea pig" passengers, all numbered and given specific tasks. It just shows how much care and forethought went into QE2... and I do hope that your afternoon coffee was to your entire satisfaction! :)

Offline June Ingram

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Welcome, Pat, and many thanks for your very interesting introduction. I would really like to hear more about what it was like to be aboard then. Do you recall details about the food ? Did too many people ever show up at one time and overwhelm the staff ?  :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online Clydebuilt1971

Hi Pat and welcome to the forum!

Personally I don't have specific questions but just look forward to your memories of that voyage and how you felt at the time etc.

Gav

Online Rob Lightbody

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Hi Pat, and welcome!

Great to have you here.  This particular voyage I find fascinating, even more so since uncovering our slides last year.  Have you seen them?  There's a whole collection from your voyage - I am still in the process of uploading them.

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=207
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Pat Newman

Thank you to those of you who have commented, etc. on my first post. I have, today, looked through my memorabilia and will gradually send through anything I feel you might find of interest. A number of questions were answered in a letter I've found that I wrote to my mother and which was sent from Las Palmas when we docked ...



We are anchored off Las Palmas and staying here before coming home. Due to a couple of engine breakdowns we're not going further south. It is very hot up here on one of the decks - beautiful blue sky - been photographing all morning (have yet to find these photos!).
Work comes in flurries - worked all day until 7.30 last night. Worked nearly all day Xmas and Boxing Day. Dances and Cabarets, Bingo, Horse Racing, Films every night. Nearly everyone in pairs or groups but I've met a nice couple that I go to lunch and dinner and spend the evening with.
The ship is gorgeous but signs of bad workmanship all over the place - still a lot of work to be done, but every day new bars and rooms are opened. Edmond Hockridge is main cabaret star. Can just about find my way around now. We have to wear badges with our Guinea Pig number and do various things - eat in this restaurant, eat in that restaurant.
Am spending as much time as possible on deck today - keep ringing down to see if there's anything to do. Hoping to get on a launch for a trip round the ship today and take some more photos - not one of my Guinea Pig exercises but I'm hoping to wangle it. (I did!) Christmas Eve was gastly - nearly all the women were sick. I spent nearly all day sleeping and being sick myself! I was OK by next day. We 'dress up' for dinner every evening so am glad of my dresses. The press are coming aboard tomorrow. There are models on board and they've been taking films for BBC Colour Television.
It's really interesting but work doesn't do down well in this weather. They're having trouble on the machines, pity the other chaps aren't here (assume this means the printing machines in the Print Shop and the instructors they had had when they attended courses back in Acton. I was the only 'help' they had). Think they are pleased with my contribution. Everything's so rushed and they keep changing their minds. Am missing my lunch today - eating like a pig(!) - will be good to give my stomach a rest. Food great!
See you soon, from the beautiful sunshine - Love Pat ... PS Just had my photo taken with Edmund Hockridge, hope it turns out OK! (I don't remember!)



More than enough today I'm sure. I look forward to seeing the slides, Rob. Only have the Breakfast Menu and will send that over next time! Have other information which I can pass on gradually as I mentioned above. To those who organise this Forum please let me know if this sort of thing is too long. Thank You. All good wishes everyone.
« Last Edit: Jul 04, 2020, 01:41 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Working in the Print Shop during the Acceptance Trials, 1968-69.

Online Thomas Hypher

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Welcome to the forum Pat! Good to see a member who lives in the same place too.

Good to see QE2 fed her passengers to the limits right from the start too! The food always was a highlight onboard, and as you say, did get too much even on occasion! The first night of each voyage was often my weakness in this regard and in particular.
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.

Offline June Ingram

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Many thanks, Pat, for your post and it was fascinating to read your first hand account ! Please tell us more ! I am looking forward very much to your next post !  June :)
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Online Rob Lightbody

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More than enough today I'm sure. I look forward to seeing the slides, Rob. Only have the Breakfast Menu and will send that over next time! Have other information which I can pass on gradually as I mentioned above. To those who organise this Forum please let me know if this sort of thing is too long. Thank You. All good wishes everyone.

Pat - keep it coming!  A long as you like - knock yourself out.  I've tweaked your formatting a wee bit, hope you don't mind.  Reading your letter home, is like seeing the slides come alive for me, after I've spent so long looking at them, absolutely fabulous.  You might see yourself in one of the Slides!

So many things jump out - the mention of COLOUR television!

The mention that the ship is gorgeous I find interesting - you were young so probably the target audience, sounds like it hit the mark.  I'm sure not everyone agreed with you, in the same way that many people don't like new and different things now.

And the "bad workmanship" - do you think you literally meant that, or just that she was so unfinished in so many places?

AND YOU HAVE ANSWERED A BIG QUESTION FOR ME - Edmond Hockridge !!!  He's in lots of the slides!  I had no idea who he was, but knew he was "someone" because our photographer kept taking photos of him - THANK YOU.  (photo attached).
« Last Edit: Jul 04, 2020, 01:47 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Pat Newman

Thanks for getting back so quickly and 'encouraging' me to keep on chatting about the QE2 AT!
Yes, you are probably correct when you say 'did I mean that' when I'd written 'bad workmanship'. She was very unfinished, in fact so much so it was reputed there were 500 workmen aboard that trip. I can't confirm the number but certainly there were a lot aboard. They had to stay below the passenger decks. The only time we saw them was when they were allowed up into the lounges a couple of evenings to join in with the dancing. I remember that well as I was always certain to have enough partners to 'dance the night away' with!
I looked through the photos on the site you indicated. It might be news, and of interest to you, that the pictures taken with children and Father Christmas were not taken on board during that trial period. A short time before the trial began it was decided that there were to be no children on board. Possibly because they suspected problems before it set sail. In fact, my boss, who was due to go and help in the Print Shop, and was going with his wife and four children, had to back down. He didn't feel he could leave them at home over Christmas. Hence he offered me the job.
One last thing today ... I promised to give the Breakfast Menu ... this will make you hungry!
JUICES     Tomato, Oranges
APPETISERS    Pears, Oranges, Bananas, Chilled Grapefruit, Compote of Prunes, Compote of Rhubarb
SPECIALITY     French Onion Soup, Gratinee
FISH
Working in the Print Shop during the Acceptance Trials, 1968-69.

Offline Pat Newman

My time on the QE2 Acceptance Trial, continuation of today's 'post'
« Reply #11 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:34 PM »
Sorry, folks, I obviously pressed the wrong key ... here's the rest of the 'post':

EGGS              Fried, Boiled, Poached. Omelettes: Plain, Cheese, Tomato, Mushroom
GRILLS            Sausages, Grilled Tomatoes, Broiled Wiltshire Bacon
POTATOES       French Fried Potatoes
COLD              Assorted Cold Cuts and Salads, Griddle and Buckwheat Cakes, Maple and Golden Syrup
BREADS           Croissants, English Muffins, White and Graham(?Granary) Rolls, Buttered Toast
PRESERVES      Honey and Marmalade
BEVERAGES      Teas: Ceylon, China, Indian; Coffee: Full Roast; Instant Coffee: Sanka, Nescafe;
                      Chocolate, Cocoa, Yoghurt, Fresh Milk, Horlicks Malted Milk, Ovaltine
And then off course you ate again 3-4 hours later ... lunch! And again .... dinner!

Enough for today to digest I'm sure. Will answer some of the other questions another time.
Bye for now, folks. Pat
Working in the Print Shop during the Acceptance Trials, 1968-69.

Online Rob Lightbody

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We have more information on these trials in this topic

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php?topic=3802.0
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline June Ingram

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Many thanks, Pat ! Very much looking forward to your next installment !  :)

Was a lifeboat drill practiced ?
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Pat Newman

Oh dear, it would seem I have to start this post with an apology. I was very adamant yesterday that there were no children aboard the ship when it went on the Acceptance Trial. From the website you posted, Rob, I see that children were mentioned on several of the daily programmes. I have copies of all of these (having typed them in the first place!) and checked through them. On the first day, for instance, they children were instructed to meet in The Playroom at 4.30pm for a ‘simple competition’. I honestly don’t remember children being on board and, I assume, have always thought there weren’t any due to the situation regarding my boss and his family. Whether, maybe, the officers’ children were on board, for example, I have no idea. Maybe they were restricted to certain areas!? So please accept my sincere apologies for my inaccuracy. It would be interesting to know who these children belonged to and whether, indeed, there were restrictions for them. Do you have any other passenger/guinea pig on the Forum you could ask? I see Lisa was only 3 weeks old when she was aboard! But as her posts are 9 years old I wonder if she is still looking in on this site!?
I have made a note of the questions that people have been asking and will come back over the next few days or so with my ‘memories’ (but please bear in mind these answers will be only what I know for sure, and/or what my dodgy memory remembers).
You mentioned Edmund Hockridge, Bob. In the programme it indicates he performed several evenings in the Queens Room. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for instance. I do remember on one ‘dreadful’ evening he was singing and wandering round the dance floor and stopped at the table I was sitting at. He was singing a song which had a chorus line that people used to join in with. He stuck the microphone under my chin and indicted I should sing that line. A-I can’t sing to save my life and B-I was so nervous and horrified. Goodness only knows what came out of my mouth but I do remember him saying ‘Oh’ and turning away. NOT one of my good memories as you can imagine!
You may remember that the Queens Room was First Class. You will see from the programmes that sometimes the guinea-pigs had to go to First Class venues, sometimes Second/Economy Class. It would appear that that voyage was just ‘One Class’.
Enough again I’m sure. Goodbye for now and all good wishes to my ‘readers’ from Pat
Working in the Print Shop during the Acceptance Trials, 1968-69.

Offline Mona Robrish

Hi Pat - I'm new to the Forum, and so enjoyed reading your posts and all your wonderful experiences! Just one thing regarding the breakfast menu: I thought I remembered kippers being on the menu. They were my most favorite item to order for breakfast. If not on the QE2, then perhaps I am remembering them on another cruise line - shame on me!

 

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