Author Topic: My time on the QE2 Acceptance Trial, 23 December 1968 to 2 January 1969  (Read 78 times)

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Offline Pat Newman

Hello again folks,

I’m nearly coming to the end of my story and thought I’d concentrate this post on my ‘story’, how I came to be on the Trial and why, and what I did whilst there! Most of these things I’ve been through in my earlier July and August posts but I will go through the gist of it again as I have been asked more questions on these subjects.

Why I was on the Trial in the first place, and why was I selected to go:
Cunard had bought their typesetting and printing machinery from the company I worked for at the time, Addressograph-Multigraph. Their typesetter was called a VariTyper 720, and this is what I operated when I was on board. The printers had come to Acton to attend a course on how to operate this machine. At the time, I had been their instructor. So I had met them all before the Trial and they knew they could count on me to help.

When it was time for the ship to sail they had asked for some help on the VariTyper as they found this a difficult machine to operate, not having worked as ‘typists’ before. 

My boss, Dave Gilbert, was asked to help in the Print Shop on that trip, and was going with his wife and four children, but he had to back down. At the last minute, he was informed that his children couldn’t go. He felt he couldn’t leave them at Christmas. Hence he offered me, his second in command, the trip.”

Reliving the moment, I remember my mother coming into the living room where I was lounging on the settee … “Dave’s on the phone for you”. She said. “How would you like to go to Las Palmas for Christmas?” he said. This was about a week before the trial – you can imagine how much of a rush it was for me to get things ready … surprising what you can do when the treat on the end is worth it, isn’t it?

What were my duties on board?
Whilst on board my duties in the Print Shop were to typeset the Daily Programmes and Menus.

I was Guinea-Pig No.480!
When I was not working in the print shop I became one of the ship’s ‘guinea-pigs’. Here again I have written about this before so will not bore you with it all again. The instructions for guinea-pigs I mentioned in my 9 August post.

As a general ‘passenger’ I enjoyed the great food on board. Went to the cinema on board at least on one occasion. Every evening attended the dance, or concert, or whatever was on in the Queens Room. Walked around the decks during the day, doubtless looked overboard and watched the world and the sea go by. But I have to be honest such things have not remained much in my memory – I can’t even remember what the sea was like on that terrible Christmas Eve when everyone was ill. I remained in my cabin after I’d finished my duties in the Print Shop. And even there I was typing a bit and then running to the sink but at least I got the Daily Programme typeset, a task for which I understand I was given a definite ‘pat on the back’ (if you pardon the pun!).

I will leave it here for today but, to whet your appetites, I have quite a few newspaper cuttings, and have sorted them out for my next post, so it won’t be so long coming through.

(I haven’t forgotten … I am still working on sending over some photos of my collection of bits and pieces. I am playing with the computer, trying to produce decent copies to post, and getting them from iPad, to computer, to paper in a state worth viewing, is proving to be a trial. (There are times when I could throw one or other out of the window!)  So please bear with me.)

Working in the Print Shop during the Acceptance Trials, 1968-69.


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