Can you help? Section 1 ...

We receive requests for information from relatives of former crew.  This section has been created to help them.  If you have any information to pass on, or wish to use these pages to trace a former Furness Bermuda Line crew member, please contact the webmaster.

Can you help with information about Les Walmsley, who served on Queen of Bermuda from 8 December 1956 until 5 November 1957?

He was 16 when he joined the ship and now his daughter, Sue Campbell, is researching her late father's early life.  Sue, a journalist who lives in Bristol, says: “Once I discovered Dad had trained at the National Sea Training School in Gravesend, Kent, a whole wealth of information opened up before me. I contacted Gordon Tumber of and he kindly put a small piece in the Old Boys' newsletter, The Masthead. As a result, I had emails from Ian Bray, Bill Cox, Allen Soares and Peter Manley. I was then directed to and read about the reunion.”

“Dad completed the Catering Certificate at the NSTS, leaving in October 1956. I have some of his Certificates of Discharge and the first one states he sailed on Queen of Bermuda. I can't quite make out the rating but it looks like Page Boy. I am glad to see his conduct was 'Very Good'!  The signature of the Master looks like 'Barnyards', again, quite hard to decipher.  [Ed: Most likely to be Captain Leslie Banyard who was in command from 1949 to 1958].

His second ship was
Queen Mary, from December 1957 until November 1958.  He then worked on a number of tankers and was a steward on various American ships from 1961 until he left the US Merchant Navy in 1963 and returned to
England. After my parents divorced in the early eighties, he went back to sea working in Florida on private yachts and later on support vessels in the North Sea. I think it was the place he was happiest.”

“He did talk a bit about his early years at sea and I have the impression he enjoyed them. He loved to travel and it is something my two sisters and I all share. I wish I had asked him more questions about it. Life at sea must have been a million years away from the dreariness of post-war South-East London. I think his only regret was having a tattoo of a ship on his arm — I wonder if the chaps who 'persuaded' him to have it done in an exotic, foreign port are reading this! If they are, I would love to know the whole story.

Dad died in1993 and it is only now that I am looking into his childhood, his sea training and the ships he worked on. I have just pieced it together via websites and old records, and my sister very recently gave me his discharge records and other paperwork. I am not sure why it has taken me so long to look into it all. I suppose I am now old enough to be interested in family memoirs - except he is no longer here to ask. I am simply interested in any recollections his crewmates (and officers) may have of him. I am very grateful to those who have already responded to me and hope this might stir a few more memories.”  For more on Les, see Memories 8.  Click here.

If you remember Les, please contact the
webmaster, who will forward all messages to Sue.

Les Walmsley, aged 16 in 1956

Les (right) and unknown friend  on a Bermuda beach

Can you help Geoff Greene with information about his grandfather, John Greene?

Geoff writes, “I found your website during my family history research.  Neat info and pictures.  My grandfather, John Greene (aka "Jimmy") was a steward and bartender on Monarch of Bermuda in the 1930's.  I have found some evidence that he was with Furness Withy as early as the mid- to late-1920's on other ships.  Any connections, memories, or other info would be appreciated.  



I realise this is a bit of a long-shot as your site is definitely for the younger generation.  I guess I was thinking you might have access to some historical records that might help fill in some family history.  Left is a picture of my grandparents John and Gladys Greene - maybe 1948.  From my research, he was on Monarch of Bermuda from about 1931 until about 1938.  These dates are from border crossing records of the ship's crew.  He apparently started on the ship as a steward and worked his way up to assistant barman.  They married in 1931 and remained together until he passed away in 1973.  She passed away in 1998 at 92.  I am putting together a little family history based on what my father and aunt can tell me.”   If you can help, please contact the webmaster, who will forward all messages to Geoff.

John (Jimmy) Greene and his wife, Gladys,  may be 1948.

Can you help Alex Webb?  Alex tells us “My father Wilfred Webb (right) and my uncle Frank Rendles served on Queen of Bermuda in the early 1950s as page boys, then stewards. I'm sorry to say they are no longer with us, father passed away this year. Some of your readers may remember that my father boxed for the ship in Bermuda and my mother has a poster depicting the fight.”

“I believe my uncle Frank Rendles is one of the members of the group photo (right), but I am not sure which one.”

My father and uncle were born and bred in North Shields, Tyne and Wear and both joined up at roughly the same time, in the early 1950s.  Unfortunately I do not have either of their Seaman's Discharge Books or other related paperwork, despite extensive searching within the family effects.  I know my father sailed on routes, which included New York, Bermuda, The Bahamas and Cuba.” 


Wilfred Webb  on his Mobylette in Bermuda in the 1950s

“An elderly aunt, my father's sister, has recounted tales of how my father used to entertain passengers with rather good renditions of Al Jolsen

After leaving the Merchant Navy, my father, Wilfred Webb, returned to North Shields and worked in a number of hotels, in particular the Grand Hotel in Tynemouth.  As regards my Uncle Frank, he later emigrated to Australia where he became, we are led to believe, a director of QANTAS catering services.”

If you can help Alex Webb with any information about his father, please contact the webmaster.

Wilfred Webb (seated front centre)

Can you help us find ‘John’?

Alan George says I am trying to locate an old friend of our family, the Owen family from Anglesey. Vera Owen was friendly with an officer that we only know of as John.

He worked on Queen of Bermuda, probably from the late 1940s to at least 1956, possibly longer. I have attached several photographs of him in the hope that either he, or someone who knows him, will see the photographs and contact me.”

We contacted Allan Davidson, who confirms that ‘John’ was photographed on Queen of Bermuda and was a navigating cadet. 

Allan added “I'd agree about the ship and the time period, as the black caps went out in the mid-50s, at least in the Royal Navy, and the Merchant Navy followed shortly after but it could it be a bit earlier.”


If you recognise ‘John’, please contact the webmaster



Shortly after, John Woods read the article in Sea Breezes about our forthcoming Grand Reunion and contacted this website.  

John (Woods) was a cadet on Queen of Bermuda  and Ocean Monarch from 1950—1952 and sent us two photographs in which a cadet, remarkably similar to the cadet in the images shown above, appears.  John tells us “His name is Petree and, although I cannot remember his first name for sure, I am sure this is the chap”. 

In the photograph (above), John Petree, on the left of John Woods, is sitting on the Officers’ Deck of Queen of Bermuda in 1951.

The photograph on the right was taken in the Cadets’ Cabin on Queen of Bermuda during Christmas 1950. John Petree is seen standing at the back, John Woods (left in cap) with cadets, Faulkner (front) and Hilton Lee.  The others in the photograph are a Quartermaster; a Master at Arms and two members of the US Navy Post Office detail.  The latter collected the US Mail each week, brought by the ship for the Naval Operating Base on the island. 


Photographs: collection of John Woods

Can you help  Chris Clarke find Geoff Mathias?

Chris recalls “I was a Warsash cadet in 1959 and served my time with Furness Prince Lines from 1960 to 1963.  I noticed Geoff in a photograph on your website (left — top of the pyramid)   -  he was a good friend of mine in 1959. 

In spite of much searching, I have not yet managed to trace him.  I do recall that his family lived in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and originally came from Beckenham in Kent.  The only picture I have is a cut and paste job from our 1959 Warsash passing-out parade photograph (right).  Any help in finding him will be greatly appreciated.

Photograph: Alva James

Photograph: courtesy of The Warsash Association and Chris Clarke, webmaster at

John Taggart needs your help ...

John (right) tells us “Came across your site by accident and, I have to say, that was a great story about Dennis Kelleher. I worked with Dennis in the engine room of Ocean Monarch in 1963 and also remember Ralph Williams 2nd engineer and Andy Moore chief engineer.  I met Ralph a couple of times when he was living here in Belfast and had dinner with Dennis on a trip to New York.”

“I have fond memories of those days and had loads of good photographs from my happy times on the ship and with the guys, but my house was burned down in Belfast in 1969 and I lost them all. All I have of me in the 60s is a family picture (left).  I was just wondering if any of the old crew members have, from that time, any that include me because I would love to see them again.”

Can you help John with photographs? Contact the webmaster.

Can you help Susan Clulow (left) with information about her father, Frank Clulow (right)?

Susan tells us that her father was Chief Steward’s Writer on Ocean Monarch   from 1957 to 1962.  He had also sailed with Cunard on Caronia as Engineer’s Writer.


She continues “He had a brain haemorrhage on Ocean Monarch and was landed to hospital in Bermuda but died two weeks later on 15 March 1962.  As there were no crematoriums on the island at that time, my father’s body was buried at sea from Queen of Bermuda”. 

Susan would love to hear from anyone who remembers Frank and has any photographs.


Susan says “After his death, we found he had a lady friend in Bermuda and a child, who would be my half-brother or half-sister. I would love to make contact with him/her and have asked the seafarers’ mission to try to find him/her.”  Can you help?

Susan, who was 17 when her father died, married shortly afterwards and deeply regrets that her father was not there to give her away. She relates “He loved the Cumbrian Fells and used to go fell walking when he was young.  Oddly, 50 years later, my auntie went up the Jolly Man mountain and, on the cairn at the top, found a woodbine cigarette packed under a rock, in which was my dad’s signature and date. She replaced it and it’s still there.”


If you have any more information on Frank Clulow, please email the webmaster

Can you help?, Section 2.  Click here.

Can you help?, Section 2.  Click here.