Memories, section 2 ...

Given that a commission lasted for eleven months, it was not unusual for serving crew to marry in Bermuda.  Below are photographs of three such wedding groups, a 50th wedding anniversary and a recent wedding.

Above — it is 9 August 1964 and the wedding party of Mike and Elizabeth East.  Mike was then Snr 2nd Officer, Queen of Bermuda.  Other shipmates are: (left to right) Bryce Higgins, Jnr. 3rd Officer; John Turner, Cadet; John Lawn, Jnr Chief Officer; Mike Westropp, 3rd Engineer; Marcus Salmon, the best man; Mike and Elizabeth. 

Photo: Courtesy of Graham Higgins from the collection of  his late father, Bryce.  Shown here with the permission of Liz East

The wedding party of Ralph and Betty Williams.  Ralph was Snr 2nd Engineer, Ocean Monarch. Shipmates that can be identified are (far left):  Bill Hanlon, 5th Radio Officer and Captain ‘Ginger’ Heys and, at the back, Alva James, Jnr Asst. Purser; Pete Hockaday, Cadet; Alan Duddle, Snr Asst Purser, Russ Urry, Jnr Chief Officer and Des Kirkpatrick, Snr Asst Purser.  Second from the right is the late Betty Charman.   Thanks to Bob White for the following names: Syd Clark, Chef; Moe Edwards, Harry McAleer, Snr. 2nd Engineer, and for dating the wedding as January 1965.  Andy Willats has added  Jimmy O’Connor, 3rd Engineer; himself, 4th Electrician; Harry Campbell, 6th Engineer; Freddy Mills; 7th Engineer; Doug Vietch, 8th Engineer and Terry Whittaker, 3rd Electrician.  Denis Kelleher has added Peter Cash, Engine Room Writer and John Taggart, Engineer.  Best man was Peter Stephens, Snr Electrician.  If you know any more, please contact the webmaster.

Many of you will recall that, in 1976, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work promoting peace in Northern Ireland.   Ralph and Betty’s son, Paul Williams, went on to play football for West Bromwich Albion and Northern Ireland.

Photo: Courtesy of Debbie Charman from the collection of her late parents, Eric and Betty

For Memories, section 1, click here, section 3, click here, section 4, click here, section 5, click here, section 6, click here, section 7, click here and for section 8, click here, section 9, click here, section 10, click here and section 11, click here.


50 Years…and counting  - 

On 11 July 1960, an assistant purser on Queen of Bermuda, Terry Miller, married a young lady (right) he met on a blind date at the famous Merchant Navy Officers’ Club in Manhattan.  On 11 July 2010, they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  This is their story, narrated by Roberta Miller, the young lady concerned.


“A very ordinary day in 1959 changed my life. I was 21 and employed as a secretary at a firm in Garden City, Long Island. Two of my girlfriends — Norma, a blonde goddess with a beautiful face and figure, and Rosemary, a petite, pretty ex-high school cheerleader like me, told me they had reservations to sail from New York on a cruise ship, Queen of Bermuda, for a week’s vacation in the sun.

At that time, cruising was in its heyday, and sailing to a foreign port was a real adventure and an uncommon occurrence for the average person. (How things have changed!) I’m not sure what Norma and Rosemary expected to find on the ship, but I’m sure they thought they would meet dozens of unattached gentlemen who would wine and dine them and sweep them off their feet. What they did find, however, were dozens of unattached gentlewomen who were looking for exactly the same thing!

What they hadn’t counted on was that Queen of Bermuda was filled with young, (mostly) single Englishmen who were working on the ship. These young men were in a position to see every passenger who came aboard and pick and choose those who appealed to them. They even had vital statistics on each one (age, marital status, religion, etc.)   All of this information was crucial to their ultimate choice of a date. Apparently, Rosemary and Norma fitted the requirements and were eligible for further investigation. Rosemary was ultimately chosen by Radio Office David Gillmon (left), and Norma was picked by Assistant Purser Ray Gleave (right).

After several dates, the girls excitedly told me of parties on board and excursions to the British Officers’ Club in Manhattan for drinks and dancing. It sounded like great fun. One day, one of the girls asked me, “Wouldn’t you like to meet a nice, young English gentleman?” Little did I know that simple question would change my life.

They had already picked out who they thought was the perfect match for me. His name was Terry. On the appointed night, the three of us girls waited at the foot of Pier 95, on the west side, for one of our dates to come and collect us. Down the gangplank came a slim, handsome young man wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and tie. One of the girls said, “Oh, here comes Eric.” I remember thinking, “Oh darn it, he’s cute. I wish he was my date.” He approached us, said hello to Rosemary and Norma, and Rosemary introduced me, saying, “Roberta, this is Eric.” “No—Terry,” he replied. I smiled and knew then I was in for a wonderful evening. Of  course, I never realized that wonderful evening would turn into an unbelievable 50 years!

One year later, we were married in Lynbrook, Long Island.

Assistant purser David Harris was our best man (seen above far right) and attending the wedding were Roger Bennett (right), and Colin Brewer (far right), assistant pursers from the sister ship, Ocean Monarch.

On Sunday July 11, 2010, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary (left) at our home in Lake Oswego, Oregon with 40 guests and family members.

Two of our sons and their families live in Oregon and our third son in Wellington, New Zealand (Terry & Roberta in NZ, right).

We are grateful to Roberta and Terry Miller for permission to publish their memories  -  the views expressed are entirely their own.   If you have a story to tell, send it by email to


We have six grandchildren (seen with the youngest, right) … all of this attributed to a blind date in 1959!”

Photos from the collection of Roberta Miller

The Bermuda wedding of Barbara, (below) the niece of Henry Latoy  (left — fourth from right), Staff Chief Steward, Ocean Monarch.

Can you help with the names of the wedding party?  Second from the right is Alva James, Assistant Purser  - who are the other ushers?  Contact the webmaster.

Photographs from the collection of Alva James

Items, Jim Baston is alive and well … and Lyndon Cooper remembers … have moved to Memories 8. Click here

Now it’s 2012 … and former Queen of Bermuda bellboy marries in Bermuda ...

When residents of Auckland, New Zealand, Ian Bray and his fiancée, Ruth Gardner, were looking for a wedding venue, they decided that Bermuda would be most appropriate.  Ruth has family on the island and in Canada. The wedding took place at the Peace Lutheran Church in Paget, near to the Bermuda Botanical Gardens.  As the service took place the day after the FBLA Reunion at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, (click here), Ian and Ruth’s guests included not only family and friends but also many former Furness Bermuda Line shipmates.

This is a pictorial record of their day. 

Photographs: John DeSilva, Peter Manley and Tony Roberts


Ian and Ruth Bray

Ruth and Ian with (left to right) William Welch, her grandson from Bermuda, Alice Bray, Ian’s daughter from New Zealand, Katelyn Braniff, Ruth’s granddaughter from Ontario, best man Allen Soares and, in front, Isabel Welch, Ruth’s granddaughter from Bermuda

The bride and groom with former shipmates and their partners

On the right: (left to right), Nancy and Sharalea Dempster from Ontario, Grace and Isabel Welch. Deb Braniff, Ruth,Katelyn Braniff and Miriam Wideman, Ruth’s half-sister from North West Territories. In front, Alice Bray and William Welch.

Ruth with her granddaughter Isabel

For Memories, section 1, click here, section 3, click here, section 4, click here, section 5, click here, section 6, click here, section 7, click here and for section 8, click here, section 9, click here, section 10, click here and section 11, click here.


We are grateful to Graham Higgins (son of Bryce) for sending us a copy of a press report on the wedding.

To read it, click here