He began,  “I just happened on your website. Thanks for all the memories it evoked.   I was a wiper on Ocean Monarch in the summers of 1960, 1963, 1964 and 1965 on my vacations from College. I remember you [Ed: and I remember him too] well, gravely handing me my weekly pay packet of about $40.00 US a week and signing me on and off in mid summer as I was on “ Colonial Articles”, whatever that was.  [Ed: for crew not from the UK].

I initially got the job through a family friend, Mickey Rooney, who ran the British Merchant Navy Officer’s Club on 55th Street in New York and was a friend of the Chief Engineer, Andy Moore. They were memorable days of crawling in and out of double bottom tanks and boilers, sitting in the Pig and Whistle, listening to wholly improbable stories told in a polyglot of United Kingdom accents by shipmates such as Toffee Locke in 1960. Toffee had been torpedoed in both the First and Second World Wars. He had Iost the front half of his right foot and his friend, Abel Madeiros, delighted in pretending to pick a fight with Toffee at parties by driving an ice pick through Toffee’s shoe to the horror of any guest who didn’t know there was no foot in the shoe. Toffee would pull the ice pick out and say “ Trouble making b*****d, give me another drink”.  Later that summer, Toffee was sent back to England.  He had tried to hit the engineer who had reported him as “ drunk and Incompetent” with a wrench and was flown home to his native Newcastle.

Memories, section 3 ...

Bermuda continued to play a small role in my life years ago --- Mickey Rooney and I and some friends sailed a 44-foot sailboat there in 1966 ( all of us completely ignorant of how to sail yet we luckily made it ). The Customs Officer who let us onto the Island was Moe Edwards, who had been the Deck Engineer. When I got married in 1968, we spent part of our honeymoon in Bermuda and I took my bride to visit Abel Madeiros who was in prison there.

After Furness Bermuda Line closed, Blue Funnel Line hired a number of Bermudians from the engine room gang, Jimmy Rego, Abel Madeiros and Red Johnson for a voyage to New Zealand.   Abel was in jail in Bermuda because, after an argument, he shot Red Johnson at sea after leaving Norfolk on the return trip.  I had heard about the incident and felt badly because I knew and liked them both.  As my wife and I rode up on our motorbikes, all the prisoners lined the wire fence. My wife took one look and rode away. Abel was out fishing and I never did see him but the marriage has lasted for all the years since.”

 

Another old shipmate, “ Barbados “ Whitehead (left), worked, sort of, in the engine room. He was my cabin mate until one morning when the Bermuda police burst into the cabin and arrested him for bigamy ( i.e. a wife and family in Bermuda and a wife and family in his native Barbados). Bermuda threw him out and he returned to Barbados where he became the carpenter at the very posh Sandy Lane Hotel. I was in Barbados a couple of times in the early seventies and I would look him up and bring him a bottle of his favorite Mount Gay Rum.

 

When asked for permission to publish these incredible memories, Denis said, “Sure you can put my memories up on the website. My wife and children have long since tired of hearing them. It will be nice to know they’re reaching an interested audience”.

Interestingly, he also commented on some of the website content. “In that picture of the spectators at the football match [Ed: reproduced left], the fellow in front with the small black mustache was a Steward named Charlie. He was Maltese and he got married in the summer of either 63 or 64, which may have been the year of the picture.”

 

“Tell Ted Pain that “Flash” Gordon, his grandfather’s old boss, got his nickname not from a mercurial temperament but because of his tendency, in his active engine room days, of demanding that the engineers “ flash up “ the boilers no matter their perilous condition. I didn’t know Flash but you would see him around the engine room, looking things over, on Saturday mornings in New York. Flash had his neck slightly twisted over from arthritis or an injury. A friend of mine, Harry Botelho, from Bermuda, had worked in the engine room for Flash and always spoke well of him. Harry said that Flash was always encouraging him to better himself and get ahead. Harry later became a dock boss in St. George. How Flash was as a boss of the engineers I don’t know. The leading engine room hand on Queen of Bermuda at that time, I believe, was Stan Jones who I met just a couple of times.”

Since writing this piece, Denis’s wife, Kathleen Kelleher, died suddenly in January 2010.  His memories of her are included with his permission and, I am sure, readers will join us in sending Denis and his family our condolences.

“I just thought of Ralph Williams, a very nice guy, who was an Engineer in the summer of 63.  They had the great Tall Ships’ Race that year and Ralph came down to the engine room, found me, and told me to go up on deck and see a full rigged sailing ship we were passing. (photo right).” You’ll never see such a thing again” , Ralph said.”

Ocean Monarch, right, passing the stern of a fully rigged Tall Ship off Bermuda in 1963. 

Photo: Alva James

We are grateful to Eric Fear, a former page boy on Queen of Bermuda, for these photographs.  Eric is in the front row, second from left (below), and on duty on A deck (left), in front of the Ocean Monarch painting. 

Eric would like to be reminded of the names of his colleagues in this photograph.  Please let the webmaster know if you recognise anyone.

 

At furnessbermudaline.com, we receive some interesting contributions from former crew and this one is certainly no exception.  Denis Kelleher (left), a lad from New York, served on Ocean Monarch as an engine-room wiper during his summer vacations.  For those of us who remember him, it will come as no surprise to learn that Denis is now a lawyer with offices in Brooklyn and New Jersey (below)  His memories are priceless and he has given permission for the full transcript of them to be reproduced here.

I still see Alec Reay who was the Leading Hand of the engine room gang and has lived in Flushing, Queens since Ocean Monarch was sold. Alec came ashore to work at New York Hospital with Jimmy Tindle, who was the chief electrician when I worked on the ship. When I became a lawyer here, Andy Moore, who lived in New Jersey then, was a character witness for me.  We had a couple of parties at my house with Andy Moore and Eric Dinnet, the assistant Chief Engineer, who also lived in New Jersey.

 

 

A collection of photographic memories ...

A rare photograph of the purser’s office, Queen of Bermuda, in 1959.

Standing, left to right, Buck Taylor, Snr Assistant Purser, David Heenan, Purser’s Messenger, Assistant Pursers, Malcolm Sargent, Terry Miller, Keith Davies, Dave Harris, Bill Cox and, seated, Ray Gleave, Crew Purser.

From the collection of Roberta and Terry Miller

 

Furness Bermuda Line Cadets, Bryce Higgins and Ian Denton (left); Ian Denton (right), this time in ‘half whites’ or was it ’half blues’?

 

Photos from the collection of from Ian Denton.

Captain Ian Saunders (back left) with a winning Queen of Bermuda life boat race crew. 

If you can you identify any of the other gentlemen in this photo, please email the webmaster.

Photo from the collection of Ian Denton

A rare photograph of Bill Fryer (left) and his wife Nelida on board Queen of Bermuda in 1966.  Bill was Chief Radio Officer.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Walton

 

Another rare shot, this time of the Chart Room on Ocean Monarch in 1962 (below).

Seated at the ‘Decca Navigator’ is Emlyn Jones, Snr. 2nd Officer.

Photo courtesy of John Kirby

Ian Bray (left) as a Commis Waiter in 1962, taking a break behind the main buffet display in the dining room of Queen of Bermuda.

Photo from the collection of Ian Bray

The experience gave me lasting sea fever. On Saturday [Ed: 19 December 2009], my wife and our four children, (right) including our daughter Ellen who’s a reporter with the Financial Times in London, embark on our seventh cruise in the last two years, a Christmas cruise around the Caribbean.  

They were memorable times, with experiences and people the likes of which will never be seen again. I always particularly appreciated the friendly welcome of one and all to the one lone Yankee on board.  Thanks for reviving the memories.”

Remember Pier 95 ?

The familiar sights and sounds of Pier 95, at the foot of West 55th Street, are no more.  All that remains is a stone indicating where this historic landmark stood in the Hudson River.

Eric Fear (right) recognised the significance for us all with this photograph and we would like to start a section on photographs of Pier 95 in the days of Furness Bermuda Line and now.

Please send your pictures to the webmaster.

 

For Memories, section 1, click here, section 2, click here, section 4, click here, section 5, click here, section 6, click here, section 7, click here, section 8, click here, section 9, click here, section 10, click here and section 11, click here.

For Memories, section 1, click here, section 2, click here, section 4, click here, section 5, click here, section 6, click here, section 7, click here, section 8, click here, section 9, click here, section 10, click here and section 11, click here.