This website is for ships’ crew of the FBL— more than 40 years on.

Furness Bermuda Line: ships’ crew reunited

Ships’ crew now

Where are you now?  Please send your picture and profile (maximum 60 words) to Alva James


Alva (Al) James, Assistant Purser, Queen of Bermuda and Ocean Monarch, 1960 to 1966.  He went on to become a chartered accountant in the UK .

Al recalls the days on the New York—Bermuda run as “the time of my life. Friendships made then have lasted over 45 years and many more have been renewed through the internet.” 

Peter Manley, bellboy and steward on Ocean Monarch, 1962 to 1966.  Peter is now Managing Director of an engineering company in the north of England.

“Passengers were very generous with their tips”, he recalls, “and I was able to spend and save early on.”  Peter is one of the principle organisers of the grand reunion in May 2009.



David Gillmon, radio officer, Queen of Bermuda,1955 to 1966.  He went on to join P&O Lines, serving on Oriana  for 18 years.

“One of my memories is being given the honour to cox the lifeboat that carried Staff Captain Ian Saunders and his bride across Hamilton harbour  to their reception at The Princess Hotel.”

Des Kirkpatrick, Snr. Asst. Purser, Ocean Monarch, 1962 to 1966.  He recalls “A few years after Ocean Monarch was sold, I happened to be in Palermo and re-visited the ship, re-named Varna.  The crew asked me if I knew the whereabouts of the key to the Purser’s Office safe  -  they hadn’t been able to open it since they bought the ship!”

Ernie Barrow, steward, Ocean Monarch, 1965 to 1966 now living in Virginia, USA.  As manager of the Red Devils, the Ocean Monarch’s football team, he recalls with pride the team’s success.  “We beat some of the world’s finest ocean liners to win the coveted Atlantic Cup in 1966.  That was my World Cup!”

Ian Bray, bellboy and waiter, Queen of Bermuda, 1961 to 1964.  Ian now lives in New Zealand.

“Uniquely, three generations of my family sailed on Queen of Bermuda at the same time”, he says. “My grandma, Evelyn Shield (stewardess), my uncle, Jack Shield (barman) and me”.

Allen Soares, bellboy and waiter, Queen of Bermuda, 1961 to 1965.  A Bermudian, Allen owns a painting company on the island and maintains a keen interest in ships.  “I’m a member of several shipping societies and have put together an FBL slide presentation, which has been shown in Bermuda, America and”, he adds, “on the QE2!”.

(more …) 

Andy Herdan, Cadet, 3rd Officer and 2nd Officer on  Ocean Monarch 1961-1966 recalls "How could I ever forget my days on the Ocean Monarch? I met this sweet 16 year old high school girl on one of the West Indies Cruises and we have now celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary together. Now that's a lot of memories!!!” 

He adds, “I have never lost my love of travel and continue to roam the globe as a Business Process Consultant, based in Philadelphia, USA.” 

Joe Higgins, bellboy on Ocean Monarch 1963-1964 and a founder member of the ship’s pop group ’The Ocean Monarchs’, nick-named ’The Bermuda Beatles’.

Joe sailed on P&O’s Iberia as a first-class waiter and then spent many years ashore in sales and marketing until a business failure brought on four heart attacks forced him to retire in 2001.  He recalls his service on Ocean Monarch with fond memories of a wonderful time with wonderful friends.


Alan Duddle served with Furness Bermuda Line for six years as Snr Asst Purser on Ocean Monarch and also served on Queen of Bermuda.

Alan recently received a knighthood, from Her Majesty the Queen, for services to British exports.

He lives in Florida and Italy.

Ian Denton served as a Cadet on Queen of Bermuda during the 1964-5 commission.  He recalls, “I derived a love of ships and the sea as a boy, watching the great ocean liners in my home town port of Plymouth Sound.  Never did I ever imagine that I would serve in the greatest ocean liner of them all, RMS Queen of Bermuda. 

I later went on to serve in cable-ships but could never recapture those halcyon days with Furness Bermuda Line and left the sea.  I still have an interest in ocean liners and run a ship society.”


Dave Heenan served as Purser’s Messenger on Queen of Bermuda and recently contacted the website after he spotted his photograph in our Memories section. “That's me in the purser’s office”, he said. “I'm speechless, I can't believe this. Every now and then, something will trigger off a memory such as seeing a picture like this.  We looked good, didn't we?  My God, its a wonderful world.”


It will come as no surprise to his former shipmates that David Heenan became a professional stand-up comedian appearing in the USA on Comedy Central, ABC, NBC and at night clubs across the USA.  Ironically enough, he still works the cruise ships and, for a taste of his act, click here

Copyright: David Heenan