Memories, section 1 …                                        

Ron Gouldbourne (pictured left) was a bellboy on Ocean Monarch in 1955/56.  These photos are his contribution and he wonders if they trigger any memories.  He says, “As you can see, we are all grandads now but still get together regularly to have a drink and talk rubbish as old men do! Between us, we have sailed on a lot of ships with many different companies but all agree our twelve month voyage on the Monarch was the best ever. We have fond memories.” 


He adds, “… a few of the names we remember include Capt Dunford, Staff Capt Armstrong, Chief Steward Charlie Acton, Staff Chief Steward Henry Latoy, 2nd Stewards Neville Buckley and Jimmy James, Writer Hugh Morgan, Head Waiter Pat Ward, Saloon Steward Charlie Butcher, Deck Stewards Dennis Eyles and Harvey Lane, Captain's Tiger John Gilmour, Commis waiters Jeff Edwards, Alan Oulton and Eric Rankin, and our two Bell Captains Phil Scully and Joe Hulme — great days.”

Below, recent photos of John, Jim, Ron, John and Brian

In a previous edition, Luke Smith asked for information about his grandfather, Edward (Ted) Pain, who served on Queen of Bermuda as Senior 2nd Engineer from 1961-1962.

Michael (Mike) Lawton remembers Ted very well and has provided  Luke’s family with a wealth of recollections.

Mike writes, “I had the pleasure of knowing Ted really well when he was Senior 2nd Engineer Officer (E/O) and I was Junior 2nd E/O. Certain memories never leave us in spite of our aging minds and Ted Pain was truly one of the most delightful people I had the pleasure of knowing. Ted joined Queen of Bermuda well after the Harland and Wolff major refit, the Senior 2nd E/O position opening up after Frank (Flash) Gordon retired as Chief E/O and became Engineering Superintendent in New York.”


Laurie Lawrence moved up to Chief E/O from Staff Chief E/O after Flash’s promotion and Ken Ancliffe from Senior 2nd E/O to Staff Chief E/O. Ted Pain joined the ship to become Senior 2nd E/O. Ted had retired from the sea many years earlier, having sailed as Chief Engineer – not with Furness Withy. He bought a pub. I think ‘pub life’ seems so attractive until you own one and Ted eventually sold the pub after realizing how demanding pub life is - working 24/7. His decision to return to sea service must have been difficult but the QOB Senior 2nd E/O job seemed to fit his requirements.  The position of S.2ndE/O had total charge of all machinery spaces, reporting to the Staff Chief and  Chief Engineer. At sea, he was in charge of the 4 to 8 watch – the Inter 2nd E/O took the 12 to 4 watch and the Junior 2nd E/O the 8 to 12. The Snr. 2nd E/O was the engine equivalent of Chief Officer.”


Mike Lawton

He continues, “Frank Gordon became Chief Engineer after joining the ship in 1952. Born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, he was typical ‘Geordie’ and was a ‘hell raiser’ in his domain. He was unforgiving for errors and sloppy work – I decided from meeting him in the beginning to never leave anything to chance, which paid off tenfold. ‘Flash’ was a nickname given him based on the comic hero’.  ‘Flash Gordon’. He had a phobia of ensuring the over speed trips on each of the four DC generators were proven to work in the event of a loss of electrical load. He personally witnessed these tests monthly. These trips were difficult to access and set, and often required up to twelve hours of labour ‘proving their reliance to ‘Flash’s satisfaction.”

Ted Pain

Primarily, engineers at Babcock and Wilcox designed two new boilers in the limited space of the former aft boiler room to provide sufficient steam power to replace the four old boilers.

The master plan also required the ship to be air conditioned – it is hard to believe in this day and age that passengers sailed on the ‘Queen’ in the discomfort of tropical heat – but they did.

The old forward boiler room was completely gutted and transformed into a new machinery space, housing new air conditioning units for the entire ship, de-airating equipment for boiler feed water, new G & J Weir P3 evaporators to make distilled water from sea water for boiler usage and hotel services, and new DC to AC alternators to provide AC 120 v to all accommodations. Yes, the Queen was designed and originally built with all DC electrical power and continued with DC power, which was transformed to AC where required. The immense task – just electrically – was an enormous undertaking, including replacing new navigation equipment, gyros and radios. Modifications were also made to the ship’s sewage system, which was treated before being ejected overboard. A senior and a junior sanitary engineer were in charge of this operation. We used to say ‘it was shit to us but bread and butter to them’.  

One day, these two gentlemen received a frantic call from the purser’s office to say, that a lady passenger, while answering the call of nature had dropped her expensive engagement ring into the commode and flushed. These two stalwart gentlemen immediately isolated that section of piping and reception tanks and commenced the not too salubrious job of looking for the ring. Several hours went by until the sheepish lady called the purser’s office to say that she had found her ring under a dresser. I don’t know whether she compensated the sanitary engineers.”



Queen of Bermuda in Belfast, 1961, for the major refit—seen here after her famous three funnels had been removed.     Photo: collection of Allan Davidson.

“New G & J Weir feed pumps were fitted in the main engine room to supply the new boilers. To support this new equipment, extensive piping modifications were necessary, in addition to miles of new cables and wiring.

The external appearance of the ship was changed from three funnels to one ( the space formally occupied by the vast exhaust casings from the forward boiler room allowed this space to become new accommodation). The ship was converted from first class and a small second class to all first class. Officers quarters were modified, new mess rooms and lounges were added and completely new equipment in the galleys (kitchens) were installed. All the beautiful woodwork throughout the passenger accommodation was refurbished, including new flooring. Those of us will always remember the highly polished decks throughout the ship with pride.”

Ron Gouldbourne remembers his time as a bellboy on Ocean Monarch.

Mike Lawton remembers Ted Pain and their time managing the engine room of Queen of Bermuda

“The watch by all second engineers was in the main engine room, where the main turbo alternators were situated along with associated auxiliary machinery. The boiler room was manned by 4th engineers and the auxiliary engine room by 3rd engineers.

Queen of Bermuda, when originally built, had two (forward and aft) pressurized boiler rooms (dual lock doors were necessary for entry). These boilers over the years required extensive maintenance and eventually became unreliable. Furness Withy management had a big decision as to the future of the ship, finally electing to take her out of service and spend a large amount of money to refurbish the ship.”

 The ship’s propulsion power was produced in the main engine room by two constant speed 7500 MW 3 phase AC turbo alternators. A sophisticated series of electrical switching, connected mechanically to steam valves, allowed the power as needed to be controlled at two manoeuvring stations on the main engine room switchboard. The power fed four 5000 HP three phase induction motors, each connected to shafting, which ran almost a quarter length of the ship down two shaft alleys to connect to four manganese bronze propellers. The electrical system allowed each propeller to turn independently, paired inner or outer and all together. The Chief Electrical Officer, Alan Watson, along with a staff of 7 Electrical officers, maintained all equipment in first class condition. Alan spent most of his career on Queen of Bermuda and retired full time in 1966 to Bermuda when she was sold for scrap. Alan passed away on the island, many years later.”

“It is worth noting that all new mammoth cruise liners are engined with diesel alternators providing the main power for propulsion. This demonstrates how far ahead electrically Monarch of Bermuda and Queen of Bermuda were for their time. Modern ships, however, have constant speed ‘pods’ in place of rudders, which eliminate large shafting and are obviously far in advance of the Furness Bermuda Line ships.”


A rare cigarette card of Monarch of Bermuda,                    shown here by courtesy of Roger Dence.

Captain Ian Saunders                               photo from collection of Ernie Barrow

“Jim Baston (left), a.k.a.’Grim Jim’, was the Mate (Chief Officer), later occasionally relieving Captain Ian Saunders (right) as Staff Captain. Jim got his nickname for his deep bass voice and by wearing a permanent scowl. I got to know Jim and his wife, Ann, well after he retired from Queen of Bermuda and took a position with the Philadelphia port authority as Asst. Stevedoring Manager and then Manager. Years later, we met at several Thanksgiving celebration dinners with Sidney and Pamela Vass. I can verify first-hand that Jim was not the ‘grim personality’ portrayed aboard the ship.  [Ed: Jim Baston is alive and well.  Please see news of Jim at the end of Memories 2].  Click here

I remember the incident well [Ed: to which Luke refers in his request for information.] when a permanent ballast tank under the auxiliary engine room became broached. This occurred as Queen of Bermuda was undocking from Hamilton on a Wednesday afternoon at 1500 hrs.”

“The port at Hamilton was small and after the ship transited ‘Two Rock Passage’, the standard procedure on arrival was to bear off the dock to port, then drop the starboard anchor at a given point. As the ship was assisted by tugboats to berth portside to, the starboard anchor chain was slowly paid out until the ship was safely moored. The chain lay on the bottom until departure on the Wednesday.

The undocking procedure was to heave on the starboard windlass – pulling the bow into the centre of the harbour at the same time putting the rudder hard to starboard and kicking the inboard starboard motor full ahead. This procedure swung the bow through 180 degrees and headed out through Two Rock Passage. Unfortunately, during this manoeuvre, the Mate (Chief Officer) on the bow, it is alleged, was too slow to pick up the anchor and the ship ran over it, broaching the empty ballast tank and causing sea water ingress. Soundings were taken and it was determined almost immediately that the tank was open to the sea. We were incredibly lucky the broached tank was a ballast rather than a fuel tank, which would have caused immeasurable problems with pollution and repair.

The hole was not large but had to be plugged. The ship’s carpenter took measurements for sufficient timber to make ‘shoring’ by using packing sheets and then built a cement packing box around the damaged area to stop the leak. Lloyds Register of Shipping was advised and the surveyor gave approval that the repair was a good ‘temporary fix’ to be surveyed frequently to ensure integrity. Jim Baston and Ted Pain did frequent inspections until it was determined the repair was successful. It lasted until the next dry docking at Cammell Laird’s Shipyard in Birkenhead, where I surveyed the damage prior to its permanent repair using an insert plate. The access plate beneath the auxiliary generators bilges was opened, ballast pumps kept the water down in the tank and Ted, Grim Jim and myself went into the tank to observe the damage”

“The engine room storekeeper, Kapper, (his correct name, incidentally) was a truly devoted man and had been with the ship for many years. He knew where to find every spare part in inventory, some in storage since the ship was first commissioned The position of Engine Room Storekeeper was the engine room equivalent of the ship’s Boatswain.  He reported to Ted Pain daily at 0600 during the middle of the 4 to 8 watch to receive his orders for the day. The position of Engine Room Storekeeper ranked as a Senior Petty Officer and was in charge of all greasers, oilers and unlicensed engine room personnel.  What a blessing this man was, capable of providing spare parts when emergencies arose. I seem to recall Kapper was single, had no close relatives and spent vacation time aboard the ship rather than go to his place of birth. His colleagues were his family and close friends.”

“During my two years of service, I know of only one delay causing the ship to miss one charter.  This became one big problem for the purser’s office, as they had to reschedule irate passengers on future trips. There were salinity sensors on all feed water entering the boilers. In a freak moment, a sensor failed at the same time a condenser leakage occurred, and we had salt in both boilers. Without going into detail, three days were necessary to fix the problem causing the cancellation of the next voyage. We had many close calls but generally rallied to save the day.”


Ted Pain

We are grateful to Michael Lawton for this memory  -  the views expressed are entirely his own.   If you have a story to tell send it by Email to


The accommodation where Ted Pain lived was excellent, consisting of four suites off ‘D’ deck shared with the Chief Electrical E/O, Alan Watson, Jnr. 2nd E/O, Michael Lawton and Inter 2nd E/O, Bert Mott. We had a pantry, which was attended by a Bermudian steward named Clarence Bean, a.k.a. Hollywood. Hollywood (right) was a wonderful alert and happy man, always smiling and ready to provide any food, beverage and service to us engineers. He got his nickname after he was auditioned in Hollywood for a part in a movie.


Jim Baston

November 2010

Photo: courtesy of Michael Baston

For Memories section 2, click here, section 3, 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.