In the same month and year that former Cunard bellboy celebrates 100th birthday, Cunard will celebrate 100-years of sailing from Southampton.

Photo caption (Left to right): John Jenkins as a 14-year old Cunard bellboy on board RMS. Mauretania (1933) and during his recent visit to Queen Mary 2 in Southampton (2019) / Photo © Cunard Line, John Jenkins

Photo caption (Left to right): John Jenkins as a 14-year old Cunard bellboy on board RMS. Mauretania (1933) and during his recent visit to Queen Mary 2 in Southampton (2019) / Photo © Cunard Line, John Jenkins

Luxury cruise line Cunard has welcomed back one of their oldest living former crewmembers as he prepares to celebrate his 100th birthday in the same month that Cunard will celebrate 100-years of sailing from the City of Southampton.

November 2019 marks a century since the record-breaking superliner RMS. Mauretania inaugurated Cunard’s Southampton express transatlantic service; linking the Hampshire shipping hub with New York City.

Former Cunard bellboy, John ‘Jack’ Jenkins MBE, who recently gave a moving speech at the D-Day commemoration ceremony in Portsmouth attended by Her Majesty the Queen, HRH The Prince of Wales and US President Donald Trump, was recently welcomed on board Cunard’s iconic ocean liner Queen Mary 2 by Captain Aseem Hashmi MNM for a celebratory lunch. Whilst on board, the Captain invited Mr Jenkins to inspect the ship’s bellboys – to ensure they met the high standards of 1930s Cunard service.

Queen Mary 2’s crew easily passed the inspection, though Mr. Jenkins was quick to point out that working on board Mauretania was quite different to how it is today.

“I remember one of my first trips, when we sailed to the West Indies,” Mr. Jenkins Recalls. “When we would arrive in port I would then have to walk around on deck with a gong, as we had no tannoy system back then, and bang the gong and say, ‘All visitors ashore, all visitors ashore’.”

Born at a time when ocean liners were the only way to travel, Mr. Jenkins went on to join Cunard in 1933 as a bellboy and lift operator. RMS. Mauretania was the first Cunard ship he was appointed to – the very ship that established Cunard’s Southampton hub in the year of his birth.

After Mauretania was retired in 1934, Mr. Jenkins served on board the Cunard ship Ascania until the outbreak of World War II. Joining the war effort, he fought at D-Day in 1945, before returning to the UK to take up a career in the merchant navy.

“It was such an honor to welcome back Mr. Jenkins to the Cunard family,” said Captain Hashmi. “It felt like a very fitting way to start our centenary celebrations, here in Southampton, and of course to congratulate Mr. Jenkins on such a special milestone birthday that he will celebrate later this year. The members of the ship’s company and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to stories of what life was like on board, and we look forward to the opportunity to do so again.”

Departing November 18, 2019, Queen Mary 2 will undertake an historic Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton to New York – in tribute of the century long relationship between the City and Cunard.

Guests on this celebratory voyage will journey into the past thanks to a travelling maritime exhibition from Southampton’s Sea City Museum, as well as a series of enrichment lectures on board. Maritime Historian and author Chris Frame, will be joined by local history expert Penny Legg, each presenting a series of unique talks about the long and illustrious history of Cunard and Southampton.

Note to editors:

  • In 1919 Mauretania was the fastest passenger liner in service and held the prestigious Blue Riband for the fastest westbound transatlantic crossing. The ship also held the eastbound record.
  • Queen Mary 2 will depart Southampton (voyage M938) on 18 November 2019 and arrive in New York on 26 November.
  • Voyage details can be found at: https://www.cunard.com/en-au/cruise-types/event-cruises/cunard-southampton-centenary-celebration
  • Queen Mary 2 entered service in 2004 as the largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner* in the world, a title she retains to this day.
  • Since 2008 QM2 has been the only express liner to regularly transit the Atlantic, continuing a tradition established in 1840.
  • Queen Mary 2’s home port and British hub is Southampton, a tradition set down 100 years ago by RMS. Mauretania.

*Note: Ocean Liners and distinctly different from cruise ships in both their design and service profile.

Photo Caption

99-year old former Cunard bellboy John ‘Jack’ Jenkins during his visit to Queen Mary 2 in Southampton.  John joined the Cunard Steamship Company in 1933 & his first job was as a bellboy and lift operator. One of his main jobs was to open the doors for the first class passengers in the dinning saloon working on the famous Cunard liner RMS. Mauretania, Blue Riband holder for 20-years and sister to the RMS. Lusitania. He worked on the Mauretania for her final six months until her retirement in 1934. John will celebrate his 100th birthday in November; 2019 just as Cunard marks 100 years of using Southampton as its home port.

Information source: Cunard Line

Related Post

Comments closed.