Ahead of his 100th birthday we recently invited John ‘Jack’ Jenkins MBE, a bellboy and lift operator from Cunard Steamship company’s superliner RMS Mauretania, on to Queen Mary 2. Having worked on the ship in 1933, aged just 14, Mr Jenkins got to inspect our current crop of bellboys on board before a special lunch with Captain Hashmi. 

After Mauretania was retired in 1934, Mr Jenkins served on board the Cunard ship Ascania until the outbreak of war. He fought at D-Day in 1944, before returning to the UK to take up a career in the merchant navy. 

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

Jack Jenkins at 14 years old

Jack Jenkins on board









Mr Jenkins, who recently gave a moving speech at the D-Day commemoration ceremony in Portsmouth, recalled his voyages on the Mauretania while onboard QM2 in Southampton during a celebratory lunch hosted by Captain Aseem Hashmi. You can watch some of the footage from onboard here.

Captain Hashmi said ‘It was such an honour to welcome back Mr Jenkins to the Cunard family. It felt like a very fitting way to start our centenary celebrations and of course to congratulate Mr Jenkins on such a special milestone birthday that he will celebrate later this year.’

Departing on November 19, Queen Mary 2 will undertake a historic crossing from Southampton to New York in tribute of the century-long relationship between the city and Cunard.

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