Christopher Hartley

I was Purser Catering Officer from 1992 to 1993.
Joined the New Westminster City in 1991 as Assistant Purser/Catering Officer, left the ship in San Francisco and flew to San Diego to Join the Maria Elisa as Purser/Catering Officer.
Flew back from Japan after 5 months on leave then did a full trip on the Tacoma City and then on the Vancouver City.
The Maria Elisa was in the RSL Magazine when I cycled on a child's bike, with full support from the other officers and some officers in the Mexican Navy some 80 miles from San Carlos? to the nearest city ( cannot remember the name.
Whilst on the Tacoma City I wrote to Bing Crosby who was born in Tacoma asking if he could send some artifacts etc to us as we were doing the bar and wanted to call it 'The Old Crooner" to my amazement he send quite a few including a gold disc, pipe, signed photographs etc. this was covered in the RNLI magazine early 1973.
I always remember my last voyage on the Vancouver City, I was on leave which had not finished and there was a knock on the door, it was the RSL directors chauffeur, I was wanted at head office. Asked if I could fly immediately to British Columbia as the Purser was sick??? but they promised to relieve me upon our return to Cardiff. I had just got engaged to my wife Denise who was studying at UWIST in Llandaff and we were going to get married on 13th April 1974
Arrived Cardiff at the end of November, no relief. Promised after the coastal to the continent, arrived back in Cardiff no relief. Promised they would relieve me in Tampa Florida, this was in January, all officers changed but no relief for me. Promised they would relieve me off Capetown in February, no relief. Sailed to Visakhapatnam, India, no relief. It was now the beginning of April and we sailed for Japan where we would arrive too late for the wedding.
In the Malacca Straight a few hours away from Singapore, told my relief had arrived and we would change by helicopter off Singapore.
Flew back to the UK on QANTAS via Frankfurt. In Frankfurt the plane was damaged and we had to wait in Frankfurt some five hours. Finally arrived 6 hours late at Heathrow where my future wife was waiting, it was the 11th April, back to Cardiff and then straight down to Cownwall where my wife's parents lived on the 12th April,
My best friend in RSL was Evan Walmsley (Scratch) he was the Chief Officer on the Maria Elisa and Tacoma City and was due to be Best Man at the wedding but unfortunately was called back.

Left RSL in 1974 and worked as a hotel General Manager in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Barbados, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Kenya, and from 2004 to 2012 as General Manager, Failaka Heritage Village, Failaka Island,  Kuwait.Retired in May 2102; boredom reared its ugly head and he set up a hospitality consultancy, Lakeside-Hospitality Limited and then with my wife opened Dickens Wine Bar and Coffee Lounge in Llandrindod Wells, Mid Wales in 2013.

Photo of Christopher Hartley

February 2013.