Best thing that happened to me (during my first Party on board the Windsor Castle – still in Southampton, awaiting sailing), was that I met my future husband for the first time.
He was then the 2nd Mate, John Simpson, and had been at sea virtually since leaving school (Berwick Grammar) when he was 17.
The date we first met was 4th November 1971, and we were married exactly one year later to the day – 4th November 1972.
We had a wonderful life together – I “retired” from shipboard life on my marriage because at that time we were not allowed to work on the same ship, but spent two years coasting or voyaging with John when I could, until the birth of our first child, Helen, in September 1974, followed by Kathryn in December 1976.
Following Kathryn’s serious illness in the Spring of 1977 John made the decision to pursue another (still sea-based) life where he could have closer contact with his young family, and in March 1978 we all set off for Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, where he served for 4 years as Port Pilot followed by 4 years as Harbour Master in the port of Tanga.
In 1980 our son, Duncan, was born in Dar, and in 1986 we made the decision to return to the U.K. so that our three children could settle in English schools.
Sadly John died in 1988, but over the years I have tried to keep up connections with a number of shipboard acquaintances from my short time at sea, plus many sea-faring colleagues from our 8 years in Tanzania.
Colleagues from the Windsor Castle were ushers at my wedding and later Godparents to one or other of my children.
I can honestly say that I loved almost every minute I was on the “Windsor Castle”, and that on reflection this was one of the best years of my life! My brief sea-faring life only served to increase my insatiable appetite for travel which I have been able to indulge over the years: my children are also enthusiastic travellers:
Helen lived for four years in Malta, and my son Duncan has spent the last six years in the USA, initially studying for a Ph.D. for 3 years in Tennessee, and is now living and working in Miami.
I have attended a number of Union-Castle reunions in recent years, and would be delighted to have contact from anyone who might remember me.
Windsor Castle in 1972 featuring 4 Engineering Officers, the middle two being Lewis Edwards (Lurch) and Ken Challice.
I am obviously third from the right - next to me is Jim Forbes-Simpson, (with whom I am still in touch)
On the extreme right the 2nd Officer at the time, John Simpson, who I married later that year - sorry I don't remember the names of the other two Officers.