British & Commonwealth

Staff Reunions

There are three “organisations” that hold regular reunions:  

The naming of each group has caused some confusion about who could be attending which reunion:

In essence they are all open to everyone.


The Clan Line Reunions

An annual event, generally in October, at a hotel in Liverpool. This is organised by ex Engineer Andy Thomson

This event can be viewed now as a northern venue for a B & C Reunion.

Starting late morning and includes a sit down lunch.

Many people attend both of these two events.

This event is held every three years, the next one is to be held in Southampton in 2025.  The event is organised by ex Purser Mike Morley.

The name has long since become a misnomer as all ex sea going and shore staff are very welcome.

The last several events have been held in Southampton but events have been held in Cape Town and the next is in Southampton.

The event starts on a Saturday evening and most people stay overnight in the hotel venue.

Includes a buffet dinner and still attracts over 250 people.

In the summer of 1977, Mike Morley with Colin Deller, Graham Donald and the late Mike Irwin, all having worn the Pursers department braid at some stage of our careers, met up in a  Greenwich wine bar and over an extended lunch floated the idea of a “Pursers’ Association”

The aim was to perpetuate the memory of our time with Union-Castle by organising reunions of our former shipmates every  third year.

The first of these occasions was held at the Albany Hotel in Southampton following the return of Windsor Castle to UK on the conclusion of her final voyage.

Approximately forty former Pursers’ Dept. Staff with their spouses and a few shipmates attended this gathering and laid the foundations for the future. Helped by advertising in the Clansman, the word spread quickly and our contact list grew to a total of approximately 550 and it has remained around this figure to the current day despite the loss of colleagues who have ‘gone aloft’. From that first gathering, our numbers have grown and we now anticipate over 250 turning up for a night of reminiscing and revelry when we hold the Southampton events

1980 “Boffin” Baker Presided with Bernard Cayzer as our Principal Guest.

1983, Allan Cook who succeeded “Boffin” as the last Superintendent Purser in the company was elected to be our lifetime President’

1990  Our first reunion in South Africa. More than 50 flew out from UK to join shipmates resident in SA at a Braaivleis at the Groot Constantia Estate and a New Year Ball at the Mount Nelson Hotel. Harry Riddell Presided on this occasion and John Tunstall took on the role of Hon. Secretary (SA)

It was during this reunion that we resolved to hold the next South African Reunion to celebrate the Centenary of the amalgamation of the Union and Castle Lines in 2000.

1999/2000  On the back of our Centenary plans, through Caledonia Investments, Union-Castle Line was temporarily re-launched for the charter of the P&O vessel Victoria for a celebratory Centenary Cruise circumnavigating Africa. The late David Haynes (former Chief Officer with U-C) and at that time employed as Manager of Union-Castle Travel in London was responsible for much of the preliminary  work that led to the successful outcome of the cruise.

Almost 100 travelled out to South Africa by sea and air to enjoy a memorable programme of events, which included a Welcome Dinner, a Braaivleis, a New Year Ball and a cricket match Union-Castle v The Mount Nelson Hotel. Sponsored by the Mount Nelson who put on a marvellous luncheon buffet at the Ohlssons Brewery ground at Newlands, Union-Castle won the game and the team and spectators were then treated to an evening reception at the Mount Nelson. The tremendous success of  this reunion could not have happened without the hard work put in by John Tunstall (former Purser) and assisted by John Foley (former Radio Officer).

2003 – 2012  Resulting from the popularity  of the Centenary Voyage of “Victoria” we have organise 4 further voyages, held every  third year which have been based on the P&O World Cruise Itineraries.  Three of these from Australia and one a circumnavigation of South America. Our group arrangement has attracted parties of approximately 30 taking advantage of the beneficial rates we have been offered by  P&O.

2012. Jamie Cayzer-Colvin accepted our invitation to assume the Presidency of the Association on the demise of Allan Cook

The Union-Castle Purser’s Association Reunions

Clan Line Lunch in Scotland

In Glasgow a lunch is held on the last Thursday of the month of approx. every second month at a Glasgow Watering Hole

The Drum & Monkey 91-93 St Vincent Street Glasgow G25TF.

A very informal lunch and relaxed atmosphere.

Any ex B&C Seafarer is welcome, and numbers vary from 4 to 12 and come from various parts of Scotland.

The next meeting is Thur 24th November 2022

The proposed dates so far, for 2023 are, Jan, Mar, May and Aug

The main point of contact is Neil Smith, ex Clan Line Deck Officer and Cal-Mac Captain.

Neil's contact details are Tel 01436 675696 or

If the thought of meeting up with so many old friends appeals then please email me by clicking on the button at the top of this page and I will put you in touch with the organiser who will then get you on their mailing list.

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