September 7, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
As promised I’m delighted to share some breaking news regarding Queen Elizabeth. It has just been announced that Captain Chris Wells is to assume command of Cunard’s newest Queen, which will enter service in just over a year’s time. I look forward to interviewing Captain Wells in the coming months but in the meantime for those of you who haven’t yet met him here’s a brief insight in to his career so far.
53-year-old Captain Wells, was born and brought up in Bournemouth, and educated at Poole Grammar School. He met his wife Hedda on board QE2 and they were married in 1997, in her home town of Husum in the North of Germany, and now live in Barnham, near Chichester, in West Sussex. They have three children, Henry, Emily, and William.
His love of the sea developed when he learned to sail in Poole Harbour, and resulted in his commencing a four-year cadetship with Shell Tankers at the Warsash School of Navigation at the University of Southampton. His early days at sea were mostly spent in the Far East, trading out of Singapore on a variety of tankers. He continued his career with Shell, qualifying as a second officer in 1978 and progressing to Chief Officer, serving on a variety of ship types. He obtained his Master’s certificate in 1985.
Captain Wells also found time in 1986 to join the Royal Naval Reserve. He still serves two weeks annually with Maritime Forces in the Amphibious Warfare specialisation and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1994.
After joining Cunard, as second officer on Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1992, Captain Wells was promoted through the ranks, serving as Chief Officer on QE2, as well as Cunard Countess and Royal Viking Sun, before being promoted to Staff Captain on board QE2 in 1999.
He later was seconded to the Queen Mary 2 New Build Team and spent 18 months at the shipyard of Chantiers de l’Atlantique at Saint Nazaire, France. He was the first Staff Captain of the new ship when she was handed over to Cunard on 22nd December 2003, remaining with her until May 2005.Having seen the ship develop from the beginning and bringing her into service as Staff Captain, Captain Wells was extremely proud when appointed to the command of Queen Mary 2 last year.
Peter Shanks, our President and Managing Director said “It is a well deserved honour for Captain Wells to be appointed Master of Queen Elizabeth. He will be a fine leader for all of our colleagues working with him on Queen Elizabeth. His experience on both QE2 and Queen Mary 2 will ensure he continues the famous traditions of Cunard Line”.
Commenting on his appointment, Captain Wells said: “Bringing Queen Elizabeth up Southampton Water to her home port will be one of the proudest moments of my life, and I very much hope that the people of Southampton and beyond will take the ship to their hearts as they have all the Cunard Queens since Queen Mary was launched in 1934; Queen Elizabeth certainly follows in that great tradition’.
I’ll be back on Thursday with some news of some special guests who recently sailed on Queen Mary 2. Also on Thursday, while Queen Victoria makes her first visit to Venice this year, I’ll be visiting the Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone to see the progress of Queen Elizabeth. I’ll be taking pictures and video which I’ll post next week. Cheers for now Alastair.