Serving Sir Anthony Eden on board RMS Rangitata in 1957

RMS Rangitata

January 4, 2013

Dear  Sir 

I read with interest your article about John Prescot and how he looked after Sir Anthony Eden on board RMS Rangitata in 1957. I was a first class steward on the ship at that time, it was just after the six day war between Israel and Egypt. I can assure you that I served Sir Anthony and his wife Clarisa in the 1st class dining saloon all the way from London to Aukland.

I have a photograph of Sir Anthony that he and Clarisa signed and dated February 1957. That was just before we reached Auckland.

I found him to be a most charming and very handsome man.His wife had beautiful violet blue eyes. I can only assume that John Prescot was a wine steward topside and served him drinks in the topside lounges. I did three
trips ln Rangitata on one of the trips we went aground in Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal. I then went back to the P&O Shipping company on the far east run

Yours Sincerly 
Brian Lawrenson

Dear Brian,

My thanks for your mail about Sir Anthony Eden and Lady Eden about their voyage to NZ in Rangitata.

It was in a BBC interview that John Prescott claimed to serve Sir Anthony as a waiter aboard Rangitata, as you suggest perhaps as a wine waiter.

Could you please email me a copy of your signed photograph Sir Anthony and his wife? We would love to add it to our piece.

Happy New Year,



Here is a report that John Prescott was the Eden's Cabin Steward.

Shortly after Eden's resignation, he and Lady Avon sailed to New Zealand for a further break. Their cabin steward, on what she described as "the hellship Rangitata",[33] was the future Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.[106] Half a century later Prescott recalled that, while kneeling down to clean the ship's brass, he had occasion to admire a pair of legs that turned out to be Lady Eden's – "You naturally look, don't you" – whereupon Sir Anthony tapped him on the head.[107]]


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