extracts about Lascars from


A series of prestige advertisements, featuring personalities who serve in the Company's ships,
which appeared in the national press between August 1955 and February 1958
(P&O Copyright 1960)

25 . The shrewd eyes of Sarfaraz Khan

SARFARAZ KHAN, Chief Engine-Room Serang aboard "ARCADIA".

Up from Karachi the message travels .... up through the arid plains of Pakistan and the district of Mardan .... on to the village of Zarobi and the house of the Chief Serang ---- to the shrewd eyes of Sarfaraz Khan himself.
these are the eyes that can spot an atom of dust on an acre of steel floorplates ... wax black with wrath ... grow soft with affection. Now they are bright --- for the news is good and there is thinking to be done. the job is a big one. He will choose fifty-six men from the village to go with him. he will choose wisely; the honour of Zarobi and Sarfaraz Khan is at stake.
For the next eighteen months his men will work in a bewildering kingdom of pressure gauges, copper tubing and steel. Under his exacting eye it will gleam like a hospital clinic. Beneath his shrewd eye there will be harmony. For Sarfaraz Khan is Chief Engine-Room Serang aboard "ARCADIA" ..... a veteran of 36 years experience in the service of the company .... a man with 17 relatives on P & O ships. He's as big as his job and that's big.

45 . Keeping the ship in shape.

ACOOB CASSUM, deck Serang  on board "HIMALAYA".

HERE IS A MAN ON TOP OF HIS JOB. With his keen eyes he can spot a flaw in a rope --- which might cost a life if left unattended -- and he can splice a wire or rope as easily as you or I might tie a knot.

As a senior deck Serang, a native of Western India, he and his team of Asian seamen keep the ship spick and span, polishing, painting and scrubbing the decks long before the passengers rise in the mornings.

In a single day he performs a thousand important tasks -- piping the Asian crews to their duties for instance, or supervising the rigging of the cargo derricks, the mooring of the ship, the maintenance of deck gear.

The first Asian crew joined one of the Company's ships well over 100 years ago, and many of the men now serving are descendents of the original crew. Their ready smile and colourful uniform are now truly a part of the P & O way of life.

46 . Rub your hands and pfft! he's there.

CAETANO X. FERNANDES, Table steward  aboard "ARCADIA".

AS YOU APPROACH YOUR TABLE in the dining room your appetite surges so sharply you can't help rubbing your hands in anticipation. Pfft! Instantly, like some friendly genie of folklore, the quiet man in the white jacket materializes by your chair. No sooner are you seated than you find a napkin in your lap and a menu in your hand. you order. the friendly genie smiles. then almost before you realise that he has left your side, the melon appears complete with sugar and ginger. next your sole arrives -- accompanied by the bearnaise exactly as you ordered. Then comes your Chateaubriand steak -- not quite medium, not quite underdone, just the way you like it.
Meanwhile your butter is replenished, your glass filled, your slightest wish attended. never in your life have you had such service, and the quiet man is delighted. For he is Caetano X. Fernandes, Table Steward aboard the P & O Ship ARCADIA .... one of the 72 Goanese waiters on board the ship .... a devoted genie of the dining room. Caetano loves his job, for it is a traditional part of P & O.

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