Tuesday, 7 October 2008


Iain and I had an outing on Sunday. We took the ferry from Helensburgh to Greenock where the QE2 is paying a final visit on her Farewell Cruise around Britain. She was here for one day before she heads for the east coast and then on to her final destination, Dubai, to be a hotel.

She was built by John Brown & Company, Clydebank for the Cunard Line and was launched on 20 September 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Her maiden voyage in December 1968 was cut short by turbine trouble and she completed her full maiden voyage in May 1969, traveling between Southampton and New York.

I sailed from New York to Southampton on her in September 1969. I have one (among many!) particular memory of this voyage!

Iain and I lived in Chicago in the late 60s. In 1969 he took up a post at Glasgow University and we returned to the U.K. We booked to sail on the QE2 and were supposed to come together but he was ill (or something happened...) and he ended up flying back to the UK while I kept my ticket for the sailing.

On the day of departure 2 neighbours from Chicago arrived with 3 bottles of champagne (supposedly for the 4 of us). Well, we quaffed champagne - all of it - until they had to go ashore. I went down to my cabin (Deck F) to get a coat in order to go on to the upper deck to way goodbye and see the Statue of Liberty as we departed.

Well, I sat down on the bunk and said "I will just stay here for a minute - as I had a fairly fuzzy head - and then go on top." The next thing I knew we were off Newfoundland! I was sick as a dog (but quickly recovered) and, to this day, I have never seen Staton Island nor the Statue of Liberty!

* * * * * ON-LOOKERS * * * * *

These are frigates from both the British and the French navy.

When a fella has to go, he has to go....! (ferry boat crossing)

Good Craic dressed over-all.

Greenock was basking in sunshine and everybody was out - maw, paw, and all the wains!

We finally arrived back the same evening where we had started in the morning, i.e. Helensburgh Pier. This is an earlier shot as we departed on the ferry across to Greenock. (The final evening photo below is taken in exactly the same place looking out across the water.)

At 9:40 pm there was a fireworks display (from the QE2) which we watched from the Helensburgh pier in the lovely calm evening. Iain took this shot.

At 10:00 pm she slowly moved off ... down the Clyde. Folk were straining to see her disappear beyond Rosneath Point. Every so often there would be a deep, resounding "Boooooooah" of the ship's horn sounding in the darkness.

Some of the white haired folk in the foreground could probably tell a story or two about their experience of the building of this ship on the Clyde.

No comments: