Author Topic: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett  (Read 5573 times)

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Offline Rob Lightbody

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Email received from Pete Dennett.  If anyone wants to get in touch, please let me know and we'll forward an email to him.

Quote from: Pete Dennett
Dear Rob,

just a minor point - but I think you'd like to get the order of events correct - in April 1972 the QE2 was nearly lost during a huge storm (I was told force 14) in the Atlantic.

I had just signed a contract, with Geraldo's office, New Bond Street, London, to play with my trio in the Q4 room (back of the Queen's Room ballroom) when the news came through. At the time I was a little miffed having just landed a plumb gig only to have the ship sink. Of course, I didn't know anyone on board at that time - not that it would have been less tragic - and, fortunately, she came through after 3 days and nights.

At one point the captain (Capt. Hare?) decided to try to turn her but she started rolling violently, finally doing a forty two and a half degree roll - very nearly rolling totally over (43 degrees being the maximum). Everyone was eating at that time when the waves started breaking through the windows (100 feet up!) and people were rolling on the floor. One of the musicians had one of those large ball bearing gizmo's that click back and forth (if you know what I mean). He brought it to dinner to show the guys how much they were rolling. The balls were standing almost horizontal at that moment! It was almost as terrible a disaster as Titanic, especially as it was almost exactly 60 years to the day (April 16th). A lot of guys were traumatized by the event and quit the ship after getting back to Southampton. As I said, luckily they got through and, at a special service afterwards, the captain was given a standing ovation and he thanked the men of the Clyde, and John Brown's shipyard for their brilliant construction work that allowed them to survive such a grueling test of her strength. The attachment is of the certificate issued to everyone commemorating that storm. It was from my old friend and colleague who was on there at that time. Later I joined his band. His website is here. He and his late wife spent 18 months on her from 1971 thru 72. I joined right after the refit required after the storm.

http://www.mikenegal.com



In May I was on board with my trio. We had just finished rehearsing when the Captain came on the loudspeaker announcing the bomb scare.
We missed the first part on it (we were in the pantry having coffee, about 4 pm) but when I heard something I stuck my head out into the corridor and heard the last part - the British government would pay the ransom and that they were sending out help. I said, "Hey guys, we've been hijacked!!" No. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking over our gear to make sure there were no bombs, but mostly made a lot of bad jokes about no more "BOMB" voyage parties! It was scary because where can you go?
That evening, around 7-30 pm, a plane flew over and dropped three SAS guys to look for the bomb. Luckily it was a hoax but for the next few months they kept a bomb disposal guy on board just in case. My friend was talking to him one day after he noticed that he'd been on several trips in succession. "Like it on here?" "Nah, I'm the resident bomb disposal guy" Amazing!

Anyhow, I hope that may be of service to you. My website is

http://petedennett.99k.org/

Just in case you are interested in my musical career.

(I was trying to figure out just when I started on board the ship when I looked up QE2 schedules and found your site. I noticed you had the events in reverse)

Thanks, Pete Dennett

Remember:Music Is Life
http://petedennett.99k.org/
http://www.treblechef.66ghz.com/
http://petedennett.99k.org/music_is_life.html
http://www.namethatname.info
  http://www.namethatband.info 
And For Fun:
http://www.auntbee.net78.net/

Followed up by

Quote from: Pete Dennett
I forgot to correct my error on the Captain's name during the storm - I knew I had it wrong but when I checked the certificate he had signed the bottom. His name is spelled "Hehir" but pronounced "Hair". I only wish I knew there was going to be an internet one day so I could have gotten pictures of us playing. On Mike Negal's site there are a couple of shots in the Q4 night club where he was playing (prior to my arrival) with a some of the guys from Count Basie's band, plus a shot with Basie himself on the ship. Mike was far more picture conscious than me and has hundreds across his career. I always hated my picture taken. Need to go back and do it again!
« Last Edit: Apr 26, 2012, 08:59 PM by Rob Lightbody »


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Offline ship pro

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #1 on: Apr 27, 2012, 09:43 AM »
I believe that was the worst hurricane she ever encountered, primarily because she went over so much, it seemed like ages before she came upright again, at that stage of her life the ships centre of gravity was such that she was DESIGNED to go over as much as 65 degrees before she would capsize, with all the add on's its now around 55 degrees. It seemed odd when we where in the eye of the hurricane it was quite calm and you could see the swirl all around, the storm was taking the ship south on a course for Africa instead of Southampton. After a day of this the Captain tried to get out of the eye and thats when we went over. Needless to say after that we waited for the hurricane to weaken before we tried break through the eye!

I don't think there are any current ships that could, in reality, handle that degree of inclination combined with a cat 5 hurricane.

After the bomb scare the ship recruited a security officer, Bob Venning who was a bomb disposal expert, others were Tug Wilson and "baby Bob", so the ship had a Bomb disposal expert for most of her working life.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #2 on: Apr 27, 2012, 11:12 AM »
This is a fascinating story -- and thank you, ship pro, for the extra facts. QE2 really did have a baptism of wind and water, so early in her life!

She also had some great Captains : Morimer Hehir seems to have done all the right things during these hard days and kept his calm.

The refit required after the storm : What was the extent of the damage and the repair work involved?

Offline Peter Mugridge

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Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #3 on: Apr 27, 2012, 11:27 AM »
Can I ask for clarification?  The OP states 43° was the maximum while ship pro states she could have handled 65°; is this just two different quotes being given for the same limit or is there something I am missing here?

On the same subject, with the benefit of modern simulation technology is it possible to verify just how long it would have taken for her to recover from that 42.5° roll?
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Offline ship pro

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #4 on: Apr 27, 2012, 07:24 PM »
Peter

It was two different quotes for the same limit.

The current projected inclination limit is from the existing ships stability computer software.

The ships centre of gravity is checked every few years by doing an inclination test carried out by MCA.

Regarding correcting the roll, there are too many viarables such as wind speed , gusts, wave movement, ships loading and position, so there is no one size fits all

Offline ship pro

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #5 on: Apr 27, 2012, 08:38 PM »
The refit at the end of the storm was actually a planned refit when they put the first set of penthouses on in place of the dust bowl. From memory there was not much structural damage it was more the internals such as pianos being destroyed. You get more damage when she pounds as opposed to rolling.

From memory the actual roll time was 10 seconds to go over, 10 long seconds heeled over, then 10 seconds to come upright again.

Offline Twynkle

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #6 on: Apr 27, 2012, 10:14 PM »
... You get more damage when she pounds as opposed to rolling.

From memory the actual roll time was 10 seconds to go over, 10 long seconds heeled over, then 10 seconds to come upright again.

This sounds absolutely terrifying!
Can't imagine whereabouts on the ship it would be worse/ the most dangerous to have experienced the rolling - the galleys, in with the engines, the ECR, the Laundry, the stores, the wheelhouse - or the dining areas...??
Wondering too, about any prior notice of hurricane warnings...
Thanks so much for posting.

(When QM2 is tied up, there's a deliberate list towards the quayside, it took just 3 seconds to roll a pencil across a polished table - 10 seconds x 3, it must have felt like eternity onboard QE2...)

QE2 has been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 9 whole years... she seriously needs to be earning her keep....

Offline Peter Mugridge

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Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #7 on: Apr 27, 2012, 10:49 PM »
I have experienced, in the English Channel, a series of rolls of in excess of 30° to each side but that was on the experimental French hoverboat "Agnes 200" ( basically a sidewall hovercraft but with catamaran hulls instead of plain walls ) and was because the craft was smaller than the waves, so although rolling she was still perpendicular to the water she was actually on as she was briefly riding the waves broadside on while hove to - not quite the same thing.  This was down to a sudden squall developing around the craft and she had to heave to for about 45 - 60 minutes in total until the water calmed down.
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Offline Rod

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #8 on: Apr 27, 2012, 11:16 PM »
It was kind of scary..I didn't get seasick in those days.
There was an amazing amount of loss in the galleys. Crockery $100,000's worth, and as mentioned before pianos. The storm cert came attached to a map.
Just for info, the windows were not broken by the sea! The superstructure, being aluminum/aluminium was flexing like crazy which caused the windows to pop out. Windows were made of plexiglass (plastic) Very little structural damage at all....Cracking of the aluminum was about it and a number of toilets and sinks broken from glass bottles falling onto them! But as one poster said...going out on deck in the "eye" was weird...so calm...like another world!

Offline Twynkle

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #9 on: Apr 27, 2012, 11:25 PM »
This is really interesting - and thanks to you all for your accounts of events.
What happened to the passengers - was it a case of 'open decks closed' and then 'Please be advised...return to your cabins (oops, sorry- Staterooms!!)

For the new and young crew members, it must have been something they could have been petrified about
How did you deal with any panicky people?
QE2 has been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 9 whole years... she seriously needs to be earning her keep....

Offline Rod

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #10 on: Apr 27, 2012, 11:56 PM »
Several doors to the deck were roped off. But you have to remember that although the ship was nearly full there were only about 3-500 pax up and about. Med staff worked very long hours!!!! Made big bucks too, DR bought booze all the way home.
Remember the 3 phases of seasickness:
1) I think I am going to die.
2) I know I am going to die!
3) I wish I were dead!
Most of the new/young crew were too ignorant/stupid, myself included, to believe that something as big as QE2 could come to harm...not from the weather at least.

Offline Rod

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #11 on: Apr 29, 2012, 10:55 AM »
let me try this again! This is the original pic taken by the ships photog of the SAS and SBS coming on board. If it is big enough, or you can enlarge it you can see Junior First Officer Woodall and a very sick Engineer Cadet


Online June Ingram

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Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #13 on: Aug 10, 2015, 06:40 PM »
Very good article, Alan !  Thanks for posting it. 
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline riskygizmo

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Offline cunardqueen

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #15 on: Oct 12, 2015, 05:51 PM »
Fascinating interview and brutally honest !....one wonders today if he would have been able to say he thought it was a hoax or even mentions they had the money ready to pay up.... and the smoking a cigarette
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline skilly56

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #16 on: Mar 28, 2016, 01:54 AM »
The attached article describes the new loading computer as installed in QE2 in 1995. This computer will only accept data that is manually entered by staff, and then say if the condition is safe or otherwise. It doesn't give real-time stress & strain readouts in a storm.

Today, large hulls are wired up with strain gauges, and the stresses & strains can be seen changing as a vessel powers through a storm, so, larger seas that bring the actual stress conditions closer to the limits can be observed, then the vessel course can be changed to reduce those stresses. Advances in electronics and measurement devices have enabled real-time readouts.

Skilly

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #17 on: Jun 14, 2017, 10:07 PM »
We have had a couple of fascinating emails from Clint Priestley, relating to the big storm on 16 April 1972 :

Quote from:  Clint Priestly
Going through items of my deceased mother's estate and found the mentioned item in subject matter.  My second cousin Mary Frances Irelan (Mary F Irelan on the storm certificate) was onboard for that horrific event!



Could not find any online with maps attached, but perhaps I did not look hard enough. It's in pretty good shape!

The storm certificate we hold is very similar to the one attached above in this topic, but I have two signatures at the bottom, not just one.  Also the storm certificate is on the left side of a large one sided horizontal layout page that has the storm certificate on the left side and the map showing the intended route, actual route and locations at noon each day of the journey.  Also, regarding the two signatures, one is in black ink and the other blue.  Same captains name, his in blue ink. Also the map extends out to the right of the storm certificate.





Attached are three photos of the certificate.  Please feel free to post!  Thanks!

The pictures can be viewed in larger size in the Gallery, here :

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=5
« Last Edit: Jun 14, 2017, 10:08 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

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Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #18 on: Jun 19, 2017, 06:55 AM »
Clint writes and adds :

Quote from:  Clint Priestley
I remember back in '72 when Mary Frances, then in her 60s (passed in 1998), my second cousin, I believe I recall my mother saying she had heard of the incident and was very concerned for Mary Frances, who she was close to.  My mother did not know she was ok until we got word through relatives that all was well with her.

Offline Lynda Bradford

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #19 on: Jun 19, 2017, 11:25 AM »
These are really good images of the storm certificate and it is good to hear the story of how concerned family were of the person who was onboard QE2.  A big thank you to Clint for sending the pictures and the story to the Admin mail box. 
I am proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline ThomasPixel

Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #20 on: Aug 10, 2017, 05:54 AM »
I never realised QE2 rolled to over 40 degrees as it's not widely published etc. I always thought that the most she had rolled to (and still a lot!) was around 22 degrees whilst in the Irish Sea in the early 1990s. We always keep learning despite our abilities and age etc!

Thomas
First travelled on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and travelled on QE2 in July 2008.

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Re: 1972 - The Big Storm & The Bomb Scare by Pete Dennett
« Reply #21 on: Aug 10, 2017, 04:50 PM »
Hi Thomas -

Here is a link to just one of many topics and posts which address degrees of roll -

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,1762.msg19419.html#msg19419
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

 

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