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Author Topic: QE2 launch  (Read 23482 times)

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Online Michael Gallagher

QE2 launch
« on: Oct 18, 2011, 08:27 PM »
At precisely 1428 hours on a sunny afternoon Her Majesty stepped forward on the launching platform and said:

“I name this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God Bless her. May God Bless her and all who sail in her.”

There was a thin cheer in the yard from the 30,000 or so spectators as the Queen announced the name. She cut the ribbon using the same gold scissors that her mother had used to launch Queen Elizabeth in 1938 and her grandmother to launch Queen Mary in 1934 which released the bottle of wine which duly smashed onto the side.The Queen then pressed the button that electrically released the launching trigger.

Then nothing happened. For 70 seconds it seemed as if the ship did not move. The Queen looked amazed; the smile slowly faded from Prince Philip’s face. Workmen high up on her deck leaned and shouted “Give us a shove!” Shipyard director George Parker joined in the spirit of the request and bowler-hatted, he sprang to the bows and gave the liner a shove. He jubilantly waved his bowler when, by a coincidence, she began to move.

In a little over two minutes 30 seconds after the Queen had named her the new Elizabeth had slid smoothly into the Clyde. She reached almost 20 mph as she slid down the ways and then dripped 33 feet as she left the slipway.
« Last Edit: Sep 01, 2014, 11:27 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #1 on: Oct 18, 2011, 08:49 PM »
At precisely 1428 hours on a sunny afternoon Her Majesty stepped forward on the launching platform and said:

.......In a little over two minutes 30 seconds after the Queen had named her the new Elizabeth had slid smoothly into the Clyde. She reached almost 20 mph as she slid down the ways and then dripped 33 feet as she left the slipway.

Then there was the sound of cheering from the crowds, factory horns hooting up and down the Clyde, ships on the Clyde blowing their whistles . 

It was when I heard this sound I knew she was something special.  A Queen was born!

Thanks Flagship for this information.  I can just imagine her being given a shove  ;D
« Last Edit: Sep 01, 2014, 09:56 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
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Online Bob C.

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #2 on: Oct 18, 2011, 09:04 PM »
Somewhere I saw a video clip of the launch with George Parker (I think) at the top of the stairway on the forward stocks giving her a shove or two.  It was in a video of the QE2 launch that I found online well before the QE2 Story Forum started and I have not been able to find it since.

Anyone else seen this?
« Last Edit: Mar 17, 2014, 09:37 AM by Lynda Bradford »

Online Twynkle

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #3 on: Oct 18, 2011, 09:54 PM »
Here's one from the BBC, was it this one? BBC video footage "On this Day 20 September 1967"
(It only lasts 44 secs!)
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,5981.0.html

It's an interesting subject - and one that must have been important at the time of all launches on the narrow Clyde
I guess that weight, height, length, cable weight, cross winds, tugs, tide are only very few important things to consider when working out the logistics of getting her into the right position in the water, without indecent haste!
I wonder who / which department would have been responsible for getting it right...?
« Last Edit: Mar 13, 2014, 11:44 AM by Lynda Bradford »
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Andy F

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #4 on: Oct 18, 2011, 09:55 PM »
Interesting then that by comparison, HM didn't name the next Cunard Queen Queen Mary the Second but simply Queen Mary 2.

Going slightly off topic here admittedly but whereas QE2 was usually referred to as that in the spoken sense and rarely by her full name, her successor on the other hand is commonly referred by both long and shortened versions.
« Last Edit: Oct 19, 2011, 09:17 PM by Andy F »
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Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #5 on: Oct 18, 2011, 10:08 PM »
NOTE THAT THE CONTENT OF THIS POSTING (AND ALL POSTINGS ON THIS DISCUSSION FORUM) IS COPYRIGHT © THEQE2STORY.COM AND THE POSTER, AND NOT TO BE USED ELSEWHERE - EXCEPT BY MEANS OF A HYPERLINK TO THIS POSTING - EXCEPT BY REQUEST.

The intricate launching calculations had been worked out by a computer – a week’s work reduced to 30 minutes compared with the normal methods with the slightest error having to be eliminated. Many factors had to be considered for the river was narrow and the ship was long.

The problems of a launch of this size were enormous. Very early on in the proceedings, John Browns had to decide the width and slope of the slipway on which the liner would slide down to the water. The effects of temperature on the launch lubricant grease mixture had to be considered and a host of other factors had all to be checked, evaluated and re-checked.

John Starks, assistant managing director heading John Brown’s design team:

“The first step is, obviously, to make sure that it will move. When it starts to move the first things that starts to happen is that the stern begins to lift. As it does so pressure on the forward end of the slipway is increased very considerably as it is taking the whole weight of the ship, apart from any buoyancy that the water is taking. One must, therefore, make sure that the ship is then strong enough to take the stress at the forward end.

“You also have to ensure by calculation that the ship will float off the slipway as opposed to dropping off and you also have to make sure that it is waterborne while it is reasonable clear of the slipway. The next thing that you have to decide is how far the ship can be expected to travel and you have to decide what drag chains you are going to attaché at what points to prevent the ship from going too far.

“What most people do not appreciate is that the ship takes a very rough ride during its launch. She bends during the course of the launch and we have to make sure that all her structure is absolutely sound. We, therefore, inspect the ship very carefully. She probably gets far more local stresses during the launch than she ever will during the course of her working life.

“The most critical factor by far in the launch is the depth of water available at the aft end of the slipways. The River Clyde is extremely tempremental; sometimes the water is deficient and sometimes is it excessive. If we have too much water, the danger is that the ship will really be afloat before she is clear at the end of the slipway and the danger is that, since high water is usually associated with high wind, if she is not clear at the end of the ways she could damage herself on one of the cranes. The problem usually solves itself because if the wind and water are that high, it is obviously no condition in which to launch a ship. This happens very infrequently and is obviously something to be avoided, but nevertheless the problem is still there.

“We, therefore, watch the weather forecasts very carefully before the day. We also measure the heights of the tides for a good many days before the launch to check whether the river is running true to form, under prediction or over prediction. We also measure the river in Greenock and Glasgow as a precaution and we are halfway between the two we can get a very good idea of what the river is doing. Having obtained this information we then can, within certain limits, ballast the ship to aim off for weather conditions, but obviously in a ship of this size the resources pen to us are limited”.

The man responsible for the slipway was Robert Craig, head foreman shipwright. He had worked at John Brown’s since he left school in 1918 and Q4 would be his 47th launch as head foreman. He built the slipway from the information given to him. Its declivity (downward inclination towards the river) was ½ inch to the foot. Every square foot of the sliding and standing (fixed) ways to bear a weight of more than two tons – he claimed for Q4 it was 2,089 tons.

He used 16,300 feet of 12” square timber to build the supporting poppets (cradles) at each end of the ship. Once the ship rested on 300 keel blocks but these had now been knocked away; the berth had been stripped of the huge shores like tress trunks, bilge blocks and wedges.

Q4 rested on two sliding ways, each formed of 25 lengths of timber 30 feet long, six feet wide and 12 inches thick. The sliding and standing ways had been greased with a concoction of nine tons of tallow compound, 70 gallons of sperm oil, 14 cwt. of soft black soap and seven gallons of fine spindle oil. Robert Craig took responsibility for this.

Q4 was held by six mighty triggers, each with its eight inch wooded tongue set into the sliding ways. Wires trailed from a tiny electrical device to the button on the high platform where the Queen would perform the launching ceremony. As the Queen pressed the button the powerful trigger arms would snap back in their pits with a report like an artillery salute. Then Q4 would glide towards the river; and just in case the liner is reluctant to leave the berth, two hydraulic rams would give her a nudge – a push with the power of 1,200 lbs per square inch behind it.

In the river six tugs would be waiting to handle the ship – three at the fore and three at the aft. Another will be standing by for any emergency. Lines would be rocketed from the tugs to the new Cunarder and towing lines would be secured and the new ship would move towards her fitting-out berth.
« Last Edit: Oct 19, 2011, 07:32 PM by Rob Lightbody »

Offline Andy F

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #6 on: Oct 18, 2011, 10:22 PM »
An excellent insight and many thanks as always Michael.

Nothing can beat the moment when a ship thunders down the ways, dragging the chains and takes to the water for the very first time.  Such occasions are of course almost unheard of now sadly and it will only be a matter of time before this will be gone forever, consigned to the memory and history books, which makes this story even more important. 
Start every day with a smile and get it over with

Online Bob C.

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #7 on: Oct 19, 2011, 02:59 AM »
Here's one from the BBC, was it this one?
(It only lasts 44 secs!)
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,5981.0.html

Thats the one Rosie!  You are the best, thanks!

And no, the desk is still on the ground along with me, unfortunately.  I'm retiring from the Navy next September and planning a rip to Dublin and also working on getting over to Clydebank for a visit.  Hopefully you and a few other forum folks will be around to meet.
« Last Edit: Mar 17, 2014, 09:17 AM by Lynda Bradford »

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #8 on: Oct 19, 2011, 10:00 AM »
A brilliant description of what needs to considered prior to launching a ship.  Interesting that the time spent doing the calculations was reduced from a week to 30 minutes as a result of computers.  I was offered a job in John Brown's as an IBM Key Punch Operator in 1965 but I turned it down.  Now I wish I had taken the job - I could have had an input into this!

If you want to see what an IBM Punch Machine looks like have a look at the British Pathe video Youth on Q4 and you see the young women keying in the information.


What is fascinating is the different steps that need to be considered from building the slipway, to the temperature and weather conditions on the day, the stresses on the structure, and of course the river conditions.  There must have been a wide range of skills in the design team that allowed them to do all these calculation.   

 Robert Craig the Head Foreman Shipwright, who had worked in John Browns from when he left school in 1918, would have worked in the yard at the same time as my Dad, who started his apprenticeship as an electrician in 1926. My Dad was a Managing Foreman by the time QE2 was launched in 1967.   
« Last Edit: Mar 17, 2014, 09:19 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Barrie Evans

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #9 on: Oct 19, 2011, 11:58 AM »
A brilliant description of what needs to considered prior to launching a ship.  Interesting that the time spent doing the calculations was reduced from a week to 30 minutes as a result of computers.  I was offered a job in John Brown's as an IBM Key Punch Operator in 1965 but I turned it down.  Now I wish I had taken the job - I could have had an input into this!

What is fascinating is the different steps that need to be considered from building the slipway, to the temperature and weather conditions on the day, the stresses on the structure, and of course the river conditions.  There must have been a wide range of skills in the design team that allowed them to do all these calculation.   

 Robert Craig the Head Foreman Shipwright, who had worked in John Browns from when he left school in 1918, would have worked in the yard at the same time as my Dad, who started his apprenticeship as an electrician in 1926. My Dad was a Managing Foreman by the time QE2 was launched in 1967.   
Good morning Lynda,If you had taken up the option of working at John Browns , would that have ment that you would of carried on the family conection working for them?. Did your dad ever work on the Q E 2? and did your mum and dad ever cruise on the Q E 2? Where now days all the desighn and construction of all the aspects of builing ships ,and launching them,are stored in the computer,can you imagine how much paper work was involved into a launch of the ships in days gone by.
« Last Edit: Sep 01, 2014, 09:54 AM by Lynda Bradford »

Offline Rob Lightbody

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Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #10 on: Oct 19, 2011, 07:33 PM »
Thank you for your posting Michael, as usual!

I enjoyed reading this as my bedtime reading last night, fascinating stuff!

I wish I'd had this information to hand when I was asked about the launch in my Radio Scotland interview last month!
« Last Edit: Sep 01, 2014, 09:54 AM by Lynda Bradford »
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Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #11 on: Sep 01, 2014, 10:16 AM »
Q4 Launch

On 20 September 1967 there was an air of excitement in the town of Clydebank as the town’s people and workers eagerly awaited the event they had been preparing for, it was the day of the launch of the Q4.  For weeks before there had been speculation about the name of the ship with local betting offices taking bets on names such as:
Sir Winston Churchill
Prince of Wales
Prince Charles
Britannia
Princess Anne
Princess Margaret
Queen Elizabeth II
Prince Phillip

On the eve of the launch when it was announced that Princess Margaret would accompany the Queen and Prince Phillip to the launch there was further speculation that Princess Margaret may be the chosen name.  But up until the launch this closely guarded secret was only known by a small number of people Sir Basil Smallpiece, his deputy, the Queen and her secretary.

The town of Clydebank was decked in “bunting” the town council workforce had been out painting lampposts and sprucing up the town ready for the Royal occasion and people were dressed in their finery ready to cheer the ship on her way. 

Launch tickets were a prized possession and those who were lucky enough to have been allocated a ticket made their way to the John Brown shipyard.  Instructions were that the gates would be open from 1pm to 1.50 pm and no children under the age of 7 years of age would be admitted.  The map on the back indicated the entrance gate the ticket holder should use to ensure they went to the correct enclosure.  But not having a ticket did not deter the public from watching the launch as an enterprising farmer on the opposite bank of the Clyde allowed the public to watch the launch from his field, perhaps for a small fee. 



There was even the option to cruise down the Clyde on one of the small vessels such as the   PS Caledonia for 15 shillings or 25 shillings with lunch or the Queen Mary II

The ship towering over the launch platform, looked majestic as she sat on the recently greased slipway ready for this eventful occasion.

By the time the Royal party entered the shipyard the high-spirited crowds had assembled and were cheering the Queen as she walked to the launch platform.  The sight of the Q4 sitting in the stocks was so magnificent that even the Queen must have been impressed. 

The tugs were waiting in the Clyde, the excitement of the crowd was building and at 14:28 on 20 September 1967 the Queen stepped forward to launch the ship

Quote Michael Gallagher (see post 1)

Quote
At precisely 1428 hours on a sunny afternoon Her Majesty stepped forward on the launching platform and said:

“I name this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God Bless her, May God Bless her and all who sail in her.”

There was a thin cheer in the yard from the 30,000 or so spectators as the Queen announced the name. She cut the ribbon using the same gold scissors that her mother had used to launch Queen Elizabeth in 1938 and her grandmother to launch Queen Mary in 1934 which released the bottle of wine which duly smashed onto the side. The Queen then pressed the button that electrically released the launching trigger.

Then nothing happened. For 70 seconds it seemed as if the ship did not move. The Queen looked amazed; the smile slowly faded from Prince Philip’s face. Workmen high up on her deck leaned and shouted “Give us a shove!” Shipyard director George Parker joined in the spirit of the request and bowler-hatted, he sprang to the bows and gave the liner a shove. He jubilantly waved his bowler when, by a coincidence, she began to move.

In a little over two minutes 30 seconds after the Queen had named her the new Elizabeth had slid smoothly into the Clyde. She reached almost 20 mph as she slid down the ways and then dipped 33 feet as she left the slipway.”

A fly past salute by the 736 Naval Air Squadron based at Lossiemouth was a fitting tribute to the launch of a Queen, and up and down the River Clyde ship and works horns were sounded as the new ship eased her way into the Clyde. 

The rest is history but we are so glad that cameras and film cameras captured the moment so that we can remember this special day every year. 

Why not have a read from the initial post on this topic and think about posting your own launch memories on this topic

Also during the month of September have a look a the QE2 launch photos and links to photos that have been posted and if you have photos of this wonderful occasion we would love to see them.
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,379.0.html

The film footage captures the moment well and brings back lots of memories:
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/board,68.0.html

See also the QE2 launch photos in the Gallery Album
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=4
« Last Edit: Sep 01, 2014, 10:18 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Hank Hargrove

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Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #12 on: Sep 08, 2014, 07:21 AM »

Q4 Launch

On 20 September 1967 there was an air of excitement in the town of Clydebank as the town’s people and workers eagerly awaited the event they had been preparing for, it was the day of the launch of the Q4.  For weeks before there had been speculation about the name of the ship with local betting offices taking bets on names such as:
Sir Winston Churchill
Prince of Wales
Prince Charles
Britannia
Princess Anne
Princess Margaret
Queen Elizabeth II
Prince Phillip

On the eve of the launch when it was announced that Princess Margaret would accompany the Queen and Prince Phillip to the launch there was further speculation that Princess Margaret may be the chosen name.  But up until the launch this closely guarded secret was only known by a small number of people Sir Basil Smallpiece, his deputy, the Queen and her secretary.

The town of Clydebank was decked in “bunting” the town council workforce had been out painting lampposts and sprucing up the town ready for the Royal occasion and people were dressed in their finery ready to cheer the ship on her way. 

Launch tickets were a prized possession and those who were lucky enough to have been allocated a ticket made their way to the John Brown shipyard.  Instructions were that the gates would be open from 1pm to 1.50 pm and no children under the age of 7 years of age would be admitted.  The map on the back indicated the entrance gate the ticket holder should use to ensure they went to the correct enclosure.  But not having a ticket did not deter the public from watching the launch as an enterprising farmer on the opposite bank of the Clyde allowed the public to watch the launch from his field, perhaps for a small fee. 

(Image removed from quote.)

There was even the option to cruise down the Clyde on one of the small vessels such as the   PS Caledonia for 15 shillings or 25 shillings with lunch or the Queen Mary II

The ship towering over the launch platform, looked majestic as she sat on the recently greased slipway ready for this eventful occasion.

By the time the Royal party entered the shipyard the high-spirited crowds had assembled and were cheering the Queen as she walked to the launch platform.  The sight of the Q4 sitting in the stocks was so magnificent that even the Queen must have been impressed. 

The tugs were waiting in the Clyde, the excitement of the crowd was building and at 14:28 on 20 September 1967 the Queen stepped forward to launch the ship

Quote Michael Gallagher (see post 1)

A fly past salute by the 736 Naval Air Squadron based at Lossiemouth was a fitting tribute to the launch of a Queen, and up and down the River Clyde ship and works horns were sounded as the new ship eased her way into the Clyde. 

The rest is history but we are so glad that cameras and film cameras captured the moment so that we can remember this special day every year. 

Why not have a read from the initial post on this topic and think about posting your own launch memories on this topic

Also during the month of September have a look a the QE2 launch photos and links to photos that have been posted and if you have photos of this wonderful occasion we would love to see them.
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,379.0.html

The film footage captures the moment well and brings back lots of memories:
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/board,68.0.html

See also the QE2 launch photos in the Gallery Album
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=4

I've heard there were rumors the ship might be named the William Shakespeare or the John F. Kennedy (what that has to do with Britain is beyond me; it must have more to do with the 60's). Is that true?
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Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #13 on: Sep 08, 2014, 09:05 AM »
The speculation in the newspapers at the time listed many famous people that the ship could be named after. John F Kennedy was one such name as was Twiggy (a famous model at the time). 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline June Ingram

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Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #14 on: Sep 19, 2014, 03:23 PM »
20 September 1967, a special day for our beloved QE2.  20 September 2014 and she is still with us albeit very far away and in isolation.  Let us send our good wishes to her as she awaits our help.
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Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #15 on: Sep 20, 2014, 09:36 AM »
Today 20 September 2014 is the 47th anniversary of the QE2, a ship loved and remembered.  Why not take some time today to have a look at the launch photos and videos and enjoy the moment

Videos
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/board,68.0.html

Photos
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/board,108.0.html


Quote
At precisely 1428 hours on a sunny afternoon Her Majesty stepped forward on the launching platform and said:

“I name this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God Bless her. May God Bless her and all who sail in her.”

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Adam Hodson

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Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #16 on: Sep 20, 2014, 12:13 PM »
Today 20 September 2014 is the 47th anniversary of the QE2, a ship loved and remembered.  Why not take some time today to have a look at the launch photos and videos and enjoy the moment

Videos
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/board,68.0.html

Photos
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/board,108.0.html

Happy 47th Birthday to her! ;)
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Online Twynkle

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #17 on: Sep 20, 2014, 01:35 PM »
NOTE THAT THE CONTENT OF THIS POSTING (AND ALL POSTINGS ON THIS DISCUSSION FORUM) IS COPYRIGHT © THEQE2STORY.COM AND THE POSTER, AND NOT TO BE USED ELSEWHERE - EXCEPT BY MEANS OF A HYPERLINK TO THIS POSTING - EXCEPT BY REQUEST.

The intricate launching calculations had been worked out by a computer – a week’s work reduced to 30 minutes compared with the normal methods with the slightest error having to be eliminated. Many factors had to be considered for the river was narrow and the ship was long.

The problems of a launch of this size were enormous. Very early on in the proceedings, John Browns had to decide the width and slope of the slipway on which the liner would slide down to the water. The effects of temperature on the launch lubricant grease mixture had to be considered and a host of other factors had all to be checked, evaluated and re-checked.

John Starks, assistant managing director heading John Brown’s design team:

“The first step is, obviously, to make sure that it will move. When it starts to move the first things that starts to happen is that the stern begins to lift. As it does so pressure on the forward end of the slipway is increased very considerably as it is taking the whole weight of the ship, apart from any buoyancy that the water is taking. One must, therefore, make sure that the ship is then strong enough to take the stress at the forward end.
.....
.....In the river six tugs would be waiting to handle the ship – three at the fore and three at the aft. Another will be standing by for any emergency. Lines would be rocketed from the tugs to the new Cunarder and towing lines would be secured and the new ship would move towards her fitting-out berth.

This description in its entirety is so good - and leads to questions regarding the hull, and who might have been inside (and where etc)  as well as who else was on board - apart from those on the foredeck. I wonder who did the steering, and where was this done from - or was the manouvering all done by the tugs? - was the / an ECR in operation..etc?  I guess there's possibly enough data and description for a book, need to dig out Potter and Frost again! It was probably the only time that QE2 wanted to blast her whistle and didn't have the means!
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #18 on: Sep 20, 2014, 04:06 PM »
Difficult to believe it was seven years ago today we were in Greenock celebrating the Birthday Girl and then seven years tomorrow we were in Liverpool holding the first Cathedral Concert in her honour.

Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: QE2 launch
« Reply #19 on: Sep 21, 2014, 02:17 PM »
Yesterday, of course, I was returning home from my charity challenge and as the train from Fort William to Glasgow Queen Street leaves the West Highland Line at Craigendoran Junction passengers enjoy a fine view over the whole Clyde during the descent from Garelochead via Helensburgh Upper.

Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the train to be able to photograph the view; the weather was perfect for the occasion as well!
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