Author Topic: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008  (Read 974 times)

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Offline Michael Gallagher

10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« on: Nov 26, 2018, 07:22 AM »
10 years ago today, on Wednesday 26 November 2008 Queen Elizabeth 2 spent her last day in open water as she headed for her retirement home of Dubai. Interestingly, her first day in open water took place exactly 40 years earlier, on Tuesday 26 November 1968, as she began her sea trials and a journey into the unknown.

For most of her almost 40 years in service QE2 was the most famous ship in the world being rarely far from the news, for good reason or bad. She became a strikingly potent symbol, recognised around the world, not just of all that is best in Britain, but of the enduring excellence of Scottish engineering. She sailed over five million nautical miles, more than any other ship ever, completed 25 full world cruises, and crossed the Atlantic, surely the world’s cruelest sea, over 800 times; yet her hull was as sound in 2008 as the day she first slipped into the waters of the Clyde four decades earlier.

QE2 was a magnet for well-wishers wherever she went; thousands turned out to greet her, not just out of passing curiosity but because they loved her. It is impossible to say just why this was so, but it was so.

QE2 was celebrated, acclaimed, revered and respected.

Yet it was a miracle she ever came into being at all. In the early sixties, in a miasma of muddled management and indecision, Cunard began planning replacement tonnage for the ageing Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. With alarming consistency the company made the wrong decisions, and only as late as the last minute was it pushed by external forces into avoiding disaster. But what this relatively conservative company eventually embarked on was a revolutionary replacement, at least 25 years ahead of her time: QE2.

Even when she took to sea and could be seen by all to be one of the most beautiful ships ever built, truly the pride of the Clyde, she was dismissed by City analysts rather unoriginally as ‘a white elephant’ that, in another inappropriate metaphor, would be ‘mothballed’ within six months. The age of the transatlantic liner, they said, was dead.

Well, how wrong they were.

QE2 spent her service life in the limelight, and her career at sea was even more eventful than her birth. It was not all exotic voyages and ecstatic welcomes. It included sailing 6,000 nautical miles south, partly through an icefield in the dark, without radar, to make her singular contribution to the Falklands Campaign; it involved various threats, from extortionists, from the IRA and from the Libyan government; it included rescuing all the passengers from a liner in distress, and having all hers similarly rescued after she hit rocks; it featured visits from every senior member of the Royal Family, from prime ministers and presidents, rock stars and film stars, and from Nelson Mandela. Not a year passed without something happening that would have been once-in-a-lifetime for any other ship – and usually hitting the headlines in the process.

QE2 was a phenomenon and there is no doubt she will continue to be one for many more years in Dubai where she retired in 2008. She was just one of a long line of noble Cunard transatlantic liners, but she served longer than most and she travelled further than any other.

And on 26 November 2008 the hearts of many were breaking!


Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #1 on: Nov 26, 2018, 10:03 AM »
Beautifully written, Michael, thank you!

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #2 on: Nov 26, 2018, 10:13 AM »
A fine tribute to QE2 - thanks Michael a fitting tribute and one which I am sure forum members will appreciate. 

Quote
........QE2 was a magnet for well-wishers wherever she went; thousands turned out to greet her, not just out of passing curiosity but because they loved her. It is impossible to say just why this was so, but it was so.

QE2 was celebrated, acclaimed, revered and respected.

Yes - When QE2 was in port people lined the banks of the river to see her.  I remember the excitement of being onboard ship watching the welcome and send off she was given by crowds of people.  Also visiting Greenock when she was in port queuing in traffic to enter the town as so many people travelled to see QE2Happy memories

Quote
........Even when she took to sea and could be seen by all to be one of the most beautiful ships ever built, truly the pride of the Clyde
My Dad worked in John Brown's shipyard and had seen many ships built from Queen Mary to QE2 and he said that she was the most beautiful ship he had seen built at the Yard. 

Quote
QE2 was a phenomenon and there is no doubt she will continue to be one for many more years in Dubai where she retired in 2008. She was just one of a long line of noble Cunard transatlantic liners, but she served longer than most and she travelled further than any other.

And on 26 November 2008 the hearts of many were breaking!

I agree wholeheartedly
« Last Edit: Nov 26, 2018, 07:27 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online cunardqueen

Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #3 on: Nov 26, 2018, 01:17 PM »
A Fitting tribute, and here we are Ten years on, the new Hotel QE2 open to a whole new customer base.
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #4 on: Nov 26, 2018, 03:53 PM »
Thank you Michael.

Wonder how many of those on board that day, or across her 50 years, are thinking of her today.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #5 on: Nov 26, 2018, 04:35 PM »
I just want to tag onto Michael's topic to announce the following footage which is being uploaded just now, and will Premier shortly

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php?topic=7524.msg101423#msg101423
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #6 on: Nov 26, 2018, 06:00 PM »
A wonderful tribute Michael!

Quote
And on 26 November 2008 the hearts of many were breaking!

Many around the world, and some still break today when looking at photos and footage of her arrival into Dubai given the end of an era and will always find it sad regardless of the realities behind her retirement.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Offline Brandon Sterkel

Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #7 on: Nov 26, 2018, 06:57 PM »
Well said, Michael!

Hard to believe that our beloved QE2 has been in Dubai for exactly 10 years now.
Queen Elizabeth 2: A 50 Year Legend!

Offline June Ingram

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Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #8 on: Nov 27, 2018, 04:10 PM »
Thank you, Michael, for your wonderful tribute to our beloved QE2, and I am sure it is echoed by us all. 

Long live QE2 ! 
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online cunardqueen

Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #9 on: Nov 27, 2018, 09:46 PM »
and from onboard QE2 from the printshop calendar
It kinda says it all.....
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #10 on: Nov 27, 2018, 11:26 PM »
and from onboard QE2 from the printshop calendar
It kinda says it all.....

Indeed...such finality in so few words.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: 10 Years Ago Today: Wednesday 26 November 2008
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2019, 10:45 PM »
We have received this message from Colin Simpson, together with his QE2 photographs from the day she arrived in Dubai.

Quote from:  Colin Simpson
To mark today’s 50th anniversary of the start of the QE2’s maiden voyage the Afaranwide travel blog has published a post about the day Dubai bought the QE2 in 2008, with many photos taken on board and on the bridge that day (I covered the event as a reporter).
 
Please take a look here:     afaranwide.com/qe2/
 
The post includes a gallery of photos which we’ve also published separately here:   afaranwide.com/qe2-gallery/
 
Colin Simpson
Journalist, Travel Blogger | Afaranwide

 

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