View Full Version : : A september afternoon

Doc Vernon
6th October 2016, 06:28 AM

Time passes so quickly: Forty-nine years ago today, on September 22nd 1967, the majestic Queen Mary, certainly one of the most successful & beloved liners of all time, left New York for the very last time. And what a record: 1,000 crossings & 2 1/2 million passengers carried. 31 years of service -- including heroics in the War.

On that splendid day, I was there -- watching from the decks, along with several hundred others from the World Ship Society, Port of New York Branch, of a specially chartered Circle Line vessel. We followed the Queen Mary -- distinctively the last three-stacker -- from Pier 92 and then along the Hudson to the Lower Bay and finally under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Our good friend Des Kirkpatrick took this wonderful photo from the American Express Bldg along lower Broadway.

John Pruden
6th October 2016, 06:45 AM
anyone tell me?? was it true an old rich American lady lived on the queen mary for many years traveling the world.if true what a life being waited on for years now I think years ago the story was on the radio... jp

Ivan Cloherty
6th October 2016, 07:16 AM
God Bless America for saving her!

Captain Kong
6th October 2016, 08:58 AM
Hi John
On QE2 an American Lady, Beatrice Mueller, lived on the QE2 until it was sold now she is on QM2,
I have met her several times and sailed with her round the world. She became quite a celebrity, and always invited to the best Cocktail Parties.

She was on a cruise with her husband and he died, so she investigated Retirement Homes and found they were too expensive. The Cheapest option was on a Cruise Liner, and what better than QE2, She had an inside cabin, the cheapest, [ they are only for sleeping in and showering in] and has a fun day every day with many friends, Her sons and daughters fly out for their vacations and stay with her on the ship for a couple of weeks at a time. so she still sees them. She has the best meals every day, the best entertainment every day, her Laundry is done for her. And when the ship goes into Dry Dock, Cunard put her into the Dorchester Hotel in London for the duration.
She has a good life.
Now compare that with a retirement home. The price of one in UK is dearer than what Cunard charge, and you are stuck in a miserable home, no change of scenery, just staring at a bulkhead, or of people except the ones who die. If you do the Long Term booking as she has done in an inside cabin it is very cheap and affordable with the average Pension.
I am planning on something like that, sure beats the hell out of a Home. and Cheaper. You do not have to be rich.

Doc Vernon
6th October 2016, 07:11 PM
I recall somewhere else on the site this was brought as well JP but cannot find the Thread now!

joseph connor
6th October 2016, 10:05 PM
And in the bottom right hand corner tantalizing images of proper ships .

7th October 2016, 12:30 AM
When I look back on all the ships I was on, I can remember cursing some of them and praising others for their sustainability. Whatever they looked like to a shore person meant nothing to me, they never knew the feeling between seaman and ship. In all truth they felt as though they had a heart beat of their own ( apart from the engine noise) When that engine stopped and were just drifting to the whim of wind and tide was like someone dying, but when restarted was like new life had restarted. It was not the ships fault if she appeared scruffy and unkempt to outsiders it was due to human factors. I cursed a ship I was on whose capabilities were beyond what was called for in one bad incident in my life, but that same undernourished ship like any human being kept us all afloat and safely back to shore. She did her part of the bargain. I still curse some of the ships I sailed on, but realize was not their fault. By the same token seeing glamourace passenger vessels don't mean very much to me, they are just pretty ships painted up and pretending to passengers they are really going to sea as real seafarers. I cant imagine being part of a team sailing on such, as part of a team as would appear to be a false existence to myself. Anyhow would not probably get past the Bull.... that seemed to go on. I sailed with ex Bridge passenger personell both deep sea and offshore, most of those offshore didn't last too long, and those deepsea were obviously missing their past experiences of passenger liners, and must have been a drop in height and living conditions to many. However everyone to his/her liking. Apart from God blessing America he should also bless all ships of whatever origin. When sailing on the Sunprincess which was as near as I was ever likely to get to a passenger ship, I had more knowledge of that vessel than anyone else apart from those who assisted me in putting wooden plugs through underwater shell plating and cement boxes round the same. If passengers had known and disclosed to press there would of been obscene headlines made. However this was the ordinary practice of seamen, and gave one a feeling of accomplishment, which in todays shipping would of been unheard of, I was one of a very small team who knew the weaknesses and strength of the vessel I was sailing on. It used to be the first of may things one learned on going to sea was to know your ship, I have always tried to whenever possible to live by those rules, one wasn't just paid to stand on the bridge dressed up, that was secondary to the job. End of Genesis part 1. Cheers JWS

7th October 2016, 03:25 AM
PS A big exception to this rule was one of the masters off one of the Queens, who after retirement returned to sea and was quite happy to sail as 2nd.mate on one of the Temple Ships, was going to say boats then, then remembered Ivans aversion to such. Like the big tanker companies of years gone past think the masters and Chiefs retired about 55. Cheers JWS

7th October 2016, 08:19 AM
When I was up for masters in 1963, there had been a fire on a passenger ship off the Canarys just prior to this, believe she was Spanish or Italian, when I was ashore I was ashore and didn't take ships home with me, if I had I would of realized that it would be a topic at the MOT orals. Sure enough it cropped up and think the examiner was taken what had happened in the passenger ship incident, he was talking about sprinkler systems which at the time 1963 were very rare and I had not really sailed with them to the scale of passenger ships design. Anyhow for the first half hour he let me ramble on about fire parties and doing this and doing that, after half an hour he said stop. You as master do not leave the bridge, you delegate. He let me off for half an hour with a list of questions which I should know all about fire fighting apparatus, that half an hour I spent on the Newcastle quayside with the L and G fire fighting apparatus makers. Going back he asked me only a couple of the questions and then went on to ship handling something totally different. However as regards the delegating I often wondered in latter years with the reduction in ships crews if he would still be of the same mind. I was in that examine room till 1630 after going in at 0900 hrs. In the ship handling he had me shifting a single screw steamer from one of the London docks round Knuckle ends and through locks. Coming up to 1630 he said I was a pilot for 30 years and never seen a ship come off a berth like that, but in theory you are correct, and threw the pink slip at me. I knew then what they meant when they said watch the knuckle Harry. They talk these days about doing away with exams as it may traumatise the students, they don't know what trauma is. If he had stayed in the room whilst I was on the deviascope think I would have surrendered and walked out. Cheers JWS End of Genesis part 2

Ivan Cloherty
7th October 2016, 08:45 AM
7,8,and 9 very interesting John, nearest I got to a passenger ship (apart from the 12 passenger ships of PSNC) was the Reina Del Pacifico, just standing by her in Liverpool, it did not appeal to me at all and glad I never sailed on her, they wouldn't have had me anyway with my then strong Yorkshire Pudding Accent, diluted a bit now with having lived in various countries and four years sailing with scousers, now nobody knows where I'm from except 'oop norf'; anyway I loved the uncertainty of tramping, you could sail on the same ship but with a change of Master you could have well sailed with two different companies without giving up your cabin, the quiet ones, but strict and fair, always seemed to generate more respect and taught us young-uns valuable lessons in diplomacy and fairness

My only aversion to 'boats' is by shorewallahs of which 99.9% have no idea what a cargo ship looks like or how important they are to their very survival, I only say God Bless America for saving the Queen because otherwise she would be razor blades by now, in fact our cousins across the water are saving another British built steamship from late1800's as it forms part of their history. Our Govt (of all hues) seems quite happy to consign our heritage to the dustbin.

It would have been nice to save an Empire and an SD14 somewhere around our shores so that people knew what was the backbone of our country, but no, like Torquay, they have no interest, instead telling the owner of an fully restored MTB (okay I know it's RN) who fell behind with very expensive harbour dues to take his wreck and sling it, instead of offering him concessions

7th October 2016, 09:32 AM
Ivan a bloke I knew was sent down from the Federation to join of all ships something like the Green Goddess as fourth mate or maybe 5th mate. She was lying in London somewhere. He had to report into some office before going on board. They wanted to know what his father did for a living so he told them it was none of their business, they then told him what tubes to catch to get across London and there he is with all his seagoing gear wellies an all. He said I want a taxi or I aint going anywhere. After much argument he got his taxi. Shortly after arrival on board a tailor comes to measure him up for mess kit and No.10s, he says whos paying for this and was informed he was, he had 3rd. mates braid on his uniform which he refused to change and didn't have a cap. He told me he spent all the daylight hours working in the freezer and fridge rooms as wasn't allowed on deck without a cap. Don't think he sailed on the ship as was transferred to one of their cargo ships. His accent was still very broad at the time. I think the limit of my aspirations was the old tramp steamer. Different people have different aspirations, mine were always very low. As a kid full of what life could offer I was always keen on the RN so at 14 I wrote to Dartmouth and got an application form back, questions galore viz again what did father do for a living all family members who had held military commissions, how many languages I spoke, how many musical instruments I was conversant with and many more. Think I put in for language Good and Bad and for musical instruments a tin whistle. Saw immediately the life of a N.O. was not meant to be, so sent for the application form for boy seaman entry, my old man wouldn't sign the paper. Insisted that if wanted to go to sea was doing it properly the old working mans way, how wrong can they get it, that was the hard way of doing it on tramp outfits. The only thing good I suppose it toughened you up to what life was all about. The Class barriers were there in Merchant ships the same as the armed forces at the time, have sailed with quite a few posh kids as thick as a no. 69 bus. Your background did matter in those days and still does to a certain extent. However we had to work to get our background and wasn't there served on a plate. You know the first thing I did when I got my 2nd. Mates cert. was I walked into the office the assistant personel manager who I hated a Lt. ****** RNVR shouts across the office oh Sabourn, I shouted back to him its Mr. Sabourn to you Galpin. That shut him up good had nothing to lose he was a #anker in any case. The Class system was there in those days in certain MN ships as well, you got on if you had a good background, we had to work for ours it wasn't served up like some. That piece of paper shot a lot of them down in flames when necessary. JWS

John Arton
7th October 2016, 10:00 AM
John S
Re: your #9
I think the passenger vessel you referred to when taking Masters orals, could have been the Greek passenger ship "Lakonia". Reason I remember that is that my school mate was a passenger on it at the time, on holiday with his parents.

7th October 2016, 10:22 AM
Thanks John believe it was, needing more prompts these days to remember some of the names must be something I ate or drank, probably drank as averse to fresh water. Did your friend and his parents get out of it or not. Just looked it up and see there were 128 deaths I believe. They tried towing her to Gib but turned over and sank. The RN also had ships there picking bodies out of the water. Is not a very nice job at the best of times. Believe in one post on here said on recovering a heli crew in the English channel lifted the whole chopper on to the deck with crane after letting it drain at sea level. When taking the helmet off one of the bodies turned out to be the diving officers best mate, he didn't know until the headset came off and had to leave the deck in a hurry. One has to shut the whole mind down and go on auto, affects people different ways but whatever way it is an assault on ones senses. JS

Ivan Cloherty
7th October 2016, 02:15 PM
#11 when I left Hull Trinity House, I had the option of going inta Fleet Air Arm or joinin te MN, don't know whether it was good or bad advice, but my dad who was on leave at the time said, if you like concrete and have no real desire to go to sea, then join the FAA, otherwise join the MN. you'll see more of the world and man-up quicker (this to some one who had done trips to the Arctic Circle when aged 13, 14 and 15 I found the MN easier), good advice for seeing the world, not so good from a pension point of view. Can just imagine me at that time in an RN Mess with 'eh ba gum' followed by 'I'll go to the foot of our stairs'[said by people who lived in bungalows when they didn't believe anybody] and a few other Yorkshireisms, lead balloons come to mind. Anyway if I could go back, I would not change a thing, even knowing what I know now (might have saved a bit more money, but then again the girls in Chile and Hong Kong would have been poorer, and I would have felt guilty for not helping them out!)

8th October 2016, 12:51 AM
#14 So your not averse to chilly girls from Hong Kong. Knew a full blooded Chinese one once upon a time. Had her own apartment in Hong Kong and a swiss boyfriend musician who was away on tour. Ship was in Kowloon and felt like that character in the movie Suzie Wong ( the male one) coming back on the ferry every morning. She even had her own Amah, she wasn't bad either. Cheers JS

Dennis McGuckin
8th October 2016, 05:30 PM
Ivan, I had the same advice from a friend of my dads who was in the RN.
Stationed at HMS Woodcock in the midlands.
On leave he used to go down to the sea to have a look at it.
I was set for the RN until he said to me.
If you want to see the World, join the Merch.
Best advice I ever got.

Stan Carter
8th October 2016, 06:48 PM
when I told my parents I was thinking of going to sea, all my mates had done so, my dad was quite upset that I would not consider the Royal and learn a trade. never for one moment have I had any regrets.
regards, stan

Chris Allman
8th October 2016, 09:04 PM
In the words of the song " If only I could live my life again " I would re-join the MN without hesitation. It would have to be the old MN and with all you lot though, otherwise it would not be worthwhile. :bigsmile:

Des Taff Jenkins
9th October 2016, 04:28 AM
And in the bottom right hand corner tantalizing images of proper ships .
Hi Joe.
Oh! you of like mind; my very thoughts as I looked at the picture;memories, took me a few seconds to look up at the Queen
Cheers Des

Ivan Cloherty
9th October 2016, 08:08 AM
In the words of the song " If only I could live my life again " I would re-join the MN without hesitation. It would have to be the old MN and with all you lot though, otherwise it would not be worthwhile. :bigsmile:

You been at the cough medicine again Chris, but know what you mean