Queen Mary 2 Final Sailing Under UK Registry
A very sad day for maritime history and Cunard heritage on the 24th November 2011, when Queen Mary 2 returned to her home of Southampton for the final time as a British Merchant ship.  On the 1st December, she would become registered in Hamilton, Bermuda, like her P&O and Princess fleet mates, also ending 171 years of Cunard ship having RMS status.  Queen Elizabeth had already been done in Amsterdam on the 24th October while Queen Victoria followed three days later.  Mary arrived earlier than scheduled, due to the refit, docking by 2.50am.  She was due to sail to Hamburg at noon.  My friend, Robert Ellerington-Parr came down to witness history and picked me and my dad up, first stop the marina.  He noticed Mary was flying the Royal Mail pennant.  The weather was cold but at least dry and at one point a patch of blue sky was above her.
Despite her rescheduled for about five minutes after time, nothing happened.  It turned out they were waiting on an engine and had no idea when they'd sail so we waited and waited.  Good start!  She had already begun singling up originally but then was ready to go at 1.05pm, the Royal Mail pennant still flying as each rope was thrown but down by the time she started moving.  She gave three short blasts to signal going astern then three proper ones as she straightened after backing out.
Then we all got into Rob's car and headed to Calshot, which is his favourite spot.  He'd wanted to go there for the sailing until I suggested we start in Hythe so we could get shots of her huge Southampton bum.  She was at Fawley when we arrived but we still had time to pay for a parking ticket and get to the water's edge.  Annoyingly she blasted as she passed the tankers rather than Calshot.  It was flipping colder and windier.  The sun came out a few times wich created haze.
And so that was that as she sailed into the distance, ready to drop the pilot.  Queen Mary 2's GBQM call sign would be no more in a week's time.  Like when Lizzie left, we were witnessing a piece of history head towards the English Channel and it was very sad.  Rob dropped us home then headed back to his.

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©Patricia Dempsey 24th November 2011
Not to be reproduced without permission