musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Cunard

Loving Liverpool (10) Liverpool Parish Church

Liverpool Parish Church is also also known as “Our Lady and St Nicholas”, and the current building was built after the original main body of the church was destroyed by fire on  21 December 1940, during the bombing of Liverpool by the Luftwaffe.

Situated close to the pier head it would have been much closer to the Mersey before all the changes and dock building was done.

The bombing attack resulted in the building of a new church, and the completed church, was dedicated to “Our Lady and St Nicholas” and it was consecrated on 18 October 1952.

The church had a very welcoming feel about it and it is light and very beautiful inside. Liverpool is a maritime city and that is reflected in the church too.  The best find was the Cunard Roll of Honour which was moved from the Cunard building and rededicated on 21 July 1990.


The nautical theme abounds and I found yet another bell from HMS Liverpool. Just how many bells did the ship have? (there is also an HMS Liverpool bell in the Cathedral)

One of those rare gems is the Roll of Honour of those who lost their lives during the 2nd World War while serving in merchant ships and fishing vessels. The case is made from wood from the Aquitania.

The Pulpit and Font.


Maritime Chapel of St Mary del Key (St Mary of the Quay)

Chapel of St Peter

The Cross in the Chapel of St Peter was created by Revd David Railton, who was the rector at Liverpool at the time, was formed of two pieces of fire blackened roof timbers taken from the ruins of the church. in 1920, Revd Railton wrote to the Dean of Westminster, about the possibility of giving an unidentified soldier a national burial service in Westminster Abbey. This became the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior 

The Grail Boat (Greg Tucker)

Our Lady of the Quay (Arthur Dooley)

Unfortunately I missed so much in the Garden of Remembrance that I now have a reason to revisit the church in the future. 

Atlantic Conveyor Memorial

And then I had to leave and go to my next destination.

As far as churches go this one is a relatively new building in an ancient parish, but it has managed to straddle the old and the new and the result is stunning. I regret not looking over the garden though, but the lack of headstones probably put me off.  But, that’s a good reason to return.

The Bombed Out Church.

I also found one more church that had been affected by the bombing, and it is the former St Luke’s Church on the corner of Berry Street and Leece Street, It is known as “The Bombed Out Church”

The church was built between 1811 and 1832, in addition to being a parish church, it was also intended to be used as a venue for ceremonial worship by the Corporation, and as a concert hall. It was badly damaged during the Liverpool Blitz in 1941, and remains as a roofless shell. It now stands as a memorial to those who were lost in the war, Unfortunately it was closed on both times I was there, but I was able to photograph two monuments of interest. 

The first is “Truce” by Andy Edwards, and it commemorates the the moment when British and German soldiers called a temporary truce during Christmas in the First World War.

The second monument is related to Malta.

There is an Irish Famine Memorial too, but for some strange reason I missed photographing it. 

Incidentally the surrounds were never used for burials, and today this is a nice peaceful green spot in the city. And that concludes my look at the two churches I saw in Liverpool and both are worthy of a revisit. Continue onwards to the final say.


DRW © 2018 – 2019. Created 19/06/2018

Updated: 04/01/2019 — 06:59

Loving Liverpool (1)

There are many places in the UK that are famous for their maritime history, and Liverpool is no exception. This was where Cunard sailed from and where the Lusitania and Mauretania were based. The Titanic was registered in the city, and of course Liverpool was home to the escorts that shepherded convoys across the Atlantic during the 2nd World War. And, like so many ports in the UK it became bereft of ships as the passenger traffic died away and containerisation replaced the conventional cargo ships that used to call this place their home port. 

Recently I have been mulling over making another short trip somewhere, similar to the one I made to London in 2016 and Liverpool ended up on the top of the list. The logistics of getting there are not huge: catch a train from Cheltenham, bail out at Birmingham, catch a different train to Liverpool Lime Street Station and voila! there you were. The biggest snag was timing though. My original plan had been to head out on the last weekend of May, but the Monday was a bank holiday and rates and ticket prices tended to be higher over a weekend, so I ended up planning for 29 May till 01 June instead. I found a hotel easily enough, booked my train tickets, paid my deposit and started the countdown. 

Early on the morning of the 29th I was at Cheltenham Spa Station. I had tweaked my train booking so that I had roughly half an hour to change trains at Birmingham, but the train was late arriving at Cheltenham and that cut my changing time down to 20 minutes. I was curious about what Birmingham New Street Station looked like now that it was finally completed as I had last passed through it in mid June 2015 and it was a real mess. Hopefully things were better now. 

Upon arrival I dashed upstairs into the concourse and out the main entrance to the station (I may be incorrect about it being the main entrance). I got very disorientated when I saw that they had added a giant alien eyeball onto the front of the station!

While inside resembled something out of a cheesy science fiction show.  

Still, it is a major improvement, and the platforms are much lighter now than they were before but it is still a horrible crowded and frenetic place.

The train to Liverpool from Birmingham stopped at: Smethwick Gatton Bridge, Woolverhampton, Penkridge, Stafford, Crewe, Winsford Hartsford (Cheshire), Acton Bridge, Runcorn, Liverpool South Parkway and finally Liverpoool Lime Street. It was roughly a 2 hour train journey excluding train changes. 

When I was doing my navigation I had marked a number of places that I wanted to see, and I had planned to do them over the 3 days that I had. The big unknown was the weather though, it was overcast in Cheltenham when I left, although Liverpool appeared to be clear which was forecast to change. I would really have to play the weather by ear. My goals were: The waterfront with associated War Memorials and statues, the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals, a ferry ride, the Cenotaph, museums, and anything else that caught my wandering eye.

I arrived at midday, and the sun was shining!

Liverpool Lime Street Station was yet another of those glorious cathedrals of glass but in total disarray as they were renovating it (and is going to be closed completely for 2 months).

The cuttings leading to the station from Edge Hill were amazing, at least 3-4 stories deep, they are covered in vegetation and moss with bricked areas and bare rock all on display. It was quite a view but getting pics was impossible because of angles and reflections. It was one of those sights that leaves you with admiration for those who built the early railways. They laid bricks by the millions and gangs of men created these artificial caverns in the city with picks and shovels. Lime Street (what a great name) is probably the most well known station in Liverpool, although there are a number of stations in the city because it also has an underground rail network. 

Imagine this space in the days of steam…. 

My hotel was literally a quick walk “around the corner*, and I believe it is the 2nd oldest hotel in Liverpool. It was a nice hotel, although I did battle with hot water and the bed. The staff however were awesome, and the rate was a good one. I would stay there again if ever I came this way in the future.

I dropped off my bag and headed down the road to my first goal: 

St George’s Quarter.

The map below gives a rough outline of some of the structures in what is known as “St George’s Quarter”, although I am not dealing with all of them in these posts.

1 – St George’s Hall, 2 – St John’s Garden, 3 – World Museum, 4 – Central Library, 5 – Walker Art Gallery, 6 – Empire Theatre, 16 – Lime Street Station, 18 – Queensway Tunnel approach

Liverpool’s War Memorial was unveiled in 1930, it was designed by Lionel B. Budden, an associate professor from the university of Liverpool.  It is was placed on the plateau below St George’s Hall and is a long low rectangular structure with two long friezes. There is a  more detailed post on the memorial on allatsea/

St George’s Hall (# 1 on the map) was somewhat of a puzzle because it was a huge building that seemingly had no visible purpose although it had quite a number of secrets in it. The whole area around it had a number of bronze statues, and was very impressive. It was probably even more impressive when it was built, but the traffic in front and size of the building really makes it look like a large tomb. My first goal was accomplished and it was now time to find the waterfront. Behind the building is a very pretty park known as St John’s Garden (# 2 on the map), and in it there is a Memorial to the Liverpool Regiment that lists men who died during the Anglo Boer War, Afghanistan and Burma.

To the right of the park there were three very old and visually impressive buildings (3 – World Museum, 4 – Central Library, 5 – Walker Art Gallery,)

Walker Art Gallery

World Museum and Central Library

I visited the museum on my 3rd day and it was absolute chaos with all the crowds of people. I was very glad to get out of there! 

There are two other structures to mention while we are in the area, the first is: the former North Western Hotel building which stands almost attached to the station complex (# 16 in the map). Originally opened as a railway hotel in 1871 it was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, and had 330 rooms. The hotel closed in 1933, and at the moment it appears to be student accommodation. 

and next to is the Empire Theatre dating from 1925, (i# 6 on the map)

My hotel was in Lord Nelson Street that was sandwiched between these two buildings. 

It was time to find the waterfront! I had spotted the Liver Birds at some point so really just headed in the general direction where they were because the waterfront is a large area and I was bound to hit it sooner or later. I detoured to a number of buildings along the way but eventually reached my destination, and it was not to disappoint. I entered the area through Water Street, with the famous Royal Liver Building on my right, and the equally beautiful Cunard Building on my left. 

The former is famous because it is really a unique landmark on the waterfront and it is topped by a pair of “Liver Birds”.  Legend has it that while one giant bird looks out over the city to protect its people, the other bird looks out to sea at the new sailors coming in to port.  It is said that, if one of the birds were to fly away the city of Liverpool would cease to exist, thus adding to the mystery of the birds. The are  eighteen feet high, ten feet long and carry a cast sprig of seaweed in their beaks. They are officially cormorants but will always be known as the Liver Birds.

Royal Liver Building

The three buildings along this spot of waterfront are collectively known as the “Three Graces” (Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building), and all three are spectacular.

Cunard Building

Port of Liverpool Building

I was able to get into the foyers of the Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings, and I was stunned. The  building dates from 1917 although Cunard left the building in the 1960’s.  In fact the Cunard Shipping Company of today is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines and based in America. 

I would have loved to have seen this space back in the heady days of the Cunarders that used Liverpool as their base, but I would have ended up booking my passage in a very different looking room. The room in the images above is the 1st Class Booking Hall.

The Roll of Honour was placed in nearby Liverpool Parish Church in 1990

The Port of Liverpool Building was equally unbelievable. It was completed in 1907, and is a Grade II* listed building. The central area under the dome is where the passages lead off, and it reminded me a lot of a panopticon. But, unlike those it is much more beautiful.  

And seeing as I was at the pierhead I could check out the ships…  but unfortunately the only ship in sight was the Mersey Ferry “Snowdrop” and she was running cruises between the banks of the river spaced an hour apart.


The queue was horribly long so I shelved that plan and went and hunted down some of the other items on my list. 

The Titanic Memorial with Royal Liver Building in the background

Captain Frederic John Walker RN. Memorial

The statue of Captain Frederic John Walker RN ties into the Merchant Navy Memorial in the two images below.  The escort groups he led sank more U-boats during the Battle of the Atlantic than any other British or Allied commander, and he was instrumental in the Allied victory of the Battle of the Atlantic,  The statue, by Liverpool sculptor Tom Murphy  was unveiled in 1998 and shows him  in a typical pose on board his ship. Sadly he died of a cerebral haemorrhage in July 1944.

Many ships and men owed their survival to Captain Walker and the escorts of the Western Approaches Command. Their contribution to the war effort is often neglected, but these unsung heroes will always have a special place in my heart.  Most have no other grave but the sea. 

The Liverpool Naval Memorial is also close to these Memorials, but it proved to be a very difficult memorial to photograph.

Liverpool Naval Memorial

I also passed this statue of these 4 guys.. but they don’t interest me.

And having reached the point on the pierhead we shall turn the page to reveal more about my trip to Liverpool.  I shall however leave you with this Superlambanana to keep you company. Or you can just bite the bullet and turn the page


DRW © 2018. Created 02/06/2018.

Updated: 02/09/2018 — 08:46

More Triang Minic

Following on my post from 24 January 2016, my collection has expanded a bit more with some new acquisitions. 

To go with my RMS Ivernia, I have also acquired an RMS Carinthia, as a sister ship. I have also outfitted both ships with cargo gear and mainmasts.

Because the masts and cranes are pricey, I decided to remove the gear from one of my C4 Mariner Class cargo ships and use those on the two Cunarders and convert the C4 into a early container ship iteration. Fortunately I had a duplicate Volunteer Mariner so she ended up donating her cargo gear. 

The containers are left overs from my P&O City of Durban and I filed down the crane housings till they were level with the hatch covers and pasted the containers onto a false deck and glued that onto the hatchcovers. I stayed with only one stack of boxes though, too many would have left them with no view to the bow. I also added a foremast but  I am not quite done with this ship yet, and of course she does not have a name, but is more of a generic interim vessel.  

My other major acquisition was the “Might Mo”: USS Missouri,
I have also been working on and off on the HMY Britannia. This model was available in the Royal Yacht livery as well as in a hospital ship livery. She was built to be easily convertible to a hospital ship in the event that she was needed, but she never fulfilled that role in her long career. Triang Minic used to sell the model as part of a boxed set  
In 2014 I bought a Revell 1/1200 QE2 model, the intention being to waterline it and add it to the collection. 
I bought the paint and brushes and packed it all away and never built it, and like the original ship  it has been languishing in limbo until last month when I got it back with the rest of my collection from storage in Lichfield.  Last night I attacked it with a saw and cut away the underwater part of the hull and started to build it. The big problem is trying to find the sheer line as it is not really marked on the model. I also used gloss black instead of matt black as the matt paint is really lousy.I am probably going to have to give it a 2nd coat so will see how the matt works on it.  By this morning the QE2 was looking somewhat odd.  
It is not a very complicated kit, but the painting is a pain. the upper deck has not been glued down yet, but the fore and aft decks have. And the funnel has had its first coat. This is very close to the livery that I saw her in in 1986, although she did have a few changes in her stern area then. 
Alongside Ocean Terminal in Durban 1986

Alongside Ocean Terminal in Durban 1986

I will try get more pics of her before I glue down the main deck,  at the moment I am waiting for paint to dry.
I have a 1/2000 QE2 model that was bought for me on board QE2 in 1994. It does not have any makers identification on it and I have been looking all over for an answer and finally found it on the 2nd day of 2017!  The model was made by S.R. Precision in the UK, and was available with a blue hull too. Unfortunately it is not a very good likeness and it does not fit in with my 1/1200 and 1/1250 fleet, but it is an interesting keepsake. 

S.R. Precision QE2 Model

Meanwhile, back at the building dock QE2 is looking more like QE2 every hour. 
First coat on funnel and fore and aft decks painted. Lifeboats are still not on. Big problem is that the davits were all black at this particular part of her career, but frankly painting them black was a lot of work, and I decided to leave them white. I may do it later. The other question is, what colour was the roof of her bridge and the suites as well as around the funnel?
Lifeboats are added, most of the superstructure elements are in place and I am starting to look at the fit onto the hull. It was not a good fit. 
But eventually I got it on and started to fit the bridge and their wings as well as try to make sense of her sheer line, as you can see it is wobbly as can be. I will sort that once all is built and when there is better natural light. I did give it a coat of matt black and it looks better. Now to fit forward cranes and mast and touch up paintwork 
Mast is on, cranes are on. I have not given the funnel its final coat as I have white drying in the funnel area. She is more or less completed now and she just needs touching up, the sheer line needs finalising, and of course I have to add colour to the lifeboats, at one point their superstructures were orange and I do not have orange paint. I have also seen her with green above the bridge. The QE2 changed many times over the years, and this model has her original thin funnel which puts this before 1986, and probably just after the Falklands when they gave her the traditional Cunard funnel livery. I was also considering giving her a false flat bottom, but must first complete her properly and then she can join the fleet. Gee, I enjoyed that bit of model building.
A postscript. 
QE2 and Canberra were contemporaries, and that is partly one of the reasons I bought the model; to see them together once more, but on 1/1200 scale.
I was also able to buy a 1/1250 Oriana to add to the collection, and while it is a small scale it does fit in well with the QE2 and Canberra. The model is by Mercator and it sold for £20 on board the ship when we sailed on her.

(B-F) QE2, Oriana and Canberra

(B-F) QE2, Oriana and Canberra

My newest addition is really one of two similar vessels operated by the French Line.  The ill fated SS Flandre, or SS Antilles were both lost to fire. My particular model is numbered M714 “Flandre” so I will stick with that. Incidentally, she was also known as the “Flounder”, and was lost to fire in 1994.  

I acquired a pair of Ton Class Minesweeper. Actually I now have two of them,  the ship on the left (HMS *.ton) I got from The Triang version (HMS Repton) is on the right. 

A finally a particularly rare beastie came my way: SS France. I repainted her and added in masts and this is the end result. Unfortunately she never joined the other major liners that were re-introduced in later years from Hong Kong and tends to be hard to find. Her funnels do not have their distinctive wings though, and I believe that this was the original funnel design.  

One of the more rare Triang ships out there is HMS Albion in her “Commando Carrier” guise.  I had a spare scrap HMS Bulwark laid up so decided to convert her into an HMS Albion. Here the pair of them are together, Albion being in front. I bought 5 x 1/1250 Westland Wessex helicopters for her and am busy trying to make rotors for them, Ye gads, what a job that was! 

Other acquisitions are:

TSS Vikingen (Triang MInic)

Since repainted and with masts and cargo gear, although I am not too enamoured by those overly heavy masts. I may rethink those (since replaced).

And SS Varicella

USS Spruance (DD963), the lead ship of the  Spruance class destroyers.

USS Bunker Hill (CG52), a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser

HMS Gloucester (D96), a type 42 batch 3 destroyer

USS Guardian (MCM5) An Avenger Class mine countermeasures ship

HMS Bangor (M109), a Sandown Class minehunter. I also have her sister HMS Penzance (M105)

and finally a Hunt class mine countermeasures vessel. She has no pennant number, although I do have her sister HMS Brocklesbury  (M33)

At this point my Minic Ship collection really becomes a small part of my much larger waterline ship collection which started to grow alongside it, eventually overtaking it and leaving it behind. You can read about that collection here or by using the arrow below.
© DRW 2016-2018. Created 05/03/2016. Updated 20/08/2016, 02/01/2017. 
Updated: 12/11/2018 — 09:43

Triang Minic Ships

Many years ago. I had a huge collection of model ships and boats, including two radio controlled tugs. The smaller waterline diecast vessels I had never really indulged in because I did not know that they existed. A visit to the home of one of the friends of a friend opened my eyes because he had the three major liners (Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and United States) in 1/1200 scale, and they were the start of my collection. The links in this page all point to the page, but there is no way of knowing how long that page will exist. 
The first Triang Minic ship I acquired was the Aragon. She was in a poor condition and minus masts and half of her bridge wing. I repainted it and made masts out of pins and put her on my shelf as an oddity amongst my collection. I still have her today, bad paint job and all.

Then things went quiet until I picked up an advert in a local newspaper for somebody selling a collection. There were 2 Cunarders in it, as well as the Queen Elizabeth and two tugs and a light vessel and some bits and pieces of harbour. This was in the pre internet days so there was no real way of finding out what was available. He also wanted R500-00 for it, and given my dead end salary it was really out of my price range. I came very close to buying it, but never did. Awhile later I picked up a slightly used Queen Elizabeth and added her to my collection too. She was resprayed by a friend and her funnels need a lot of work.

I have recently found masts for her, and one day will do something about the funnels.
That was the sum total of my collection for many years. There were rumours of a huge collection being sold out of the country, but I had no way of knowing what was available apart from the two Cunarders I had seen and the three major liners. Nothing happened for a long time but I used to haunt the hobby shops hoping to build onto my collection and at some point I managed to pick up a Queen Mary.
The model above is not my original Queen Mary though, this one I found in Salisbury in 2014.  
I also found a mint United States in South Africa which was really surprising. By now we were in the internet era and I would haunt the net looking for more ships, the problem was no longer a lack of ships, it was more about an exchange rate that made them very expensive and postage that was never guaranteed.   
My last South African acquisitions were on a local auction site, namely the Aquitania which does need a lot of work. 
as well as a Canberra in a poor condition
and a mastless model of the NS Savannah
I have since replaced my Canberra with a better one and found white metal masts for the Savannah. 
Triang also had a range of warships, and while I did not really look for them I would buy them if they were affordable, and I managed to acquire a DKM Bismarck
as well as an IJN Yamato
When I left South Africa in 2013 I left my ships behind, but hoped to get them back with me at some point and to add to my collection until then. 
In 2013 I attended the Maritime Festival in Southampton, and on display there was an almost complete collection of Triang Minic ships and I was able to see what I was missing (and there was a lot).  My first acquisition in the UK was the Queen Mary pictured above as well as a Naval Harbour Set.
That set included HMS Bulwark and HMS Vanguard.
I also started watching ebay and buying modern warships that interested me. Including HMS Daring, HMS York,  HMS Chatham and of course HMS Ark Royal.
I also picked up three very nice C4 Mariner class cargo ships. 
and even bought a Ellermans container ship: City of Durban
and a thumping great bulker too.
I brought my collection across in 2014 and it was still small compared to what it could be.

The 2014 Maritime Festival in Southampton once again had a Minic collection on display and I did quite a lot of drooling over it. 

More importantly, I was able to add the Caronia to my collection, she has since had her upperworks painted in a lighter green. 
and bought a Canberra in a better condition to replace my existing one. 
My most recent acquisitions were DKM Scharnhorst 
as well as SS Nieuw Amsterdam 
Sadly she is in need of a lot of work, but considering that she is quite an oldish model I was lucky to find her. Those missing Cunarders still haunt me though (Carinthia, Carmania, Franconia, Sylvania and Saxonia), but considering how many years it has taken to get to this point anything can happen. I am also on the lookout for an SS France to complete my major liner collection. 
and I would like to add an American battleship to my battleship collection
But that is for the future. Anything can happen in these collections, it seems to happen in spurts and bumps, and who knows what I will have tomorrow.

My passenger ship collection.


The Triang Minic ships are nice momentos for a ship buff like myself, but once again, they are only of worth to a collector like myself, and not to somebody else. So hands off my stash!  (I have images of my 2016 expanded harbour available too)
There is a part 2 to this post which may be found here 


© DRW 2016-2018. Images migrated 02/05/2016. Added pointer to part 2 of the post 20/08/2016, added “open in new tab” option to links and unbolded them. 12/11/2018
Updated: 12/11/2018 — 09:26

Remembering the Lusitania

Today, 7 May, is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Cunard liner RMS Lusitania during World War One. She is not as famous a shipwreck as the Titanic, in fact her sinking during the war was really just a blip in the casualty numbers, and yet almost 1200 people lost their lives.


Her loss really meant that her sister, the Mauretania, would become famous and she would slip quietly into obscurity, just like the Olympic and Britannic which were overshadowed by the Titanic for all the wrong reasons.  The ship, torpedoed by U-20, sank in less than 20 minutes and within sight of the old Head of Kinsale. It was a sunny day, and not the sort of day for seeing a passenger liner dieing within sight of land. 

Controversy has always surrounded the ship and her sinking. For some reason it is always thought that her sinking brought America into the war, but that is not true. And, there have always been theories about a second explosion that ended the ship, supposedly set off by the munitions that she was carrying.  
The truth is, that when the wreck was explored by Dr Robert Ballard in 1993 it did not show any signs of a massive internal explosion, however, the wreck is resting on the side that was damaged by the torpedo. Many theories have been put forward for the speed which she sank, however, the location of the torpedo damage, the construction of the ship, and the forward motion of the vessel all contributed to her sinking so quickly. Unlike Titanic which had bulkheads that ran from beam to beam, Lusitania (and Mauretania) were both designed with extensive watertight compartmentation because of their possible role as armed merchant cruisers, that meant that localised flooding on one side would cause the ship to list excessively. Titanic went down on a relatively even keel. Lusitania started listing almost immediately, making lifeboat launching extremely difficult. 

Lusitania Life Preserver, Imperial War Museum

There is also the conspiracy that Winston Churchill deliberately “set her up” to be sunk, and that Captain Turner was negligent. The official enquiry   did not find him guilty of negligence, but neither did it provide satisfactory answers about the sinking. There are still too many questions about the Lusitania that were left unanswered, and even today some of the files are classified. 

Propeller from the Lusitania (Liverpool)

The important questions from the enquiry are as follows:
17. Was any loss of life due to any neglect by the master of the “Lusitania” to take proper precautions or give proper orders with regard to swinging out of boats, or getting them ready for use, clearing away the portable skids from the pontoon-decked lifeboats, releasing the gripes of such boats, closing of watertight bulkheads or portholes, or otherwise before of after the “Lusitania” was attacked?
Answer:  No. 
20. Was the loss of the ” Lusitania ” and/or the loss of life caused by the wrongful act or default of the master of the ” Lusitania ” or does any blame attach to him for such loss?
Answer:  No. 
21. Does any blame attach to the owners of the steamship ” Lusitania “?
Answer: No. 
What is certain is the human element in the disaster, and the terrible loss of life. 18 Minutes is not a lot of time to evacuate a large ship, and there was definitely an element of chaos on board, as well as ill discipline and a lack of command guidance. But given the circumstances I expect that the best had been done, but that too many other factors played a role in the sinking.
Lusitania sank 100 years ago, but her story still interests maritime historians because it is still a mystery. And will remain so long after the wreck has finally disintegrated. 

Lusitania Peace Memorial

In the days following the disaster, efforts were made to recover bodies floating in the Irish Sea and washed up on the coast. The dead – both passengers and crew – may be found in several cemeteries and churchyards in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Killed by enemy action, the crew of Lusitania are considered war dead and therefore commemorated by the CWGC.
The bodies of 49 of her merchant marine personnel were recovered from the sea or the shore. The largest group, 34 men and women, are buried in Old Church Cemetery in Cobh.
Those Lusitania crew members missing at sea – some 353 people – are commemorated by name on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.

There are a number of books about the Lusitania, and of course the usual crop of documentaries and TV specials. These are all beyond the scope of this blogpost, and once again the old adage applies, if all the hot air spouted about the Lusitania could be utilised to raise her, she would have been bobbing like a cork already.

1/1250 Lusitania Model (Atlas Editions)


Image of the Lusitania Memorial in the old church cemetery in Cobh by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader, Used under license CC BY-SA 3.0
Postcard images from own collection. 
© DRW 2015-2018. Created 07/05/2015, images migrated 30/04/2016, some images added 11/09/2018
Updated: 11/09/2018 — 15:14

RBS 101 (2) Revisited

When I did the original posts entitled RBS 101 (Really Big Ships 101) it was really a look at these huge ships that seem to dominate our harbours. RBS 101 (2) was about cruise ships, and when I originally wrote it I had not seen two of the ships. The following is still true though: My reference for this information is the a list of the worlds largest cruise ships, as well as the company websites. Bear in mind that I am only dealing with ships that I have physically seen and I have also deliberately stayed with ships over 1000 ft long. In terms of the biggest ships, I have seen 13 out of the 57 in the Wikipedia list. This list however is n longer correct, but was really a look at the ships as at 2015

As we were saying in RBS101 (1), Passenger/Cruise ships are even more complicated when it comes to size. There are many possible options that could make one ship bigger than another in one aspect, but smaller than that same ship in another aspect. 

The important criteria in my opinion are as follows:  Length overall (LOA), GRT, and capacity. That makes things a little bit easier. Of course capacity can be measured by “double occupancy”, or “full board”, but generally double occupancy should suffice. 

The contenders are:
Oasis Of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean Lines. GRT 225282 LOA 1187ft (362m) Passenger capacity:  5412  double occupancy.

Quantum of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Lines. GRT 168666 LOA 1139ft (347,1m) Passenger capacity:  4180  double occupancy.
Queen Mary 2
Carnival Corp. GRT  148528   LOA:  1132ft (345m)   Passenger capacity:  2592  double occupancy.

Royal Caribbean Lines.  GRT: 154407, LOA: 1112 ft (339m) Passenger capacity  3634 double occupancy

Adventure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Lines. GRT: 137276  LOA: 1020 ft, (310m)  Passenger capacity: 3114 double occupancy 3807

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Cruise Lines. GRT 144017    LOA:  1062 ft (324m)  Passenger capacity: 4000  double occupancy

Norwegian Getaway
Norwegian Cruise Lines. GRT 145655    LOA:  1068ft (326)  Passenger capacity: 3910  double occupancy

Royal Princess

Princess Cruises. GRT  142714   LOA:  1083 ft  (330m) Passenger capacity:  3600  double occupancy  

Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Cruises. GRT 122000  LOA:  1041 ft (315m) Passenger Capacity 2850 Double Occupancy 

Oasis of the Seas and her sister Allure of the Seas really break all records, and dominate in all categories, although Allure is a smidgen larger than Oasis. Newcomer Quantum of the Seas comes in as number 3 in size, although that is only true until her sisters make an appearance.

Interestingly enough our biggest box boat in service is 1305 ft (398m) long. Allure is probably one of the biggest ships out there, although she is to be upstaged by an even bigger ship one of these days.  The most important thing about big ships is that while they may be huge, it does not mean that they are good looking. Size and bulk can ruin the ships lines, and given the propensity for strange sterns and a lack of sheer many modern cruise ships are not good lookers. 
So, there you have it in a nutshell, a slightly updated version of an old topic. You can only really appreciate the size of some of these vessels when seen against something else, or when they come past you. Personally I prefer small ships, there is something about being on a ship with 3999 other people that puts me right off. 
© DRW 2014-2018. Images recreated 20/04/2016
Updated: 22/06/2018 — 19:18

Burning Ships.

In the news this week was the fire on board the former Cunard Countess, which was laid up at Chalkis in Greece under the name Ocean Countess.  A fire on board an empty ship is not as big a disaster as a fire on board a fully laden one, but it can often be the end of a career for the ship. 
Generic postcard of one of the sisters under Cunard

Generic postcard of one of the sisters under Cunard

I have not sailed on this particular vessel, but did do a short cruise on her sister ship Cunard Princess when she was operating as Rhapsody for MSC in 1996, and I do recall that the ship did not really do much for me. She wasn’t really spectacular, but wasn’t a tub either, Its just that she was forgettable.

At one point a decision will be made as to the disposition of the vessel, and I would not be surprised if she isn’t declared a constructive total loss, which is really a death warrant for most ageing cruise ships. The irony is that when Royal Olympia went under she was in South Africa, and ended up under arrest in Durban. 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 15/04/2016
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:48

RBS101 (2)

As we were saying in RBS101 (1), Passenger/Cruise ships are even more complicated when it comes to size. There are many possible options that could make one ship bigger than another in one aspect, but smaller than that same ship in another aspect. 
This page is really only true for the day it was created. I relooked RBS 101 (2) in 2014 because of the new ships that had entered service. And, if I had to relook it in 2016 it too would have bene out of date. 
The important criteria in my opinion are as follows:  Length overall (LOA), GRT, and capacity. That makes things a little bit easier. Of course capacity can be measured by “double occupancy”, or “full board”, but generally double occupancy should suffice. 


My reference for this information is the a list of the worlds largest cruise ships, as well as the company websites. Bear in mind that I am only dealing with ships that I have physically seen and I have also deliberately stayed with ships over 1000 ft long.

The contenders are:

Queen Mary 2
Carnival Corp. GRT  148528   LOA:  1132ft (345m)   Passenger capacity:  2592  double occupancy.

Royal Caribbean Lines.  GRT: 154407, LOA: 1112 ft (339m) Passenger capacity  3634 double occupancy

Adventure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Lines. GRT: 137276  LOA: 1020 ft, (310m)  Passenger capacity: 3114 double occupancy 3807

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Cruise Lines. GRT 144017    LOA:  1062 ft (324m)  Passenger capacity: 4000  double occupancy

Royal Princess

Princess Cruises. GRT  142714   LOA:  1083 ft  (330m) Passenger capacity:  3600  double occupancy  

Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Cruises. GRT 122000  LOA:  1041 ft (315m) Passenger Capacity 2850 Double Occupancy 
In terms of LOA Queen Mary 2 is right in front, although capacitywise Norwegian Breakaway wins. Independence of the Seas is the winner in the GRT stakes. 
At the time of writing, the largest cruise ship afloat belongs to Royal Caribbean Lines, and is called “Allure of the Seas”. Everything about her is big, with a GRT of 225282, a capacity of 5412 passengers, and a length of 1187 ft (362m).
Oasis of the Seas. Oct 2014

Oasis of the Seas. Oct 2014

Interestingly enough our biggest box boat in service is 1305 ft (398m) long. Allure is probably one of the biggest ships out there, although she is to be outstaged by an even bigger ship one of these days. 
The most important thing about big ships is that while they may be huge, it does not mean that they are good looking. Size and bulk can ruin the ships lines, and given the propensity for strange sterns and a lack of sheer many modern cruise ships are not good lookers. 
So, there you have it in a nutshell, however, you can only really appreciate the size of some of these vessels when seen against something else, or when they come past you. Personally I prefer small ships, there is something about being on a ship with 3999 other people that puts me right off. 
© DRW 2013-2018 Images recreated 10/04/2016. 
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:44

Southampton Shipwatch 16: Queen Mary 2

I am probably one of the few people who are not fans of the Queen Mary 2, or I wasn’t until I saw her today. Most images portray her as this huge towering vessel that dwarfs everything in sight, but I saw her for the first time this morning and I have become just that bit more of a fan. I think the trick behind it is to get high up when you see her as she doesn’t tower over you, or hide a building in the way so that it looks like the building is going to sea instead.
She was scheduled to arrive in Southampton at 04.30am from her world cruise, berthing up at Southampton Ocean Terminal, oddly enough she berthed bow inwards, everybody else had berthed bow outwards; and is scheduled to sail tonight at 7pm.
My images from early this morning were not great because of the weather so I returned at 2pm to see if things were any better from a photography point of view. At least now there is some blue sky, later pics in this blog will reveal just what the weather is like at 7pm tonight when she sails for New York.

Because of delays in the sailing of Black Watch I changed my original plan and decided to head off to Hythe to watch her sail. Assuming she sailed on time I would theoretically be able to catch the 20.10 ferry and be on her when AIDAstella sailed. Such are the plans of mice and men.  Of course heading to Hythe means you do have a view of her starboard side as well as her pudding bowled bum.

Once Black Watch was out of the way I changed my position in relation to the terminal for when QM2 started to move. And, just after 19.00 there was movement.
There was a lot of ship to get out of that berth, behind me the weather was going crazy. I was just hoping that the storm did not head our way because I was nowhere near shelter.

Her astern movement completed she started to swing her bows towards me, it was perfect to watch, although I was disappointed that there were no sounds coming from her horn. 

I finally had my unencumbered view of the vessel, and she looks best from this angle. She was now ready to proceed on her voyage to New York. How I wish I had been able to see QE2 like this as well.

As she came almost abaft of AIDAstella she let fly with her hooter, and a mighty sound it was. Hearkening back to the original Queen Mary that also plied these waters so many years ago.

Then it was time for me to head off back to the ferry, stopping occasionally to snap a pic of her as she sailed down Southampton Water.
It is hard to believe that earlier this morning she had returned from sailing around the world and had turned around and was now sailing to New York.
As I stood at the ferry pier I kept on watching her until she turned and was once again broadside on, a distant object in a darkening sky. Many ships had taken that exact same path, but tonight, it was the Queen Mary 2, sailing on a traditional route that will see her on the other side of the world next week.

My opinion has changed. She is a beaut. Granted there are things I would change if I had the chance, but she will probably be the flagship of the world for the next few years, or until something else is built to replace her. But like her predecessor QE2, she is a one-off, there is no sister ship, there isn’t anything around that looks like her. I guess that makes her special.  I have managed to capture her on video, so hop across to my youtube channel for a look at one, or another video of her

Arrival 10/05/2013

Sailing  09/06/2013

On this particular viewing I was on board Shieldhall  and we were able to watch QM2 sailing from on board this vintage vessel. 
Still alongside at QEII terminal. Sailing was still about 60 minutes away. We turned around and headed back to her to wait for her to sail, the 3rd last ship out of four scheduled for that afternoon. 
From a distance: the vessel is still swinging to face us where we are drifting in Southampton Water. 

And, alongside in Southampton at the Ocean Terminal on 03 August 2013.

City Terminal 08 August 2013
On the 8th of August QM2 arrived at a very early hour to berth at City Terminal, I arrived just after she had turned in the swing grounds and was approaching the berth.
That afternoon I watched her sail from 48 Berth, which was not as great a spot as I would have liked. I should have headed down to Town Quay instead.
Sailing from Ocean Terminal 02/09/2013
I worked baggage on QM2 on this day and took some very unique shots of her from opposite where she was berthed at City Terminal, this is also the spot where Titanic was alongside in 1912. 
From the quayside she is huge, and there was no real way of showing that bulk in a photograph.
Once my shift was over I moved across to the other side of the Ocean Terminal and waited for her to sail. It was a long wait, punctuated by spurious bursts of energy to keep my muscles from freezing up after my long afternoons work.
And then she was past, and I was somewhat shocked at the size of her. You can see the video on my Youtube Channel of this sailing. It is however quite a big one, just like the ship that the video is about.. 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 03/04/2016
Updated: 22/06/2018 — 12:52

Southampton Shipwatch 14: Queen Victoria

Another of those “Cunarders” that I have never seen; Queen Victoria is supposedly a better looker than Queen Elizabeth. As I write this she is 45 minutes away from sailing, and so far all pics I have of her are very bad quality ones from this mornings gray weather, and a long shot from Town Quay in the sunlight.


From afar she looks almost like Queen Elizabeth, and any other Vista Class clone. However, her design has elements that just make her look much better, it is difficult to quantify though, if anything she is closer to Arcadia than she is to Queen Elizabeth. 

She sailed just after 5pm. but turning a ship of her size around at Mayflower takes ages so I was able to walk back to Town Quay while she was turning. Eventually though she started to approach.
It is true, she is the better looker of the pair. And I really like her. She has a better “balance” to her looks, and that’s a winner in my book. Maybe one day she will be seen as one of the better looking ships afloat. 
And then she was past, heading towards Southampton Water and past the Queen Mary 2 and AIDAstella  that was waiting to sail. The weather had been very odd on this day so this bit of sunlight for her sailing was just what we needed. But would it remain like this? so far we had had rain, sunlight and hail all at the same time, so anything was possible weatherwise. 
Chalk yet another ship down as “seen” and I really liked this one. Both sisters are due on 1 May, so that will be a good opportunity to compare them. Hopefully I will be able to get a pic of them together.

Arrival 01/05/2013
And of course there was the evening sailing…
Sadly in 2017 they added in more cabins to those tiered decks, thus taking away the slight difference that made her look better than the Elizabeth. Its all about balcony cabins! 
© DRW 2913-2018. Images recreated 03/04/2016
Updated: 28/12/2017 — 07:47
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