31ST October 1967 as I was in my submarine "Auriga" sailing from Singapore across the Indian Ocean to Aden in preparation for Britain's withdrawal from that dreadful part of the world, sending and receiving Morse Code messages to and from far afield!

AND A VERY SAD MOMENT IN HISTORY!

In 1967, the Cunard Liner RMS QUEEN MARY, radio international callsign GBTT, left her berth at Ocean Terminal on the River Hudson, Manhattan, New York, NY, and sailed down the Hudson for the last time bound for Southampton.

This Pathe news snippet records part of the event

Goodbye To The 'queen Mary' - British Pathé

The Yorkshire Film Library has a near-hour long film of the QM's first maiden voyage to New York in 1936. I am going to show you a ten minutes clipping from the belly of the film which covers her departure from Southampton until arrival off New York. It is hardly exciting but it is very historic.

The clipping © Yorkshire Film Library Queen Mary crossed the pond to New York 1936.wmv

As she was leaving, she 'worked' the local wireless station TUCKERTON RADIO callsign WSC situated on Mystic Island New Jersey, until 1950 a USN radio back-up facility. Before the USN station was destroyed and replaced with the commercial radio station WSC, it was world famous in its own right, not only for being the most powerful transmitter serving the Atlantic Ocean, but its mast was the second tallest building in the world at 820 feet, second only to the Eiffel Tower in Paris at that time.

This is where Tuckerton was situated. The black dot on the map with a No9 attached. Just south of the entrance to New York harbour.

Site of wireless station WSC.wmv

When we sparkers talk about 'working' a station, it generally means sending our traffic or receiving our traffic by Morse code to/from shore, or by engineering the ship end of radio telephone calls made/placed by the passengers or sometimes by the crew/staff.

What follows © Julian Hill, an expert in all matters concerning the Cunard Liner Queen Mary, is a recording of part of the exchange of signals between the QM and Tuckerton Radio [WSC] at the time of the goodbye sailing from the "Hells Kitchen" west side Hudson 'North River' Berths even numbered Piers numbering from 88 to 94,four piers in all. Pier 86, once an ocean terminal pier is now fully and permanently used by the old carrier USS Intrepid as a museum.

© Julian Hill morse1.mp3

What follows is a facsimile of what the Morse code is saying, starting literally as soon as you open the file with the word "To.........." so if you feel you can read the Morse, be on your toes. The Morse is good, not terribly fast but certainly fast enough for those not practiced in the skill.

 The ship starts the story........

TO MANAGER AND STAFF WSC TUCKERTONRADIO // AS WE TAKE OUR LEAVE OF NEWYORK AND REGRETFULLY STEAM DOWN THE HUDSON FOR THE LAST TIME WE SEND YOU ALL OUR THANKS AND APPRECIATION FOR THE COOPERATION EXTENDED TO US OVER THE YEARS BEST WISHES AND OUR KINDEST REGARDS // RADIO STAFF GBTT+

the two consecutive forward slashes indicated a break sign, a separator before different parts of the message and the + at the end means end of working, end of message

The shore station WSC replies.

GBTT DE WSC SVC R R AND MANY TKS OM

the de sign means 'this is' - SVC is a message between radio officers and not between captains of ships or their operating company masters ashore -  Roger Roger and many thanks Old Man [normal operator speak and salutations].

The ship answers.

RR NW SHOOT K

(Roger Roger - Shoot (=send all your messages) K (=invitation to transmit))

WSC replies.

R R THIS SEEMS SAD MOM -

Mom means moment

The recording ends. Then both operators get down to work transferring traffic meant for ships passengers and those ashore in the States and UK, and no doubt other destinations too.

Nothing to do with QM's goodbye to NY, but of general interest in modern terms and jargon [nomenclature] --  New York was covered by many local radio broadcasting stations one of which, just across the Hudson from Manhattan, was New Jersey's Radio Florence broadcasting popular music and variety on 1460 kHz AM [amplitude modulated] in lieu of FM [frequency modulated] associated with much shorter spectrum waves. Her callsign "You are listening to Radio Florence on W I F I...." Today, wifi is an internationally known facility!

Not too long afterwards, the time came for the Queen Elizabeth to say her goodbye. Both ships were greatly loved, not  because they were huge and beautiful ships, as other huge luxury vessels today are loved, but because of their WW2 service especially to and from the States, less so to other parts of the world whose allied soldiers had hitched a ride on them  as  troop ship's. The same went for the liner Queen Elizabeth II for her role in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina, also for the Canberra and the Uganda, but they didn't live long enough after their stalwart service to the Crown for adulation to take shape!

The fate of the two Queen's  is legendary, with the QM still enjoying life in the Southern USA going there in 1968, although come 1991 when she was no longer wanted and the site was to be sold by the US owners, who looked to selling her off too, possibly for scrap. Dear old QE had a sad demise, unloved and uncared for in a distant Asiatic foreign land by a people who didn't even know her history or what she meant to the British nation. Shame on them eternally and on those who sold her into slavery and subsequent destruction!