Six vessels under Cunard ownership, led by the former flagship Queen Elizabeth 2, were requisitioned by the UK Government to join its Task Force mustered in 1982 to regain the Falkland Islands after an invasion by Argentine troops.
Today’s event was hosted and arranged by Cunard with support from a veterans’ group.Lords, Admirals, Commodores and Captains were among today’s 175 guests and included retired Cunard Commodore Ron Warwick, who sailed on board QE2 to the South Atlantic.
He recalled the point in the passage when the ship had to extinguish all lights and switch off her radar systems to avoid detection.The ship’s task had been to take troops and supplies south.
For the return, more than 600 survivors of attacks on Her Majesty’s Ships Ardent, Coventry and Antelope were welcomed aboard.
Cunard svp Simon Palethorpe told guests: 'The most remarkable aspect of QE2’s voyage was the blackout and radar being switched off. At a stroke, Captain Peter Jackson and his fellow officers on the bridge were plunged into a navigational nightmare as they steamed on without modern aids through an ice field in the dark.'
Alastair Welch, director at Port of Southampton operators ABP presented the master of Queen Elizabeth, Captain Inger Thorhauge, with a painting depicting QE2 on her return to her homeport from the South Atlantic.
Today’s event also recalled the loss in South Atlantic service of Atlantic Conveyor, a Cunard cargo vessel, and six of her crew including her master Captain Ian North.