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Rare look at great ship’s final farewell
10:27am Thursday 30th November 2006 in Historic Ships
At dawn her sirens sounded a long farewell and as the great Cunarder Queen Elizabeth slipped her mooring ropes for the last time a big part of Southampton was lost forever.
Almost 38 years to the day, at the end of November, 1968, Queen Elizabeth eased herself away from berth 107 in the city's Western Docks and headed for Port Everglades in Florida where she was intended to be a tourist attraction and hotel.
This rarely-seen photograph was taken by a Daily Echo photographer as Queen Elizabeth made her way down Southampton Water on her final departure from the docks.
With her funnels floodlit and lights glowing, she was played out in the darkness by Southampton's Albion Band.
In command of the skeleton crew of just 143 was the late Commodore Geoffrey Marr and as Queen Elizabeth rounded a buoy off Calshot, spectators on Cowes shoreline sounded car horns.
All the time Queen Elizabeth, with her fore funnel belching black smoke, gave acknowledging blasts on her siren. Minutes later she disappeared into thick mist hanging over the Solent.
Her time in Florida was short-lived as the liner did not prove to be a popular attraction and so she was sold to a Hong Kong shipping tycoon and renamed Seawise University.
However, during the ships conversion to a floating university a suspicious fire broke out on board and the old liner was destroyed and toppled over in shallow water on January 9, 1972.
Her sad end came in 1974 when the wreckage of the once great ship was scrapped where it lay in Hong Kong harbour.