Live updates

President leads tributes to 1,200 Lusitania dead of WWI

Irish president leads tributes to those who died in Lusitania tragedy

The Irish president, Michael Higgins, has lead tributes to the 1,193 passengers and crew who died when the civilian liner Lusitania was torpedoed during World War One in the sea off Ireland. The vessel was on the return leg of a trip from the USA to the UK in 1915 when it was hit by a German missile. Many relatives of those from the South who died in the tragedy are attending commemorations in Ireland.

Representatives from the British and German governments are also there.

Advertisement

Cunard’s 175th anniversary: celebrations start next week

The 294-meters-long luxury liner "Queen Elizabeth" operated by the British Cunard Line Credit: PA

Cunard’s celebrations for its 175 year anniversary will commence in the UK with the arrival home on Sunday 3 May of the Cunard fleet from their World Cruises. This gathering of Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria at Cunard’s homeport will initiate a momentous season of festivities for the company, beginning with a ‘Thank You , Southampton’ event later the same day.

For almost 100 years Cunard ships have called Southampton ‘home’ and during that time many spectacular events, royal visits and other special occasions have been shared by the company and the city. To celebrate the beginning of the UK festivities in this milestone year, Cunard’s flagship liner Queen Mary 2 will take centre stage in the afternoon of Sunday 3 May, as she leads her sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria on a triumphant procession down Southampton Water and into the River Solent, in homage to the city of Southampton.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth holds special memorial service as ship sails the Gallipoli Peninsula

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth holds special memorial service as ship sails the Gallipoli Peninsula Credit: Cunard
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth holds special memorial service as ship sails the Gallipoli Peninsula Credit: Cunard

Almost 500 Australians and New Zealanders joined their fellow passengers on the decks of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth for a very special memorial service as the ship sailed the waters off the Gallipoli Peninsula this morning.

Marking Cunard’s long-standing association with Australian and New Zealand wartime campaigns, including Gallipoli, the emotional ceremony saw the ship’s crew and guests lay wreaths in the water in remembrance of the heroic soldiers who fought in the First World War campaign.

A two-metre high poppy wall floral tribute, shaped as ‘100’ to mark the Anzac centenary, formed the centrepiece for the ceremony. The wall was filled with 11,500 red poppies donated by Australians and New Zealanders during Queen Elizabeth’s calls to Auckland and Sydney as part of her current world cruise, with the flowers representing the number of Anzacs killed during the campaign.

Visitors to the poppy wall in Auckland and Sydney also wrote personal messages in a special remembrance book, with a selection of those read at this morning’s service. The book will be placed in the ship’s library where it will remain in memory of the heroes of Gallipoli.

Behind the scenes of Queen Mary 2

175 years ago this summer, Samuel Cunard was in Britain to set up his famous shipping company.

250 ships and the best known line in the world was to follow.

Today, just one liner remains carrying passengers between Southampton and New York.

The company also operates Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

For the last of his special reports, our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse has been given exclusive access behind the scenes of Queen Mary 2 on her 200th crossing between New York and Southampton.

We talk to Executive Chef Nicholas Oldroyd, Environment Officer Emma Gale, Social Hostess Imogen Smart, Stephen Payne who designed the ship and Commodore Christopher Rynd.

Advertisement

Global events to mark Cunard 175 - Exclusive

Major events are to be held around the world to mark the 175th anniversary of Southampton based Cunard.

Southampton will be the focus and is expected to see some of the biggest maritime commemorations the port has seen for many years.

Schools across the south will be involved in the project.

It is expected members of the Royal family will play a key role culminating in a re-creation of the first ever Cunard crossing to Halifax, in 1840 by the wooden steamer Britannic, by the companies current liner Queen Mary 2.

Cunard President Peter Shanks, in an exclusive interview with ITV News Meridian, said the company had "a remarkable history which would be marked the world over. Details are still being finalised but will start to emerge next month." He added:

"This is not so much a celebration but events to mark a remarkable history of a company we can be so proud of. We will be keen to commemorate the major contribution Cunard has made to wars over the years. 175 years on we still operate services between Southampton and New York leading the way in tradition and customer service."

Cunard anniversary: ships played vital role in wars

All this week we are marking the 175th anniversary of Samuel Cunard coming to Britain to start his famous shipping company, now based in Southampton. Cunard has played a major role in wartime with its ships and liners being used to carry troops.

But the company has paid a high price with more than 40 being sunk in World War One and Two with the loss of thousands of members of crew. The company also lost a ship in the Falklands conflict of 1982 which was torpedoed and sunk with12 lives lost.

More than 600 crew went to the conflict on QE2 which carried thousands of troops.

In this report our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse talks to Tim Castle from Kent and Jacqui Hodgson from Hampshire who sailed to the South Atlantic.

We also hear from Cunard historian John Langley.

Load more updates