On the 5th November we embarked on the Queen Mary 2 for the transatlantic crossing to New York which was going to take 7 days. It is hard to believe that you can spend 7 days at sea without seeing any land.
One of the events that was organised was for ex Military personnel to have a get together in one of the many lounges on board the ship. David and I decided it would be good to see how many other military people were amongst the passengers so we went along to the meeting place. There were about 8 of us which I was surprised at as I thought there would be more but maybe there were but that they didn’t want to take part. It was good to meet other like minded people from all three services and also some foreign military veterans.
During our meeting the Assistant Entertainments officer visited us and asked if anybody would be interested in reading a passage at the service of Remembrance the following Sunday. As always it all went quiet and at first nobody volunteered but then as I was the only female present I decided I would put my name forward at which all the others were very relieved.
I was given the very poignant passage ‘Why wear a Poppy’. So Sunday 8th November I took my place alongside the Captain of the QM2 and his wife in the front row of the theatre. It was a very special service which was carried out in a very sensitive manner with hymns and prayers and readings from various people.
When it was my turn to read I made my way onto the Stage and in front of all those present, there must have been several hundred people, I read the script that I had been given. I felt very honoured to be representing those ex military personnel who had served in the Armed Forces and I know they all appreciated me being there.
As always this passage makes you realise why we wear those poppies on Remembrance Sunday and what they represent.
I also had my name printed in the Order of Service which read – CAROL GIBBON ROYAL NAVY RADIO OPERATOR which strictly speaking wasn’t quite accurate but it was too late to change it.
We had a wonderful week on Queen Mary 2. She is a beautiful and iconic transatlantic liner and as it was my first time on such a ship I will never forget that week. Yes, it was rough at times but it was November and it was never going to be a smooth crossing at that time of the year. Everything on board was of the highest standard and of course it has now spoilt me for anything else now and I can’t wait to go again.
It was also very special to have our son Robert meet us in New York and spend the three days with us in the City exploring all the sights before making our way to Battleship Cove, near Boston and visiting the famous naval warship museum there.
I was sorry to have missed the annual Cenotaph parade in London but I was grateful to Fay Watson for deputising for me and laying the wreath on behalf of the Association of Wrens but I was also pleased to have experienced a Remembrance Sunday of a totally different nature.
Carol Gibbon Chairman Association of Wrens November 2015