Royal Navy patrol boats HMS Biter and HMS Pursuer will be present in Liverpool on Monday, May 25 to play a key part in Cunard’s 175th anniversary celebrations.

Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are the three biggest Cunards ever to enter service and will sail to the company’s spiritual home of Liverpool on Monday where they will be together for a few hours on the Mersey.

The role of the two Royal Navy Archer-class vessels is to support the safety cordon and exclusion zone around Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as they sail down the channel to join Queen Mary 2.

At approximately 10.30am HMS Biter, commanded by Lieutenant James Smith, will take the lead in providing bow escort to the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria whilst HMS Pursuer, commanded by Lieutenant Ian Giffin, will provide stern escort.

At approximately 10.45am, Queen Mary 2 will depart from the Pier Head cruise liner terminal and proceed towards the entrance of the Mersey to meet with Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth at the mouth of the Mersey (the area between Crosby Beach and New Brighton).

Lieutenant Smith said: “HMS Biter is honoured to be supporting the Three Queens Event on May 25. The event celebrates Liverpool’s rich maritime history and is a showcase for the city and her association with the sea and the Cunard Line in particular.

“HMS Biter’s role on the day will be to ensure that the complex manoeuvres undertaken by the Queen’s are not compromised by over-exuberant spectators on the water. Those planning to be on the river during the event are reminded that a 200m exclusion zone has been established around the vessels for both their safety and for the safety of other river users.

Between 12 noon and 2pm, the Three Queens will sail south in formation towards the Liverpool Echo Arena and then turn through 180 degrees to face north before performing a number of manoeuvres if the weather allows. Biter and Pursuer will maintain their role during these spectacular but complex manoeuvres and ensure that no other vessels are able to compromise the event. 

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Scotland will be providing their own unique musical accompaniment to the anniversary celebrations. The band are performing at Canada Boulevard on Sunday, May 24 between 8.30pm and 9.30pm and then outside Cunard Building on Monday, May 25 between 11am and 12.15pm. They will then march from Cunard Building to Princes Parade and perform again between 2.35pm and 3pm, before finally marching back to Cunard Building.  

At 4pm on Monday, a service will be held at the Church of our Lady and St Nicholas to commemorate the sinking of Cunard cargo ship Atlantic Conveyor. The ship was sunk on May 25 1982 while serving in the Falklands campaign.

Six crew members, including her Captain and six military personnel, died. The Royal Navy will be represented by Naval Regional Commander Northern England, Commodore Gary Doyle.

HMS Biter and HMS Pursuer will sail from Liverpool on Tuesday, making the long transit to Dartmouth on the south coast where they will begin a period of training and assessment prior to deploying for the summer.


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