• Si Biggs

Bomb Threat on the QE II - Parachuted into the Atlantic

Unit/ Formation: SBS


Location: North Atlantic


Period/ Conflict: 1970's


Year: 1972


Date/s: 18 May 1972


On 17 May 1972, while traveling from New York to Southampton, the Queen Elizabeth 2 was the subject of a telephone bomb threat and a ransom demand of 350,000 US dollars. Still 1,000 miles from the UK the crew made a search of the vessel but did not find anything.


Royal Marines Special Boat Squadron an SAS Sergeant and an Ammunition Technician Officer (ATO) were parachuted into the Atlantic from an RAF Hercules.



The SAS provided the ATO who was not parachute trained and had to be given instruction en route. The four-man team jumped into a rough sea and were picked up by the liner’s lifeboat. The SBS men had not been told that the ship involved was the QE2 until they were airborne.


The ATO and Lieutenant Clifford, leading the SBS team, went to the ship’s captain. The baggage was mustered and the two suitcases that could not be identified were dealt with by the ATO. The ransom money was delivered but not collected.


Although the threat was later proved a hoax, the exercise provided valuable experience in inter-service cooperation as an RAF Nimrod provided secure and instant communications between the team and its British base.


After this operation, some ATOS were parachute-trained and the SBS kept a team on standby for future operations of this type.



More here including some personal memories - Cunard Queens - Bomb Scare


More 'dits' here:


Remembering Major Richard Clifford - Marine officer who parachuted into the sea with Special Forces

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