05 June 2009

Showing Off

Two days after arriving safely to much ballyhoo on her maiden voyage, the RMS Queen Mary departed New York on this day in 1936. Recalled Ron Winter, junior electrical officer, of the occasion:

"The voyage back to Europe culminated in another great reception in Southampton, where all the Cunard directors and a huge crowd were assembled round the Ocean Dock. Our Skipper, and Commodore of the Cunard Fleet, Sir Edgar Britten, was guilty of showing off a little when he reached the dock. The usual six tugs came out to meet us, but he waved them aside and turned into the Ocean Dock, almost a right-angled turn, without their help. Once in the dock, which did not look any too large when the Queen Mary was in it, he went full speed astern and brought the ship to a standstill in a great confusion of water only feet away from the end of the dock. I think many sightseers who were stationed at this point thought that either the ship was going to continue on up into High Street, or that they were about to be drowned in the tidal wave she caused. It was an impressive demonstration of her manoeuvrability."

The Queen Mary: Her Early Years Recalled by C.W.R. Winter


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