27 July 2009

She's Back...

From the Eugene Register-Guard on this day in 1947:

The Queen Mary to Sail As Luxury Liner Once More
AP Newsfeatures

SOUTHAMPTON, England - The Queen Mary - "lovely lady," the sailors call her - is being restored to her pre-war elegance as a luxury liner after a distinguished war-time career and will resume her weekly runs across the Atlantic Ocean July 31.

Along a deck where thousands of American and Canadian soldiers stood in blacked-out war-time crossings, workmen are putting down the last of new deck planking. Along the alleyways highly polished white sycamore paneling is refitted.

War Role Forgotten

Some three-quarters of a million soldiers who were her passengers during seven years as an ocean-going greyhound wouldn't know their Mary now. Nor would thousands of soldiers' brides and children the Mary brought to new homes in America.

Thousands of feet of serviceable, unlovely plaster board have been ripped out. In drab quarters which housed 80 GIs a crossing there is a luxurious cocktail bar, gay in red and soft gray curtains. The main restaurants have been redecorated; what was the brides' movie theater has been turned into a supper club with flourescent lighting and tinted mirrors.

Luxury Quarters

The wartime sickbay, with its wooden partitions, has disappeared and in its place is the rich, luxurious first class smoking room. The main lounge again is a massive room with lofty maple wood pillars, paneling and a thick carpet of russet and gold.

When the 81,235-ton Cunard liner went to war, she left behind her in various parts of the world some 10,000 pieces of furniture and fittings. New York held a couple of hundred boxes and cases and in Australia stored quantities of furniture and 2,500 cabin and stateroom doors. All were shipped back to England before the reconversion started.

Hundreds of miles of wiring were removed and renewed, decks scraped, rugs laid, pumps, generators and other equipment were torn down and worn parts replaced. The whole ship underwent a gigantic face-lighting.

She's undergoing trial runs now and, at the end of the month, will be off for New York to the cheers of the crowd and the music of the bands.

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