29 December 2009


Excerpted from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on this day in 1943:


Word was receieved today by Mrs. Mellie L. Sudbury, 745 Wood Street, that her son S/Sgt. Robert E. Sudbury, has been missing in action over Europe since December 16.

Sudbury was on his way to Australia and action with Capt. Colin Kelly a bare month after he volunteered Jan. 7, 1941. Inducted at Camp Blanding, he was sent to Wichita Falls, Texas, and from there to Boston where he embarked on the Queen Mary for the South Pacific zone. While he was aboard, this vessel was reported sunk, but that later proved erroneous and he arrived in Port Moresby after a trip around the tip of South Africa.

28 December 2009

A Date in London

Traveling aboard the Queen Mary on this day in 1947:  Mickey Rooney.

He was on his way to England for a Vaudeville date at the London Palladium.

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA

27 December 2009

An All-Electric Ship

From the Pittsburgh Press on this day in 1938:


Machinery Being Installed in White Star Ship

By The United Press
CLYDEBANK, Dec. 27--Work on the installation of the machinery in the Cunard-White Star liner Queen Elizabeth is proceeding actively.

The fitting out of the vessel is six months in advance of the work in the Queen Mary at the time of its launching in 1934. The passenger accommodation in all sections is nearly complete. Woodwork is set and the public rooms are in a more advanced state than has ever been attained in a big ship at a similar state of development.

Powerful cranes are hoisting sections of the boilers and engines, which are being built up by an army of skilled nengineers.

The task of furnishing is also proceeding apace. Many miles of curtains, carpets, hangings and floor coverings are being placed. Tons of blankets and towels have arrived.

Facilities for the passengers include a theater and tree cinemas, an elaborate shopping center, banks, tourist bureau and telephone and telegraphic services. Special rooms are to be provided on one of the upper decks, where passengers will be able to make and receive calls to and from any part of the world.

Public rooms in the tourist section include a dining salon, lounge, smoking room, cocktail bar, gymnasium, swimming pool, library, and drawing-room. There also is a well-equipped nursery for young children. The theater has been so arranged that it can be used by tourist and cabin passengers.

Third-class passengers will have a special promenade and sun lounge on the forward end of the main sports deck. A lift will lead to it. Third-class rooms are exceptionally large and well ventilated, and all will have hot and cold running water.

The Queen Elizabeth will be an all-electric ship. About 4000 miles of wire and 30,000 lamps are being fitted. All the tasks in the galleys will be performed electrically.

26 December 2009

Sprung from Southampton

From the Spokane Daily Chronicle on this day in 1955:

"STOWAWAY" RETURNS - Richard David Martin, 27-year-old former Ohio State university student from Cleveland who "stowed away" on the liner Queen Mary after a bon voyage party last June...After spending three days in a Southampton jail...was allowed to land at Cherbourg. He later toured Europe and was accompanied by [finacee] Miss Boyd.

24 December 2009


On this day in 1963, the Queen Mary was a day into her first cruise, traveling from Southampton to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.



23 December 2009

The Long Voyage

On this day in 1942 the Queen Mary's "long voyage" of World War II began in Gourock, Scotland, from where she proceeded to journey 37,943 miles, going through Suez and Sydney before returning to home waters. Commodore James Bisset was at the helm, transporting 10, 669 troops and 800 crew.

Harding: Gray Ghost: The Queen Mary at War

22 December 2009

Désolé, Normandie

On this day in 1936 Henri Morin de Linclays was aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary, on his way to Paris to spend the holidays with his family. He was at the time the resident manager of the French Line in New York.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


21 December 2009

A Boat Load

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on this day in 1937:

Queen Mary Has Hauled 56,850 Travelers

The Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary carried 56,850 passengers between France and British Channel ports and New York City during the year, it is announced. The record places the vessel 16,200 passengers ahead of her nearest competitor, it is claimed.

20 December 2009

Cafe Society on Board

From "Theater Gossip" in The Independent of St. Petersburg, Florida, on this day in 1938:

The meeting of Fred MacMurray and Madeleine Carroll in "Cafe Society" comes when the glamorous blonde, returning to her cabin aboard the liner "Queen Mary," finds MacMurray sound asleep in her bed.

19 December 2009

Friends Onboard

From Time on this day in 1938:

Religion: Friends' Service

Tall 75-year-old Dr. Rufus Matthew Jones, retired Haverford College philosophy professor, is a great & good member of a great U.S. sect, the Society of Friends. Two decades ago Quaker Jones helped found the organization he chairmans today--the American Friends Service Committee, universally respected for its good works.

During seven years after the War, the Committee raised and spent $25,000,000 to care for 7,000,000 needy, regardless of race, throughout Europe and Russia. During the Socialist uprising in Austria in 1934, the Committee was designated the official relief agency by consent of both the Socialist party and the Austrian government. In the U.S., working among West Virginia coal miners, the Committee is Mrs. Roosevelt's favorite charity, to which she gave the $100,000 she made from three years' speaking on the radio.

The friends could take in their stride such a job as helping to get the Jews out of Germany. Last fortnight Rufus Jones and two other Quakers--Headmaster George Arthur Walton of George School near Philadelphia, and Businessman D. Robert Yarnall of Germantown, Pa.--set sail on the Queen Mary, bound for Germany. They hoped to discuss the Jewish problem with German officials: with Adolf Hitler, even, if they could gain his ear.

Mindful of German dislike of outside interference, they kept mum about their plans. At least two newspapers, the New York Times and the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, knew what the three Friends were about, and kept mum, too. But the Philadelphia Record got wind of the story, telephoned numerous Philadelphia Quakers, finally got hold of Quaker Jones on the Queen Mary. Despite his pleas, the Record splashed the story on its front page last week.

Philadelphia Friends called the publicity "tragic" and, in view of the fact that the Record's Publisher Julius David Stern is a Jew, "the worst crime in newspaper history." Their concern was justified when, on the day the Quaker delegation reached Berlin, Dr. Goebbels' organ Der Angriff sniggered: "We hope they will make themselves known...Then we will know, you see, when to begin to quake--quake duly before the Quakers of the U.S.A...."

18 December 2009

Hollywood Royalty

On this day in 1936, Dolores Costello and her children, John Drew Barrymore--future actor and father of actress Drew Barrymore--and Dolores Ethel Blyth Barrymore* were aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary on their way to Europe for a Christmas vacation in Switzerland. Costello and John Barrymore were married in 1928 and divorced in 1934.

Spokane Daily Chronicle

*The Chronicle incorrectly reported the names of the Barrymore children.

17 December 2009

Crawford Sails

On this day in 1955, Joan Crawford (pictured with her husband Alfred Steele and her children) was aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary on her way with her family to England for business and for pleasure.

16 December 2009

A Shipload of Swells

On this day in 1938, passengers aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary included:

Anthony Eden, Former British Secretary of Foreign Affairs and future Prime Minister
Roland Tree, British Member of Parliament
Lady Daphne Straight
Sir Martin Beckett
Viscount and Viscountess Harcourt
Baroness Ravensdale
Countess de Krieth
Countess Cittadine
Countess de Castateni
Sir Keith Price
Sir Samuel Walder
Anna Neagle, British film star
Ray Milland, American film star
Ford Frick, President of the National League and future Commissioner of Major League Baseball
Mr. & Mrs. Adolf Zukor of Hollywood, CA

New York Times

15 December 2009

Ghost Sighting

On this day in 1940, passengers arriving in Kobe, Japan, from Australia reported seeing the Queen Mary, aka the Gray Ghost, at harbor in Sydney, reported the Japanese news agency, Domei. They also reported seeing floating mines in the area.

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, USA

Public domain

14 December 2009

Fix Up on the Fly

On this day in 1936, the Queen Mary arrived in New York seven hours late due to three leaking condenser tubes which had to be repaired at sea. Commodore Reginald Peel was forced to order the shutting down of two engines and to reduce speed to 15 knots in order to find and fix the problem.

New York Times

Port Cities - Southampton

13 December 2009

What a Magnificent Building

From The Virgin Islands Daily News on this day in 1967:

End of Queen Mary Brings Tears to Master's Eyes

Long Beach, Calif. (AP) - The master of the retiring Queen Mary is saddened at "the end of this great vessel as a ship."

"But what a magnificent building for Long Beach," said Captain J. Treasure Jones as the massive transoceanic liner was officially removed Monday from the list of the world's ships.

The 62-year-old captain, retiring after being at sea since 15, watched with tear-filled eyes as the British Union Jack was lowered for the last time from the liner's main mast.

In its place today fly the Stars and Stripes and the bear flag of California. The city of Long Beach bought the 31-year ocean veteran from Cunard Lines for $3,450,000 and plans to spend more than that to convert her into a floating hotel, convention center and maritime museum.

Jones said that in England many "thought I was a bit of a traitor when I said I was delighted this ship was to come here to end her days."

"The climate in Britain is not conducive for such a project and I am confident Long Beach will make a magnificent job of it and it will be a great success...I did not want to see her scrapped."

When the liner left Southampton for its 1,001st and final voyage--15,000 miles and 39 days around Cape Horn--"the weather was not too fair." Jones said, adding:

"Some rain was falling from the sky, but there was far more coming down the cheeks of the British people who waved goodby [sic]."

Some 200 persons watched the shipboard ceremony in which Jones handed the ship's registry--a small red book--to the registrar of the British Board of Trade. British and Long Beach attorneys then exchanged legal documents completing the sale.

The captain said the Queen Mary--which he commanded for three years--carried more Americans than persons from any other country so it is fitting she retire in her "second home."

12 December 2009

Moving on Up

From the "Travel Jottings" section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on this day in 1935:

"In no part of the Queen Mary will greater evidence be found of the tremendous changes which have taken place during recent years in transatlantic travel conditions than in the special provision made for third class passengers. Particularly is this so in the stateroom accommodation, were [sic] the old-fashioned type of cabin has given place to modern cabins with up-to-date methods of heating and ventilation, hot and cold water in every room, and washbasins replacing the old-fashioned 'compactum' idea."


11 December 2009

10 December 2009

No Pleasure Cruise

Excerpted from the Spokane Daily Chronicle on this day in 1954:

"The liner Queen Mary pulled into Cherbourg, France, from New York with portholes shattered and her first class dining room flooded after battling Atlantic gales.

"Karl Gartner, a 5-year-old stateless boy, was injured during the voyage and taken to a Cherbourg clinic. Several other passengers had slight injuries."

Additional source:
Official Site of the Port of Cherbourg (photo)

09 December 2009

Welcome Home

On this day in 1967, the Cunard ship Queen Mary arrived in Long Beach Harbor to stay. Hooray!


08 December 2009

Beauty Treatment

From the Spokane Daily Chronicle on this day in 1949:

'Grand Old Lady' Undergoes Annual Beauty Treatment

LONDON, Dec. 8. (NANA) - The grand old lady of pier 90--the Queen Mary--is taking a holiday for her annual beauty treatment. She's having the whole works, shampoo, manicure, massage, facial and fresh make-up--at a time when passenger traffic is lighter.

All Cunard ships are withdrawn from the Atlantic service, for this beauty treatment, which started in November and will last until early next year. The biggest ships go into the King George V drydock at Southampton--one of the largest of its kind in the world. There 8000 men of all trades go to work. The Queen Mary will be in 27 days. The Mauretania comes next and then the Queen Elizabeth will move in for a 43-day renovation job.

The other Cunard ships will be serviced at Liverpool. The emphasis is on thoroughness and utmost speed. The ships must be back on the run quickly, since they are one of Britain's biggest dollar earners.

The painters are the first on board, scraping the hull, and renewing all outside paint. While they are working, 1000 cleaning, polishing and repair men come aboard. On their heels are the "hide-revivers"--to look after all the leather work and apply lashings of "tonic."

Next comes the colossal engineering work. The 990 feet of cable anchor chain is laid out at the bottom of the dock. Every inch has to be inspected, tested and cleaned. Boilers and turbines have to be examined, water tanks inspected, and structural tests made.

One of the biggest interior jobs is the mothproofing of all fabrics in the public rooms. Specialists renovate the rare wood panelings, the quilted satin walls and the leather fittings. All stateroom furnishings, drapes and spreads also have to be cleaned. The stocks of linen, flat silver, dining room and kitchen equipment, and 25 miles of carpet get a going-over. On the decks there are nearly 200 lifeboats to be overhauled.

06 December 2009

Caviar Gone!

From The Bryan Times of Bryan, Ohio, on this day in 1967:

Final Cruise of Queen Mary Brings Hardship, Caviar Gone

Acapulco, Mexico (UPI) - The luxury liner Queen Mary today headed for retirement in California with her $3,000-a-ticket passengers grumbling over icy service and hot champagne.

The 1,200 passengers boarded the gleaming white ocean monarch in Britain a month ago for a sentimental last journey as the Cunard liner sailed to Long Beach, Calif., to become a civic convention center.

But the Queen was on her uppers by the time she visited Acapulco, her final foreign port.

"All right, I mutiny," shouted a bartender, ripping off his apron and marching from his post. To some witnesses, it seemed like mutiny on the bountiful.

The 81,237-ton three stacker had left England laden with goodies. But the caviar menu gave out. There was even a water shortage.

Passengers, who all paid a minimum of $3,000 for the the 39-day voyage, sweated in the tropics. They evacuated their cabins and slept on deck.

Because of such long hops as the 3,000 miles from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Valparaiso, Chile, the Queen moped along on only two of her four propellers to save fuel.

The ship that set transatlantic speed records, the ship that Sir Winston Churchill preferred, fell behind schedule. The captain ordered shore trips at ports of call curtailed to make up lost time.

For weeks the passengers remained cheerful. This after all was a once in a lifetime moment, something for history. By Acapulco it had nearly become something for the books, all right.

Crewmen buttonholed passengers on deck and poured out their complaints. The seamen said they would be flown home from Los Angeles and fired. Cunard was cutting costs.

Guests who were served complained the champagne was tepid and even, ugh, hot.

The purser locked his office. Officers refused to page passengers. A waiter declined to fetch a favorite British punch drink because cucumbers, one ingredient, was being rationed on board, he said.

Cucumbers were never rationed on the old Queen. Never, never, never.

05 December 2009


Aboard the Queen Mary on this day in 1954 was British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. He had completed a two-month stint as a visiting professor at Cornell University and also had been awarded Yale's Howland Prize before heading home to England with his wife. He is pictured here signing the guest book at Yale.


04 December 2009

Schedule Upset

From the Spokane Daily Chronicle on this day in 1954:


NEW YORK, Dec. 4. (AP) - The big British liner Queen Mary, whose arrival this week was delayed two days by Atlantic storms, had its schedule upset even further today by waterfront troubles.

It was to have sailed for Europe again today at noon. But because dock workers quiet their jobs yesterday and didn't return till this morning, the loading and unloading process was held up.

As a result, said officials of the Cunard Line, the queen can't get away at least until after midnight tonight. Passengers were told they could go ashore in the meantime, if they wish.

An Italian liner, the Saturnia, ran into similar troubles in both cases. It was a day late arriving yesterday as a result of the storms, and officials said the dock tieup would make it several hours late getting away from Mediterranean ports today.

03 December 2009

C Deck Singed

On this day in 1952, firemen in smoke masks fought a blaze on the Queen Mary for 45 minutes as she sat in dry dock at Southampton for an overhaul. The fire, which caused minimal damage to the ship, started in a C deck cabin.

02 December 2009

Out of the Fog

From the Sydney Morning Herald on this day in 1948:

Fog Lifts, 
London Sees Sun


LONDON, Dec. 1 - The fog blanket began to lift from north-west Europe early this afternoon--the eighth day of heavy fog conditions.

The sun broke through in London after the thickest night and morning since the fog began.

The three Atlantic liners, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, and Aquitania, left their Southampton berths in bright sunshine, and ships began to move in the Scheldt and Thames Estuaries.

The Berlin air-lift also resumed to-day.