30 June 2010

Early Scuttlebut

The deck-tennis court on sports deck

The enclosed promenade deck

On this day in 1935, the New York Times reported on the sports deck of the new liner Queen Mary, under construction in Scotland. According to sources in Glasgow, it was be 600 feet long and enclosed by glass to protect passengers from headwinds. Apparently complaints from travelers on the Normandie regarding lack of such protection led to the Mary's builders making the accommodation. (However sources may have confused the sports deck with the promenade deck as evidenced by the above pictures).


29 June 2010

"Lord Jeff" On Board

From a review in The Miami News of the movie Lord Jeff on this day in 1938:
Mickey [Rooney] risks...a coveted chance to ship on the Queen Mary when he leaves the school grounds late at night to prevent Freddie [Bartholomew] from running away.

28 June 2010

Gray Ghost Delivers

From The Dispatch on this day in 1945:

BACK FROM ENGLAND--Master Sergeant Roy C. Hege, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Webb Hege, of West Fifth Avenue, arrived home after 22 months in England when the Queen Mary made her first redeployment crossing and reached home last Sunday, June 24. He had been stationed in England with the Eighth Air Force, and he will report back to a base in South Dakota after spending a 30-day leave here. Sgt. Hege is a graduate of Wake Forest college and was employed by the State Board of Alcoholic control before entering service in January 1942. While in England a bomber crashed through the building where he worked and he suffered a broken foot.

27 June 2010


On this day in 1949, the Queen Mary docked at Southampton with 2,000 passengers after a warning the previous night that fishermen had sighted a mine near Cherbourg. Captain G. E. Cove told pressmen upon arrival that special lookout men had been posted but no trace of a mine was ever seen. The mine, it was eventually discovered, was off the Kent coast, east of Dover.

Ottawa Citizen

26 June 2010

Teacher On Board

From an article entitled "Sails For Europe" in The Southeast Missourian on this day in 1936:

Charleston, June 26. - Miss Lucy Shelby, daughter of R. L. Shelby of Charleston, who teaches in the School of Demonstration of Los Angeles, Cal., sailed Wednesday from New York on the Queen Mary for South Hampton [sic], England. She will arrive there June 28 and will go to London. From there she will tour England and visit Paris, Holland, Switzerland and Germany.

25 June 2010

Vintage Pathe: Mary in Southampton

On this day in 1936 the Queen Mary was in Southampton (click picture for link to video):

24 June 2010

As Smart as Bond Street

From an article in The Montreal Gazette on this day in 1936:


Simpson Buyer Returned Home by Queen Mary

W.H. Kyle, senior buyer of the Robert Simpson Montreal Limited, arrived home Monday on the Queen Mary. Mr. Kyle expressed himself enthusiastically about the new Queen of the Atlantic. Her steady motion and spaciousness take all the discomfort from ocean travel. Mr. Kyle was visibly impressed with the specialty shops on the "Queen Mary." "They are every bit as smart as the most exclusive shops on Bond Street," he said. "They offer specialties for men as well as women and they were being well patronized."

23 June 2010

War Secrets Revealed

From an article entitled "Statistics Show Contribution Of Queen Mary" in The Maple Leaf on this day in 1945:

Secrets of "Queen Mary" at war have been disclosed in New York by Commodore Sir James Bisset. Here are some of them:

The great liner covered about 500,000 miles on war service and so far as is known she was never attacked. Ploughing through heavy seas, the speed of the liner was sometimes reduced to no more than nine knots but she carried on and came through unscathed.

Sir James said there is no record that the "Queen Mary" was ever attacked, but there was one incident off Ireland which has never been explained. This occurred about two years ago. There was a heavy explosion. It may have been a mine but no one knows. No damage was done to the ship.

Changed Their Minds

German war prisoners have been carried on the "Queen Mary." Sir James said that some of them were aggressive and scrawled "Gott Strafe England" on the walls. "Give them two days on bread and water and they were ready to wash it off again," he added.

On one of the voyages, the lookout on the "Queen Mary" sighted seven lifeboats near the Bermuda Coast. All the lifeboats were filled with men who had apparently been shipwrecked. The liner did not stop to pick up the men but she broke radio silence to notify the authorities at Bermuda. The "Queen Mary" passed on, out of sight of the men in the lifeboats. Next day rescue ships arrived and picked up the men.

A few weeks after that, "Queen Mary's" purser, Charles Johnson, got a letter from his son, saying that he was one of the men in the lifeboats.

"I waved as you went by, dad," the son wrote.

22 June 2010

The Ruddy-Faced Scotsman Speaks

From The Lewiston Daily Sun on this day in 1945:


In 60 wartime Atlantic crossings--59 of them without convoy--the giant liner Queen Mary never sighted a submarine or fired one of its guns at an enemy, Commodore Sir James G. Bisset, the vessel's captain, said today.

Bisset, a ruddy-faced 62-year-old Scotsman, told reporters in the main lounge of the luxury liner that the ship had carried about 650,000 troops, of which about 500,000 were Americans.

Bisset said the ship had sailed in convoy only once because her 29-knot speed was her greatest protection.

James Bisset Autograph - Copyright Karen Clark

21 June 2010

Narrow Escape

From the Toronto Daily Star on this day in 1945:

Queen Mary Outran 25 U-Boats In 12,000-Mile Race to Egypt

New York, June 21 - The big British liner Queen Mary, in New York today after bringing home 14,526 army and navy personnel from Europe, probably is the No. 1 troop transport of the war.

For the Queen Mary, her latest arrival here with the largest troop passenger list was just another incident in a troop-carrying job she has been carrying on since early in 1942. In the intervening three years she has ranged the seven seas, shuttling troops to far-flung battle fronts under a shroud of tight censorship.

The 81,235-ton liner in the fateful summer of 1942 played a vital role in Allied victory at El Alamein. She rushed half a division of troops and their equipment 12,000 miles from England to Egypt so fast that a fleet of 25 U-boats was unable to aim torpedoes at her.

The following winter, while she was carrying a full load of Americans across the Atlantic, she narrowly escaped sinking when hit broadside by an enormous wave which would have capsized a lesser vessel. At another point in her career, an intercepted radio message enabled her to escape a German plot to sink her with 12,000 Americans aboard.

20 June 2010

An Array of World Famous Ships

From an article entitled "We'll Have Paris Back In A Fortnight," Anzacs Say As They Land In Britain" published in The Miami News on this day in 1940:

A NORTHEASTERN BRITISH PORT, June 20 - (AP) - Thousands of fighting Anzacs, who sailed all the way from Australia and New Zealand in great liners without seeing one German plane, have thronged into the British Isles, shouting for "a chance at Jerry."

Packed into an array of world famous ships whose names were covered with gray paint nine months ago, the volunteers and their escort gave this port the greatest spectacle of the war.

The "array of world-famous ships" which safely transported thousands of Australian and New Zealand troops...most likely included the liners Queen Mary, Mauretania, Aquitania, and the Empresses of Britain, Asia and Australia. The number of soldiers may be as high as 50,000.

All of these liners, painted in the drab gray of war time, were seen in the Sydney, Australia, harbor by passengers on the Matson liner Mariposa which arrived in Honolulu in May.

The combined passenger capacity of the liners is about 10,000 persons. At a conservative estimate troops could be carried in a ratio of at least five-to-one for ordinary passengers.

In carrying troops even the cargo holds are converted into quarters, with steel hammocks built in four and five deep tiers.

That would mean 50,000 soldiers would not tax the capacity of such a group of ships.

The voyage from Sydney to the British Isles would take about 40 days.

19 June 2010

Starring Role

From The Evening Independent on this day in 1936:

At The Theaters

The maiden voyage of the Queen Mary played an important role in Samuel Goldwyn's production of "Dodsworth." Arrangements were made with the British government and the Cunard-White Star line to utilize the arrival and docking of the giant liner for the picture in which Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton will be starred. The two stars, accompanied by Director William Wyler, flew from Hollywood to New York in Miss Chatterton's plane, boarded the Queen Mary at quarantine, filmed their scenes and flew back to the film capital.

Photo: Wikipedia

18 June 2010


From the Toledo Blade on this day in 1955:

49 In Queen Mary Crew Given Summonses

SOUTHAMPTON, England, June 18 (Reuters) - Police today served court summonses on 49 members of the crew of the strike-bound liner Queen Mary, alleging that as seamen they "willfully disobeyed a lawful command to board the ship."

The summonses were granted on application of the Cunard Steamship Line, operator of the Queen Mary and five other liners tied up by the 19-day-old wildcat strike. Two other companies have a total of three more ships tied up.

The walk-offs have crippled transatlantic passenger services and dislocated the tourist trade at its annual peak.

Moves to settle the strike remained in deadlock.

17 June 2010

Family Vacation

From the Owosso Argus-Press on this day in 1957:

To Visit Europe

NEW LOTHROP - Mrs. Frank Town and daughter, Beth, will leave for New York where they will embark on the Queen Mary for South Haven, England.

They will be met at the port by Town's daughter and son-in-law, Tech Sgt. and Mrs. Steven Swigonski.

They will tour Europe, especially Belgium, Switzerland, France, Holland and Scotland. They will depart by plane, Aug. 27.

16 June 2010

Off & Sailing

From The Montreal Gazette on this day in 1936:

"Mary" Ends Lay-Over

The Cunard White Star flagship, Queen Mary, will end a week's lay-over at Southampton tomorrow, when she clears from the British port on her second voyage to New York. With this sailing she swings into her regular schedule, departing from Southampton every second week. Another week's lay-over is planned for the big ship from July 12 to July 22.

15 June 2010

A Reason to Party

From The Miami News on this day in 1953:

Bon Voyage

Hostess at a bon voyage luncheon Friday was MRS. ROBERT FITCH SMITH, who entertained in her home 3201 Kirk Ave., in honor of MRS. FLORENCE W. WESCHLER. The honor guest and her son, EDGAR R. WESCHLER, will sail from New York July 7 on the Queen Mary for a five week's sojourn in Europe.

14 June 2010

By A Nose

From The Day on this day in 1952:

Jimmy Durante got back from London this week on the Queen Mary, which, obviously, had extra difficulty "nosing" into the dock.

13 June 2010

Rube Barks

From the column "A.B. Awfully Bothered" by Rube Goldberg in the Reading Eagle on this day in 1936:

The liner Queen Mary boasts of the following features:

On the sports deck there is a dog hotel with 26 rooms, each with hot and cold running water. The faucets are marked distinctly so the dogs can readily see which is the hot and which is the cold. Dogs who cannot read will have to do the same as human beings--scald themselves first to find out which is which.

12 June 2010

Sail Your Money Maker

From the Kentucky New Era on this day in 1936:

The big Queen Mary broke no records on the way back, but did something more important in the eyes of the intelligent British--she actually made money and will continue making money. That the English understand. They disliked Napoleon calling them "a nation of shopkeepers," but at least they understand shopkeeping, and it was Napoleon not Wellington, that landed on St. Helena.

11 June 2010

Real Gone

From Louella Parson's "In Hollywood" column in the Rome News-Tribune on this day in 1953:
I think we can safely say that Vic Damone is real gone on Mona Freeman, who went to New York to see him while he is appearing at the Paramount theatre. What will happen when Bing Crosby* sails for home on the Queen Mary June 18 is anybody's guess, but as of now Vic is showering Mona with flowers and makes no secret of the fact that he's craaazy about the girl.
*Bing and Mona saw a lot of one another after the death of Bing's wife, Dixie Lee, in 1952.

10 June 2010

Everything Satisfactory

A report from the Chief Engineer of the Queen Mary, beginning on June 1 and concluding on this day in 1956:

To: T. McLaren Esq.,
The Superintendent Engineer, Liverpool


I wish to report the safe arrival of this vessel at Southampton on completion of Voyage 260, Southampton to New York via Cherbourg and return.


The vessel departed Cherbourg at 12.48 a.m. on the 1st June 1956, and revolutions were gradually increased to 172 r.p.m., increasing to 174 r.p.m. at 7.00 a.m. the same day, and reducing to 170 r.p.m. at noon the following day, 2nd June.

These revolutions were then maintained until 12.16 p.m. of the 3rd June, when revolutions were reduced to 166 r.p.m.

Owing to fog conditions, Half Ahead was rung on the Telegraphs at 10.41 p.m. on the 3rd June. Various increased then followed until 12.08 a.m. on the 4th June, when after a period of 2 hours 27 minutes reduced speed, revolutions were increased to 168 r.p.m.

These revolutions were then maintained until 2.26 a.m. on the 5th June when revoltuions were reduced to 166 r.p.m. Further reductions and increases then followed to the Master's orders to arrive at A.C.L.V. on schedule.

New York:

7329 tons of oil fuel were shipped in New York and the vessel departed Pier 90 with 8483 tons on board.

Two (2) water tube boilers were cleaned externally and the usual centre funnel uptakes cleaned by the Harbor Marine Corp.

The following store items were received: Two (2) filters for the ice cube machine, Eleven (11) waffle baker pilot lamps, 6.3 volt miniature base G.E. no. 46 (Outstanding from order received Voyage 258.)


The vessel departed the Company's berth at 4.06 p.m. on the 6th June 1956 and cleared A.C.L.V. at 6.09 p.m. the same day, when revolutions were gradually increased to 172 r.p.m., increasing to 174 r.p.m.at 2.10 a.m. the following day, 7th June.

Owing to fog conditions, revolutions were reduced to 170 r.p.m. at 10.52 a.m. on the 8th June, and after a period of 1 hour 8 minutes reduced speed, revolutions were increased to 174 r.p.m.at noon the same day.

These revolutions were then maintained until 12.07 p.m. on the 9th June, when revolutions were reduced to 170 r.p.m., further reducing to 166 r.p.m. at 12.07 p.m. on the 10th June. Further reductions then followed to the Master's orders to arrive at Cherbourg on schedule.

Ten (10) 1-gallon samples of water have been drawn from the Water Hardening Plant for the tea-testing purposes. The Chief Steward has been advised relative to collecting same in port.

The ratings' mess rooms have been inspected daily and an Engineer Officer has attended their mess rooms at all meal times, no complaint being received.

Engineer Officers' Quarters have been inspected daily by the Staff Chief Engineer and Platform Second-Engineer Officer.

Emergency and Fire Drills were carried out in the department during the Westbound and Eastbound Passages.

Ventilation: The supply and exhaust fans have been maintained at various speeds and have run satisfactorily. Grit and dust has been reported in two instances from louvres in stateroom "M" 95 and in the 1st Class Writing Room from the systems recently cleaned out and appears to be residue of dirt left in the trunking. A Complaint of inadequate ventilation in the Stewards' Accomodation "D" Deck Amidships ("D" 46 to "D" 55, Port and Starboar sides) has been investigated and corrected.

A.C. Plant: Have fundtioned satisfactorily, and public room conditions have been maintained. A heavy gas leak at the gland of the Verandah Grill A.C. Plant 'refrig. Machine was detected, but however, the machine has been kept in service. Repairs will be carried out in Southampton. Room conditions in the Verandah Grill appear to have improved with less complaint of cold and draught than last voyage. A fault with the automatic controls has been observed and it is hoped to have this remedied in Southampton.

Elevators: Butchers' meat hoist - the bottom door for this lift is faulty and we have requested for repairs to be done in Southampton. Remainder satisfactorily.

The following are the particulars of the Westbound and Estbound Passages:

Oil Fuel per hour: WB 43.26 EB 44.31 tons.
Oil Fuel per 24 hours: WB 1038.24 EB 1063.44 tons.
Oile Fuel per Mile: WB 1.5304 EB 1.5178 tons.
Oile Fuel per 3000 Miles: WB 4591.20 WB 4553.40 tons.

All domestic services have been maintained in a satisfactory manner.

During the current voyage we sailed one Engineer Officer short of full compliment. All Engineer and Electrical Officers have carried out their duties to my satisfaction.

The general health of the department has been good throughout the voyage, with the exception of W. Sherwood, Fireman, Article No. 0 369, who paid off on medical grounds on the vessel's arrival at Southampton.

I am, Yours faithfully,

R. Johnston
Chief Engineer

09 June 2010

Local And Personal

From the "Local and Personal" column in The Dispatch on this day in 1953:
Mrs. J. M. Hart, formerly of Lexington, now of Winston-Salem, came here yesterday and accompanied Mrs. Wade Phillips to Albemarle, where they visited relatives of Mrs. Phillips and other friends. They went especially to visit Mrs. Phillips' sister, Mrs. Eli Kendrick, who is leaving tonight for New York. She will sail Thursday on the Queen Mary for a three months' tour of European countries and will then visit her son, Lt. Col. James M. Kendrick and family, who is stationed in Germany. She will return in February.

08 June 2010

Road Trip

From the "Personal Mention in Sarasota" column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on this day in 1952:

Miss Leila and Ellen Harmon, daughters of the J.D. Harmons of Lincoln Drive, have returned to their home for a brief vacation. Leila graduated at Duke University this month and received her AB degree and Ellen, a student at the University of Florida, will be a member of the junior class next year. Both girls will sail June 25 aboard the Queen Mary for a college tour of Europe and plan to return to the States August 12.

07 June 2010

New Arrivals

From the "Report From Europe" column by Ollie Stewart in The Afro American on this day in 1952:

New arrivals: Robert L. Hill, Columbus, Ohio, and Dorothy M. Hatton, Detroit, came in on the Queen Mary. They're part of a group making a pilgrimage of several European countries...Alson on the Mary were Helen Cleveland, NYC, a dancer, and Alice Linticum, a model.

06 June 2010

Golfer On Board

On this day in 1938, Canadian pro golfer, Ross (Shandy) Somerville, arrived in New York aboard the Queen Mary. Somerville had gone to England to participate in the British Amateur Championship, losing to Cecil Ewing.

"Both of us played poor golf and, if Ewing had lost he would have been unlucky," he said as he left the liner.

Ottawa Citizen

05 June 2010

Trevor & Tommy On Board

From the sports section of The Evening Independent on this day in 1936:
Trevor Wignall, famous sports columnist, is watching Max [Schmeling] train...also Tommy Webster, the London cartoonist...both came over on the Queen Mary.

04 June 2010

Eleanor Speaks

From Eleanor Roosevelt's column "My Day" in The Pittsburgh Press newspaper on this day in 1936:
...I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Maxwell Hyslop Maxwell, one of the officials of the Cunard Line, who came over on the Queen Mary. He is a cousin of mine so he came down for the day. Then I went to listen to forty of our New York City tenement dwellers make a plea for the aid of the Federal Government in slum clearance.

Photo: Eleanor Roosevelt at the launch of the liner America in 1939.

03 June 2010

Lucky Local Lands

From The Day, New London, CT, on this day in 1936:

New London Man Passenger on The Queen Mary

Martin J. Harris, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Harris, of 327 Ocean avenue, was among the passengers who made the maiden voyage on the British liner Queen Mary from England to this country.

Dr. Harris has been studying medicine in England for the past six years, returning to this country several times. He has been located at Guy's hospital, London, where he was an interne. He is now planning a year's study at Johns Hopkins university, Baltimore.

He was graduated from Bulkeley school in the class of 1925 and from Middlebury college in the class of 1920. He received his medical degree in England.

02 June 2010

Vintage Pathe: Cockell Comes Home

From British Pathe on this day in 1955:


01 June 2010

Clipping Off The Knots

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on this day in 1936:


New Speed Record Still Within Reach Of British Liner.

By Robert Barlow
Post-Gazette Staff Writer.
By Radio From the S.S. Queen Mary.

ABOARD S.S. QUEEN MARY, May 31. - Emerging from a blanketing fog which had slowed her knife-life progress through the gray North Atlantic, the majestic "Queen Mary" was clipping off the knots of her maiden voyage at 33 to the hour today, and a new speed record for the crossing was still within her reach.

The possibility that the new British liner may hang up a new record when she reaches quarantine in New York harbor tomorrow was the chief interest of the passengers aboard her--who, except for the big ship's slight vibration and roll, find it difficult to remember they are at sea, so much like a slice of fashionable New York is the ship.

Slowed Up By Fog.

The fog which brought the ship to half and slow speed at intervals during a 12 hours period, may have doomed them to disappointment, although the "Queen Mary" made full speed ahead once the fog lifted.

Ship's officers say they have no intention to try for a record, and "off the record," they confide that the fog removed the last chance to make one. They have pegged the liner's fifth corssing for an attempt to lower the "Normandie's" standing mark.

But the "Queen Mary" made an average speed of 27.12 knots in the fog-bound run that ended at noon today, and her 32-knot speed now indicates that the last day's sailing to port will be the fastest stretch of the trip.

Stowaway On Board.

As if again to remind the passengers they are actually on the ocean--despite the shops and tennis courts, concert halls and a promenade deck as long as three city blocks--a stowaway turned up today, rousing excited comment. He is an unemployed Welsh miner, 41, and single, and he comes from Cardiff.

One way this voyage differs from the ordinary transatlantic crossing is the peculiar way in which the deck chairs remain unoccupied.

Everyone is off exploring the ship, and there's plenty to explore in this mammoth liner. The main dining room, the largest room ever built between a ship's walls, is the favorite object of admiration.

Tweeds Are in Favor.

Severe tweed sports costumes are what the ladies are wearing, and evening dress tends to the conservative side for men and women alike.

Anita Louise, blonde movie beauty, is the ship's ace window shopper. Ambassador Robert W. Bingham is the swimming pool's steadiest visitor. And everyone on board seems to be posing for a host of photographers, amateur and professional, and always against the background of the ship's life-preservers, on which "Queen Mary" is painted in bold lettering.