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.

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