23 July 2010

A Queen Mary Escapade

From an article entitled "Woman-of-Many-Names Boasts Of Stowing Away on Queen Mary" in The Montreal Gazette on this day in 1942:
The woman-of-many-names has 'fessed up to being a woman-of-many-an adventure!

The 23-year-old girl, who is allegedly involved in nearly 30 local forgery and theft offences and whose real identity has been baffling the police, told The Gazette yesterday her real name is Loretta Eccleston, of Hamilton, Ont.

She claims to be the same girl who crashed the newspapers a few years ago in a far more dramatic way. She is the girl who stowed away on the Queen Mary and associated with celebrities on an ocean crossing.

"Some people have a funny idea about stowaways. They think they are put in the brig but I wasn't locked up 'til a half an hour before we docked at Southampton. A prominent passenger bonded me while I was in England for a month while immigration authorities arranged my passage back to Canada," is what she had to say about her Queen Mary escapade.

The girl who attended a convent in Hamilton admitted that perhaps it was...[a] sense of adventure that instigated her Queen Mary jaunt which moved her to take up petty criminal pursuits.

Her Queen Mary story came out when remarks were made about the haunting familiarity of her
face. She replied that a Gazette photographer had taken her picture once. Then she revealed tha tshe had stowed away on the ship and at that time had received a great deal of publicity.

Her stowaway adventure was the result of a bon voyage party she said. That trip had not been premeditated at all. When the ship started away apparently she had not realized it. Although she admitted that she could have returned to harbor on the pilot boat, by that time she was convinced that a trip across the Atlantic would be a lark. She returned on a Cunard White Star line ship and was detained at Halifax while authorities checked up on her identity.


  1. Loretta is my mother's cousin.

    Joanne Fox

  2. That's great! I publish these stories in the hopes people will come forward with their own memories and connections. Thank you for sharing. Is there anything you can add that's not in the article?

  3. From what I've been told there was a picture of her having dinner with the captain in the Hamilton, Ontario,Canada newspaper. She is on the ship passenger list also. I was also told that they hounded her father for the money for the voyage. Do you have anything from the actual voyage?
    Joanne Fox

  4. I wish I could see that picture! I only have the story I found - there are probably more that were published at the time. The Montreal Gazette archives are free but many that charge a fee have articles available online. You might find the picture using the Google archive search. If you do find anything let me know - or check out the Queen Mary website. I believe they like to collect stories from people (or relatives of people) who were once passengers (legally or otherwise).