31 August 2010


From the Ottawa Citizen on this day in 1936:

Normandie Owners Pleased Queen Mary Has New Record


French Line Officials Are Please That Britain's Super Liner Has Been Able To Establish Atlantic Crossing Records for Both Directions.


Associated Press Despatch.

SOUTHAMPTON, Aug. 31 - French Line officials today extended congratulations to the Cunard line on the achievement of the liner Queen Mary in setting a new transatlantic record for bothwestward and eastward crossings.

"As friends and competitors we are glad that your great liner has accomplished what was expected of her," the resident director of the French Line told the press.

"I am sending the heartiest congratulations of our line to the Cunard-White Star Company at Liverpool, because we are genuinely pleased that the Queen Mary has created a new record," he added.

French Line officials refused to make any statement as to whether the Normandie would attempt to regain her speed laurels.

Under jubilant headlines, London newspapers contrasted the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, who required 70 days to reach the West Indies, with the latest achievements of the Queen Mary in returning the coveted blue ribbon to Great Britain.

30 August 2010

VIP Arrival

From The Lewiston Daily Sun in 1937:


Cherbourg, France. Aug. 3o - AP - Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles of the United States and Mrs. Welles arrived today on the liner Queen Mary en route for a vacation in Venice. The Undersecretary made no comment on the Far Eastern crisis which was reported to have brought him to Europe.

29 August 2010


From The Southeast Missourian on this day in 1939:

With thousands of American tourists clamoring to be given passage the on boats returning to United States, steamship companies may have to install dormitories in the salons like the Queen Mary did...on one voyage at the time of the Munich crisis.

28 August 2010


From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1951:


One man was injured and 11 passengers suffered bruises and cuts aboard the Queen Mary in mid-Atlantic two days ago, when she ran into heavy weather. When the liner arrived at Southampton last night an ambulance was waiting for a tourist-class liftman, William Brown (36), who suffered a broken arm and injuries to his ribs, an ankle, and a thumb when he was thrown across the deck. Passengers said that they were unable to sleep. Despite the bad weather the liner arrived on time, averaging for the crossing a speed of 27 1/2 knots.

27 August 2010

So There!

From the Ottawa Citizen on this day in 1953:

Liner Queen Mary Sails, Leaving Cargo On N.Y. Pier

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK - The Queen Mary left behind Wednesday 114 tons of general cargo and 11 automobiles because of a longshoremen's work stoppage on Pier 90.

The vessel sailed two minutes early at 11:58 a.m. (E.D.T.) with 1,434 passengers, most of whom had to carry their own luggage aboard.

One union source said the longshoremen stopped work because another Cunard liner, the Mauretania, was scheduled to dock at Pier 92 instead of Pier 90 Friday, which meant they would not get the job of unloading her.

26 August 2010

A Real Plum

From The Deseret News on this day in 1935:
Orry-Kelly, the Warner stylist, draws a real plum. He'll stage the fashion show on the Quen Mary, when the giant new British liner makes her maiden voyage to New York.

25 August 2010

England Through A Porthole

From The Milwaukee Journal on this day in 1953:

Stowaway Back; Only Got Look at English Channel

New York, N. Y. - (UP) - A stowaway who hoped to swim the English Channel--but had to settle for a view of it through a porthole--returned Tuesday aboard the Queen Mary.

Wallace Warren Smith, 24, from Portage, Wis., said he had a pretty good trip nonetheless and even won a prize, a bottle of champagne, in a tourist class dance.

He said he walked New York docks for two weeks trying to get a job that would take him aboard and finally stowed away on the Queen Mary on her last trip here. He said he wouldn't reveal how because he wanted "to protect the Cunard line."

He was discovered when the ship was 18 hours out, and was allowed to move about in the tourist section of the ship. He was not allowed to land in England and came back on the return trip.

24 August 2010

A Madhouse

Beatrice Lillie

From "A New Yorker At Large" by Jack Stinnet in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on this day in 1937:

Under the elevated highway that runs along the waterfront in the West Fifties, traffic is a shambles. Those able to beat through it with bones unbroken, find the great pier shed a madhouse...for the Queen Mary is out for Southampton with nearly 2,000 passengers and a dozen or so friends and relatives to see each of them off.

As we move up the gangplank, we see that the autograph army is already aboard the lugger and the ship is theirs. Deploying in platoons they maneuver in quick time across the decks, through the great salons into the passageways, executing attacks from both flanks on the cabins of Madeleine Carroll, Beatrice Lillie an Sonja Henie.

Honey-haired Sonja, smiling over a huge spray of orchids, keeps her romance with Tyrone Power alive by tossing coyly noncommittal answers to direct questions of the press. We are a bit weary of the romance and think it is about time Sonja's press department thinks up something else...and we say so...which widens the smile of the lady-of-the-skates into a grin and draws a mischievous wink. If Sonja pronounced her name as most people mispronounce it, we would make a couplet of the fact you can't be a meany with Sonja Henie.

Bea Lillie steals a march on the autograph army by encamping temporarily in the cabin of a friend, who despite his millions from Fifth avenue merchandising, is not worth a cent to the signature grafters. There was some complaint that that was no way for a Lady Peel to act, but being hard to find never has made anyone less desirable to the autograph hunters yet. Miss Lillie told us she is only off to London to see her son and tend a little legal business and will be back in a few weeks. There's Hollywood business to be attended to before long.

Miss Carroll had come aboard with the dawn and husband Capt. Philip Asteley, who was doing a job of holding the door of their cabin full worthy of comparison with Horatius's business at the bridge.

Miss Carroll and her husband are off for a holiday of boating on the French canals and the least we could do was wish them a much happier voyage than we saw them off to last year when civil war prevented their even visiting their castle in Spain.

22 August 2010

A Colorful Group

From The Virgin Islands Daily News on this day in 1945:

It Says Here


By Bob Hope

We met the commander of our ship, the Queen Mary, this morning-- Commodore Sir James Bisset. The commodore's 63 years old but for the past five years he's been constantly on duty getting troops and equipment safely past subs, mines and dive bombers without a single mishap. But frankly I was a little disappointed when I met Sir James. He didn't look anything like Charles Laughton. Everything on this ship from Sir James down is very British. When they want to stop they don't drop an anchor--the [sic] just release a loaded tea bag. And they don't call those round windows portholes. They refer to them as starboard and port monocles.

What a colorful group of passengers we have this trip. Besides our little group of tourists, they include several hundred American officers, a couple of battalions of Japanese-American GIs on their way to Europe as replacements, some Polish and Russian officers, a bunch of RAF cadets who have been trainning [sic] in Texas and Arizona, a detachment of WACs (our secret weapons), some English WRENs (same thing with "right oh's") some German prisoners of war being taken back to help pile up the rubble, some English citizens repatriated from Manila prison camps and a handful of America [sic] civilians on government business.

The ship is sort of a League of Nations with a purser. But they are really crowded aboard on these trips back. Men sleep and eat in shifts of 2,250. Seven shifts a day. They only serve two meals a day to the soldiers but the food is really marvelous. They have butter and some delicious stuff that's really tasty and chewy. They call it "meat". It's really a shame they can't leave some of that nutrition when they pause in England. Meat's as strange to an Englishman as it is to Sinatra and I understand they've cut the ration over there again which will make it plenty rough. Those English have been living and fighting for over five years on rations.

It won't be long before we sight land. The Queen is about the fastest liner afloat now and they don't take any chances on her slowing down. They have huge steam turbines in the hold, auxiliary engines in the stern and two ensigns standing by up front with canoe paddles.

(Copyright 1945, King Features Syndicate, Inc.)

21 August 2010

Hello, 60th Division

From The Daily Times on this day in 1945:

Queen Mary Brings More Troops Home

NEW YORK Aug. 21 (UP) - The Queen Mary and three other transports, carrying 16,658 troops, dock here today.

Many members of the 60th Division arrive aboard the Queen Mary which carried 14,809 soldiers who will go to Camp Kilmer, N. J., for processing.

Other ships arriving were the Hawaiian Shipper, with 1,819 troops diverted from the Pacific; Occidental Victory, 29 troops, and the Sarah J. Hale with two aboard.

20 August 2010

Suitably Astounded

From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1947:

The Dollar Earners

A colleague who had not seen the liner Queen Mary since the day she slid down into the Clyde from John Brown's yard went on board her yesterday at Southampton. He was prepared to be suitably astounded at the vastness of everything inside. "But the first thing that happened," he reports, "was that I was ushered into a high-speed lift which ascended four storeys, and from the number of buttons I gathered that it professed to serve 11 different levels. After that I refused to believe any of it."

The liner sails to-morrow, and squads of workmen were busy applying the final decorative touches that had to be left over when she made her first trip since refitting three weeks ago. An unofficial estimate is that on her first round trip the Queen Mary earned for Britain $300,000. If that estimate is reliable it would seem that the two queens of the Atlantic are justifying themselves to an extent that even their most optimistic sponsors did not envisage when they were laid down.


19 August 2010


From The Miami News on this day in 1936:

The harmonica is no more the whining horror of the back alley and slum curb. Borrah Minevitch gave it its first leg-up by organizing his gang of ragamuffins into a symphonic whole and appearing by command before a king. But a talented sprig named Larry Adler has introduced the mouth organ in the drawing rooms of the Gold Coast. He was the outstanding hit of the Queen Mary entertainers on her maiden voyage and kept a handpicked crowd at a Jules Glaenzer shingdig up until almost dawn, wah-wahing a variation of classical and swing tunes. His records are on the biggest selling list and he is able to command $500 for a private performance. And is just 20.

17 August 2010

Fruit Machines?

From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1961:


Sealed by U.S. Customs

NEW YORK, Wednesday

Twenty "one-armed bandit" fruit machines in the liner Queen Mary were locked under Customs seal when she arrived yesterday. New York regulations forbid use of the gambling machines.

Cunard Line officials said the "experiment" of carrying fruit machines in the liner's public rooms had been ordered by their Liverpool office. Crew members said the "bandits" did roaring business on the crossing. - Reuter (sic).

[A Cunard official at Liverpool said: - "This is the second voyage the Queen Mary has made since the 20 machines were installed. They have been popular among passengers but we cannot comment on questions of revenue or the American regulations."]


14 August 2010

Nice Try

From an article entitled "Queen Mary Searched For Drugs Smuggler" in The Montreal Gazette in 1936:

New York - After boarding the outward-bound Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary in a fruitless search for an accused narcotics smuggler and causing the big liner to slow down as she slipped out of port Wednesday afternoon, federal authorities located their quarry, Marie Wendt, 25-year-old Eurasian, that night as she was about to board the liner Deutschland at its pier here.

In the search for the young woman, the United States Coast Guard cutter Hudson, with Special Agent Gregory O'Keefe, in charge of the customs narcotics squad, followed the Queen Mary after she left her pier downstream form the Statue of Liberty to St. George, S.I.

There the big liner was slowed down to between five and six knots while O'Keefe and his party went aboard. They spent 10 minutes on the Queen Mary and left her off Fort Wadsworth.

13 August 2010


From The Age on this day in 1935:

Furnishing a Liner.

LETTERS from France this week bear a stamp representing the Normandie on her record cross-Atlantic voyage, while the same mail brings letters and papers telling of plans for the furnishing of the great Cunarder, the Queen Mary. The interior decoration of the Queen Mary, it is said, will differ very greatly from recent essays in shipboard decoration and furnishing. It will favor neither the elaborate Renaissance scheme of another large liner, nor yet those ultra-modern lines and color adopted in recent vessels: indeed, the concentration on anti-vibration solutions will have its effect on the whole scheme, and the usual public hall appearance of diningrooms and lounges will be somewhat altered. The whole scheme is simply planned, while the designer has abandoned the old trend in ship decoration, which sought to hide from the passengers the fact that they were on a ship at all.

Panel paintings or carvings by modern artists will be a special feature in the public rooms; indeed, in London, Stanley Spencer's name has been mentioned as the painter of the great panel which will decorate one end of the colossal diningroom, which rises three decks high in the centre of the vessel. Bainbridge Copnall will be entrusted with the low relief panels dealing with the history of ship building, which will be additional decorations for this saloon. Woman artists will be included among those to be entrusted with this special mural work. Mary Adshead, with her husband, Stephen Bone, will decorate the library with two panels of youth and age; while the Misses Zinkeisen will carry out an original scheme for the cocktail bar. Among other artists whose work passengers will have an opportunity for admiring will be Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Rex Whistler, James Woodford and Edward Wadsworth.

12 August 2010

Justice On Board

From an article entitled "Autograph Seekers Besiege McReynolds on Ocean Liner" from the Reading Eagle in 1937:

New York, Aug. 12 (AP) - Associate Justice James Clark McReynolds, hale and hearty and in high good humor, put arduous Supreme Court duties aside until fall as he sailed on the liner Queen Mary for a European vacation.

The justice...brushed aside lightly all questions having to do with official problems and engaged instead in quick repartee with friends and reporters aboard the ship.

Nattily dressed in a gray suit, gray hat and wearing a dark blue white-dotted bow tie, the justice was besieged by autograph hunters as he made his way to his stateroom...

He laughed heartily as one interviewer suggested Clark Gable, the movie star, never drew so much attention when he sailed.

11 August 2010


From the Tuscaloosa News on this day in 1964:

2 Seamen Accused In Queen Mary Fire

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) - Two seamen from the British liner Queen Mary were charged today in a police court with maliciously setting fires in cabins of the liner when it docked in New York Aug. 4.

The two, who will appear in court tomorrow, are Michael Downes, 25, of Blandford, England, and Roger Sherrott, 21, of Dibden Purlieu, near Southampton.

10 August 2010

Pilot Down

On this day in 1947, well-known senior pilot on the River Clyde, Captain Duncan Cameron, died at the age of 67. He was with the Clyde Pilotage Authority for 30 years before retiring in 1945. Prior to their maiden voyages, Captain Cameron took the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth down river from their fitting-out basins at Clydebank.

The Glasgow Herald

09 August 2010

Ambassador On Board

From the article "Short Shots in All Directions" in The Montreal Gazette on this day in 1937:

Mostly about people: The Queen Mary arrives tomorrow morning with Sir Robert Craigie [pictured with a Japanese diplomat], newly-appointed British Ambassador to Japan...Francine Larrimore, one of the better actresses (she hates the movies too), is also on board...

08 August 2010


From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1945:


The Ministry of War Transport announced yesterday that the liner Queen Mary will arrive at Southampton on Saturday to embark American troops returning to the United States. The security ban on the liner's movements has just been lifted.

07 August 2010

Back to Her Old Self

From The Milwaukee Journal on this day in 1947:

Queen Dons Peacetime Garb, Ex-GI's Wouldn't Know Her

By Robert H. Fleming
Of The Journal Staff

New York, N. Y. - Wisconsin men and women who, during their days in uniform, traveled the seven seas on the Queen Mary wouldn't know the old girl now.

She had done her part in the war, and she's all dressed up now. She shows no signs of the dark nights when outward bound Yanks wondered if she was such a big target that Nazi submarines couldn't miss her. Also gone were her own souvenirs of the days when they brought young Americans home--on the glory road from battle areas to the good old U. S. A.

She was the world's fastest liner in those days, but she wasn't much better than the lowliest troop transport, as far as her passengers in uniform could see.

All Sleep Indoors, Now

In those days, she could carry 15,400 troops at a time, but that meant jamming the eight decks with tiers of bunks that accommodated only about half the total. The others slept on the top deck, outdoors, and a man had to be a tight rope walker to take the traditional stroll along the deck.

The passageways - or stairways as every soldier called them--were jammed like treadmills in those days with troops constantly moving to and from the crowded mess hall in what is now the main dining room. And where there were quiet nooks or interesting passageways, there were also MP's to growl "Keep moving."

Of course the MP's are gone now and the landings of the staircases have bright potted plants and lush overstuffed furniture using part of their ample space. And the dining salon, where thousands of GI's ate at long benchlike tables, now seats only 800 at a time--800 who have fine lien, polished silver and other strictly civilian comforts when they eat, and where the food would never be called "chow."

Even a Swimming Pool

There's even a swimming pool now, in space that formerly slept 100 soldiers. There are signs over doors that read "Beauty Salon" and "Valet" and "Ladies" or "Gentlemen." And up on deck, where the WACs had a fenced-in playground, oceangoing dogs now have their exercise yard.

Some few of the soldier passengers--the most determined ones, who didn't care how many feet they stepped on--probably walked clear around the main deck. You can't do that anymore. Two delectable hideouts for the luxury class bar the way--these are the "garden lounges."

Yes, the grand old lady certainly has changed.

The ex-GI's wouldn't even notice it when they walked down the gangplank to go ashore. Somehow there is nothing about a New York sidewalk to sigh over any more.

06 August 2010

Thank Goodness!

From The Miami News on this day in 1945:

PET DEPT.: The 15,000 troops who arrived on the Queen Mary were warned, before boarding the ship, that no dogs would be permitted aboard because of the quarantine regulations. Then, during the crossing, the ship's steward noticed a dachshund in one of the lounges. He followed it and found seven other dogs--an airdale and six mongrels...These eight dogs eventually were turned over to the ASPCA, but not before Captain Illingsworth, skipper of the Queen Mary, had told the ship's doctor to destroy them, and the man replied: "Captain, I am a doctor, not an executioner."

05 August 2010


From an article in the Times Daily in 1937:

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 - Days when autograph hounds narrowed their field of endeavour [sic] to theater and movie openings are all over...the new stamping grounds are the transatlantic boat piers where they can collar celebrities coming and going. And being persistent birds, they are crowding the companionways, thus blocking the passage of the star until they get his or her autograph.

A vivid example of his recent invasion of the ocean liners was the departure of the Queen Mary of Europe. Madeleine Carroll came aboard, but she was shrewd enough to embark from a third class gangplank. Her premonitions turned out to be justified, for no sooner had she settled down in her cabin than the horde of autographists descended upon it. They beat, in vain, upon the door, tried deception by calling "Telegram for you, Madame" and attempted at least a dozen other ruses. In alarm, Miss Carroll took refuge in the clothes closet and stayed there until the final signal of "All Ashore."

04 August 2010

03 August 2010

A Roaring Arrival

From the article "14,690 RETURN ON QUEEN MARY" in the The Spokesman-Review on this day in 1945:

Huge Transport Leads Flotilla Into N. Y. Harbor.

Up before the bugler, 14,698 soldiers returning from Europe on the one-time luxury liner Queen Mary roared a pre-dawn greeting to their native land...New York harbor responded with a cry of "Welcome home!"

Her gray sides blending with the harbor mist, the...transport led a flotilla of 10 troopships bringing a total of more than 25,000...veterans home for discharge, hospitalization or redeployment.

WACs serenaded the men from the army's "welcome home" boat and from the second deck and roof of pier 90 in the North River--and laughed when soldiers uttered wolf calls and tossed candy bars to them.

At the foot of the Queen Mary's gangplank Navy Lt. (j.g.) Robert McKenna of New York met and embraced his sister Connie, returning from Red Cross entertainment work overseas, while the G.I.s cheered.

One of the first to debark was soft-spoken Capt. Guy E. Carr of Spartanburg, S. C., who wore not a single ribbon on his shirt although he is one of the most decorated officers of the European war.

Among those returning on the Queen Mary were units of the Eighth and Ninth air force, general hospital units, 1723 navy personnel, 38 WACs and 36 American Red Cross personnel.

02 August 2010

A Reason to Celebrate

From The Norwalk Hour of Norwalk, CT, on this day in 1945:


The verteran 87th Chemical Mortar Division, made up mostly of New England and Pennsylvania soldiers, was the first fighting unit off the Queen Mary today.

Sgt. James O'Brien, of Waterbury, Conn., said that the men in the battalion were ready on their arrival to celebrate doubly--for their return to America and for V-E Day.

"On V-E Day," he said, "we were guarding 30,000 Kraut prisoners and we were too busy to celebrate."

He said that the battalion shot 187,000 rounds of mortar high explosives and phosphorous in its campaign that started at Cherbourg on D-Day.

With O'Brien were two Connecticut buddies. Sgt. Neville Wold, of Meriden, and PFC Leonard Palmer of Norwalk. The three men wear five battle stars each. Their unit will be redeployed to the Pacific theatre.

01 August 2010

King of Swing On Board

From The Milwaukee Sentinel on this day in 1938:

Benny Goodman, after two weeks' absence from the airlanes, returns from his European jaunt to conduct the "Swing School" over WISN and a CBS network Tuesday. The king of swing found a new contract awaiting him when the Queen Mary docked.