28 October 2010

From The Montreal Gazette on this day in 1937:

Crossing The Atlantic

Some idea of the size of the smokestacks of the "Queen Mary" can be gained by the fact that three railway locomotives could be placed inside one of them. Each of these stacks rises 70 feet from the boat dock. Fuel for the great engines is supplied by oil, of which thousands of tons are burned during a voyage.

Sometimes the sea has looked green to me, but now it seems very blue. The weather has been fine ever since we left New York. Yesterday we covered a distance of 710 knots or 817 miles. That is twice the distance some steamers cover in a day.

Passengers can amuse themselves in many ways while making an ocean voyage. Every liner seems to have the good old game called shuffle-board...Deck tennis is another common ship board sport. Rubber rings are used instead of tennis balls. A player tosses the ring over the net, and his opponent catches it and throws it back. There are ways of making the ring "wobble" so it is hard to catch. Today I played several games of deck tennis with a 12-year-old English girl, Moyca Field. She proved to be quite an expert in making the ring twist and turn as it went over the net.

Pingpong, quoits, dancing and talking pictures are other features of amusement on board. Each afternoon there is a picture show and each evening a dance. Passengers who like to read can have their choice of a large number of books in the ship library.

Going down one of the elevators, we reach a deck with a gymnasium and a large swimming pool. The pool contains salt water--fresh from the ocean. It is too deep for children unless they can swim.

Our voyage is now almost over. Early tomorrow morning we shall land some passengers at Cherbourg, France. Tomorrow afternoon the rest of us will anchor in England's great harbor - Southampton.

26 October 2010


From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1934:

A Geographical Aberration

After launching the biggest ship in the world Clydeside could be pardoned for thinking that "Glasgow and the Clyde" was a phrase known to all the world. To shatter our pride we have received a copy of a Buenos Aires paper, published the day before the launch of the Queen Mary, in which we read: --
To-morrow there will be launched at Glasgow the biggest Transatlantic liner in the world. The huge bulk will move down the greased ways, held back by chains to prevent it from sliding at a too excessive speed into the river Mersey. For some months they have been making careful preparations having calculated exactly the day and the hour when the autumn tides would be most favourable. It is impossible to neglect on this occasion a single centimetre of water, as the Mersey is only 700ft. broad and the Britannia is 1018ft. in length.
But it must be admitted that the geographical aberration of our Argentine contemporary was only a temporary one. When next day it reported that "el vapor Queen Mary" had been safely launched, it made it clear that it was into the waters of the "rio Clyde."

25 October 2010

Really Big Ship

From The Montreal Gazette on this day in 1934:

Immense Public Rooms

The giant new Cunard White Star liner, Queen Mary, will have no less than 12 decks, according to latest information received here. Her passenger accommodation will provide for first-class travellers. The enormous size of the vessel has resulted in the provision of unusually large spaces for public rooms. The space provided for the first-class lounge is so great that nine double-decked London buses placed abreast with three "Royal Scot" engines placed on their roofs could easily be accommodated in the room. In the first-class restaurant-foyer there could be placed the hull of the first Cunarder, the Britannia (207 ft. in length) together with three vessels which comprised Columbus's fleet on his voyage of discovery to America.

24 October 2010

A Landing At Plymouth

From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1938:


The Duchess of Atholl, who landed at Plymouth yesterday from the liner Queen Mary, said that there was general relief in America that immediate war was averted. But when they realised the price to be paid she formed the impression that many people thought the price too heavy, while many doubted whether peace was assured.

23 October 2010

A Penny Earned

From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1935:



Agreement was reached yesterday by the Conciliation Board investigating the threat of strike action being taken by furniture manufacturing employees engaged on a subcontract for the Cunard-White Star liner Queen Mary, now fitting out in Messrs John Brown and Co.'s basin, Clydebank.

The claim made by the men and sustained yesterday by the board was that, according to the national agreement, they should be receiving Glasgow rates for their work, which is a penny more per hour than they received from the Beith firm by whom they were employed.

The increase of a penny in the men's wage rates will come into operation immediately.

22 October 2010

Maybe Another Time

From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1934:




The Maiden voyage of the Queen Mary--the gigantic Cunard-White Star liner--will be to South Africa if a suggestion made by the Mayor of Johannesburg, Mr. D. Penry Roberts, is adopted.

He wants the Queen Mary to bring visitors from Great Britain to the Johannesburg Jubilee and Empire Exhibition, which will be held in 1936.

"We are to have the first Empire exhibition ever held in Africa. it is my earnest hope that arrangements can be made for the liner to come out on her maiden voyage, as it is confidently expected that thousands of tourists from Great Britain and other parts of the world will visit South Africa." - Reuter.

21 October 2010

From the article, "Wider and Deeper Clyde" in The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1936:



Many permanent improvements in the navigable channel of the Clyde were carried out in order to facilitate the launching of the Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary, and a comprehensive account of the river work entailed was given last night by Mr. A. C. Gardner, engineer to the Clyde Navigation Trust, in a paper read in Glasgow at a meeting of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.

Mr. Gardner's subject was "River Work for the Queen Mary," and he described in detail the various ancillary works rendered necessary by the general scheme of river improvement for the Queen Mary, and he stated that they were carried out in the following order:--

(1) The widening of the river opposite to Messrs John Brown and Co.'s shipyard and at the entrance to the river Cart;
(2) The deep dredging across the river on the line of the launch;
(3) The deepening of the fitting-out basin for the reception of the ship after the launch;
(4) The placing of the protective barrage and boom at the stern of the ship while fitting out; and
(5) The widening of the river at Dalmuir.

Outlining the work in connection with the protective barrage placed round the stern of the vessel while she was being fitted out, Mr. Gardner stated that the scheme was devised in conjunction with the builders, and ultimately took the form of a number of steel frames or towers with broad concrete bases placed side by side in three continuous lines, from which were suspended overlapping steel plates of the full height of the towers,and extending as a continuous screen around the stern of the ship.

Before the launch of the vessel the whole of the area at the entrance to the basin on which the towers would rest had been carefully dredged to as uniform a level as possible. After the launch, and when the vessel had been moored in the fitting-out berth, heavy sand was deposited from hoppers where necessary...as the time for her departure approached the need for a close and accurate survey of the whole of the river channel became increasingly important. Areas where the presence of loose boulders was suspected had to be swept and afterwards examined by diving bell...Mr. Gardner stated that from first to last nearly 5,000,000 tons of material were removed from the river and deposited at sea as the result of various operations connected with the Queen Mary alone.

20 October 2010

Super Model

From The Southeast Missourian on this day in 1936:

Queen Mary Model On Exhibit

A 4 1/2-foot illuminated model of the Queen Mary steamship will be at the travel booth in the basement of Academic Hall during the Southeast Missouri Teachers Meeting, where people may go for information in regard to trips all over the world. It is hoped that a model of the Normandie will be available also.

Representatives of the Canadian Pacific and United States Lines, will be on hand to discuss tours to Alaska, and various winter tours of all kinds.

A representative of the American Express Company will be on hand to answer questions and explain details of DeLuxe tours to all parts of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Questions and requests for literature about the various tours entail no obligation.

Anyone wishing a personal interview with any of these men may arrange for it by calling Mrs. B. C. Hardesty, telephone 858J. --Adv.

19 October 2010

From The Glasgow Herald on this day in 1961:

Future Traffic

The abandonment of the Q 3, on which Cunard have been working hard this year and on which the major shipbuilding firms have spent months of intensive effort, seems too drastic a decision to be taken as a result of one bad year on the Atlantic. It may be that more time is now required to reach a surer assessment of the future of passenger liner traffic.

If the Queen Mary is not replaced in 1965, when she is due to be withdrawn and scrapped, the weekly service between Southampton and New York, maintained by her and the Queen Elizabeth, would have to be abandoned. The alternative of a smaller, slower and less expensive ship would mean a major change in Cunard policy.

A small ship would leave this hitherto valuable dollar-earning field to the 70,000-ton French liner France, which is to come into service next year. Only the Queen liners and the 52,500-ton liner United States will match her for speed.

18 October 2010


From The New York Times on this day in 1931:


Whole Section of British Road Is Commandeered to Transport Stern Frame for Cunarder.

An entire section of a British railroad was commandeered recently to help convey the stern frame of the new 73,000-ton Cunard liner from the factory at Darlington, England, to the River Clyde, near Glasgow. Reports to the New York office of the company tell of the shipment of the frame in dismounted form in eight enormous castings.

A special train and a completely cleared track were used to move the castings to Middlesbrough at the mouth of the river Tees, where they were loaded aboard a steamer for the final leg of their journey to the Clyde. An entire week was taken for the task of dismantling the castings and hoisting them on special trucks for the railway journey. Because of the abnormal dimensions and overhang of the castings, it was necessary to keep clear the entire railway line from Darlington to Middlesbrough.

Details of the task of building the ship, known only as No. 534, which reached the New York offices of the company, have aroused the interest of shipping circles. Secrecy surrounds many features of the ship because of the present rivalry of France, Italy and the United States in the field of large ship construction. Charges already have been made that some features of the ships under construction have been copied by rivals.

17 October 2010

A Chocolate Soda without Chocolate

From an article by Billy Rose in the St. Petersburg Times on this day in 1946:

The other day the Cunard-White Star Line admitted that one of the three smokestacks on the Queen Mary is a phony. Who asked them? I've always believed the number of smokestacks was a measure of the power of a ship. Now, a marine architect named George Sharp says the biggest ship needs only a dinky little pipe. A pox on him! To me a stackless ocean liner is like a chocolate soda without chocolate.

16 October 2010

Fulfilling Her Mission

From an article entitled "A Stewards Life" in The Age on this day in 1937:
He [Mr. Dave Marlow] shipped as a steward on the mammoth liner Queen Mary, but he found the work so hard that he made only one voyage in her, across the Atlantic to New York and back to Southampton. "For sheer non-stop labor it was the hardest job I have ever known," he writes. "Stop for a single minute, and some official would find you something to do. Serving lunch was a mad rush. By the time it was over I was soaked through with sweat. Down to my bunk, change, and up again to help wash the huge pile of dirty silver. It took twenty of us well over an hour to do this. The amount of plates, glass, silver and crockery used for one meal was almost incredible. Away, and change again to carry baggage on board, as we were nearing Cherbourg. Those of us not carrying baggage were detailed to serve tea in the lounges or on deck. A short break, and dinner was upon us. Two hours of running the length of the diningroom to the kitchen, scrambling for plates, glasses, &c, until my stiff collar was limp, my clean shirt once more wet through."

"We got our own meals after the passengers had finished," he continues. "We ate standing up in the pantry, for there was no time to go below to the messroom. The food was good, and I certainly needed something substantial to fortify myself against the strain. I had noticed that most of the stewards looked very tired-eyed and weary--now I knew why. Silver again. After this, some of us were detailed to serving drinks in the various lounges and smokingrooms. In the small hours of the morning I at last finished, and sought my bunk. It was situated aft, over the propellers, and two decks down. I was one of 25 in the stewards' 'Glory Hole.' A table and two short stools completed its furnishing, and the contrast between the lavishly decorated passengers' quarters was very striking. We were now at full speed and the vibration was terrific. Compared to the movement amidships it was like another world. I jumped up on my bunk, and, taking off my shoes, placed them on the cross-beam, a time-honored place in a ship for these articles. Not in this one! A few seconds, and the vibrations shook them loose and they fell on my head. Wearily I undressed and crawled between the sheets. Tired as I was, the noise and the vibration prevented me from sleeping. The back of a motor cycle going at full speed over a rough road was a peaceful perch compared to my bunk. I lay awake, mentally computing my hours of labor on the first day, and found them to be eighteen. And workers ashore grumble at a 44-hour week. The Queen Mary was built to make work, and she certainly does fulfill her mission!

15 October 2010


From the Eugene Register on this day in 1940:

Queen Mary In Mediterranean

ROME, Oct. 15. -(AP)-It was unofficially reported here today the British liner Queen Mary which left New York City several months ago, presumably enroute to Australia, has been convoyed through the Mediterranean with 1,500* British soldiers aboard. The liner Mauretania was also reported in the convoy as a troop transport.

*The correct number may have been 15,000 as news sources printed both figures.

13 October 2010

12 October 2010

From The Age on this day in 1946:


Record Number

The record number of 1075 stowaways tried to enter the United States between July 1, 1945, and August 30, 1946.

The illegal immigrants came from every country, with Britain, France, Italy and Spain leading. Five per cent of the arrivals were women.

The law holds that shipping companies are responsible for the return of stowaways, so that the companies now put posters on docks, piers and in the crews' quarters warning that stowaways will be prosecuted.

Ten who were found recently on the liner Queen Mary, in one trip spent a day in gaol at New York, and were sentenced to 30 days' imprisonment in England.

Sympathetic members of the crew tried to smuggle some women and children ashore. Returning servicemen brought their fiancees and "orphan" mascots.

11 October 2010

No Distress to Ears...But May Cause Mild Heart Attack

From The Owosso Argus-Press on this day in 1937:
Although the giant whistles of the Queen Mary, English liner, can be heard five miles away, they are pitched so low that they cause no distress to the ears of passengers.

10 October 2010

Gray Ghost Update

From the Reading Eagle on this day in 1943:

The 'Queen'

At war's beginning the great new British liner Queen Mary donned battle paint, slipped quietly to sea as the biggest troopship target a U-boat commander could expect to find.

Here are some stories now released about the 81,235-ton "Queen":

Early in the summer of 1942 she carried half a division of troops with all their equipment from England to Suez--a 12,000-mile dash that virtually saved the British at El Alamein, helped turn the tide in North Africa.

She hauled "tens of thousands" of American troops to fighting fronts all over the world in the desperate days after Pearl Harbor. A German plot to sink her with 10,000 U. S. men aboard was foiled in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

On one voyage she sped through a pack of some 25 submarines so fast that the Germans could not torpedo her.

Late in 1942, with a full load of Americans aboard, the great liner was struck in mid-Atlantic by a gigantic wave. She heeled over until her upper decks were awash, miraculously recovered--sped on.

09 October 2010

A Bonus

From an article in The Spokesman-Review on this day in 1936:

Incidentally, Sam Goldwyn is so pleased with "Dodsworth" he is giving Mr. [William] Wyler a bonus in the shape of a trip to England on the Queen Mary, and, just to make sure he will have a good rest, has commanded him to find a potential male star with Clark Gable's head, Gary Cooper's mouth, Leslie Howard's hands, Frank Shields' nose, Charles Boyer's eyes, Herbert Marshall's voice, Robert Taylor's personality, Joel McCrea's physique, and Edward Arnold's vitality!

08 October 2010


From The Pittsburgh Press on this day in 1943:

Axis Spy 30-Year Term

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 8 (UP) - Niels Christiensen, the Axis spy who radioed German submarines the date of the departure of the liner Queen Mary when she left Rio last March with about 10,000 men aboard, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison by the National Security Tribunal.

Fourteen other defendants were sentenced to lesser terms.

06 October 2010


From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on this day in 1935:

Air Conditioning For Big Steamer

The "Queen Mary" will manufacture her own weather as she crosses the Atlantic, it is revealed by the Cunard White Star Line, according to word received by the Francke Travel bureau of Sarasota. The "weather" which will be manufactured, however, will be below decks in the passenger accommodations.

While air-conditioning has already been applied to one room in each of several ships, the system which is being installed in the "Queen Mary" will be the first in which the principle will be more generally applied. Passengers will be able to control personally the temperature of their staterooms by means of the system which provides separate supplies of warm and cool fresh air to each room.

The air in dining rooms and lounges will be kept constantly at any desired degree of heat or coolness, dryness or humidity, according to weather conditions outside. It will be one of the most elaborate air-conditioning systems in use anywhere.

The passengers will be able to dine, to lounge, to dance and to sleep in the sparkling air and an atmosphere as clean and as bracing as that of the Adirondack mountains.

05 October 2010

Unexpected Departure

Hector McNeil with his wife and son in 1950 at the launch of the refrigeration ship, Adelaide Star, from John Brown's shipyard in Clydebank.

On this day in 1955, Hector McNeil, Great Britain's Minister of State from 1946 to 1950 and Secretary of State for Scotland from 1950 to 1951, was taken from the Queen Mary and rushed to a New York hospital after suffering a stroke aboard the ship. He died six days later at the age of 48. Mr. McNeil had recently won re-election as a member of parliament for Greenock.

The Age
Getty Images

04 October 2010

Comfort In All Classes

From an advertisement in The Pittsburgh Press on this day in 1936:



* for as little as $167.50 Round Trip (ocean passage)

in as few as 12 days

You've read about, thought about, dreamed about a trip in the Queen Mary. . .admired her vast size and beauty. . .envied the round of pleasures that goes on aboard her every hour of the sunny days and flood-lit nights. Well, make that dream come true. . .now! Forget summer's hectic commuting. . .or those June reservations that you couldn't get. . .or that vacation that missed fire. Take 12 days or three weeks or 27 days and let yourself go. . .indulge yourself! You'll enjoy the Queen Mary at her best. . .and see Europe at its most brilliant season. There, too, the old-world capitals are livelier. . .Londoners and Parisians are back from beach and mountains. . .the gayest night-clubs have re-opened and Mayfair and Montmarte are ablaze with light and color!

Let your own budget decide the question of cost! Even as the Queen Mary's speed makes the trip possible in the time you would take for an ordinary vacation 12 days, including two days in London or Paris. . .so the ultra-modern comfort she offers in all classes gives you the whole wide price range to choose from. You've heard enough about the splendor of Queen Mary Cabin Class. . .naturally if you want the very most out of your time off, that's the way you will go. But truly an amazing feature of this superliner is the comfort and beauty of her lower-priced accommodations. Tourist Class has its own resplendent swimming pool. . .private bath with some rooms. . .private toilets with almost all of its staterooms. . .lavish and yet pleasantly informal luxury throughout its spacious lounges. And there's still more to surprise you. . .

*THE NEW THIRD CLASS OF THE QUEEN MARY is truly a revelation! At the all-season, round-trip rate of $167.50, it answers the new, young and thoroughly American urge to be both smart and thrifty. You'll always find congenial companions and ample diversions in the Queen Mary's Third Class Garden Lounge, the Smoking Room, the Cocktail Bar. The charming Children's Playroom attests the fact that this is the new economy way to Europe for all the family. Go Cabin if you can, of course. But if money matters, make your dreams come true in Tourist or Third Class!

Make the dream last, too, as long as you can. The 12-day round trip gives you two days in Paris or London. . .but once you're abroad at this glorious time of year, you'll want to go farther. You'll want to see the Alps when autumn has painted them gold and red. . .to visit the Rhineland in vintage time. . .to enjoy Brussels and old Amsterdam when the sun is mild and shops and streets are picturesquely thronged. With a little more time you can do all this. . .study the plans outlined on this page and send in the coupon!

03 October 2010

False Alarm

From the Spokane Daily Chronicle on this day in 1938:


NEW YORK, Oct. 3. (AP) - Facilities of the liner Queen Mary were strained to accommodate the 2112 passengers the vessel landed today, the largest list she ever had carried.

Twenty-four hours before she sailed from England several hundred Americans tried to obtain accommodations to get away from what then looked like war. The Queen Mary was able to carry only 275 of them and cots were set up in the drawing room, the gymnasium and in the broadcasting room to accommodate the extra passengers.

Ship's officers said passengers were jubilant Thursday night when it was announced the four-power pact had been signed at Munich. They said more than 30 persons arranged for a return booking immediately.

02 October 2010

Muddied Up

From the column "New York Day By Day" by Charles B. Driscoll in The Spartanburg Herald on this day in 1939:

The Queen Mary and Aquitania were side by side at their Hudson river piers the other day, looking forlorn and unattractive in their new coats of muddy gray. The shipping folk do not seem to be sure just what color renders ships nearly invisible at sea. There is so much difference in shades. For some reason, none of the lines has yet resorted to the grotesque camouflage so common the First World War.

The Normandie stands idle, her coat changed, her crew departed for service at home. Piers swarm with policemen and guards, in and out of uniform.

01 October 2010