28 December 2012

Practically Fireproof


Gas is to be used for fire-fighting in the Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary, now fitting out at Clydebank. Equipment will be installed which will admit freezing blasts, rendering the atmosphere so cold that the fiercest flames will be quelled instantly. Weighing 200cwt. each, 300 gas-filled cylinders will be shipped, and the apparatus will be used in conjunction with the ordinary fire-fighting equipment. There will be two main fire stations. By flicking a lever when an automatic alarm sounds, the fire-freezing gas will sweep into the affected spaces, forming clouds which will isolate and prevent fire from spreading. The gas, which will make the giant liner practically fireproof, is harmless says the "Sunday Times", and will be conveyed through a pipe system leading into the remotest corners of the ship.

- The Argus, Melbourne, Victoria, December 28, 1935


25 December 2012

I'll Be Home for Christmas


LONDON, Tuesday,--Britain's largest liners, the Queen Elizabeth, taking 12,000 Canadian troops home, and the Queen Mary, exchanged Christmas greetings by lamps as they passed each other off Bishop's Rock, Land's End. Passengers crammed the rails, cheering. Floodlights illuminated the funnels as the sister ships turned on all available lighting. 

The Queen Mary shortly afterwards docked in Southampton with 1500 passengers, including 200 former prisoners of war from the Pacific, who arrived home just in time for Christmas. 

- Advocate, Burnie, Tas., December 26, 1945


24 December 2012

Laid Up for Winter


Extensive Internal Alterations.

LONDON, Dec. 22.--The giant liner Queen Mary, arriving 13 hours late at Southampton owing to heavy weather, has completed her first season, in which she carried 41,000 passengers and made 14 round voyages. She will now be dry-docked for an examination of the underwater portion of her hull, after which she will be laid up for the winter.

Extensive internal alterations will then be made to the ship, notably additional stanchions where vibration was noticeable, improvements to the crew's quarters and the provision of new accommodation for the engineers.

- The West Australian, Perth, WA, December 24, 1936


20 December 2012


Fares paid in each voyage in the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth by passengers total more than £25,000. At 40 voyages per year an income of £10,000,000 per annum is assured for each from passengers alone. Crew's wages for the year amount to £4,160,000.
- The Worker, Brisbane, Qld., December 20, 1948

19 December 2012

Just Wait

Challenge to Liners

In a radio talk from Berlin a German speaker invited the owners of the liners Queen Mary and the Normandie to send them to sea to prove whether the German Navy is powerless and whether Britain has full command of the seas.

This picturesque challenge is unlikely to be accepted. Convoys continue to cross the Atlantic in safety, but the two liners are hardly suitable for such work. Built as luxury liners to carry the maximum number of passengers, their cargo space is small. There are no large expeditionary forces of Canadian or American troops to be ferried over as in the last war, and there seems to be no point in risking these valuable ships to a U-boat attack.

They are safer in New York berths than they would be if laid up at Liverpool or Cherbourg.

- The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Qld., December 19, 1939


12 November 2012


Reported today in 1954:

Queen Mary Sails With New Skipper

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP)--The liner Queen Mary sailed for New York Thursday with the storm over who should command her apparently all blown out.

A thousand of her 1,260 crew members threatened to strike earlier this week because their regular captain, Donald Sorrell, had been replaced for the voyage to New York and the ship's return with Queen Mother Elizabeth aboard.

The Cunard Steamship Co. ordered its senior fleet officer, Commodore Ivan Thompson, in command for the round trip. Asserting that no slur on Capt. Sorrell was intended, a company spokesman said it was customary for the line's top skipper to be on the bridge when such a personage as the Queen Mother is a passenger.

Thompson normally commands the Queen Mother's namesake, the liner Queen Elizabeth, which took her to America.

- Gettysburg Times


11 November 2012

Not the Journey He Intended

On this day in 1936:


F. Goffin Hurt When Big Wave Struck Queen Mary

Pawtucket, R.I., November 11.--Frank Goffin, 72, of this city who died in Southampton, England, today of injuries suffered when a storm gripped R.M.S. Queen Mary, was New England representative of the Chisholm-Ryder Company of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and a former businessman of St. Catharines, Ont.

Goffin was connected with a haircloth company in the Ontario city for 17 years. He was superintendent of the American haircloth company of Pawtucket, until the firm was dissolved.

According to word received here, the aged man suffered head injuries when a huge wave struck the Queen Mary and threw him 30 feet across the deck.

He was en route to his former English home, with his wife. They took the voyage in celebration of their golden wedding anniversary.

- The Montreal Gazette


10 November 2012

The Queen Delivers

Reported this day in 1944:

Bing Weeps At Sight Of Statue Of Liberty

HOLLYWOOD--(AP)--Hollywood's wandering minstrel, Bing Crosby, was home today after a four-months tour of England and the battlefronts of France.

Nothing El Bingo saw abroad touched him so deeply, he says, as the spectacle he witnessed as his troopship, the former Queen Mary, brought war-weary, wounded and spent young American soldiers to their native soil for the first time in three years.

"As we steamed into the upper bay of New York," says Bing, "1000 American soldiers, all of them casualties and many without hands, arms or legs, begged to be brought topside to the forward deck. These boys hungered for a sight of their homeland and the Statue of Liberty, the epitome of all they had been fighting for, all they had sacrificed.

"I cried unashamedly along with them as the Manhattan skyline came into view and we passed Bedloe's Island where the Statue of Liberty stands. A fellow from San Diego who had lost both legs was by me as we sailed by. 'She's a great old girl,' he mumured [sic] in a choked voice. 'She was worth every bit of it.'"

Crosby left New York July 24 at the head of a USO Camp Shows unit and travelled 19,000 miles, oftentimes being within 100 yards of the front lines in France, Belgium and Holland.

- The Deseret News

09 November 2012

The Hazards of First Class

Reported this day in 1956 by the Sarasota Journal:

June Havoc on the Queen Mary
Both of my ankles are black and blue from rolling champagne bottles. A bunch of us were in the Veranda Grill (on the liner Queen Mary) when (a hurricane) struck. It sobered us up considerably.
- Actress June Havoc, explaining her sore ankles on disembarking in New York

 Veranda Grill in calmer weather


SOS in Heavy Seas

Reported this day in 1936:


News was received in London last night that the liner Queen Mary was racing through heavy seas to the assistance of the German motorship Isis, which earlier in the day had sent out an S O S when about 200 miles off Land's End.

The messages, received at the Land's End wireless station, were as follows:--
Following received from Isis--"6 p.m., G.M.T. S O S 49.54 North, 11.09 West." 
Following received from Dutch tug Witte Zee--"6.26 p.m. G.M.T. Motor vessel Isis hatch No. 1 stove in. Preparing lifeboats to leave vessel if necessary. 'Castle head already under water."
The Isis (4454 tons gross) is owned by the Hamburg-Amerika Line, Hamburg, and left Hamburg for New York on November 3.

It was not known how far from the Isis the liner was, but it was stated that the Queen Mary had turned from her course to go to her assistance.

Earlier in the day the Queen Mary reported that she was encountering heavy seas in a gale estimated at over 60 miles an hour. She is making for Cherbourg, and is due at Southampton this afternoon.

Late last night it was feared that the Isis may have sunk, as the Red Star liner Westernland wirelessed that she had reached the place indicated by the Isis in her distress call, but could find no sign of her anywhere. The liner proceeded to search for any lifeboat.

- The Glasgow Herald


30 October 2012

Shoving, Pushing, Pulling

Story on the R. M. S. Queen Mary from this day in 1950:

New York Day by Day -- By Charles Driscoll

NEW YORK -- Diary: When the Queen Mary smokes up, preparatory to shoving off for England, she casts a sudden pall over the Hudson side of midtown. I was temporarily disabled by one of my historic nose-bleeds the other day, and had to sit quietly, moving as little as possible, in the living room of a suite at the Henry Hudson hotel, overlooking the river.

A great array of the most modern ocean liners were (or was) tied up along the river. Biggest was the Queen Mary. She was quiet, with no sign of life as I began the watch. Because I had to keep very quiet, I thought that the Queen might be having a nose-bleed too.


Suddenly the Queen began to smoke from her forward funnel. Then she let out two blasts of her whistle, which is really a mechanical device similar to the horn on a diesel locomotive, but much louder. It shivers the timbers for miles around.

The smoke was not black, but brownish. It drifted inland, covered the humble old water flats of thta [sic] region, and raised into the sky. Another blast from the warning whistle. The second funnel was smoking. Then the third. Evidently, these funnels are not phoney, as are most smokestacks on modern ocean liners.

You could observe very little activity in the neighborhood of the ship, from where I was sitting. A dark mass on the pier, stirring slightly. That would be the customers and their friends.


There were more blasts, in series, of one, two and three. Then the tugs came up importantly, maneuvering around the hull of the big ship, poking with their noses, pulling from the stern, smoking too, in their little way.

The Queen is definitely slipping backward, into, the stream. The tide is running downstream. The crows [sic] on the dock (piers, properly speaking) are waving, singing. Almost as if there were no war clouds covering the earth.

You can't count the tugs from my window seat. They seem to be everywhere, noisy, shoving, pushing, pulling.

The two loud blasts from the Queen, and she floats free. The tugs cast off. She is headed down river, on her own power.

Many minutes later you can hear the three short blasts, down toward the harbor signalling the Farewell to America for this voyage.

Yes, it is impressive.


There was a big ship in what appeared to be the next berth to the Queen. Although I could not read her name on her bow, I recognized her as La Liberty [sic], the reconditioned German liner, now French, which the United States gave to France as a sort of party gift. The French rebuilt her, and recently I was aboard at a sort of maiden voyage party.

La Liberte started to smoke up as soon as the Queen was out of her berth. She has a good horn too, and she let the world know that she was going down the river presently. Without quite so much smoke as the big ship, she slid into the river, and started down toward the Bay with a farewell toot or two.


Two smaller ships, both appearing quite modern, probably rebuilt since the war, were waiting. All must take advantage of the tide, but the big ships need more tide than the little ones. These two were eased out into the river silently. But they'll get there, too.

(Released by McNaught Syndicate Inc.)

- Greensburg Daily Tribune


24 October 2012


Reported this day in 1956:

Liner Queen Mary May Be Seized In Tanya Case, Hint

Washington, D. C.--A high immigration official said Wednesday that the British liner Queen Mary might be subject to United States seizure for carrying little Tanya Chwastov out of the United States on Oct. 3.

Tanya's departure was illegal because she is a United States citizen who had no passport, according to James L. Hennessy, executive assistant to Joseph M. Swing, immigration commissioner. The 1954 immigration law, he said, provides forfeiture to the United States of any vessel knowingly involved in such a violation.

Eye on Cunard Line

Hennessy told the senate internal security subcommittee that Swing had ordered a full investigation of the "fiasco" over Tanya's departure to see if "action against the Cunard line is warranted." The British owned Cunard line operates the Queen Mary.

Hennessy said the inquiry also was concerned with "a breakdown in communications" between immigration officials in New York and the service's headquarters here on the day Tanya and her Russian refugee father, Alexei Chwastov, sailed on the Queen Mary. An order to hold up the sailing was issued then revoked.

Halted by Custody Suit

Chwastov's efforts to take Tanya from London to Russia have been blocked at least temporarily by a custody suit filed in the British courts by the child's mother, Mrs. George Dieczok of Detroit.  Chwastov is a former common law husband of Mrs. Dieczok and the father of the child. The subcommittee wants to know what part, if any, Soviet officials in this country may have had in the removal of the child from the United States.

- The Milwaukee Journal

22 October 2012

A War Story

On this day in the history of the R. M. S. Queen Mary:

Sir Winston Churchill and Captain James Bisset

Churchill Planned Death, Says Skipper

Hobart, Tasmania, Oct. 22 (AP) -- Sir James Bisset, former captain of the liner Queen Mary, says Winston Churchill planned his own death during the war rather than risk falling into enemy hands.

In a speech at Launceston last night, Bisset said he was responsible for the safety of Britain's wartime prime minister on three voyages on the Queen Mary.

Always, he said, a special lifeboat crew was standing by to take Churchill should the liner be sunk. In addition a man stood by with a loaded pistol to shoot Churchill should his capture by the Germans seem imminent, Bisset said.

(In London, Churchill's secretary said Churchill had heard of Bisset's speech but had "no comment at all.")

- Spokane Daily Chronicle

27 July 2012


Reported this day in 1950:


NEW YORK --(AP)-- The Cunard liner Queen Mary reported yesterday that a woman passenger is missing and presumed lost overboard.

The Coast Guard said the information was radioed by Capt. Harry M. Dixon, who said the woman could not be located.

Neither the Coast Guard nor Cunard offices here received any further details, except that the liner had sent out a message to other vessels saying "Woman overboard. Keep lookout."

The Queen Mary, due here at 3:30 p.m. today, messaged from a position about 110 miles south of Sable Island off Halifax, Nova Scotia.

- Daytona Beach Morning Journal, Florida USA


23 July 2012

Tendered by the Queen Mary

Reported this day in 1945


When Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, and her three small daughters, Princess Beatrix (seven), Princess Irene (six), and Princess Margriet, arrived at Gourock yesterday, coast trippers queued up on the pier for the afternoon steamer to Dunoon, saw a charmingly unconventional sight.

As the Royal party stepped ashore from the tender which took them from the liner Queen Mary, two-year-old Princess Margriet was still playing at horses.

The driver holding the reins was her mother, Princess Juliana.

- The Western Daily Press and Bristol Mirror


18 July 2012

Safer to Talk on the Phone

Reported this day in 1946:


The identity of the man who jumped overboard from the Red Funnel steamer, Duchess of Cornwall, about a mile off Cowes last night when the steamer was on her way from the Isle of Wight to Southampton, has been established as Thomas Heron, 21, of Meaburn-st., Liverpool. He was employed as a telephone operator in the liner Queen Mary.

One of the passengers said that he saw a man dive over the side of the steamer after talking to a girl.

- The Daily Mail


30 June 2012

Well Deserved

Reported this day in 1934:

Reward for Rapid Work

So rapid has been the progress on the Clyde with the giant new Cunard-White Star liner No. 534, that 2,000 workers will be allowed 12 days holiday for the Glasgow Fair next month.

Experiments are being carried out with a new type of lifeboat. It is likely that instead of being lowered in the usual way from the davits, the lifeboats will be controlled by an electric lever.

- Nottingham Evening Post

29 June 2012

No Outsourcing, Please

Reported this day in 1934:

The New Cunarder.

Mr. Craven-Ellis (U., Southampton) has given notice to ask the President of the Board of Trade in the House of Commons next Tuesday if he is aware that certain lavatory fittings of German manufacture have been specified to be used in the new Cunarder No. 534, and, as the completion of this ship has been made possible by money provided by the taxpayers of Great Britain, will he assure the House that no foreign-made fitting or equipment will be used when similar articles of an equal standard of quality and efficiency can by supplied by British manufacturers.

- The Western Times, Devon

25 June 2012

No Hold Up

Reported this day in 1935:




The joiners on board the Cunard-White Star liner Queen Mary, do not intend to go on strike because they feel that the dispute in which they have been asked to join is purely a domestic matter.

To-day it is announced that the disagreement regarding membership between the Furniture Trades' Federation and the National Trade Union of Wood-Working Machinists, is to be settled by arbitration.

Mr. William Lawson, the trade union representative of the joiners employed at the Clydebank yard, said in an interview to-day, "Surely a domestic matter such as membership can be settled without interfering with work on the Queen Mary.

"The men have no desire to stop work, and speaking as a trade union representative, I think I can safely say they won't be asked to do so unless some serious point of principle is involved."

The refusal on the part of a number of woodworkers making doors and panelling for the Queen Mary to join the Furniture Trades Federation (a T.U.C. organisation) was the cause of the dispute.  
- Nottingham Evening Post

22 June 2012

Nice Try

Reported this day in 1946:


The wave of stowaways trying to enter the United States was swelled last week by 10 British subjects on board the Queen Mary, it was disclosed to-day.

They include Martin Handley, 23, of Liverpool; Duncan Thompson, 32, seaman, of Southampton; Michael Durkin, 23, of Lancashire; John Toner, 31, of Sussex; Harold C. Stuart, 28, of London (native of Scotland), and three others who were juveniles.

- The Daily Mail


20 June 2012

Ahab Just Needed a Bigger Boat

Reported this day in 1936:


Rams A Whale In Mid-Atlantic

The Queen Mary, travelling at full speed, yesterday slashed her way through a whale estimated to measure 70 feet long.

A huge pool of blood showed up in the sea, but the Queen Mary experienced no shock.

From noon on Thursday to noon yesterday, the vessel covered 716 miles at 28.69 knots, compared with 747 miles at 29.88 knots on the similar period of her maiden voyage.

There have been rain squalls with mist, but the barometer is rising.

- The Western Morning News and Daily Gazette


18 June 2012

Reported this day in 1936:



"I would not have missed the trip for anything," said Mr. Pearce Lello, of Trevassack Farm, Hayle, looking fresh and well after crossing to New York and back on the "Queen Mary" on her recent maiden voyage.

Mr. Lello had nothing but praise for the "Queen Mary," when interviewed by our representative on his return. This was Mr. Lello's first trip to New York, and telling of his various experiences and impressions he said:

"Concerning the vibration of the ship it was noticeable in certain quarters of the tourists' accommodation, and was even more noticeable to those who, like myself, had never been to sea before. The general lay-out of the ship was marvellous, and in a shop in the tourists' section it was possible to get anything from a stud to a suit of clothes.

"The reception we received when we reached New York is simply indescribable; it was far more impressive than the send-off at Southampton. There were about 500 police on duty outside the docks to keep the large crowd back. The American Press were absolutely high in their praises of the ship, and when we docked it was possible to buy papers with a full description of the 'Queen Mary's' arrival. Never before in the history of shipping had there been such a reception. The only disappointment that the Americans felt was that the 'Queen Mary' had not captured the Blue Riband of the Atlantic.

"The American people were very hospitable and left nothing to be desired. The hotel accommodations were very fine."

Giving a description of the voyage and the immense size of the ship, Mr. Lello and [sic] that the outward voyage was more enjoyable than the homeward voyage; the passengers did not appear to be so sociable on the return. He found that the most friendly were the Irish. Mr. Lello made friends with some of the other passengers, and said that one evening they decided to go up to the bows of the ship. The journey took three-quarters of an hour from the tourist quarters.

"One could easily get lost on the boat. The way the stewards worked was fine, and they were only too willing to help everybody. There was no vibration in the third and cabin classes, and in certain sections the tourist class. Everything was comfortable. The smoking room was beautifully laid out and the last word in comfort.

"She is a ship to be seen to be understood and a trip in her would be even better. No doubt in time, they will eliminate the vibration altogether and make other improvements. Most of the lights on the 'Queen Mary' are concealed and there must have been a large staff of electricians in charge. There was a crew of 1,200 and the cabins were very comfortable. The main announcements were made at meals, through the medium of loud-speakers concealed in the pillars of the dining hall, and one had to look very closely to see where the speakers are situated.

"The concert on the outward voyage," continued Mr. Lello, "was held in the main lounge of the cabin class and was of a very high standard. The lounge will hold between 300 and 400 people and on this occasion was packed to capacity. Henry Hall conducted the ship's orchestra at the concert and Larry Adler, the famous harmonica player, also took part, as did Frances Day, the film actress, and Tekar, whose singing reminded one of Richard Tauber. The collection, which was in aid of seamen's charities realised £175.

"On the return voyage Carl Brisson, the actor was on board, and made himself very popular with the rest of the passengers. Joan Bennett, the film actress, was also with us when we returned and many other celebrities whose names I have forgotten.

"The devices for the safety of the passengers are marvellous. If a room got overheated or caught fire a spray of liquid would be automatically released from the roof of that room and extinguished in a few minutes. I should think the 'Queen Mary' was practically unsinkable, all the safety doors being shut by hydraulic pressure and controlled from the captain's bridge.

"The space allotted to tourists for fames [sic] is very generous."

On the return voyage one of the A.B.'s died and was buried at sea, and Mr. Lello said it was surprising the few who knew anything at all about it. Nobody was allowed at the funeral service and Mr. Lello was one of the few who saw the burial. During the service the Union Jack was flown at half-mast.

Mr. Lello said that high Mass was held every morning in the main lounge. The Church of England services were impressive and were held in the main lounge of the tourist quarters. They were largely attended.

"The finest sight I saw in America," Mr. Lello continued, "was Radio City, which seats approximately 6,000 people."

- The Cornishman and Cornish Telegraph


17 June 2012

Reported this day in 1936:




The Queen Mary set out upon her second round voyage across the Atlantic from Southampton to-day.

She sailed promptly at 10.15 a. m., slipping away from her berth with the easy manoeuvre which, to the dockland people, is one of the striking characteristics of the giant liner.

This morning she fell into routine. There was no great rush of sightseers on board, or on the quayside.

It was the normal departure of a liner setting out on a scheduled voyage. The Queen Mary has taken her place on the greatest highways of the sea.

Everything associated with her sailing was carried out smoothly. The "highlights" of her maiden voyage departure were absent, but with perfect handling by an efficient crew, the great ship moved out.

The question now asked is "Will she recapture the Blue Riband of the North Atlantic?"

- Nottingham Evening Post


15 June 2012

The Shipyard Remains Closed

Reported this day in 1933:

The New Cunarder.

Continued depression in the shipbuilding industry and in world trade generally is reflected in the accounts of John Brown and Company for the year to March 31 last.

The company worked at a net profit of £2,385, against £2,654, after charging Debenture loan interest and depreciation. With the balance brought in, a sum of £15,571 is carried forward. No dividends are paid on either the Preference or Ordinary capital.

The report states that the work on the express Atlantic liner, No. 534, of the Cunard Steamship Company, at Clydebank, was suspended during the whole period covered by the accounts. The shipyard remains closed.

It is hoped that the negotiations now in progress between the Government and the Cunard and White Star Companies will lead to an early resumption of work. General stagnation in the shipbuilding industry, apart from new naval work, continues.

- The Western Morning News and Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette

14 June 2012

Final Landing

Reported this day in 1938:

Coffin Landed At Plymouth

The body of Mr. F. E. Powell, president of the American Chamber of Commerce, London, and for 20 years chairman of the Anglo-American Oil Company, was landed from the Queen Mary at Plymouth yesterday. He died suddenly on a visit to America. A wreath was placed on the coffin at Plymouth. The funeral will take place in London.

The widow and Mr. F. E. Powell, jun., returned in the Queen Mary. Two sons came to Plymouth from London to meet the liner and the bereaved relatives.

- The Western Morning News and Daily Gazette

13 June 2012

Make Way for the Boring-Out Squad

Reported this day in 1934:



Well over the 4,000 mark and increasing daily is the figure of employed persons in Messrs. John Brown and Company's shipyard at Clydebank, where work on the Cunarder and other contracts on hand is gradually but surely reducing the total of unemployed in the district.

This present figure of employed, when compared with the thousand or so who were employed in the yard two months ago, shows that work must be progressing at high speed on No. 534.

Only a few plates at the bow of the vessel remain to be finished, the stern having just been completed. Gear preparations have now been made at the stern of the liner for the boring out squad and, within the past few days, many engineers have been re-started.

When this boring-out work on the brackets for the propeller shafts commences, night and day shifts will be employed, as it is necessary to work continually on this task during the coming few months that remain before the launching date.

Other work, which is at present employing at large and busy squad, is the laying and preparing of the launching-ways by the carpenters, while the expensive and continuous work of dredging the firm's dock where the giant will lie after being launched, is also being carried out.

- Nottingham Evening Post

11 June 2012

Ace On Board

Reported this day in 1938:

Distinguished Passengers

Mr. N. H. Davis, national chairman of the American Red Cross, will land at Plymouth on Monday morning from the Queen Mary. Sir Vincent Sassoon, Sir. G. and Lady Schuster, Maj. A. Williams, the well-known American "ace" flier, and Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Hartley are also in the Queen Mary, which should reach Plymouth at 7:45 a.m.

- The Western Morning News and Daily Gazette

08 June 2012

Some Personality for the Queen

The first RMS Mauretania was launched in 1906.

Reported this day in 1935:


Mauretania's Panels for Queen Mary

At the same time as the breaking-up of the famous Cunarder Mauretania at Rosyth on the Firth of Forth, the 35-years-old Union Castle liner Saxon is in the hands of shipbreakers at Blyth, Northumberland.

The science of shipbreaking is not the chaotic undertaking that many laymen must imagine.

Experts estimate that 9.5 per cent of the destruction that takes place when a great ship is dismembered becomes reconstruction in the great steel works, engineering shops, foundries, and mills to which the material is consigned.

The thousands of steel plates from her hull and special alloy steel from various machinery retrieved by British shipbreakers find their way in large quantities to their places of origin, the famous steelworks of Sheffield; and a "quick" market is always available for the copper, brass, bronze, gunmetal, zinc, and lead that is stripped from an old ship.

Queen's Name

A correspondent in the London "Observer," referring to the scrapping of the Mauretania, says that some of the best panelling in the notable old ship will be "grafted" into her modern rival, the 73,000 tons liner Queen Mary--a fitting transfer from a ship that for more than 20 years was queen of the seven seas, to the world's greatest ship, which will bear the name of the Queen of England over those same seas.

The usual practice of shipbreakers is to bring the doomed vessel to the quayside, liberate swarms of workmen over her decks, which are stripped systematically as she is cut down and gutted.

The next stage is the tidal dock, where the remaining hulk is floated on the sloping ways on which she rests when the tide recedes, leaving her exposed for dismantling, which is done in series as the tide permits.

The "Observer's" correspondent recalls that the Blyth shipbreakers are proud of the history of their craft. They began with wooden walled ships and continued until war caused the influx of a tragically large number of ships into the breakers' yards.

Among these were famous battleships that took part in the battle of Jutland, most notable among which was H.M.S. Lion (36,350 tons), on the quarterdeck of which Admiral Beatty received the German admirals when they came to surrender their fleet.

Ship's Personality

Writing in the same journal, Sir Arthur Rostron, a former commodore of the Cunard Line, and commander of the Mauretania, discusses a ship's personality.

"Call it what you will," he writes, "but when the captain loves his ship as I did there is a personality which pervades both the ship and the man."

Sir Arthur Rostron quotes instances in which this belief seemed to be well justified.

Once on the Mediterranean cruises, the ship went to Constantinople. She had to "lay to" off Chanak in the Dardenelles.

"Somehow," he says, "neither the ship nor myself cared for a Greek pilot to handle her, so as we were getting under way I told the pilot that I would take her up myself, having been up and down the Dardenelles many times previously.

"Immediately I made the decision it seemed to me that the ship made a gesture of happiness by a series of peculiar, though faint, vibrations."               - Examiner, Launceston, Tasmania

05 June 2012

Havoc, Speed and Distinguished Passengers

Reported this day in 1936:




The Queen Mary sailed from New York for Southampton to-day, on the homeward trip of her maiden voyage, but she is not the trim and spruce vessel that entered American waters last Monday.

Some 35,000 American visitors inspected the ship while she was in dock, and the created havoc -- havoc which moved the chief steward (Mr. A.F. Jones) to tears when he spoke about it as being "positively dreadful."

According to a report in a New York newspaper, the visitors swarmed over the vessel, filching a varied assortment of items--spoons, forks, potted plants, clocks, silver calendars, ashtrays, and pieces of china.

The Queen Mary left Southampton with 150,000 pieces of tableware. How many have disappeared will only be known after a check-up on her return.

Will She Beat Homeward Trip Record?

It is almost exactly a year ago since her French rival, the Normandie, gained the record on the homeward trip of her maiden voyage by covering the distance between the Ambrose Lightship at the entrance to New York harbour and Bishop Rock (Scilly Islands) in 4 days 3 hours and 25 minutes.

This was just 20 minutes longer than the time she took on her record outward voyage. Her average speed for the return trip was 30.31 knots, which was slightly higher than that taken on the outward voyage--30.1 knots.

The apparent anomaly was due to the fact that winds and currents necessitated a detour to the south on the homeward trip. She thus covered 3,015 miles, compared with 2,980 miles outwards.

The Queen Mary, on her outward voyage, failed to beat the Normandie's record by 2 hours 32 minutes, but for 11 hours she had been delayed by fog.

On arrival in New York, Sir Edgar Britten, commander of the Queen Mary, in a broadcast reference to the Atlantic Blue Riband, said: "We will see what we can do on some subsequent voyage."

The Normandie, on her latest voyage from America to Havre, averaged a speed of 28.31 knots. At certain points she exceeded 30 knots, though she never did as much as 32.

For her homeward trip, the Queen Mary has a distinguished passenger list, which includes Lord Essendon, Lord Inverclyde, Lord Wolmer, M.P., Lady Katherine Chilton, wife of the British Ambassador to Spain, Sir Percy Bates, chairman of the Cunard-White Star Line, Sir Alfred Booth, director and late chairman of the Cunard Line, Sir Thomas Brocklebank, director of the Cunard-White Star Line, Sir Ian Fraser, M.P., Sir Keith Fraser, and Professor Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University.

Mr. Carl Brisson and Mr. Jack Buchanan the actors, are also travelling in the vessel.

- Nottingham Evening Post

04 June 2012

Narrow Escape

Reported this day in 1945:


The narrow escape of the liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth one night last January when a U-boat pack penetrated the Firth of Clyde has been revealed. In battling past the pack an escort aircraft-carrier was torpedoed and an oil tanker sunk, but the giant liners raced home undamaged.

The U-boats entered the north channel, between Scotland and Ireland, ahead of the convoy and penetrated the Firth of Clyde near Alisa Craig, off the Ayrshire coast. Aircraft launched a counterattack and sank at least one U-boat.             - The Argus, Melbourne, Victoria

23 May 2012

This Bell Is Finished Ringing

On this day in 1935: 


Sir Thomas Bell Retires

The managing director of Clydebank's Admiralty shipyard (Sir Thomas Bell) has announced his retirement, says a message from London. He has supervised the building of many of the greatest ships afloat, of which the Queen Mary, which was launched recently, is probably the most outstanding. Among the other vessels he has built in the past 26 years are H.M.S. Hood, the Empress of Britain, the Duchess of York, and the Aquitania. Now that he has finished with shipbuilding, he will spend most of his time in the garden of his new home, which overlooks the Firth of Clyde. The story of Sir Thomas Bell's life is one of several articles dealing with the latest developments in the world's shipping, which appear in "The Express and Journal" this week. Copies will be on sale everywhere tomorrow.                         - The Adverstiser, Adelaide, SA

Photo credit: Helensburgh Heroes

17 May 2012

Still Tops In Speed

On this day in 1946:


The Mauretania, one of Britain's newest transatlantic liners, recently broke a world record. She completed the 4,000 mile run from Fremantle (Western Australia) to Durban (South Africa), in eight days. The previous record was nine and three quarter days, set up in 1939 by another British liner, the Dominion Monarch. The Mauretania, a Cunard White Star vessel, was built in 1938. When, in 1939, she made her maiden voyage from London to New York, she was acclaimed one of the finest liners afloat. But her present reputation rests mainly on her war performance. Since the outbreak of war, like other Cunarders she has been carrying allied troops to fighting fronts all over the world. So far she has transported 335,000. This compares well with the performance of the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth (both Cunard ships) which, apart from other duties, have transported more than one million United States troops across the Atlantic, one of the free services rendered by Britain under Reverse Lend-Lease.

Although she has a tonnage of close on 36,000, the Mauretania is small compared with the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth which are 81,000 and 85,000 tons respectively, but she is still one of the word's largest passenger liners. There are only five liners in the world held by non-British owners with greater tonnage. These are all European vessels averaging 45,000 tons. One of these, incidentally, is the German liner Europa, of 49,000 tons and built in 1928.

The Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, with Mauretania, will continue their wartime jobs until all United States and other Allied forces have been taken home. But immediately this work is done, the United Kingdom shipyards will get on to the task of converting them back to liners for the Transatlantic service in which Britain has so long held supremacy. Additions will also be made to the present great strength--it was recently reported that a sister ship of the Mauretania is to be built.

What will be the fares for these luxury Transatlantic runs? The Cunard line is not yet prepared to say anything definite, but it is interesting that recently an unofficial report stated that fares would be about 20 per cent lower than pre war. If this proves to be the case, the cabin fare from Britain to the United States will range from £50 to £60 according to season, and third class from £21 to £25.

It is also clear that Cunarders, once they have reverted to peacetime work will retain speed supremacy. The Mauretania's latest record has established what she can do, and it is interesting, too, that this liner, built for 3,000 mile voyages, was able to break a record on a 4,000 miles run. Again during the war, Queen Elizabeth for example, averaged only four-and-a-half days on each Atlantic crossing in spite of a zig-zag course to avoid enemy submarines. This is a remarkable performance in view of the fact that even before the war the Transatlantic record--held by the Queen Mary--was three days twenty hours.

Britain's shipping lines are not thinking solely of a rapid restoration of the Atlantic service. Work on reconditioning some of the United Kingdom's biggest passenger liners for normal service on other routes has  already begun. To-day four passenger liners, totalling 100,000 tons, which have been on war service are in the Mersey shipyards. They are Empress of Scotland, the Duchess of Bedford, the Winchester Castle and the Alcantara. Their reconversion is now being pushed ahead to prepare them for re-entry on four of the world's main ocean passenger routes, to Australia, to Canada, to South Africa and to South America. Reconversion will take about six months and will be followed by other units.

As in the case in so many branches of British industry, shipping will benefit enormously from wartime developments. Authorities in the United Kingdom are pointing [illegible] inventions and advances in this field have a [illegible] peacetime application since a majority related less to actual [illegible] than to the efficiency and safety of the vessels.                                                   - Northern Times, Carnarvon, WA

Photo credit: World Ship Society

15 May 2012

Goodwill Cargo

On this day in 1936:


Queen Mary's First Voyage.

(British Official Wireless.)

LONDON, May 15.--When the Cunard-White Star liner Queen Mary sails on her maiden voyage to New York on May 27, she will carry what is described as a "goodwill cargo" consisting of illuminated addresses from the Mayors of the Cinque Ports--now seven, Hastings, Dover, Sandwich, New Romney, Hythe, Rye and Winchelsea--to their namesake towns, numbering 52 in the United States of America.

The addresses are accompanied by invitations to mayors and citizens of those towns to visit England during the coronation year.

Distinguished guests, including members of the Cabinet, who were passengers on the cruise down Channel made by the Queen Mary on Thursday and Friday, have declared themselves as impressed with her smoothness and comfort. During the cruise the owners and captains of the Queen Mary and the new Union Castle motor liner Athlone Castle, which passed on her way from Messrs. Harland and Wolff's Belfast yard to her home port to join the South African service, exchanged congratulations and good wishes "as partners in the great enterprise of maintaining the prestige of British mercantile shipping."
- The West Australian, Perth, WA

Photo credit: Queen Mary, Firth of Clyde, Gourock. Oblique aerial photograph taken facing south from collection Aerofilms © 

04 April 2012

Old Fashioned Travelers Beware

Reported this day in 1936:


Chromium, Glass and Modernist Paintings.



The completion of the Queen Mary, depressing enough to thousands of Clydebank workers, whose wages are ended with the event, must have caused a great deal of excitement in Britain and America among those who can regard as probable an early chance of travelling on her. It seems a pity that vessels such as the Normandie and the Queen Mary must be confined to so short a run as the North Atlantic crossing; between Southampton and New York one would hardly have time to explore the leviathan and taste with easy leisure all its pleasures; at least half the voyage would be over before one felt at home.

Indeed, to judge by the illustrations which have been published in the newspapers, to travel by the Queen Mary must be an exciting rather than a soothing experience--the dining-room to seat 800 people, the ballroom, the restaurants and "verandah grill," the night club, the marble columns, moulded ceilings, golden lights, panelled corridors and halls and a great arcade of shops--very expensive ones, no doubt--lined with plateglass and chromium steel with a fountain playing in the centre. It is magnificent; one might travel across the ocean on her without catching sight of the sea.

All this is in accord with the exacting demands of the seasoned and blase regular Atlantic trippers who when the popular novelty has worn off will form the greater number of her passengers; but nothing that sails the seas can be altogether dominated by ostentation and not all the decorations on the Queen Mary are suggestive of the setting of a Cochran revue. Artists of repute, such as Philip Connard, R.A., and McDonald Gill, for instance, have executed wall decorations for the main restaurant. As the restaurant covers nearly half an acre the murals have to be unusually large to be effective, and Mr. Gill's painting representing the North Atlantic in the form of a map is no less than 30 feet long. Even better is a series of 14 carved pine wood panels by Bainbridge Copnall, illustrating shipbuilding through the ages, and in the shopping centre is a 50-feet frieze by Maurice Lambert. John Skeaping, Duncan Grant and Dame Laura Knight are other prominent artists who have contributed to make the vessel something of a floating gallery of contemporary British art.

The old-fashioned traveller is not likely to find the Queen Mary a restful boat:  her embellishments in the ultra-modernist mood are stimulating and interesting enough to see once or twice, but not to live with for long, and in the face of an avalanche of chromium, marble and glass one is inclined to think a little more kindly of the essential placidities of the Victorian era and a little less contemptuously of its antimacassars and footstools. Every age has its gauds. Plates of wax fruit under glass covers were ugly enough things on the dining room mantelpiece, but then one could usually move about without being forced at every turn to view oneself in giant, bright chromium-bordered mirrors.

Will the contemporary addiction to chromium and glass persist for long? It is all the vogue on the Continent and in America; British people are adopting it though not so enthusiastically since native fondness for old oak and mahogany is deep-rooted and the British are wisely conservative where their comfort is concerned. The glass and chromium mixture is certainly clean and light, and it may be comfortable:  but it is cold and characterless, and an appearance of almost medical asepsis may not give a particularly gay or companionable atmosphere to a room.

But, getting back to Mary a la Mode, her designers are already at work upon the plans of a sister ship which may be even larger and faster and may be adorned with even more plate glass and chromium and coloured lights and gigantic wall pictures. Only from the outside will she look much like what ancient mariners and old-fashioned passengers regard as a ship. Let us hope that somewhere on these brave new liners the more simple-minded travellers will be able to get an occasional sniff of those delightful ship-board smells of pain and tar and beeswax and resin and the rest of them--just to let them know that they really are at sea.

Source: The West Australian (Perth)

09 March 2012

Fun While it Lasted

Reported this day in 1939:

A Queen Mary Kitchen


Vagabond's Tour of World

In a pair of borrowed trousers, a borrowed waistcoat minus buttons, and tail-coat loaned him by a down-and-out Soho artist, a "busker" crashed the party of a Mayfair countess.

David Wynn, world-crasher No. 1, who has gate-crashed his way from Siberia to Mexico--he was the first stowaway aboard the Queen Mary--took the countess's party in his stride in his vagabond trip around the world.

In London he joined a group of buskers, and with his "sweet and hot" saxophone played along London streets. He slept with the buskers in the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields or on the embankment.

But that was luxury compared with the wilds or snow-covered Siberia, or the tiger-infested jungles of Mexico, he writes in his book, "Up the Other Sleeve" (Rich and Cowan).

Travelling steerage with Japanese, he left Los Angeles for Yokohama, with Moscow as his eventual goal. Determined to win his way in Hollywood, he intended to study at the Moscow Institute of Cinema Research.

From Japan to Korea, and then, with no money and no authority to enter Russian territory, Wynn seated himself in a first-class compartment of the trans-Siberian express.

He was caught. The crack train was stopped to drop off the stowaway "in the middle of nowhere."

"A biting, freezing wind was blowing, the temperature was below zero, no place to eat or sleep." At last he found the G.P. U. headquarters and was whisked to gaol in a reindeer sled.

Finally, in Moscow, Hollywood heard of him. He had gone right around the world to get a job back home. He returned to an elegant office and no work--and promptly boarded a tramp steamer for more adventure.


In Spain, he watched hundreds die in the bombing of Irun. In London he met George Bernard Shaw, wrote a book, starved, and drank free champagne at a countess's ball.

He boarded the Queen Mary without a ticket and without a penny. He danced in the cabin-class ballroom, and spent the rest of the trip washing dishes from the cabin-class dining room.

Home again, he set off for Mexico, accompanied by Gilda Gray, famous movie star and dancer. He shot tigers and alligators.

He went to a Mexican gaol as a spy, and was ordered to attempt an escape so that he could be shot as a "gaol breaker." Again his luck held out.

David Wynn lived through it all to say: "What is to happen next is what I look forward to for the future."

Source: The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Queensland)
Photo: A Hundred Years of Stainless Steel (http://www.stainlesssteelcentenary.info/)

08 March 2012

Calamity Averted?

Reported this day in 1947:

Forecasts Damage To Queen Mary

"I can say that within 12 months there will be considerable damage done to the liner Queen Mary and another liner whose name I will not disclose."

That is part of a confession alleged to have been made by 35-year-old baker Albert Wardman, in prison. Wardman was said to have admitted that he set fire to a block of Bradford business premises, causing damage of ₤65,760, which was met by 6 insurance companies.

Wardman, who is serving 3 years, told a detective who saw him in prison that he climbed to the roof of the building and dropped in some cloth and petrol. There was nothing else to link him with the crime.

"Secret Agents"

"I wish to state I was paid for this job," he allegedly said a few hours before entering the dock. "I was working for these chaps--secret agents--who are employing people to destroy buildings and works of people against Labor Government.

"The numerous fires which are breaking out are being done systematically, after making sure there is no living person on the premises.


"These premises are those belonging to people of aristocratic origin. This is against the upper classes and not the working classes.

"I can also say that within 12 months there will be considerable damage done to the liner Queen Mary, and another liner whose name I will not disclose."

Judge remarked that it was doubtful if anyone in their right mind would make such statements, postponed sentence pending a report from the prison doctor. He also said Wardman should have legal aid.

Shouts From Dock

Wardman shouted from the dock: "I don't want legal aid. The case is perfectly clear. I have made statement and I want the thing settled."

Source: Mirror (Perth, Australia)

05 March 2012

A Zealous "Turn-Around"

On this day in 1948:

Fast Work By Big Cunarders

By a New York Staff Correspondent

Atlantic storms have delayed the giant Cunarders, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, so often this winter that company officials have had to achieve record "turn-arounds" to keep them on their weekly express time-table.

Usually the "Queens" berth in New York in the early morning and leave with a favourable tide about two mornings later.

However, when the Queen Mary berthed at 6:30 a.m. on February 4 she was 48 hours late. It had been decided to reduce "turn-around" time to one day in an effort to make up a good deal of the loss and the 81,273-tonner sailed at 6:35 a.m. on the following day.

In the intervening 24 hours and 5 minutes, 1,280 crew members and 350 longshoremen had--

  • Disembarked 1,500 passengers and their baggage, and embarked 900 others
  • Loaded 70,000 pounds of meat, 25,000 pounds of poultry, and 90,000 pounds of vegetables. 
  • Unloaded the vessel's cargo and loaded 3,000 bags of mail and 300 tons of high-tariff goods, which make up the bulk of the cargo
  • Cleaned 1,100 staterooms and 35 public rooms
  • Loaded the 85,000 pieces of linen--enough for the trans-Atlantic voyage--which had been left with New York laundries at the previous berthing.
  • Refuelled the vessel with fuel oil and piped aboard 1,200,000 gallons of fresh water.
Cunard's zeal in maintaining its express time-tables is matched only by its lead over all other shipping lines in the trans-Atlantic passenger trade.

Cunard's North Atlantic vessels are the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and Mauretania (at present doing luxury cruises to the Caribbean), running to New York; the Aquitania, running "austerity" migrant trips to Canada; the Media, running cargo and 250 single-class passengers to New York. (To be joined in April by her sister-ship, Parthia).

The Britannic will return to the North Atlantic in May, and the new Caronia will make her maiden voyage later this year.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

25 February 2012

On The Way to California

Lord Dunsany, whose poem written aboard the Queen Mary apparently remains unpublished.

On this day in 1954:

From Our New York Staff

NEW YORK, February 25 -- Lord Dunsany, 75-year-old Irish poet, came to New York to-day to clear up the mysteries of modern poetry for Americans. He roared at reporters: "It's bunk. All bunk."

"Fear makes people read modern poetry," he snorted. "Fear of being called a low-brow, fear of being pushed out of cocktail parties if one admits he does not understand it.

"I deny utterly the message of a chaotic age must be chaotic. In a chaotic time people need a message other than chaotic from a poet."

Attacks 'master'

The 6ft. 4in. poet, Americans' favourite lord, then carried the attack to T. S. Eliot, acknowledged master of the moderns.

Eliot's "Confidential Clerk," the current enigma of Broadway, has been accused by critics of being both "too light" and "too deep."

"Listen to this," said Lord Dunsany indignantly, "'Garlic and sapphires in the mud obscure the bedded axle wheel.' That's Eliot.

T. S. Eliot aboard the Queen Mary

"Garlic and sapphires in the mud, indeed. Did you ever see any sapphires in the mud? Why can't they write their philosophy clearly?"

Lord Dunsay then read his own latest poem, "On the Way to California," written on board the Queen Mary.

"There," he bellowed happily, "no garlic, no sapphires in the mud."

Source: The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

15 February 2012

Meet Me in the Tepidarium After Temple

On this day in 1936:



The larger private suites on the main deck of the Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary, which will sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton on 27th May, will be of the most elaborate character. They will comprise--

Two sets of double bedrooms, sitting room, dining room, lobby, halls, pantry and other space.

On C deck near one of the swimming pools, are the special baths. They include--

Frigidarium (cold chamber), tepidarium (warm chamber), calidarium (hot chamber), steamroom, massage rooms, electric baths.

On the same deck is the first class restaurant, seating some 830 persons. Private dining rooms, giving off the main restaurant, are situated in each corner.

On the sports deck are a squash racket court, spaces for deck tennis and other games, and the kennels. On the sun deck is a gymnasium, a verandah lounge, grill and cocktail bar.

Plans of eight decks of the giant liner show smoke rooms, galleries, covered and opened promenades, lounges, shops, a lecture room, children's play room, drawing rooms, studio, library, ballroom, observation lounge, and cocktail bar on the promenade deck. Beauty parlors are on B deck.

The Queen Mary will be the first ship in the world to have a synagogue.

Other ships have rooms which are sometimes temporarily converted to synagogues but in the Queen Mary, the synagogue will be permanent and the space will be used for no other purpose except Jewish religious worship.

Mr. J. C. Eprile, F. R. I. B. A., who has designed the temple said: "The synagogue will hold about 50 worshippers.

"It will be about 20 feet square and although in miniature, will be complete in every detail.

"The walls will be panelled in English oak and maccassar, with in ebony bandings. The pews will be oak.

"Inscriptions in Hebrew will be laid in wooden letters round of the panelling. Special wood has been brought from the Dominion for this purpose.

"The ceiling of the synagogue will be in cerulean blue picked out in [illegible].

"The fittings will include a shulchan, or reading desk, which was made from oak, maccassar and ebony.

"The ark contains the scrolls of the law, which are the Five Books of Moses in the Old Testament, written by hand on parchment by Jewish scribes. This task, by the [illegible] they have to do from memory.

"The Queen Mary's engineers arranged for the Jewish Nair-Tomid, or perpetual Light of Remembrance, to be lit electrically on a special circuit so that it will never go out. The fitting holding the light is to be hand-wrought bronze.

"The temple is being arranged so that high festivals as well as ordinary sabbath services can be celebrated."

The synagogue will be on B deck amidships.

The design has been passed [illegible] Jewish council of Beth-din as [illegible] the Cunard-White Star authority.

Source: The Longreach Leader (Queensland, Australia)

04 February 2012

It Should Be Cunard...

On this day in 1966:

Cunard Has A Pair of Queens That Sail In A Red Ink Sea

LONDON (AP) -- Cunard, one of the world's most famous shipping companies, is fighting for survival in a tide of red ink that is blamed mainly on two proud but aging passenger liners -- the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

A new and younger management team is trying to turn this tide through an air-age diversification. They hope one day to make Cunard as famous for profitable air links, hotels and even ski lodges as it has been for ships.

The present management took over at the end of 1965 under new chairman Sir Basil Smallpiece. Smallpiece, 59, said that a $3,186,000 loss in the first half of the year made it imperative "to get ourselves on a paying basis."

"The time has come," he added, "to give our younger men their head -- men who will know that their own future in the company will depend on the success of their own efforts and will realize that for them it is a case of do or die."

The first half report for the 125-year-old company showed that not a single Cunard passenger liner was making a profit. And the company's profitable partnership with British Overseas Airways Corp. (BOAC) was under attack by some labor government officials aiming to force a divorce.

Sir Basil's first step was to swing company control toward Southampton from Liverpool and to tighten that control. He brought his sea dogs and landlubbers together.

One of the reorganized company's five new operating divisions has been christened the "hotel division."

In Smallpiece's view, ships can no longer profitably compete in passenger transport. Jet planes have taken over the business of just getting people from place to place. Now it is best for ship lines to offer more comfortable travel -- to make their ships serve as floating hotels or holiday resorts and to specialize in cruises.

Cunard has already announced plans to cut its winter Atlantic service sharply and increase its bid for more cruise business.

The smaller new liners with which Cunard plans eventually to replace the "Queens" are being designed for comfort first. It is reported one of them may never ply the Atlantic in the traditional way.

Cunard is apparently pointing at a long-term future that leads to the hotel business -- afloat and ashore.  The 25-year-old Queen Elizabeth, in a Scottish drydock for a four-month refit and facelift costing $2.8-million, is adding "cruise amenities" like outdoor swimming pools.

That's how the "Queens" may wind up -- as cruise liners or floating hotels.

To make money on the cruise circuit, a liner has to be modern and efficient. Last December Cunard decided that 26-year-old Mauretania, once an Atlantic queen, wasn't making it as a cruise ship. So she was scrapped. And Cunard made sure the Mauretania was broken up -- and not sold to Japanese bidders who wanted to make it a floating hotel. If anybody's going to do that with Cunard ships, the line has apparently concluded, it should be Cunard.

Source: St. Petersburg Times (Florida USA)

29 January 2012

Courtesy Of Cunard

On this day in 1952:

Churchill Says He Got Free Ride

LONDON, Jan. 29 (AP)--Prime Minister Churchill disclosed today that he got a free ride to the United States and back aboard the Queen Mary.

A Laborite member of the House of Commons demanded to know how much the prime minister's trip to Washington and Canada cost. Churchill replied that both he and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden traveled as guests of the Cunard Company.

A government spokesman added that overall expenses for the party of 35 who accompanied Churchill and Eden were expected to total about $41,000.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

25 January 2012

The Queen Speaks for Herself

On this day in 1936:



When the Queen Mary ploughs her majestic way across the Atlantic on her maiden voyage next May the ship herself will "tell" the story of the trip.

The B. B. C. have made elaborate arrangements for broadcasts, from the vessel from the moment she sails from Southampton until she greets New York for the first time.

We will hear the excited voices of the passengers on the dock at Southampton, the loading of the luggage, the sirens of other vessels in farewell salutation.

Then during the voyage we will be able to listen to a detailed descriptive [sic] pictures of day-by-day life on board.

And last of all, across three thousand miles of ocean, will come the sounds of the welcoming cheers from New York.

Mr. R. H. Eckersley, Assistant Controller of Programmes, will supervise all the broadcasts. Mr. John Snagge and Mr. R. H. Wood will be in charge of the technical side, and Mr. John Watt will produce. They, with about six assistants, will sail in the ship.

The departure from Southampton will be described in commentaries from ship to shore.

On each night of the voyage a "flash" from the ship will be included in the news bulletins. The biggest broadcast of all is planned for the second night out. It will last for three-quarters of an hour and will take the form of a tour of the the ship. Forty points of the ship are being wired for microphones.

It is in this broadcast that the B. B. C. intend to make the Queen Mary speak for herself. From the bridge we will hear the voice of the commander, grey-haired Captain Sir Edgar Britten, as he gives his orders. Then the clang of the telegraph taking the message down to the engine-room.

And then...the throb of the giant engines....the chatter and laughter from the dining-rooms....the dance bands on the sun deck and in the ballroom....the quiet tones of the men in the crow's nest....the surge of the Atlantic.

Source: The Longreach Leader (Queensland, Australia)