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