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