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