18 May 2013

Queen Mary Tramps Over Warship

HMS Curacoa


Ten Men Survive From Warship

LONDON, Friday: One of the worst naval disasters of the war occurred in October, 1942, when the 81,000-ton liner Queen Mary collided with the 8700-ton cruiser Curacoa. The Queen Mary cut the cruiser in two with only 10 survivors, 335 officers and ratings being lost.

The disaster happened at night time. The Queen Mary suffered only slight damage and no casualties.

Solicitors acting for the Admiralty have applied to the High Court to hear claims on behalf of the dependents against the Cunard Line, amounting to £75,000. The hearing has been set down for next month. It is likely to continue for several months with witnesses coming from all parts of the world.

The Daily Telegraph says that the Queen Mary, escorted by two cruisers, was travelling all out for the Clyde with 15,000 American troops aboard when the look-out man raised a U-boat alarm. The Queen Mary immediately wheeled to the starboard and the Curacoa simultaneously raced towards the U-boat. The liner travelling at 30 knots crashed full into the cruiser.

Nothing could withstand such a shock. Eye-witnesses said the Queen Mary simply "tramped over the warship."

The liner couldn't stop to pick up survivors but raced on at full speed. There were dents in her bows when she arrived in the Clyde, and it was obvious there had been a serious mishap, but the full story was not known until survivors of the Curacoa were picked up. The regular sailings of the Queen Mary were not interfered with and a new bow was fitted on her return to New York.

- Goulburn Evening Post, New South Wales, May 18, 1945


  1. My father lost a brother on the Curacoa, and he often said that rumours abound that there were other very very important pePole on board the Queen Mary, and thats why she did'nt stop.

    1. Not the least among them troops needed to fight Germans!

      It's rare to find anyone with a connection to the Curacoa. What a tragic loss for your father and family. I bet he has interesting stories to tell.