Star Line RMS Queen Mary 1936 to 1967
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With Reuben Goossens
CruisenShip Reviewer & Author
Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are
100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT
associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any
travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the
author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960,
although is now retired but having completed over 700 Classic
Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will
continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the
are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure!
R.M.S. Queen Mary
A Tribute to the Grandest Queen of
From Birth to Berth
photograph of a model of the RMS Queen Mary
NOTE: Photographs & images on this feature are from the
authors private collection - Unless stated otherwise.
Queen Mary was and is one of the grandest Passenger liners ever
built. This giant of the sea offered luxury and a standard
unequalled in shipbuilding history. During her remarkable career,
from her maiden voyage in 1936 until this day, Queen Mary has
played various roles, from an elegant Ocean Liner, to a WWII
trooper, then after 1001 Atlantic crossings, RMS Queen Mary was
preserved and became a fine hotel and tourist facility in Long
special Queen Mary presentation follows her history from
Birth to Berth. These pages also contain a large
number of high quality photographs, which are listed in the
Queen Mary the Ocean Liner.
Queen Mary the Grey Ghost at War.
Queen Mary at Long Beach California with links to the Hotel
complete INDEX is located at the bottom of the page.
We trust that these pages will bring back happy
memories for all who had the pleasure of sailing on her be it as
a passenger or a member of the crew, as well as all those who
stood dockside amazed by her grandeur.
I encourage all readers if possible to visit
and spend some time on the Hotel Queen Mary for be
assured, it will be a maritime experience of a lifetime!
Queen M Emerges
building of hull # 534
RMS Queen Mary was conceived in the late
1920s and she was the first of a pair of ships that was
intended to provide a weekly service between Southampton and New
York. Ten years later, in December 1930, construction finally
began at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland on what
was known as Hull number 534. However, a year later, on 11
December 1931 construction was halted due to a worldwide economic
crisis, a time we all know as the Great Depression.
Hull 534 languished until 3 April 1934, when
due to a combination of a government subsidy and a merger of the
Cunard and White Star Line made it possible for construction to
restart in earnest.
we see one of her giant screws being fitted
Cunard-White Star pre launch poster of their Ne Liner the RMS
Then came the day every one was waiting for, on
September 26, 1934, this huge ship was launched in the presence
of His Majesty, King George V, and his consort, Queen Mary. The
public were overjoyed to learn that the Queen officially
permitted her name to be used on this grand liner.
The Day has
arrived as the great hull waits to be launched
King George V and Queen Mary is seen here at the launching
Queen Mary slowly slides down the slipway
finally enters the water
RMS Queen Mary historic maiden voyage to New
York commenced on Wednesday 27 May 1936. She departed fully laden
as bookings had been sold out long in advance. Apparently the
passenger list read like a page from the Whos
Who. First class passengers included knights, ladies,
dignitaries, and certain famous artists. During her maiden voyage
there were even two stowaways found, they were retained and
returned to Southampton to face justice, but at least they sailed
on the great Queen Mary! Rolex Replica Watches
Queen Mary seen on May 27, 1936 departing on her maiden voyage
Voyage - Passenger information booklet
by Harris B Tuttle
Voyage - Passenger List
by Harris B Tuttle
Mary heading for the Atlantic
RMS Queen Mary exuded the elegance of a luxury
hotel, housing all the necessities to live a life full of style,
fine dinning and the best of company. In addition to the
multitude of Lounges and Bars, there were also were two chapels,
a synagogue, a hospital, nurseries, and several childrens
playrooms. A travel Bureau had been located onboard for
passengers to make hotel reservations before their arrival at
their final destination. Replica Watches
It would be precisely four days, 12 hours and
24 minutes that Queen Marys maiden voyage concluded,
arriving amid the kind of reception only New York could generate.
The harbour was filled with an awaiting armada of boats and fire
tugs with their water spouts, in addition thousands of
well-wishers that lined the shore. Her maiden voyage had a total
compliment of 1,849 passengers and 1,186 officers and crew, thus
she carried 3,035 souls across the Atlantic on her first voyage.
Queen Mary departure from the UK circa 1939
During 1936 to 1939, Queen Mary enjoyed great
popularity being the flagship of the great Cunard Line, which had
now joined with the White Star Line. At her launch in 1934,
George V dubbed her as the Stateliest ship afloat.
However, many testified that life aboard the newest and fastest
North Atlantic liner was anything but staid, for it was well
known that her five bars located on Promenade Deck alone were
filled with revellers most of the day and night. Evenings were
very much a gala affair with first class passengers were dressed
and frequently looked more like if they were at an event at a
Palace. Dinners was always formal eveningwear. Cabin class (or 2nd)
was equally well presented, whilst Tourist class (or 3rd)
had a more casual atmosphere. However, no matter the class, for
each passenger on a voyage on the Queen Mary, it was an event!
Album-1 Page Two - RMS Queen Mary the Trans Atlantic
A Queen at War
Mary was dubbed the Grey Ghost, due to her
speed enabling her to evading enemy ships and submarines
As the Queen Mary departed Southampton on August
30, 1939, sailing via Cherbourg France bound for New York.
However, little did anyone know that this would be the great
Queens last peacetime voyage, for the very next day the
Nazis invaded Poland. On the 31st the captain was
informed that for security reasons he was to run a zigzag course
across the Atlantic and operate under blackout conditions in
order to elude German submarines.
Amongst the celebrities on board were Bob and
Delores Hope, although he was travelling solely as a passenger
and was not onboard as an entertainer. It is said that that
he continuously made light, even fun of the situation, and that
it was not well received, especially by the British passengers.
Most passengers were very apprehensive for the
next four nights as all exterior lights were extinguished, and
lookouts were posted around the ship, and the helmsman
continually steering a zigzag course making the ship a difficult
a target for a torpedo. After four worrying nights for her
passengers she finally arrived safely in New York on Monday,
September 4, and she was laid up awaiting her orders, which would
take another six months.
Then on March 1, 1940, official orders came
from the Admiralty calling for the Queen Mary to sail for Sydney
Australia where she would be refitted for war duties. Ten days
later on March 21, 1940, Queen Mary departed Hudson Pier New York
and steamed south to South America and then across the Atlantic
to South Africa. She refuelled and took on supplies in Cape Town;
she then steamed at a speed of 28 knots across the Indian Ocean
to Sydney. Upon arrival, she was handed over to the Cockatoo
Docks & Engineering Company where she was converted for her
new role as a trooper.
Grey Ghost fully laden with troops
Her luxurious furnishings were removed and
replaced by tiers of bunks and hammocks. For protection, a number
of small calibre guns were fitted, however, as it is said, her
main protection was her impressive speed.
On May 4, 1940, she left for the Clyde with
over 5,000 troops of the Australian Imperial Force on board,
arriving on June 16. Thereafter she headed for Singapore carrying
troops due to the Japanese threat of the region. After an
overhaul in Singapore, she returned to Sydney after which she
commenced her five-year long trooping duties, during which time
she transported over 800,000 troops.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill credited the
Queen Mary for shortening the war by as much as a year. At the
conclusion of the war, she continued to transport troops, war
brides and their babies home until 1946.
Album-2 Page Three - RMS Queen Mary the Grey Ghost
Including the Bill Duggan story - member of Battery C, 132nd AAA
Back on the Atlantic
of the two Queens meeting at sea
After completing her wartime duties, Queen Mary
was refitted and recommenced her transatlantic service in July of
1947. However, she had lost the title of flagship as
she was now joined by her newer and somewhat larger sister, RMS
The two Queens were the most successful and
profitable ships in the history of the North Atlantic. Both
departed Southampton and New York with a full complement during
the 50s. Passengers had to book many months in advance in
order to guarantee a passage aboard the Queens.
Mary is an imposing sight as she arrives in New York City
However, in the 60s, air travel became
popular and most transatlantic liners became the dinosaurs of the
sea. By the mid 60s, sadly there were many times that the
Queen Mary was carrying more crew than passengers. Thus, with the
ship no longer being profitable, Cunard placed Queen Mary on the
market in 1967.
Album-1 RMS Queen Mary the Trans Atlantic Liner
The Grand Lady finds a new Berth
Mary in Long Beach - Painting by Chris Butler
Ship breakers quickly made an offer, but
fortunately, the Californian City of Long Beach made a better
tender of $3,450,000 for her. The city planned to turn the Queen
Mary into a grand tourist attraction and a city icon. The result
was the Hotel Queen Mary, convention and
entertainment center and museum. As the Queen Mary was loved by
millions around the world, she was responsible for placing the
City of Long Beach on the world map.
For her final voyage to Long Beach, a New York
travel organisation chartered her for what was officially
classified as a cruise. She departed Southampton with great
fanfare, as countless of thousands came to see the Grand Dame
depart her homeport. Flying high from her aft mast was the long
white banner, the length indicating her long years of service.
Helicopters flew high above saying a sad farewell to RMS Queen
Mary. Her departure remains in the annuls of British maritime
Marys final call to New York
From Southampton she sailed around South
America to Los Angeles. On 9 December 1967, forty days after
departure, she arrived at Long Beach, her final destination.
stately Queen arrives at her final destination
On 11 December, ownership was officially
transferred from Cunard to the City of Long Beach. After
thirty-one years, RMS Queen Mary was removed from the British
Registry of Ships. Queen Mary underwent a massive three and a
half year, $72,000,000 refit, seeing her giant propellers
permanently removed. In May 1971, the stately Hotel Queen
Mary was officially opened. Her new berth has meant the
preservation of this great liner and a venue that is a
must for all holidaymakers from around the world!
Photo Album -3 Page Four - Hotel
Queen Mary at Long beach (2 pages)
page From Birth to Berth
album 1 The Trans-Atlantic Liner
Photo album 2 - The Grey Ghost (trooper) & the Bill Duggan
Photo album 3 Queen Mary at Long Beach Page One
Hotel Queen Mary - Long Beach Page Two View
Blue Water Liners sailing to the
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them
you will discover well over 700 Classic Passenger &
the ships of the past make history & the story of the 1914
built MV Doulos
requesting Passenger or Crew Lists or Sailing Schedules, I am
sorry your email will be Deleted!
receive hundreds of requests and I simply do not have any lists
or schedules available.
Note: ssmaritime and associated sites are 100% non-commercial and
the author does not seek funding or favours and never have and
on ssmaritime and associate pages are either by the author or
from the authors private collection. In addition there are
some images and photographs that have been provided by Shipping
Companies or private photographers or collectors. Credit is given
to all contributors, however, there are some photographs provided
to me without details regarding the photographer or owner
concerned. Therefore, I hereby invite if owners of these images
would be so kind to make them-selves known to me; my email
address can be only be found at www.ssmaritime.com in order that due credit
may be given.
is owned & ? Copyright by Reuben Goossens - All Rights