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R.M.S. QUEEN MARY


CUNARD WHITE STAR LINE



The first keel plates for the Queen Mary where laid on December 27, 1930 and for the next year work continued on the new Cunard liner. Work was stopped on December 12, 1931 as England like the rest of the world went into the Great Depression. For three years the hull of the Queen Mary sat on the ways rusting and waiting. With the merger of rivals Cunard Line and the White Star Line the two companies would become Cunard White Star Line Ltd; work would begin after the British Government granted a subsidy to complete the new ship and on April 3, 1934 workmen at the John Brown and Company Yards returned to what was then only known as hull number 534.

Her Majesty Queen Mary wife of King George the Fifth would name the 1,027-foot ship. It wasn’t until she said the words “I name this ship Queen Mary may god bless her and all who sail in her” did anyone know what the ship would be named. Over the next two years the Queen was fitted out and on March 24, 1936 she would sail from her Clyde birthplace, arriving in Southampton on March 26. Finishing touches and speed trials where carried out during April 1936. The maiden voyage to New York was set for May 27 and it was hopped that the new Queen would capture the Blue Riband from the French liner Normandie. It wasn’t until her sixth crossing that she would beat the Normandie’s speed record. She would cross the Atlantic in 3 days, 23 hours, 57 minutes at an average speed of 30.63 knots. The title of fastest liner would pass back and forth between the two ships until the start of World War Two. It wasn’t until July 1952 that the record would pass to another speed queen the United States Lines S.S. United States.

The Queen Mary would sail from Southampton on her last pre-war voyage on August 30, 1939 carrying over 2,322 passengers. The Queen Mary would for a short time be birthed next to the Normandie in New York and later to be joined by the new Queen Elizabeth and Mauritania. From March of 1940 until September 1946 the Queen Mary, "The Grey Ghost," would transport almost 800,000 troops around the world during her war service. The only blemish on her outstanding wartime service would come when under orders to zigzag she would collide with her escort cruiser HMS Curacoa cutting the ship in half and killing 329 of the Curacoa’s crew. Winston Churchill said the Queen Mary along with the Queen Elizabeth shortened the war by over a year.

Returning to her peacetime role as an Atlantic liner on July 31, 1947 the Queen Mary would for the next twenty years along with her sister Queen Elizabeth set the standard for the sea travel. The two liners set up a weekly crossing schedule, one sailing from Southampton, the other from New York.

On September 19, 1967 the symbol of British maritime supremacy would make her 1001 Atlantic crossing and would retire from passenger service. On October 31, 1967 the Queen Mary would set out on her farewell cruise to Long Beach, California. Dubbed “The Last Great Cruise” the Queen would sail from Southampton with calls at Lisbon, Las Palmas, Rio de Janeiro, Valparaiso, Callao, Balboa, and Acapulco, arriving in Long Beach on December 11, 1967 where the City of Long Beach would take over as official owners. Four years was spent refitting the Queen Mary and on May 10, 1971 she officialy opened to the public as a hotel, maritime museum, and convention center.







Help save one of the most important liners in maritime history.

R.M.S. QUEEN MARY



RMS QUEEN MARY Foundation



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