The Queen of Queen's <P>
Site hosted by Build your free website today!

R.M.S. Queen Mary

Queen of Queen's
Built by John Brown's of CLYDEBANK

The Queen Mary steaming aross the Atlantic

This page is dedicated to my father Fred Hamilton, who was Head Timekeeper of John Browns Shipyard Clydebank, he worked in the shipyard for 50 years and to all the fellow workers who built the Queen of Queens.

Queen Mary Statistics

Overall Length: 1,019.5 ft. (310.74 m.) Gross Tonnage: 81,237 gross tons (230,039 cu. m.) Transatlantic Crossings: 1,001 Constructed by: John Brown & Co., LTD., Clydebank, Scotland Commissioned by: Cunard Steamship Co., LTD. Keel Laid: December 1, 1930 Date Launched: September 26, 1934 Maiden Voyage: May 27, 1936 Portholes: Over 2,000 Rivets: Over 10 million Hull Plates: 8 ft. (2.44 m) to 30 ft. (9.14 m.) in length; up to 1.25 in. (3.2 cm.) thick Moulded Breadth: 118 ft. (35.97 m.) Height from Keel to Forward Smokestack Top: 181 ft. (55.17 m.) Height from Keel to Promenade Deck: 92.5 ft. (28.19 m.) Height from Keel to Top of Foremast: 237 ft. (72.24 m.) Number of Decks: 12 Passenger Capacity: 1,957 Officers and Crew: 1,174 Horsepower: 160,000 Cruising Speed: 28.5 knots (55.17 km./hr.) Rudder: 140 tons Whistles: 3 - Steam type. Two on forward funnel, one on middle funnel. Each over 6 ft,. (1.83 m.) long, weighing 2,205 LB. (1,002 kg.) Lifeboat Capacity: 145 persons Smokestacks: 3 - Elliptical in shape; 36 ft. (10.97 m.) fore and aft, 23.3 ft. (7.1 m.) wide Smokestack Height: Forward: 70.5 ft. (21.49 m.) Middle: 67.5 ft. (20.57 m.) Aft: 62.25 ft. (18.97 m.) Boilers: 27 Fuel Consumption: 13 ft./gal (1 m./l.) Draft: 39 ft. 4-9/16 in. (12.00 m.) Bow Anchors: 2 @ 16 tons (16,291 kg.) Anchor Height: 18 ft. (5.48 m.) Length of Promenade Deck: 724 ft. (220.68 m.) Length of Anchor Chain: 990 ft. Weight of Anchor Chain: 45 tons (45.818 kg.) Anchor Chain Link: 2 ft. (61 cm.) long, weighing 224 LB. (101.8 kg.)

The Queen Mary towers above John Browns workers

"534" on the stocks at the John Browns Yard 1934

The History

War Service: March 1940 - September 1946 War History: Carried a total of 765,429 military personnel. Sailed a total of 569,429 miles (916,407 km). Carried up to 15,000 troops at one time. Carried wounded returning to the United States. Transported Winston Churchill three times to conferences. Carried 12,886 G.I. brides and children. Resumed Peacetime Passenger Service: July 31, 1947 Retired from Regular Passenger Service: September 19, 1967 (after completing 1,001 crossings of the Atlantic) Departed on "Last Great Cruise": 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 31, 1967 Arrived in Long Beach, California: 10:00 a.m. Saturday, December 9, 1967 Change of Ownership: Removed from British registry and officially turned over ownership to the City of Long Beach at 10:00 a.m., Monday, December 11, 1967

The launch of the Queen Mary at Clydebank 26th September 1934

THE QUEEN MARY STORY Once they called her Queen of the Atlantic, a floating city awash in elegance. With unmatched grace and peerless power, she was nothing less than a floating miracle. The epitome of engineering, craftsmanship and artistry, she was unlike anything the ocean had ever known. More than 1,000 feet of majestic elegance, the world's most renowned strolled her decks and savored her many pleasures. The Queen Mary. Marvel of technology, apex of luxury, she reminds us all that greatness is possible. Today, the most famous ship in history, the Queen Mary began life as the glamorous solution to a difficult problem. A problem facing the preeminent steamship company of its time, Cunard. Having lost many of their best vessels during World War I, Cunard faced increased competition that threatened their long-standing leadership. Their only choice--to attempt what had never been done before. Create two ships to do the work of three. Ships that would therefore have to be both larger and faster than any liner in existence. The problems, however, were immediate and significant. There was not a dry-dock in the world large enough to hold a ship of such size. And even if one existed, there were no berths on either side of the Atlantic big enough to hold her. Nevertheless, negotiations began and complex plans were drawn. Eventually, both the dry dock and enormous berths were built to accommodate the huge liner. For two years, the ship's planners and architects worked on the ultimate design. They conducted thousands of tests--searched for the right hull shape, the correct propeller design. Every engine of the day was assessed before they chose four steam turbines, each generating 40,000 horsepower. Combined, they would make this massive ship faster than anything that ever floated.

RMS Queen Mary leaves John Browns at Clydebank .

By the time she was complete, thousands of people throughout Great Britain had worked on the Queen Mary--the culmination of hundreds of years of experience in the art and craft of shipbuilding. Finally in 1934, on a cold and cloudy September day, Cunard was ready to launch the greatest, most luxurious ocean liner ever built. Queen Mary herself pressed the launch button that released her massive namesake into the River Clyde. As it moved, more than 2,000 tons of drag chains were needed to slow the ship's momentum. Once afloat, work continued for nearly two more years.

Cunard R.M.S. QUEEN MARY another Atlantic crossing

Aesthetically and functionally, the ship became a masterpiece. In May of 1936, with her three massive, one-ton whistles blasting the air, the Queen Mary embarked on her maiden voyage. Filled with nearly 2,000 passengers and a crew of almost 1,200, Britain's new Queen made her way to the open sea. The world watched, breathless. On board were more than 100 reporters and broadcasters from countries around the globe. Collectors were so anxious for her postmark, the crew had to load 6,000 sacks of mail. And though she set no speed record on this first excursion, the Queen Mary was given a fantastic welcome as she steamed up the Hudson River.

On Approach to New York from the open sea, airplanes circled overhead--one flew low, and from it dropped thousands of white carnations flooding her decks with dazzling greetings. By 1938, Cunard's engineers improved her performance even further. Now she could reach New York in just under four days, a world record which she held for 14 years. Dining aboard the Queen Mary was an event--and preparation no less so. To provide enough food for over 3,000 passengers and crew meant an incredible amount of provisions: 77,000 pounds of fresh meat, 11,000 pounds of fish, 50,000 pounds of potatoes and more than 30,000 pounds of fresh vegetables. The wine cellar on board contained some 15,000 bottles, rivaling the finest restaurants in Europe. All 800 first-class passengers could be served at once in the largest room ever built within a ship. Here, the world's most famous dined. Fred Astaire, Gable and Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and others sought this luxurious experience.

Life aboard the Queen Mary, dancing in the 1930's......Art Deco..........................................................................A Page Boy

Full of fine, rare woods, murals, art and sculpture, the ship was not only beautiful, her gracious service was legendary. Suites had spacious sitting rooms, and even staterooms were far larger than any today. There were playrooms for children--virtual fantasy lands for fertile young imaginations. And there were grand rooms for adults--abundance and elegance everywhere. By the summer of 1939, the Queen Mary reached the height of success. She was grand, safe, fast and profitable. But all would soon change.

Art deco 1930's style

In September 1939, her first career was abruptly halted with these words, "This nation is at war with Germany." Conscripted into service, The Queen Mary underwent drastic alterations. Her luxurious fittings removed, she soon was converted into a troopship capable of transporting 5,000 soldiers at a time. Camouflaged with gray paint, astonishingly fast, and capable even of out-maneuvering German torpedoes, the Queen Mary became known as "The Grey Ghost"---the scourge of the Nazi U-boats. So fast and effective was she that Adolf Hitler put a bounty on her head, offering $250,000 and Germany's highest military honor to the captain who could sink her. But nothing touched this marvel of the sea, and eventually she was transporting more than 8,000 troops. Berths now occupied drawing rooms, lounges and even drained swimming pools. Huge armaments were installed including five double barreled cannons. 20mm guns lined the upper decks, and four sets of anti-aircraft rocket launchers were installed. At the height of the war, and the allied need for still more troops and supplies, The Queen Mary was carrying more than 16,000 people.

No ship, before or since, has carried so many people. To accommodate this extraordinary number, berth's got stacked six high, each one shared by two to three men who slept in shifts during the five-day crossing. At war's end, her troop carrying was not over. It was the Queen Mary's task to return soldiers to their homelands. The wounded went first, with the Queen fitted out as a floating hospital, complete with surgical and intensive care units. Perhaps her happiest transport days were her last. On 13 voyages, the Queen Mary carried thousands of European war brides and their children to join their husbands in the U.S. and Canada. By the time she completed her war service, the Queen had carried more than 800,000 servicemen, had traveled more than 600,000 miles, and had played a part in every major allied campaign of World War II. She served as Winston Churchill's seaborne was while secretly on board that he signed the D-Day invasion plans. She carried American, Canadian and Australian troops, transported German and Italian POW's, and served as hospital ship and bridal transport all without ever having fired a gun in anger.

A painting ofRMS Queen Mary

The war was over, but the Queen Mary still had an illustrious future ahead. By 1947, she resumed her rightful place as Queen of the Atlantic. An artistic and technological masterpiece, she was a moving bridge across the sea, transporting millions of passengers in elegance and style. On nearly every voyage, the Queen Mary carried notable passengers. Diplomats and dignitaries, ambassadors and kings, film stars and moguls, all knew her well. To travel first class was to know the grandest luxury the world offered. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were frequent passengers. Marlene Dietrich graced the decks, Fred Astaire danced in the ballroom, and Bob Hope plied his golf swing from her upper decks.

Art deco poster..........................Queen Mary at Long Beach

She ushered in a new era of travel, redefined our meaning of luxury and showed the world how marvelous is beauty and technology combined. When first conceived, this ship was thought impossible. Nothing like her had ever been built. Today, retired from her active service, the Queen Mary enjoys yet another life, serves another purpose. A reminder of what can happen when we combine keen determination with respect for art and craft.

A Grand Old Lady at Long Beach California.U.S.A.

Not just a reminder of yesterday's achievements, this Queen tells us all that the potential for greatness is still within us. She stands today in Long Beach, California, as a gift to us all. Now we invite you to explore this magnificent ship.

We visited Long Beach while staying in Los Angeles in 2001 on our tour of the Golden West, it was a wonderful occasion to see the work that our fathers had done back in the Thirties...and to see this fine old ship of that era.
We enjoyed the time aboard but felt very sad to leave the old lady,... it was as if she was dying slowly and we would never see her again as we left for our journey back to her birthplace in Clydebank Scotland.
Les Hamilton GM3ITN


Back to Home Page