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  RMS Queen Mary (X1)
Royal Mail Ship
Ocean Liner
Troop Transport

81,235 Tons
1,019' 4" x 181' x 39' 9"
4 x 40mm

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Queen Mary March 1942

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William Cosh March 1942

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Justin Taylan 2004
Ship History
Built by John Brown and Company in Clydebank, Scotland. Laid down December 1, 1930 with yard number 534 (hull number 534) as an ocean liner for the Cunard White Star Line registered in Liverpool. During December 1931 construction temporarily ceased due to the Great Depression until Cunard applied for a load from the British Government to complete the vessel and merge with White Star Line.

In total, the ship cost 3.5 million pounds and 3 years and 6 months to complete and the nearby River Clyde was widened before completion. Launched September 26, 1934 sponsored by Queen Mary (Mary of Teck) as Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Queen Mary. After her launch the previous steamer with the same name was renamed Queen Mary II.
During sea trials, she achieved the speed of 32.84 knots.

The Queen Mary had 12 decks, 3 smoke stacks, 24 Yarrow boilers in four boiler rooms and four Parsons turbines in two engine rooms driving four propellers. The interior was designed by the Bromsgrove Guild and capable of accommodating 2,410 passengers in luxury for transatlantic passenger service from Southampton via Cherbourg to New York and return. The vessel's total size and gross tonnage varied over the years due to different configurations. In Lloyd's Register of Ships 1935-1936 listed as 80,774 gross tons. In Lloyd's Register of Ships 1945-1946 listed as 81,235 gross tons.

On May 27, 1936 departs Southampton under the command of Sir Edgar Britten on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to New York arriving June 1, 1936. During August 1936 earned the Blue Riband with an average speed of 30.14 knots westbound and 30.63 knots eastbound from rival ocean liner Normandie. In 1937, the honor returned to Normandie but was reclaimed in 1938 with the speed of 30.99 westbound and 31.69 knots eastbound that held until 1952.

Wartime History
In late August 1939 departs New York across the Atlantic escorted by HMS Hood and arrived Southampton. On September 1, 1939 departs Southampton bound for New York when World War II in Europe began. On arrival in New York, ordered to remain in New York with Normandie. In March 1940 Queen Elizabeth joined them.

Afterwards, converted into a high speed troop transport designated X1 capable of transporting 5,500 personnel. The ocean liner was armed with anti-aircraft guns and a degaussing coil was added to protect against sea mines. The ship was painted overall gray and nicknamed "The Grey Ghost". Aboard, luxury furnishings were removed and placed into storage.

For the remainder of 1940, used as a British troop transport. On October 20, 1940 departs Sydney Harbor bound for the Middle East.

As a troop ship, departs New York on a voyage bound for Australia. On March 28, 1942 enters Sydney Harbor but is large to dock, so American personnel were loaded onto a ferry and transferred ashore. This is her only voyage to the Pacific. Afterwards, returned to the United States.

Embarked U. S. Army 29th Infantry Division personnel on a voyage across the Atlantic bound for England. On October 2, 1942 in the morning off the coast of Ireland while steaming in an evasive zig-zag pattern no. 8, accidentally collided with and sank light cruiser HMS Curacoa (D41) and damaged the stern of Queen Mary.

On July 25 1943 departed with a total of 15,740 soldiers and 943 crew for a total of 16,683 passengers and set a wartime record for the most passengers ever transported aboard a single ship. Off Scotland, hit by a wave estimated to be 92' / 28m in height that caused the vessel to roll 52° and was in danger of capsizing.

Postwar
Starting in September 1946 refitted for passenger service including upgrades to the passenger berths and the addition of air conditioning system with the conversion completed by July 1947. Afterwards, resumed transatlantic passengers service until jet aircraft began a new era of travel. By 1965 the Cunard Line was operating at a loss. As a final credit, Queen Mary was featured in the film Assault on a Queen (1966) starring Frank Sinatra. During 1967 offered for auction and retired from service on December 9, 1967.

Museum
In 1967, Queen Mary was purchased by the city of Long Beach for a bid of $3.45 million beating other offers including a Japanese company to scrap the vessel. On April 15, 1993 added to the National Register of Historical Places (NRHP). Today displayed as Queen Mary (Museum) permanently docked at Long Beach and open to the public for tours and events.

References
The Queen Mary official Website
Lloyd's of London - Lloyd's Register of Ships Queen Mary Gross tonnage: 81235

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Last Updated
April 5, 2021

 

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