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- RMS 'QUEEN MARY' Part 1 -
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IN 1926 THE CUNARD LINE began planning two new liners to replace the 'Mauretania', 'Aquitania' and 'Berengaria' on the North Atlantic route. The picture of the 'Berengaria' (below right) was taken on a 'Box Brownie' at Southampton on August 16th 1936. On 1 December 1930 the first keel plate was laid for job #534 at John Brown Shipyard, Clydebank, Scotland. In December 1931 although the hull was almost completed (left), due to the depression and shortage of money, work on the ship stopped. However, in April 1934, following an advance of funds by the British government toward its completion, construction of the ship was resumed.

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WITH the launching of the new Cunard liner, built at Le Havre in France, Queen Mary 2, interest has been generated regarding her predecessor now resting at Long Beach, California. The first RMS Queen Mary was launched on 26 September 1934, and named by Her Majesty Queen Mary who was accompanied at the ceremony by His Majesty King George V. After further installations the ship left John Brown's yard on 24 March 1936 steaming down the Clyde River to Gourock, Scotland. The ship went aground twice despite prior dredging of the river. On 27 May 1936 the 'Queen Mary' left Southampton at 4:33 pm on her maiden voyage, arriving in at Cherbourg, France at 8:47 pm and departing at 12:39 am the following morning. The liner arrived at Pier 90 in New York at 4:20 pm on 1 June. On her sixth round-trip voyage from 19-31 August 1936 the 'Queen Mary' won the Blue Riband for the fastest North Atlantic crossing from the French Line's 'Normandie'.

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THE PICTURE (below) of the 'Queen Mary' was taken at Southampton on August 16th 1936 just before she set out for her record breaking voyage to gain the Blue Riband for the first time. Although 'Normandie' regained the honour in 1937 the 'Queen Mary', on her 48th round-trip voyage, achieved a further win over the 'Normandie' in August 1938. 'Queen Mary' held the title for 14 years, until the SS 'United States' beat the record time in July 1952.

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ON 30 AUGUST 1939 the 'Queen Mary' left Southampton on her final peacetime voyage, carrying $44 million in gold bullion and a (then) record number of 2552 passengers which included Mr and Mrs Bob Hope. In early 1940 the liner was painted grey and refitted in Sydney, Australia and in May 1940 made her first voyage as a troop transport sailing from Sydney to Gourock, Scotland with 5,500 troops in convoy with 'Aquitania', 'Mauretania 2', 'Empress of Britain', 'Empress of Japan', and 'Empress of Canada'.

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On a voyage in July 1943 the liner carried a record complement of 15,740 troops plus 943 crew. After the war the Queen Mary, restored to her former glory, reverted to her previous function as a luxury liner and continued her service with the Cunard line for another twenty years.

IN 1967 Long Beach City (California) bought the vessel and placed it in a permanent dock opposite the Shoreline Village. It has since been developed as a tourist attraction and hotel complex.

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FOR MORE PICTURES of the RMS 'Queen Mary' go to Part 2 by clicking here.
The author acknowledges the use on this page of
material from several sources including
the official 'Queen Mary' website.

RMS 'Queen Mary' Part 2
California Destinations
California Home Page
America West Home Page

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