M 703 - RMS Queen Mary

RMS Queen Mary - M703

This is the Tri-ang Minic Ships model of the RMS Queen Mary, the first of two superliners commissioned by Cunard to provide a two ship weekly Trans-Atlantic crossing between Southampton and New York, which was built by John Brown & Company.

Planning for a new record breaking liner to replace RMS Mauretania began in 1926 but it was not until 1930 that Cunard announced the construction of the new 1000 foot 81000 ton vessel. The keel was laid on 31st January 1931 and the launch was scheduled for May 1932 however the worldwide depression of the early 1930's forced construction to be suspended and the ship was not completed until March 1936.

RMS Queen Mary made her maiden voyage on the Southampton, Cherbourg, New York route on 27th May 1936 but was unable to break any speed records due to thick fog during the crossing. In August 1936, after a short period in dry-dock to adjust the propellers and turbines, RMS Queen Mary made a record crossing from Bishop's Rock to Ambrose Light and claimed the Blue Riband from the SS Normandie.

During her first year of service RMS Queen Mary carried 56895 passengers across the Atlantic and although she lost the Blue Riband to the SS Normandie it was reclaimed in August 1938 when she made record crossings in both directions. She held the Blue Riband trophy for both Westbound and Eastbound crossings from 1938 to 1952 when the SS United States claimed both records.

RMS Queen Mary made her last commercial crossing of the Atlantic before the outbreak of war on 30th August 1939 and was then laid up in New York while a decision was made on what role she would play. She was joined in New York by the newly completed Queen Elizabeth in March 1940 just before she sailed for Cape Town and Sydney after being requisitioned by the Ministry of War as a troopship.

On arrival in Sydney the ship was rapidly converted into a troopship with the removal of all the luxury fittings and the fitting of tiers of bunks and hammocks. RMS Queen Mary was also fitted with light weapons for self defence but her main protection, particularly against U-boats, was her sheer speed.

Her first trooping duty in May 1940 was the transport of 5000 troops of the Australian Imperial Force to Scotland followed by a voyage to Singapore carrying troops to bolster its defence against the Japanese. For the rest of 1940 RMS Queen Mary made trooping voyages between Australia and India. She then resumed carrying troops between Australia and Scotland throughout 1941 before being assigned to carry US troops to Australia to bolster that country's defences against the Japanese.

In 1942 RMS Queen Mary was re-assigned to carrying US troops to the United Kingdom in preparation for the invasion of Europe. Her troop carrying capacity was dramatically increased during this period until ultimately she was carrying nearly 16000 troops on each crossing.

In October 1943, on arrival at Gourock in Scotland, a tragedy occurred when RMS Queen Mary collided with HMS Curacoa, one of the ships assigned to escort her to port, slicing HMS Curacoa in two with the loss of over 300 crew. RMS Queen Mary only suffered minor damage in the collision and because of the importance of delivering her troops was not able to stop and render assistance.

With the war in Europe coming to a conclusion RMS Queen Mary was assigned to redeploying US troops from Europe to the Pacific Theatre to assist in the defeat of the Japanese. At the conclusion of hostilities she was assigned to repatriating troops and war brides from Europe to the United States and Canada a role that she performed until her return to Cunard on 27th September 1946. During her war service RMS Queen Mary travelled over 600000 miles and transported over 750000 troops.

After a ten month refit, during which she was completely re-furnished and had air-conditioning fitted throughout, RMS Queen Mary resumed her Trans Atlantic service on 31st July 1947 and for the first time operated in tandem with RMS Queen Elizabeth. Although the ship was still capable of making fast crossings she was unable to compete with the new American liner SS United State and in July 1952 lost the Blue Riband.

The advent of air travel had a dramatic impact on demand for Trans Atlantic passenger services and an increasing part of RMS Queen Mary's role during the 1960's was cruising although she also continued to make Trans Atlantic crossings until 16th September 1967.

In July 1967 Cunard announced that RMS Queen Mary had been sold to the city of Long Beach in California for ?1,230,000. Her journey to California was turned into a cruise and she set sail from Southampton for the final time on 31st October 1967 calling at Lisbon, Las Palmas, Rio de Janeiro, Valparaiso, Callao, Balboa and Acapulco before final arriving at Long Beach on 9th December 1967.

RMS Queen Mary is still moored at Long Beach, California where she operates as a hotel, museum and conference centre.


Owner: Cunard White Star Line
Builder: John Brown & Co Ltd, Glasgow
Launched: 26th September 1934
Displacement: 80774 tons
Length (OA): 975 ft 2 in ( 297.2 m )
Beam: 118 ft 7 in ( 36.1 m )
Draft: 39 ft ( 11.9 m )
Propulsion: Single Reduction Steam Turbines, 4 shafts, quad screw, 160,000 shp
Maximum Speed: 29 Knots
Passenger Accommodation: 776 - 1st Class
784 - Tourist Class
579 - 3rd Class
Disposal / Demise: 1967 Sold to Long Beach, Florida as a museum and hotel

Further details can be obtained from the following links -
Cunard Fleet Search Engine http://www.cunard.com/AboutCunard/default.asp?Active=Heritage&Sub=Fleet
Monsters of the Sea Web Site http://www.ocean-liners.com/ships/qm.asp
Ships of State Web Site http://uncommonjourneys.com/pages/queenmry.htm