PATRIOTIC QUEEN MARY PLAYED BIG ROLE IN WWII
The famed luxury liner served as the Allies’ biggest and fastest troop transport
Long Beach, CA (September 17, 2014) — On Aug. 30, 1939, the Queen Mary set out from Southampton, England, with 2,332 passengers bound for New York.
Half-way there, the captain ordered all portholes blacked out, all running lights shut off and forbade passengers from so much as lighting a cigarette outside at night.
World War II had begun. German submarines were gunning for what they called “belligerent ships,” sinking the Cunard line’s “Athenia” off the coast of Ireland.
After the Queen Mary reached New York, she was painted battleship grey, fit with armaments and refitted to join the war effort.
Over the next five years, the “Grey Ghost,” as she was called, served as the Allies biggest and fastest troop carrier, delivering more than 810,000 servicemen into battle.
British leader Winston Churchill hailed her capacity to deliver an entire division across the Atlantic in five days as a major factor in shortening the war.
Toward the war’s end, she served as a hospital ship for wounded servicemen. Later, she returned the first victorious U.S. combat troops home and delivered 20,000 of their European war brides and children home too.
In 1947, she returned to service as the world’s grandest luxury liner — her funnels repainted in that famous Cunard-line red.
WORLD WAR II FACTS
* Painted battleship grey and refitted to carry 15,000 soldiers
* Nicknamed the “Grey Ghost” for her war colors and elusiveness
* Staterooms designed for two were refitted to hold 21 servicemen
* At top speed (34 mph), she was faster than most enemy torpedoes
* On one mission, she carried 16,683 troops and staff — the most passengers ever to sail on one ship
* Over five years of war, she carried more than 810,000 Allied servicemen
* In October, 1942, she unintentionally struck and sank her British escort, the HMS Curaçoa, killing more than 300 men
* British leader Winston Churchill’s sailed aboard her under the alias “Colonel Warden"
* Churchill first reviewed U.S. plans for its D-Day invasion in his suite aboard the ship
* She returned the first victorious U.S. combat troops home after the war
* She also delivered 20,000 war brides and children to America
About the Queen Mary
Located in the Port of Long Beach, the Queen Mary features a rich maritime history, authentic Art Deco décor, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach city skyline. At the time of her maiden voyage in May of 1936, she was considered the grandest ocean liner ever built. The Queen Mary features award-winning restaurants, historical attractions, numerous special event salons and 346 staterooms.
Freeman McCue Public Relations for The Queen Mary
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