The Queens - vitally important troopships

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by CommanderChuff, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    I noticed this extract from the Telegraph over the weekend and linked it to some recent research on the building of the RMS Queen Mary. Cunard was in serious financial trouble in the 20's and had made a bold strategic decision to concentrate on a two ship main fleet with a weekly schedule. This was bold for two reasons. Typically trans Atlantic liners were taking 6 or 7 days to make the crossing, and were quite small in passenger carrying capacity. The bold move towards a weekly service using larger super-liners with 2,000 passengers and 30 knot operational speeds was not only a major leap forward in technology but was a great initiative in opening up a new market in fast trans-oceanic travel. The development of the latest marine technology was centered on gas turbines, newly invented by Charles Parsons. But for Browns of Clydesbank, the builder, it was a difficult time and although the keel was laid down in December 1930 but halted in Dec 1931 due to the Great Depression. The Government provided a loan to allow the Queen Mary and her sister the Queen Elizabeth to be completed in 1934, on condition that the Cunard and White Star lines were to be merged. In making the loan the Government also specified that the liners were to be capable of conversion to troop carriers, and of high operational speeds. It seems that the British Government not only heeded the important lessons of the experience of the First World War by ensuring that there was sufficient large troopship capacity for the US reinforcements but also prepared for the Second World War well in advance. The Queen Mary was the only one of the big four super liners to capture and hold the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing which it exceeded its design speed. The importance of the Queens in helping to shorten the war has been stated by Churchill and others but it is the foresight of the Government in supporting the ship builders and preparing the country for war which has impressed most.

    Daily Telegraph 09Feb2013.

    Britain At War – Tues Feb09 1943.



    Strong pleas for the continuance of Lead-Lease arrangements were made today by two of the leading figures in the US in evidence before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives.

    Admiral Emory Land, the War Shipping Administrator, said that ' most of our large troop movements would not be possible but for Britain's large troop carriers. Lean-Lease authority expires on June 30. It must be renews by Congress before that date if it is to continue. Through the medium of the Combined Shipping Adjustment Board the British and ourselves have worked out a system to provide one another with mutual aid in shipping. It is our practice to 'swap' voyages whenever it is in the interests of the combined war effort and if it is more efficient to do so. In this way British cargo ships are frequently working for us as well as ours for them. There are other important ways by which we receive shipping assistance from the British. Most of our large troop movements, for example, would not be possible but for Britain's large troop carriers. In fact, so far as troop transportation is concerned, the shoe is on the other foot. We shall require very heavy assistance from them this year to transport our troops to foreign theatres of war.
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  2. cally

    cally Picture Prince.

    Just to illustrate this thread here is a brief selection of pictures I have of the two Queens as Troopships.

    Attached Files:

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  3. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    Thanks Cally,

    Your picture library is a great research resource.

    I am guessing that the large pipes on the sides of the QM are de-gaussing equipement.
  4. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    Model of the QM Model.

    In 1936 the RMS Queen Mary made her maiden voyage to New York from Southampton. The Cunard Line invited Browns to send their model of the ship which was to be displayed alongship the ship as a part fo the leaving ceremony. The model still exists and is housed in the Waterside Museum in Glasgow. The model is 18 feet long and weighs 1/3rd of a ton. At a scale of 1:56.63 the model was an accurate engineering model to show the design and features of the ship.

    The model was placed onto a wheeled trolley, covered by a glass case, and installed into a wooden packing crate. The crate was 24.8 feet long, 9.5 feet high, and whole ensemble weighed 4.5 tons. The LNER provided a tramcar trolley for the load and it travelled from Glasgow on Tues 03 Sept 1935 and probably arrived at Southampton docks sometime after 02 Oct 1935, where the load was stored until the arrival of the RMS Queen Mary from Browns on 27 March 1936. The QM sailed on her maiden voyage to New York on 27 May 1936.

    With this fairly sparse information and a few key facts I have been busy producing a model in 7mm scale of the QM model, complete with wagon, glass and wooden cases, and the ship model. The model is 5 inches long, and has turned out to be remarkably realisitic. I am very pleased with outcome. The whole model is entirely scratch build from plastic sheet and wood, and the wagon is just needing a few more details before painting.


    Attached Files:

  5. Theobob

    Theobob Senior Member

    Great photos Cally.
    My dad sailed on The Queen Mary 22nd July 1943
    From New York to Greenock
    15740 troops
    943 crew
    I believe that's a record for the most men on one ship!
    He told me the crew were magnificent,can you imagine trying to feed that many hungry young men?
    And the ablutions must of been something to behold.
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Queen Elizabeth coming into New York in 1945

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  7. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Good job they didn't have to apply social distancing them days ;)

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