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. US NEEDS LARGE BRITISH TROOPSHIPS. ADML LAND URGES LEND-LEASE EXTENSION 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.