Once the epitome of luxury transatlantic travel, today the RMS Queen Mary, in all her Art Deco splendour, is still offering guests the finest food, entertainment and accommodation as a hotel, permanently berthed at California’s Long Beach.
So what’s her link to The Online Book Company?
Recently, the authorities in Long Beach who are responsible for RMS Queen Mary decided to pay tribute to her last voyage and all the people who sailed with her, from Captain Treasure Jones, to crew, entertainers, and passengers, through one of our online books.
As well as a history of the ship – including her use as a troop ship in WW2, and how she more than once carried London buses over the ocean to their new owners in Long Beach – the book captures many of the wonderful and often quite remarkable stories from her last cruise and paints a very vivid picture of what life on board that majestic ship was like for those who sailed with her.
One story told by the ship’s librarian Alastair Beers, who was also in charge of the post office tells of the vast quantities of mail people sent from the Queen Mary on that final voyage. The ship had to take on a supply of stamps from each country she made port in, but ran out almost immediately. At Las Palmas for example, the ship took on a supply of 7,000 Brazilian stamps – and sold out in a day.
Others are more serious – the stowaway who was feared to have brought amoebic dysentery or cholera on board with her after she snuck on board at Acapulco – luckily it was no more serious than ‘traveller’s blight’, and the deckhand that went missing following an unwanted advance only to be found hiding once the ship had turned around and spent a good three hours searching for him overboard.
Others are simply touching, such as those people for whom Queen Mary was quite simply a home, like leading fireman Albert Pearce who was on her maiden voyage, spent ten years in the boiler room before a stretch on the Queen Elizabeth before coming back for another 11, and said that when her boilers finally went out, his life would go out with them.
The book itself is embedded into the official Queen Mary website and with the stories also includes some wonderful photos and Pathe-type news clips. There is even a recording from Johnny Mathis and others too who helped mark the end of her golden era of travel.
Do have a look yourself, and if you know anyone who sailed on her, or have a story of someone who did, Queen Mary would be very happy to hear them so do include them in the book.