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Overview
The Creative Years
1929-1935
The Glamour Years
1936-1943
The War Years
1939-1946
Final Years at Sea
1962-1966
Long Beach Years
1967-Present

THE QUEEN MARY TIMELINE

Built in the United Kingdom in the 1930s, the Queen Mary’s rich history includes the Great Depression, World War II, the heyday of transatlantic travel during the late 40’s and 50’s and the eventual decline of ocean liners in the 60’s. Relocated to Long Beach, California in 1967, the Queen Mary is a historic reminder of a bygone era. Reborn as a hotel and attraction, the Queen Mary has become a Southern California historic landmark, offering people an opportunity to step back in time and experience the grand days of ocean liner travel.

  • THE CREATIVE YEARS: 1929-1935

    With a desire to replace the Mauretania, Aquitania and Berengaria, the Cunard Line begins to discuss plans to build a new pair of super ocean liners. Undeterred by lofty goals and the Great Depression, the building of the Queen Mary becomes a groundbreaking technological achievement.

  • THE GLAMOUR YEARS: 1936 - 1943

    Unprecedented luxury and forward-thinking technology make the Queen Mary popular with British Royalty, Hollywood celebrities and dignitaries alike, raising the bar for luxury travel and ultimately becoming the grandest ocean liner ever built.

  • THE WAR YEARS: 1939-1946

    As England and France declare war on Germany, the Queen Mary’s days as a passenger ocean liner appear over. With her record-breaking speed and size, the Queen Mary is retrofitted to serve as a troopship during World War II. Dubbed, the “Grey Ghost,” the Queen Mary hauled as many as 15,000 men while playing a pivotal role in guiding the allied forces to victory.

  • THE GOLDEN YEARS: 1949-1958

    After a 10-month retrofit the Queen Mary returns to her original glory. With her military duty over, the ship reclaims her place as a world-class ocean liner, but a sea of major change is just starting to become evident.

  • THE FINAL YEARS AT SEA: 1962-1966

    The 1960s were a decade of major change and with the rise of popularity in air travel; ocean liners were slowly becoming obsolete. The old world luxury and sensibilities of the Queen Mary seemed outdated in a modern world now transfixed on the notion of space exploration.

  • THE LONG BEACH YEARS: 1967-PRESENT

    Officially retiring from ocean travel, the Queen Mary was moved to sunny Long Beach, California where she would serve as a living landmark, popular attraction, event venue and hotel, exposing a whole new generation of fans to bygone era.

THE CREATIVE YEARS

With a desire to replace the Mauretania, Aquitania and Berengaria, the Cunard Line begins to discuss plans to build a new pair of super ocean liners. Undeterred by lofty goals and the Great Depression, the building of the Queen Mary becomes a groundbreaking technological achievement.

  • 1929: THE SEEDS ARE PLANTED

    APRIL 3, 1929

    At Cunard Line's annual meeting, Chairman Sir Thomas Royden makes the first official announcement that "the question of new tonnage is one constantly in our minds." The Cunard Line begins plans to design a new pair of super ocean liners to replace the Mauretania, Aquitania and Berengaria on their North Atlantic route.

  • 1930

    MAY 28, 1930

    Cunard Line announces that John Brown & Company, LTD., of Clydebank, Scotland, had been selected as builder of the new liner.

    DECEMBER 1, 1930

    First keel plate is laid for job #534 (which was eventually named the Queen Mary) at John Brown Shipyard.

  • 1931: THE GREAT DEPRESSION HITS

    JUNE 30, 1931

    Work begins on the new Southampton dry dock, to be known as the King George V Graving Dock.

    DECEMBER 11, 1931

    Work halts on Job #534 because of the Great Depression and an inability to secure further bank loans. The hull plating is 80% completed and the ship stands nine stories high.

  • 1933

    JULY 26, 1933

    The King George V Graving Dock is officially opened with King George V and Queen Mary steaming into the dry dock aboard the Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert. The dock is the largest in the world at the time. It is 1,200 feet long, 135 feet wide at its entrance, 59 feet deep, holds 58 million gallons of water, and can hold any ship up to 100,000 tons.

  • 1934: THE MERGER

    JANUARY 1, 1934

    The effective date for transferring the assets of the Cunard Steamship Company and the White Star Line, to the newly formed Cunard White Star, LTD. Cunard was credited with 62% of the share capital and White Star with 38%.

    MARCH 27, 1934

    The North Atlantic Shipping Bill is passed. The British Treasury makes advances of £4,500,000 toward the completion of #534, and authority was to be sought to make an advance not to exceed £5,000,000 for a second liner.

    APRIL 3, 1934

    After 28 months, construction resumes on Job #534.

    MAY 11, 1934

    Rivals Cunard Line and White Star Line are forced to merge.

    SEPTEMBER 26, 1934

    Job #534 is launched, and named the Queen Mary by Her Majesty Queen Mary, accompanied by His Majesty King George V. The ship is moved to the nearby fitting out basin.

    SEPTEMBER 28, 1934

    Installation of boilers begins around this date.

  • 1935

    NOVEMBER 6, 1935

    Installation of engines and almost all of the heavy machinery is completed. Funnels and both masts are in position.

THE GLAMOUR YEARS

  • 1936: THE MAIDEN VOYAGE

    MARCH 5, 1936

    King Edward VIII makes inspection tour of the ship.

    March 24, 1936

    The Queen Mary departs John Brown Shipyard, steaming down the Clyde River to Gourock, Scotland. The ship goes aground twice despite prior dredging of the river and her shallow draft. Anchor trials and adjustment of the magnetic compasses are made off Gourock. Twenty of the Queen Mary’s lifeboats were left off the ship to save weight. Since they were manufactured in Gourock, the lifeboats were lifted into their davits upon ship's arrival.

    MARCH 24 - 26, 1936

    Preliminary speed trials are made on the way to Southampton.

    MARCH 27 - April 8, 1936

    Dry docked in King George V Graving Dock.

    APRIL 15 - 19, 1936

    Official speed trials are held in the Irish Sea off the Isle of Arran. British Olympic runner Lord Burghley runs one lap (400 yards) in evening dress around the Promenade Deck in under 60 seconds.

    MAY 12, 1936

    The ship is officially handed over from John Brown Shipyard to Cunard White Star Line at exactly noon.

    MAY 25, 1936

    King Edward VIII, Her Majesty Queen Mary, the young Princess Elizabeth, the Duke and Duchess of York (soon to be King George VI and Queen Elizabeth), the Duke and Duchess of Kent and the Duchess of Gloucester visit the ship. Queen Mary presents her personal standard to the ship. It was displayed at the head of the main staircase on Promenade Deck and is now located on board the Queen Elizabeth 2.

    MAY 27, 1936

    The Queen Mary departs Southampton at 4:33 p.m. on her maiden voyage, arriving in Cherbourg, France at 8:47 p.m. and departing at 12:39 a.m. the following morning.

    JUNE 1, 1936

    Arrival at Pier 90 in New York at 4:20 p.m. Crossing time: 5 days, 5 hours and 13 minutes.

    AUGUST 19 - 31, 1936

    On her sixth round-trip voyage, the Queen Mary wins the Blue Riband for the fastest North Atlantic crossings from the French Line's Normandie. The Normandie wins the honor back in 1937.

  • 1938: THE WORLD RECORD

    OCTOBER 8, 1938

    Docked without the aid of tugboats in New York, by Commodore Irving. Voyage #53 West.

    AUGUST 3 - 15, 1938

    Won the Blue Riband back from the Normandie on her 48th round-trip voyage. The Queen Mary held the record

  • 1939

    AUGUST 30, 1939

    Departed Southampton on final peacetime voyage, carrying her largest number of passengers: 2,552, including Mr. & Mrs. Bob Hope and millions in gold bullion.

THE WAR YEARS

As England and France declare war on Germany, the Queen Mary’s days as a passenger ocean liner appear over. With her record-breaking speed and size, the Queen Mary is retrofitted to serve as a troop ship during the Great War. Dubbed, the “Grey Ghost,” the Queen Mary hauled as many as 15,000 men while playing a pivotal role in guiding the allied forces to victory.

  • 1939

    SEPTEMBER 2, 1939

    Crew members black out ship's portholes.

    SEPTEMBER 3, 1939

    England and France declare war on Germany.

    SEPTEMBER 4, 1939

    The Queen Mary arrives in New York.

  • 1940: THE BIRTH OF THE GREY GHOST

    MARCH 21, 1940

    Departs New York for Sydney, Australia, to be fitted as a troopship. Accommodations increased from 2,140 to 5,500.

    MAY 5, 1940

    First voyage as a troop transport. Sailed in convoy with Aquitania, Mauretania (II), Empress of Britain, Empress of Canada, and Empress of Japan, from Sydney, Australia, to Gourock, Scotland, with 5,500 troops.

    AUGUST 5 - SEPTEMBER 16, 1940

    Dry docked in Singapore. Paravanes fitted.

    DECEMBER 13, 1940

    Degaussing strip installed in Sydney.

  • 1941

    APRIL 9, 1941

    Departs New York for Sydney, Australia, to be fitted as a troopship. Accommodations increased from 2,140 to 5,500.

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    1942

    JANUARY 27 - FEBRUARY 8, 1942

    Hull damaged while entering dry dock in Boston Naval Shipyard. Troop capacity increased.

    FEBRUARY 18 - MARCH 28, 1942

    "40 Days and 40 Nights" voyage from Boston to Sydney, Australia. First time the Queen Mary carried American troops (8,398 troops, 905 crew).

    MAY 11 - 16, 1942

    First time more than 10,000 persons had traveled on any ship (9,880 troops, 875 crew).

    AUGUST 2 - 7, 1942

    First time a complete division was carried on any ship. First Armored Infantry Division (15,125 troops, 863 crew).

    OCTOBER 2, 1942

    The Queen Mary collides with British light cruiser Curacoa. Seventy tons of cement are used to temporarily patch the bow in Gourock, Scotland.

    OCTOBER 14 - NOVEMBER 2, 1942

    Dry docked in Boston Naval Shipyard to install a new more permanent bow piece.

  • 1943

    DECEMBER 23, 1942- APRIL 22, 1943

    "The Long Voyage" from Gourock, to the Suez, Sydney, Australia, and return to Gourock. Total mileage: 37,943 miles. Ship transferred to Atlantic Ocean.

    MAY 5 - 11, 1943

    Winston Churchill transported from Gourock to New York, to meet with President Roosevelt. 5,000 German prisoners of war were also on board.

    JULY 25 - 30, 1943

    Carried the greatest number of people on a floating vessel: 15,740 troops, 943 crew. Total: 16,683.

    AUGUST 5 - 9, 1943

    Winston Churchill transported from Gourock to Halifax, Canada, for 2nd Quebec "Quadrant" conference.

    AUGUST 27 - 31, 1943

    Winston Churchill returns to Gourock, Scotland, with 15,116 troops.

  • 1944

    JUNE 6, 1944

    D-DAY Invasion of Europe.

  • 1945: THE WAR NEARS AN END

    APRIL 19, 1945

    Armament removed from ship, except the six-inch gun.

    MAY 7, 1945

    VE DAY (Victory Europe)

    AUGUST 1945

    14,833 troops and 1,000 crew transported. Total: 15,883.

    AUGUST 29, 1945

    Funnels repainted in Cunard colors.

  • 1946

    FEBRUARY 3 - May 19, 1946

    Six war-bride voyages, transporting 12,886 European brides and children to the United States and Canada.

    MAY 23 - September 18, 1946

    Seven war-bride voyages transporting European brides and children to Canada. Ten stowaways were discovered on the first crossing.

    FEBRUARY 10, 1946

    Docked in New York without the aid of tugs.

FINAL YEARS AT SEA

The 1960s were a decade of major change and with the rise of popularity in air travel; ocean liners were slowly becoming obsolete. The old world luxury and sensibilities of the Queen Mary seemed outdated in a modern world now transfixed on the notion of space exploration.

  • 1962: THE BEGINNING OF THE END

    MARCH 3 - 9, 1962

    Wave floods parts of Main, A and B Decks. Voyage #382 East.

    OCTOBER 2, 1962

    Docked without the aid of tugs in New York, by Captain Watts. Voyage #397 West.

  • 1963

    OCTOBER 1, 1963

    Docked without tugs in New York, by Captain S.A. Jones. Voyage #419.

    DECEMBER 23 - 29, 1963

    First cruise: Southampton to Las Palmas. Voyage #425.

  • 1966

    FEBRUARY 25 - MARCH 23, 1966

    Mediterranean cruise: New York, Las Palmas, Tangier, Piraeus, Naples, Cannes, Palma, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Madeira, New York. Voyage #477.

    APRIL 1966

    Cunard announces that the Queen Mary is for sale.

    MAY 31, 1966

    First letter of inquiry from H.E. Ridings of Long Beach.

    AUGUST 2 - 4, 1966

    In King George V Graving Dock. Fastest ever turn - around in dry dock, and first time ever sailed with passengers from dry dock. Voyage #485 West.

    AUGUST 24 - 29, 1966

    Fastest eastbound crossing since Blue Riband record: 4 days, 10 hours, 6 minutes. Voyage #486 East. Second fastest Atlantic crossing since 1938.

    Transatlantic Passengers:
    1954 - by ship: 1,000,000; by air: 600,000
    1957 - by ship: 1,000,000; by air: 1,000,000
    1961 - by ship: 750,000; by air: 2,000,000
    1965 - by ship: 650,000; by air: 4,000,000

LONG BEACH YEARS

Officially retiring from ocean travel, the Queen Mary was moved to sunny Long Beach, California where it is a living landmark, popular attraction and hotel, exposing a whole new generation of fans to bygone era.

  • 1967

    MAY 8, 1967

    Queen's captains open orders telling them of the decision to sell the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

    MAY 25, 1967

    First meeting between Lord Mancroft and Long Beach, California representatives in New York.

    JULY 27, 1967

    $3.45 million Long Beach bid accepted.

    SEPTEMBER 22 - 27, 1967

    Last Eastbound transatlantic crossing. Voyage #513 East.

    SEPTEMBER 29 - OCTOBER 6, 1967

    Cruise from Southampton to Las Palmas & Gibraltar. Voyage #514.

    OCTOBER 13 - 19, 1967

    Cruise from Southampton to Las Palmas. Voyage #515.

    OCTOBER 31, 1967

    Departed Southampton on Final Voyage to Long Beach, California. Voyage #516.

    DECEMBER 9, 1967

    The Queen Mary arrives in Long Beach, California.

    DECEMBER 11, 1967

    Removed from British registry and officially turned over to the City of Long Beach. Ship also became fully dependent on shore-side utilities.

  • 1968

    APRIL 6 - MAY 18, 1968

    Dry docked at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.

  • 1971

    FEBRUARY 27, 1971

    The Queen Mary moved to Pier J.

    MAY 8, 1971

    Queen Mary Story and Power Train Tour, and Upper Decks opened, weekends only.

    DECEMBER 11, 1971

    Jacques Cousteau's "Living Sea" portion of Museum of the Sea (M.O.T.S.) opens.

  • 1972

    FEBRUARY 20, 1972

    Largest day's attendance: 19,600.

    NOVEMBER 2, 1972

    First 150 hotel rooms opened.

  • 1974

    MARCH 1974

    Preview opening of Mary's Gate Village (now The Queen's Marketplace).

  • 1976

    OCTOBER 1, 1976

    Queen Mary Tours Inc. takes over operation of Museum of the Sea.

  • 1980

    SEPTEMBER 1, 1980

    Wrather Port Properties Ltd., a subsidiary of Wrather Corporation, signs a 66-year lease to manage the Queen Mary and adjoining acreage.

  • 1983

    MAY 14, 1983

    Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose flying boat opens to the public next to the Queen Mary.

  • 1988

    MARCH 29, 1988

    Walt Disney Company buys Wrather Corporation for $152 million. The agreement includes the Disneyland Hotel, and management of the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose property.

  • 1992

    JANUARY 1, 1992

    City of Long Beach resumes responsibility for the Queen Mary from the Port of Long Beach.

    SPRING 1992

    Aero Club of Southern California announces sale of Spruce Goose to Evergreen International Aviation Inc. in McMinnville, Oregon.

    MARCH 6, 1992

    Disney advises the City and Port of Long Beach that it will end its lease for the operation of the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose. The company agrees to operate the attraction until September 30, 1992.

    SEPTEMBER 30, 1992

    Walt Disney Company gives up lease on the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose property. Remainder of 1992, The Port of Long Beach becomes operator of property, and looks for new operator. Hotel Queen Mary closes.

    OCTOBER 2, 1992

    Spruce Goose is moved out of The Dome and put on barges headed to McMinnville, Oregon, having been sold to Evergreen International Aviation Inc.

    DECEMBER 31, 1992

    The Queen Mary closes.

  • 1993

    FEBRUARY 5, 1993

    Joseph F. Prevratil, President & CEO of RMS Foundation, Inc. signs five-year lease with the city of Long Beach to act as operators of the Queen Mary.

    FEBRUARY 26, 1993

    The Queen Mary reopens to the public. Self-guided and guided "Captain's Tour" resume. Most restaurants and Sunday Brunch are back.

    MARCH 5, 1993

    Hotel Queen Mary reopens with 125 rooms operational. Banquet rooms are operational.

    APRIL 17, 1993

    Audio tours begin again in English, German, Japanese and Spanish.

    APRIL 30, 1993

    Remainder of Hotel Queen Mary's 365 rooms reopen.

    MAY 12, 1993

    Captain John Treasure Jones, the 33rd and last captain of the Queen Mary dies at the age of 87 at his home in Chandler's Ford, England, just north of the port town of Southampton.

  • 1994

    SEPTEMBER 26, 1994

    Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Launch and Naming of the great liner. Officiating are RMS Foundation President Joseph F. Prevratil; H.R.H. Prince Michael of Kent representing the British Royal Family, grandson of Her Majesty Queen Mary; Scotland's Clydebank District Provost Jack McAllister and other special guests.

  • 1996

    MAY 8, 1996

    The Queen Mary celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its Opening Day

    MAY 27, 1996

    RMS Foundation, Inc., schedules Diamond Jubilee Celebration for the 60th Anniversary of the Queen Mary’s Maiden Voyage from Southampton to New York.

  • 1997

    MAY 31, 1997

    "Titanic: The Expedition" exhibit makes its West Coast debut aboard the Queen Mary.

    December 9, 1997

    The Queen Mary celebrates 30 years in Long Beach.

  • 2006

    FEBRUARY 23, 2006

    Two Cunard legends meet for the first time. The new Queen Mary 2 sailed into the port of Long Beach and greeted her historic namesake, the original Queen Mary. The two ships saluted each other with their one-ton signaling horns.

  • 2007

    OCTOBER 28, 2007

    The Queen Mary’s amateur radio station (W6RO) is renamed the Nate Brightman Radio Room in honor of Mr. Brightman’s more than 40 years of dedication to the station.

    DECEMBER 9, 2007

    The Queen Mary celebrates 40 years in Long Beach.

  • 2011

    MAY 2011

    The Queen Mary celebrates her 75-year anniversary of the Maiden Voyage.

  • 2012

    JUNE

    Diana: A Legacy of a Prince Royal Exhibit premieres at the Queen Mary.