A grand Blue Riband Liner of the Cunard Line, QUEEN MARY was formally launched from John Brown’s yard at Clydebank on September 26, 1934 with her namesake monarch presiding at the event. Completely fitted out by the Spring of 1936, she steamed into service to Southampton on March 27, 1936 with much fanfare and several tugboat escorts, shown with their full dress flags.
Montague Dawson assuredly was on hand to witness her arrival. He captured the foreground details of the awe-struck witnesses against the elusive distance and size of the 1,019', 81,235 gross-ton liner with superb artistry in this earlier period painting. Two other important liners are present, the Union-Castle’s unique four-stacker WINDSOR CASTLE, the eggplant-white liner off the stern; and White Star’s Liner MAJESTIC, with her three black topped buff funnels, destined for the breaking yard days later. QUEEN MARY was completed through a £3 million assist by the British Government under condition that the Cunard and White Star Companies merged to form one with less competition.
QUEEN MARY would make 1,002 voyages in her 31-year career, traveling 3,795,000 miles, transporting 2,115,000 fare-paying passengers, and more than 800,000 British, Australian and American troops. Her first Transatlantic voyage to New York would begin on May 27th, after thousands of visitors, including the Royal Family. She would steam round Cape Horn on her last to Long Beach, California, where she still serves today as a tourism attraction and living maritime museum.
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