Queen Mary ship model

Queen Mary ship model

...they really had no chance of sinking her.

The real Queen Mary was built at Clydebank where the first keel plate was laid in May 1930. She was launched in 1934. Her maiden voyage was from Southampton on 27 May 1936. She arrived in Cherbourg in a little over 4 hours.

She departed Southampton for New York on 30 Aug 1939 on a final peacetime voyage. Due to the outbreak of war, she stayed in New York until March 1940, at which time she was ‘enlisted’ as a troopship.

An account from a British soldier:

“In 1942, when I was a young driver in the Royal Army service Corps, we boarded her at Greenock, Scotland and our destination was Egypt via Cape Town, Freetown and Aden….There were fifteen thousand troops on board, so as big as she was, the room to move about was very limited…. A couple of years ago, at a meeting, I got to speak to a member of a German U Boat crew and I said to him that our worst fear afloat was from U Boats. He said that although Hitler had offered half a million Marks to the captain that sank the Queen Mary, with a speed of 32 knots as compared with the surface speed of a U Boat of 16 knots or 8-10 submerged, they really had no chance of sinking her.”

In July 1947 she returned to commercial service. The Queen Mary that sailed on 31 July 1947 for New York on her first civilian post-war voyage was a very different ship to her pre-war self, as the type of passengers and crew she carried were much more diverse.

Her final commercial voyage was from Southampton on 31 Oct 1967, after which she retired to Long Beach, California where she remains today as a hotel and museum.

Quick Facts

  • Place made Northampton
  • Weight about 5 tonnes
  • Dimensions Height 2018mm, Width 1280mm, Length 6990mm
  • Made of white mahogany
  • Scale ¼” to 1’


  • The model was made for an exhibition in New York. It was built in Northampton using one log of white mahogany.
  • Facts about the real Queen Mary. The ship ‐ 81,235 tons; 1,018 feet long; 118 feet wide; 4 propellers. She could carry 2139 passengers (776 first class, 784 tourist class, 579 third class) plus 1101 officers and crew.
  • The Queen Mary, variously described as the Queen of the Seas or the Wonder Ship, was one of the most luxurious ships of her day. The art deco interiors were among the most striking of the day. Many of the public rooms were decorated with original works of art specially commissioned by Cunard. The food on board was the “the best food in the world without a doubt”. The crew were well known for providing top class personal service and some of the regular passengers always insisted on having particular stewards and stewardesses on each voyage.
  • During the Second World War the Queen Mary (QM) she was painted a drab grey and converted into a troop ship ferrying soldiers from Australia to the Middle East and Africa and returning with prisoners of war, the wounded and evacuees. In 1943, along with the Queen Elizabeth, the QM switched to the Atlantic troop shuttle carrying 15,000 troops from New York to Britain each week. The fast speed of the QM meant that she was able to sail the Atlantic without the convoys, and zigzagged to avoid the U‐boats. At the end of the war she carried the G.I. Brides (British women who had married US and Canadian servicemen) to America until she returned to normal service in 1946.
  • The Queen Mary had always been held in high esteem, not just by the passengers and crew who sailed on her but by most Southampton people. A quote from a local resident highlights this affection for the ship:

    “She was the kind of ship that was individual. She was like no other. Neither of the Queen Elizabeth were ever a comparison with the Mary. Everybody talked of her, it was a sort of love affair. You’d hear her come up. You’d hear her hooter way off down by the Isle of Wight … and you knew she was coming up. The next thing, you’d see her funnels almost standing in the High Street. It was an impressive sight.”


Did you know?

Known for her speed across the Atlantic, the Queen Mary took the Blue Riband speed record first in 1936 and again in 1938.

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