Service

The Queen Mary sailed on her maiden voyage on 27 May 1936. As the Queen Mary reached the approximate position where the Titanic sank in 1912, a wreath was laid in memory of the 1,500 victims of the sinking. On 1 June 1936 the Queen Mary arrived in New York and was welcomed by a flotilla of small boats and thousands of onlookers. Throughout the year she traded the Blue Riband with the French Line's Normandie (1935), capturing the westbound and eastbound Blue Riband for the fastest North Atlantic crossing outright in August 1938. But it was not to last. Following the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 the Queen Mary and her sister ship the Queen Elizabeth were converted to grey-painted troop ships, where their size and speed were an asset. The Queen Mary's war service was marred when she rammed and sank the HMS Curacoa on 2 October 1942. 338 people aboard the escort cruiser lost their lives. During the Second World War the Queen Mary carried some 765,429 military servicemen and steamed some 569,429 miles in the service of her country. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill credited the Queens with having shortened the war by one year.