RMS QUEEN MARY: VOICES FROM HER VOYAGES Indeed, there will never be another ship like the iconic RMS Queen Mary. A prodigy of the seas, she was constructed by the people, for the people and proved her worth on the North Atlantic and beyond. In both war and peace, the Mary has carried people from all walks of life - and some of those people have come together to tell their stories in this amazing book. In RMS Queen Mary: Voices from Her Voyages, author and researcher Nicole Strickland has answered the clarion call by not only sharing the sailing stories, accounts and memories from former Queen Mary crew, passengers, WWII veterans and war brides, but also highlighting how voyaging aboard this renowned vessel changed these individuals' lives.
Featuring rare historical photographs, first-hand accounts, and exclusive interviews, RMS Queen Mary: Voices from Her Voyages captures the visions of yesteryear and preserves the story of this glorious ship for another generation. A portion of proceeds from the sale of this book benefits the QUEEN MARY HERITAGE FOUNDATION.
If someone were to ask me why I have elected to write yet another substantial book about the RMS Queen Mary, my answer would entail many reasons. I am an avid history fanatic, yearning to study and learn about the days before I even became a thought. We know how the Queen Mary’s career on the high seas was recorded as being one of the, if not the most unprecedented feats of any maritime vessel. Speaking of history and its importance for future generations, the Mary is the perfect embodiment of sheer British maritime design and engineering; so much so, that colleges and universities around the world can and should develop courses about her technological concepts, historical influences and humanitarian efforts. Indeed, the Queen Mary’s legendary narrative should not be locked away in someone’s diary but instead, be told to the world as legacies are to never be silenced. I am one of the many individuals who instantly tapped into the Mary’s deeply embedded soul the second I embarked on her decks in 2005. You can say that the ship welcomed me with open arms, a hospitable trait she has held since her inception in 1934. The bond I have with this stately liner cannot be intrinsically understood by the written English word; it’s more or less a deeply woven soul connection, an inherently innate passion I have for her and her remarkable chronicles on the seas. It’s this passion that drives me to further relay her seafaring anecdotes, not just her stories, but the millions of memories, accounts and experiences from the living souls she carried – her devoted crew, adventurous passengers from all walks of life, the courageous men and women who sacrificed their individual freedom for the betterment of humanity and for those brave women who, along with their young children, left the familiar surroundings of their homeland in pursuit of a new life in America after the dissolution of World War II. It’s these personal stories that propelled me to write this book as a way to not only share people’s times aboard the Queen Mary, but to also highlight how the millions of people from differing backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities all shared one common aspect: they sailed aboard an undefeatable ship called the RMS Queen Mary as a part of their life’s journey. This vessel played a pivotal role for many of these individuals by granting them the opportunity to experience life in a new country with friends or loved ones and be exposed to various worldly locations and nationalities. The liner welcomed those affluent individuals to live out their voyage in sheer opulence and luxury, savoring every glamorous moment on the North Atlantic. On the other end of the spectrum, bravery and courage sometimes precede tragedy and the Queen Mary was no exception as she endured arduous times on the seas, especially during World War II. The inevitability of perilous times eventually came to be and even she, the rampart protector, couldn’t save all the living souls she carried. Tragedy struck, lives were lost and sadness prevailed. However, being a ship of strength and peace, her loving soul triumphed and she, without a single doubt, stayed on course as the humanitarian emissary she was – and is. Indeed, the Queen Mary saw and experienced it all, thus, establishing herself as an iconic prodigy of the seas. It would certainly be an author’s miraculous achievement to collect and compile the stories from every single person who touched upon the Mary’s decks during her 31-year reign on the waters, but we all know how nearly impossible that is. The passage of time yields less living individuals from the vessel’s seagoing days, as each of our mortal journeys inevitably comes to an end. Regardless, it has been my personal mission for years to interview former crew, passengers, veterans and war brides about their memorable times aboard the Queen Mary and how their lives changed as a result of voyaging on the 81,237-ton seafaring masterpiece. It is these personal memoirs that enable us to delve deeper in and look beneath the ship’s iron hull and Art Deco-inspired design framework to see inside her heart and soul – to learn how she touched the lives of the individuals she carried. Writing this book is my own personal mission to honor all the souls who contributed to the Mary’s celebrated chronicles of time as well as show how the Mary individually contributed to the lives she carried during her successful thirty-one year career. This is my tribute to both parties who are forever bonded through the veils of time. It has always been said how both the Cunard Queens, in all their glory, helped bridge the Old World with the new, unifying and bringing together people from all walks of life and various corners of the continents. In both war and peace, these legendary oceanic juggernauts fulfilled their roles as humanitarian ambassadors, acting on behalf of and for the world. In retirement, along with honoring her sister’s memory, the RMS Queen Mary is continuing to fulfill this role for current and future generations. I want to close this preface by showcasing the profound words written by my mom, Norma Strickland, in regards to the Queen Mary’s role as a humanitarian emissary: “O’ Queen of the Seas” Born to reign upon the seas she bridges life from land to land in breadth and depth, her living breath, O’ Queen of the Seas, she graces me.
From war to peace her memories engrained within her inner walls, the sorrows and the childhood glee bequeath the whispers near and far.
In presence of integrity from bow to stern and funnels tall, she stands within enduring grace and lures through casts of warm embrace, upon the waters’ majesty O’ Queen of the Seas, she graces me.