Queen Mary

20th December 2008, 20:17
The picture of the old Queen Mary on SN's first page is wonderful.
I had the privilege of doing 2 trips on her as passenger from NY to Soton.
The first time was in 1947 when I was summoned from leave by Esso and told to report to London office with gear. I was told to go to the Panamanian embassy and told to get a Mate's ticket which I got for a 10 fee. Afew days later we weresent to Heathrow - then a collection of Nissen huts and boarded an American Airlines constellation. We called at Shannon and then Santa Maria in the Azores due to strong Westerlies. From there we lost our way and landed at Sydney, Cape Breton instead of Gander. The time to NY was 22hours.
They put us up in the Abbey Hotel in NY and we were there for a week or 2 whilst Esso and the US Unions argued as to whether a Limey crew could man the first of the biggest tankers built - a mere 36K tons !! In the end the unions won and we were shipped home again on the QM. It was a very pleasant interlude. We eventually got ships of the same category and I was 2nd Mate of the Esso Stckholm.
Whilst in NY I got a social securoity card and the sparks and I got jobs washing cars in a multi storey car park at night. We were fired for being somewhat hung over and washing a car with a pressure hose with the
windows open. Others got jobs at Maceys and some gave blood at ten dollars a time. They were turned away after presenting themselves too often.
We then came home on the QM. The C/E wore his uniform and was mistaken for the QM's C/E and had a great time with the ladies.
The second time was when I left a tanker in NY and went home on leavein 1952.

20th December 2008, 21:25
If I remember correctly from my QM days the bloodbank was just past the Market Diner and up to the right, there was always a queue,unlike the UK were you pay for anything to do with teeth or your eyes, they dont seem to be covered by NI contributions but they want your blood for free,but sadly dont get enough.