Normandie Meets a Fiery End

Normandie Meets a Fiery End

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More than seven decades after it occurred, the Normandie disaster lingers as one of the saddest moments in ocean liner history.

Normandie disasterOn 9 February 1942 USS Lafayette (ex-Normandie) caught fire while undergoing conversion into a troopship at a New York pier. She capsized the next morning and was declared a total loss.

The pride of Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (French Line), and perhaps the most beautiful ocean liner ever built, Normandie was renowned for her Art Deco styling, sophisticated atmosphere and impeccable service.

Normandie began her maiden voyage from Le Havre to New York on 29 May 1935, setting speed records both westbound and eastbound. Yet the beloved liner’s career was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. At the end of her 139th Atlantic crossing, Normandie arrived in New York on 28 August 1939 and would never sail again. Mothballed at Pier 88, she was taken into custody by the US Coast Guard when France was occupied by Germany in June 1940.

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