Film: Churchill’s Last Queen Mary Voyage

Film: Churchill’s Last Queen Mary Voyage


Sir Winston Churchill passed away on 24 January 1965.

We remember the great man with a newsreel from December 1952, which finds Churchill departing for America from Southampton on his favorite liner, Queen Mary.

As you’ll see, it was far from a smooth departure. Fortunately for us, we get to see a number of interesting views of Churchill, his entourage, Queen Mary (including repair work to her port anchor) and various dockside workers.   There’s even a brief guest appearance by Dame Vera Lynn.

Sadly, this was Churchill’s final Queen Mary voyage and his next-to-last ocean liner journey. In 1954, Churchill flew to New York. His last voyage on an ocean liner would occur that June when Queen Elizabeth (1940) carried him home.

Winston Churchill traveled on Queen Mary three times (roundtrips) during World War II and considered the converted liner his headquarters at sea. Churchill and key members of his traveling party occupied First Class suites on Main Deck. The rooms were furnished in Cunard Line’s best pre-war style, right down to fresh flowers daily.

Whenever Churchill traveled during the war, structural alterations were required. His suite had to be sealed off from the rest of the liner; staff offices, dining quarters, a map room and conference room were needed. Cabins and staterooms were restored to something like their prewar state of comfort. Guarded by Marines, the PM Suite had laws of its own.

During the first postwar decade, Churchill traveled to or from America by ocean liner on six occasions. On these journeys he took either Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth, according to his schedule needs.