Britain: Death of the Queens

As the Queen Elizabeth steamed toward New York harbor last week with 711 passengers (capacity: 2,304), a message over the ship's radio instructed Captain Joseph E. Woolfenden to open a sealed envelope he had received before sailing from Southampton. Woolfenden was stunned by what he read. At that moment, the Cunard Steam-Ship Co. Ltd. was announcing in London that the world's two largest ocean liners would be retired—the Queen Elizabeth within 18 months, the older Queen Mary as early as next October.

While the Queens were known to be sailing in financial straits,...

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