Sea History 144 - Autumn 2013

Page 50

Cunard Cruise Line In a firsr for rhe Sociery, a Disringuished Service Award will be presenred ro a company, Cunard Cruise Line, borh for Cunard's srarus as rhe world's oldesr rransArlanric ocean-liner service and for irs crucial role in rhe hisrory of ocean rransporrarion in peace and war. Founded in 1840 when Samuel Cunard was firsr awarded a conrracr ro carry mail berween Liverpool and Halifax, Bosron, and Quebec, rhe Brirish and Norrh American Royal Mail Sream Packer Company began wirh a fleer of four sreamships: Britannia, Acadia, Caledonia and Columbia. Britannia ser our from Liverpool on rhe inaugural voyage on 4 July 1840 and arrived in Bosron fourreen days and eighr hours larer. Wirhin a year, Cunard's sreamships were providing weekly sreamship service across rhe Arlanric, and rhe shorr durarion of rhe journey and reliable rravel schedule appealed ro rhe rraveling public. In 1854 fourreen Cunard ships were requisirioned for service in rhe Crimean War, a conrriburion rhar included rransporring rhe horses rhar charged wirh rhe Lighr Brigade. This example of warrime service was ro be repeared in World Wars I and II, rransporring men, food, and munirions, serving as hospiral ships, and serving in orher capaciries in rhe war efforr.

Cunard's Lusitania in New York, ca. 1907.

Many of hisrory's mosr famous liners have been Cunard ships: Carpathia, which raced ro rescue survivors of rhe Titanic; Mauretania, which held rhe Blue Riband for rransArlanric crossings for rwenry-rwo years; and rhe Carmania, which took the first German casualty of war in 191 4. The ocean lin ers Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth reigned over the golden years of transAdanric service in the rwenrierh centur y, and when rhe pair were retired in the 1960s, Cunard launched

Queen Mary 2 passing under the Golden Gate Bridge in 2007. In July, the QM2 celebrated its 200th transAtlantic crossing. Queen Elizabeth 2, which sai led for more than forty years. In 1988 , Cunard was purchased by Carnival Corporation, and shortly thereafter announced the construction of a new rransArlanric liner, the Queen Mary 2. Completed in 2004, rhe QM2 is rhe largest liner ever built. Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth were subsequently added ro the fleet, carrying the Cunard tradition of steaming acroยงs the Atlantic in style inro the presenr cenrury. It is for this unsurpassed hisrory of tran sA~tlanric and warrime service that NMHS will be honoring Cunard. Stanley Birge, Cunard's Vice President, North America, will aaccept the award on behalfof Cunard.



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