RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE                                                                                                                                                                                                                         RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH


Historical Statistics:





John Brown & Co. (Clydebank) Ltd, Clydebank, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Yard Number:


Date of Build:


Vessel Name:

RMS Queen Elizabeth

Other Names:

The Elizabeth, Seawise University

Type of Vessel:

Passenger ocean liner

Date Launched:

27th September 1938

Launched by:

HM Queen Elizabeth

Maiden Voyage:

3rd March 1940 (in secret)

Gourock, Scotland to New York, USA

Arrived in New York on the 7th March 1940

Official Maiden Voyage:

 16th October 1946

Southampton to New York, USA

Final Commercial Voyage:

 8th November 1968 (Farewell Cruise)

Southampton to Las Palmas & Gibraltar

Final Voyage:

10th February 1971

Port Everglades, USA to Hong Kong via Rio de Janiero, Cape Town and Singapore

Location Scrapped:

Hong Kong 1975





Port of Registry:

Liverpool, England, UK

Original Owners / Operators:

Cunard Line, Liverpool, England, UK




Technical Statistics:





1,031 ft


118 ft


39 ft

Gross Registered Tonnage:

83,673 tons


Single reduction geared steam turbines driving four propellers


Four propellers

Maximum Speed:

36 knots

Service Speed:

29 knots

Passengers & Crew:

823 First class, 662 Cabin class, 798 Tourist class




Technical Facts:

Signal Letters: GBSS

IMO Number:

Cost: £5 million

The Queen Elizabeth was built in an age where Britain was respected throughout the world for producing products of quality, factories across the country were employed to craft the thousands of components that were needed. From Glasgow and all over the British Isles came huge castings for the propeller brackets along with the stern, bow and hawse pipe castings, four 32 ton manganese bronze propellers, steel plates and sections of various shapes, machinery, electrical generators and switchboards, four anchors at 16.5 tons each, a 140 ton rudder with its own inspection door, 10 million rivets, 26 lifeboats and their motors, 2000 portholes, 12 water tube boilers, fans, navigational aids, glass, silverware, carpets, curtains, chairs, tables etc.


The steam from the boilers fed into four Parsons single reduction geared steam turbines placed two each in the forward and after engine rooms. The two engines in the forward engine room drove the two outer propellers whilst the inner propellers were powered by the after engine room.

Each engine consisted of one high-, two intermediate-, and one low pressure turbine, the steam from which exhausted into a condenser where it was cooled back into reusable water. The total output of the engines, each of which could be used independently, was 160,000 shp.

Electricity came from four 2,200 kW turbo generators at 250 volts. These along with the four main and 43 auxiliary switchboards produced enough power to light 30,000 lamps through 4000 miles of wiring; operate 700 electric clocks; 800 telephones; drive 21 lifts (11 for passenger use and 10 for stores and services); keep 43,000 cubic feet of cold storage space suitable for meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, dairy produce, wines, beer, etc; and power kitchen machinery such as potato peelers, meat mincers and choppers, raisin stoners, ice breakers, fruit juice extractors, silver burnishers, dish washers, etc; and operate the 38 watertight doors in an emergency as well as keeping the 26 lifeboat motors ready warmed.


The Queen Elizabeth was fitted with 12 watertube boilers. This was a reduction on the 24 needed on the Queen Mary to produce the same amount of steam in order to produce the same amount of power. As a result she only had two funnels. Her 12 Yarrow watertube boilers were built into four boiler rooms. Unlike the Queen Mary, the Elizabeth's boilers were sited two abreast. four of the boilers were fitted with desuperheaters and reducing valves to provide steam for the hotel and in-port services, thus doing away with the need for dedicated boilers as on the Queen Mary. There were two compartments between the boiler rooms containing air-conditioning plant, electrical generating plant and water softening equipment.

Her boilers were the largest such marine installations ever built, and were constructed under licence by John Brown & Co. They each had a combustion chamber volume of 3,220 cubic feet; a steam generating surface of 20,530 square feet; a superstructure surface of 10,120 square feet; air pre-heating surface area of 27,300 square feet and produced a working pressure of 425 pounds per square inch (compared with 400 on the Queen Mary) at a final steam temperature of 750 degrees Fahrenheit, 50 degrees more than the Queen Mary.


The Queen Elizabeth had
four huge 32 ton manganese bronze propellers.


In 1955 the Queen Elizabeth was fitted with four Denny Brown stabilisers. Each stabiliser fin had an outreach of 12 ft 6 inches and a width of 7 ft 3 inches. Both sets could be extended and operated independently of the other so that only one set need be operated in a moderate swell. Operated from the Bridge the forward set had a righting moment of 11,500 ton/ft and the after set exerted 14,000 ton/ft. It was calculated that a roll could be reduced by 75% within a very short time.

Rolls-Royce PLC (acquired Brown Brothers in 1999)


The Queen Elizabeth's normal cruising speed was 29 knots and her maximum speed was 36 knots.


The ship has an extra thick steel hull for strength and stability for Atlantic crossings.


In addition to the two main anchors, the Queen Elizabeth, due to her raked bow, also carried a third anchor (the bower) whic enabled the ship to ride at anchor without the problem of the anchor cable chaffing the stem plates when the ship swung due to changes in wind and tide.


Like the Queen Mary,
the Queen Elizabeth had the most comprehensive on-board telephone systems of her day. Great attention was also paid to safety, indeed the ship was equipped with the most up-to-date of automated systems; 66 watertight doors were installed in bulkheads throughout the main areas of the ship at the lower levels, 38 of which were power operated, controlled from a central point on the Bridge.

Lifesaving Equipment:

The Queen Elizabeth was fitted with 26 motorised lifeboats.


The Queen Elizabeth had three "Tyfon"  whistles (one aft, two forward). These one ton whistles were toned "two octaves below middle A" and the deep, rich, glorious sound that bellowed forth could be heard 10 miles away. Pulses from the melodious, vibrating roar could be felt up to 20 miles away. 
They were manufactured by Kockums Ab Sweden.

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Kockum Sonics

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