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Queen Mary marks 75th anniversary of maiden voyage

Geoffrey Le Marquand, former Queen Mary crew member
Image caption Geoffrey Le Marquand was one of 10 former crew who visited the ship in California

Former crew members of ocean liner, the Queen Mary have revisited the transatlantic passenger ship 75 years after its maiden voyage from Southampton.

The ship, which once held the title for the fastest Atlantic crossing, is now a floating hotel in California.

Former waiter Keith Lloyd said: "She's still got the feel of a ship, but her heart has been ripped out, if you take an engine out you've got nothing."

The Queen Mary was officially retired from service in 1967.

Crossing the Atlantic weekly between Southampton and New York for 31 years, the ship became one of the most famous and fastest ocean liners in the world.

'Very beautiful'

Ten former crew members made the trip to Long Beach, California which was organised by the Queen Mary Association.

Comparing Queen Mary to today's modern cruise ships, 65-year-old Mr Lloyd added: "She was very plush, very beautiful. There's no comparison, it's like comparing Marylin Monroe with Lady Ga Ga."

The vessel held the Blue Riband - a title given to the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a liner from 1936 to 1937 and then from 1938 to 1952. It was beaten by the SS United States.

Image caption The retired ocean liner is now a floating hotel in California

The luxurious 12 deck ship could carry 1,174 passengers. Its guest list included King George V, Sir Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor.

To cope with the Atlantic's stormy seas, tables and chairs were bolted down and four stabilisers were fitted to the ship.

Geoffrey Le Marquand, another former waiter said: "If you looked over the stern, the outer propeller would come out of the water, she went over that much."

Queen Mary was the flagship of the Cunard Line from May 1936 until October 1946 when she was replaced by Queen Elizabeth.

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