An Image Of The End


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ash briers

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May 1, 2008
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hi, i was searching the internet for pictures of the 1910's white star dock, and stumbled across this image of the Mauretania being scrapped, i was shocked when i found it i couldn't beleive there was more than one photo on google images of her being scrapped, anyway tell me what you think.

WW1NavyBritish-Shipbreaking04.jpg
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Ash,

Thank you for posting this image - the Mauretania threads can be so quiet.
This is a view of Metal Industries from atop the 100-ton cantilever crane at the junction of Calliope Road and Zealandia Road (running alongside the Mauretania) at the M.I. yards in Rosyth. This amazing photograph, looking roughly north, shows the Mauretania afloat in No. 1 Drydock; the three parallel drydock berths measured 110' x 850' each. This photograph, taken shortly after demolition began, shows No. 1 Funnel still standing, No. 2 lying in the First Class Library/Grand Entrance and only the forward section of the Boat Deck remaining - several decks aft have been swept down. Funnel No. 3, already removed, came down in the First Class Lounge.
It was noted that the funnels collapsed of their own weight upon striking the deck. Much like the concentric rings in a tree can assist in determining age, the combined 3/8" of layered paint revealed her hospital and two dazzle schemes neatly bracketed between Cunard orange. Before the funnels were cut down, all remaining furnishing and fittings were removed and work began late in August with the wood decks being pulled up. Teak decking was the most valued, being little affected by weather and easily capable of being cut down to smaller sizes. The usual removal procedure was to burn the deck bolt out with an oxy-acetylene torch; unscrewing the deck bolts was very time consuming and the aged threads were often found stripped. In actual practice, only a very small percentage of the wood decking in a vessel was saleable as reusable timber. Most of it was removed as fast as possible in any condition and sold for firewood.
Not visible here is the large notch cut in the bow for mooring. Running parallel to the dock on either side of the Mauretania are the tracks for the traveling cranes, including the various 10-15 ton Scotch derrick cranes. In the distance along Keith Road are construction workshops and further right is the boilermaker shop. The foundry office, out of frame, is off to the left; the power and pumping stations are to the right located beyond the last drydock. To the extreme left (and also out of frame) is Tidal Yard No. 3, where the lower hull of the Mauretania would be beached some six months later. This image dates to about the middle of September, 1935 - it appears many dates in the Buxton volume are off a bit.

Ash, below is a link to a site that has several photographs of the Mauretania at Rosyth as well as other points in her career. I only have one candid photograph of her actually in Drydock No.1 in my collection. The snapshot I have shows her before scrapping began and was taken at about the time of the public inspection in July. It can be seen in Janette McCutcheon's book Cunard: A Photographic History.


Mauretania Search Results PortCities Southampton (Plimsoll.org)

Best,
Eric
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>...anyway tell me what you think.<<

A very grim and sad photo. The kind which I can tell you that very few sailors would ever enjoy seeing, especially if they poured their hearts and souls into a ship.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Mike, Ash,

I agree Mike - here she is looking a little more dignified. This is my unique snapshot of the Mauretania in Drydock No. 1 of the Metal Industries Yards just prior to scrapping at Rosyth, Scotland. It is a small photo, but very scarce from what I have seen. Photographs and photocards near the Forth bridge on the morning of the 4th are one thing, but images inside the yards seem truly hard to come by.

The Cunard Express Liner Mauretania at Rosyth for Breaking, 7/35

Best,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Guys,

I see - sorry - well, I will repost it here. Let's see...uh..."I agree Mike - here she is looking a little more dignified. This is my unique snapshot of the Mauretania in Drydock No. 1 of the Metal Industries Yards just prior to scrapping at Rosyth, Scotland. It is a small photo, but very scarce from what I have seen. Photographs and photocards near the Forth bridge on the morning of the 4th are one thing, but images inside the yards seem truly hard to come by."


Best,
Eric
 

Peter Newall

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Aug 19, 2006
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".....but images inside the yards seem truly hard to come by."

Sorry Eric,
There are a series of photos owned by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne which show her entire journey from entering the yard until her last scrap, many of which can be found on pages 80 to 84 of my book, Mauretania Triumph and Resurrection.
Peter
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Well, just because the University of Newcastle upon Tyne may have a set of photos chronicling the Mauritania's demise, and that some of them may be seen in "Mauretania Triumph and Resurrection", does NOT mean that they are widely available images, OR easy to come by for that matter.
 

Eric Longo

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No need for an apology here, Peter. I was talking about unique and unpublished snapshots - candid, private photographs or low production photocards available for purchase, not the images one can see in books. I am aware of the images you mentioned.
I never did hear your final take, or any take, on the dazzle topic. On page 45 in your book you mention green boot-topping on the Mauretania late in her career. Other than the incorrectly painted FDR model it seems there is no other source for this green. Where did you get this information?

Eric
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>here she is looking a little more dignified.<<

Thanks Eric. I like that photo a lot more then the ones where the yardbirds are ripping her guts out.

If anybody wants to see a grown man cry, watch some sailors...especially some of the old hands and any survivors among the commissioning crew at a ship's decommissioning ceremony.
 

Peter Newall

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.....On page 45 in your book you mention green boot-topping on the Mauretania late in her career......

I am delighted that you have found another previously unpublished fact about Mauretania. That is why I write for a living.
Peter
 

Eric Longo

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Well, to the point then - is this notion of green boot-topping as reliable as the "facts" you published regarding her dazzle scheme(s)? Some of the dazzle data you had was also "unpublished", but there were reasons for that. And, unlike the dazzle discussion, can you provide any reliable sources for this information re green? I remember that was a difficult task in the past and I hope the same won't hold true here as well.

Eric
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Eric,

I think your hopes have already been dashed.

Peter,

I'd be interested to know more about the green boot topping. I am also curious to know how Mauretania could have had the dazzle paint scheme applied to her in 1915, as discussed in the other thread (Mauretania's Wartime Voyages), some two years before these schemes came into use? If you can devise a credible explanation for that then you would have a far greater imagination than mine.

I suspect there is a reason that you did not answer the questions about Mauretania's dazzle scheme: that reason being that she was not dazzle painted at all in 1915. The statements of Wilkinson and Kerr are most interesting to me and, taken in its totality, I think all the evidence is very clear.

However, I am an optimist and I always believe that it is important to learn from past mistakes so that they are not repeated in the future. I have no doubt that you put a great deal of effort into your Mauretania book and that is to be congratulated; I bought a copy and enjoyed it. It is a large, attractive format. I know from my own experience that attempting a project of this sort is extremely challenging, but I also know that errors are bound to creep in no matter how careful you are. I've made more than my share, including several dreadful howlers! Where mistakes have occurred, I think it is productive to identify why they happened and then fix them. Although I am rather behind schedule, I am doing just that myself. One of my projects is to identify errors in my previous published work and then explain how they came about. (I have done this both by starting work on pages listing corrections for each of my books, to be added to my website, and also writing articles addressing specific errors: such as my mistake that the new suites added to Olympic’s bridge deck were fitted during the 1927-28 overhaul when they were actually added over the winter of 1928-29.)

Sometimes, errors can be explained more easily. An example is an incorrect photograph caption that was identified in one museum’s collections nine years ago: ‘McFarlane Patent Watertight Door’.

You would make a useful contribution if you were willing to answer those questions you were asked about Mauretania — whether it be her dazzle paint or green boot topping — and outline specifically: what sources you used; how you interpreted them and why; what weight you gave to each; and whether you remain comfortable with your conclusions in the light of the evidence other researchers have brought to your attention.

Yours would be a valuable contribution if you chose to take up my suggestion. As it stands, the casual reader of these discussions might be forgiven for thinking that you now know your claims are not true, but do not want to address them.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Mark, All,

Mark, thanks for your input. I believe you are right, thrice over.
I have been looking here and there when I think of it - some of the earliest photos I have found of U.S.N. ships newly painted into dazzle are of the Wilhelmina (freshly painted in NY on May 1, 1918), the Warrington, the Leviathan (half Dazzle-painted at Liverpool, Spring 1918), the Wakulla (June 1918 with fresh dazzle) and so on - which fits the timeline as discussed as well as the data from the Wilkinson/Kerr lecture Mark generously supplied in the dazzle thread. As for Royal Navy vessels, the first ship so painted is also listed in the dazzle thread - the Industry - which was decorated in the Summer of 1917. There are also a good number of photographs of the Argus in dazzle - 1917/18.
It was also noted in the dazzle thread that the book in question by Mr. Newall shows the well known Burnett Poole canvas of the Mauretania in Dazzle captioned as "...in her first dazzle colour scheme." Mr. Newall apparently continues to contend this scheme was applied in 1915. The museum that holds the canvas, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, dates the work to C. 1919 and offers some text on its website that I will add here for clarity - "Her war service began in 1915 when she took troops to the Dardanelles. Later that year she was converted for use as a hospital ship but was laid up at Greenock and dazzle painted." This service history, as written by the Merseyside Museum, is quite brief to say the very least - neglecting to mention her second stint as a transport in 1916 (as G1620) and so on. However, as the Mauretania was laid up at at Greenock for nearly the whole of 1917, the Merseyside Maritime Museum also places the application of the first dazzle scheme to after her time at Greenock - after 1917.
As for the green boot-topping, which Mr. Newall states is a fact, I can find no reference for its existence anywhere to date other than the incorrectly repainted model I mentioned. This model, some 18 feet long and carved from a single block of mahogany, was presented to FDR by Bob Blake on July 2, 1935 and subsequently given to the Smithsonian, placed on board the QM and is now, if memory serves, back at the Smithsonian after restoration. I have a scan of a Kodachrome slide of this model as seen on the QM with its mistaken paint job but I can not post it here. The notion of green was discussed in an old ET thread from 2002. Small but informative, it can be read in the following link. It states the same conclusion I reached about three or four years later. Like you, I too am always looking to learn and if there is any substance to this notion I'd like to see it.

Green Boot-Topping Thread 2002

Best always,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,

Score one for Peter! I was steered to a New York Times article published on May 17, 1933 that states "The bottom of the hull up to the waterline will be green, the funnels and ventilator openings red and the deck heads pale green." I am pleased to finally have read some evidence of this.
happy.gif

As for the dazzle, I'll stick to my gun (a twelve pounder of course! ;)

Best,
Eric
 
Aug 8, 2007
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Hi Augusto, Mauretania (with an "e") is the correct spelling. Mauretania and Lusitania were named after the ancient Roman provinces of these names; Mauretania being on the Northwest African coast and Lusitania what we know today as Portugal and part of Spain. The modern-day African nation of Mauritania is spelled with an "i", but the ship was not named after this nation.

The following website shows some photos of Mauretania with her name clearly visible on the bow.

http://www.maritimequest.com/liners/mauretania_page_1.htm
 
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