In 1974, my parents took me on the Queen Mary for my birthday, but we were really surprised to see a picture of one of the post-war Captains, Cyril Gordon Illingworth (I believe the picture of him I saw then said he was captain 1946-1952). Now, though, I'm doing quite a bit of family tree research, and hearing that Captain Illingworth somehow crashed the Queen Mary. Except for splitting that one convoy ship in half, I never heard the ship having ever crashed.
Could someone kindly verify for me if some sort of crash really took place--but especially whether or not Captain Illingworth was responsible--or did such a crash occur during the years listed above? Sure would appreciate any information you might be able to share!
In November of 1947 The Queen was laid up at a Southampton Wharf, loaded with distinguished passengers and supposed to sail at 3 p.m. on the 16th but the crew went on strike and paid no attention to Captain Illingworth. A Liverpool man named Pat Murphy had rallied the oilers and rank and file crewmen to defy the union leaders in an effort to get better representation. Murphy won the day, they all thumbed their collective noses at the Union, Murphy, the next day had the crew form up with bags in hand and march formally aboard the ship at last, shaking hands with every man-and so the Mary finally sailed- late, and with an impatient Captain on the bridge. I have the story from the magazine I can send or email, Robert , if you like.It was apparently a sensational news item of the day.
Suddenly remembered Capt. Harry Grattidge's autobiography and what he had to say about the Curacao and Illingworth (who was the new Master at the time of this horrific disaster which took the lives of 300 men on the cruiser). " The Mary's new master, Capt. C. Gordon Illingworth had already rushed from the chart room. Running to starboard I could see the afterend of the same vessel, trembling to settle below the waves. ...Such a moment comes to only one in a thousand Masters. Now it had come to Illingworth, the lovable little seaman with the foghorn voice, only a few months after assuming command. It was the cruel logical split-second decision that haunts every Captain's mind." "Because of the Lancastria, I knew better than anyone what this meant to Illingworth. I did everything I could to console him. But often afterward I would see him at his desk in the cabin, staring into space. You will know what I mean when I say that he looked as lonely as a ship's Captain." (Captain of the Queens pages 173-174)
Thanks so much for that info from. Capt. Grattidge's re. Capt. Illingworth; that REALLY says a lot to me about Illingworth's PASSION for doing his job well, & COMPASSION re. the men lost from the sliced cruiser. What an insight into the man himself!
And yes, I'd also really enjoy seeing that article you mentioned about Murphy & the union workers; I've a feeling it will show a side of the Captain who won't tolerate workers keeping the ship waiting!
Say, would anyone know where I might find a picture of Captain (or "Commodore"; think I've heard that title for him, too)Illingworth? I'm looking forward to getting that book on Amazon about him with the CURACOA disaster, but numerous searches still don't let me find a picture of him. Would appreciate any help here!
Will the cover of TIME magazine do?
issue dated August 11, 1947
Under a portrait of Captain Illingworth with the Queen Mary's three funnels in the background, the caption reads:
"THE QUEEN MARY'S CAPTAIN ILLINGWORTH
Back to the carriage trade, after 765,000 soldiers"
see it here: http://tinyurl.com/3v2ha
There are many vintage magazine dealers out there, finding a copy of this shouldn't take tremendous effort.
The article inside is an account the the Queen Mary's first regular voyage post WW2, which you can also read at the above link.
Thanks so much, Kyle! That link let me read a little of the TIME article too, which I'll be sure to investigate further. Also learned today via Ancestry.com that he passed on in 1959.
Grateful for your help,
Re Sir Gordon Illingworth: JW Dunderdale's book Kendal Brown (History of the Kendal snuff industry) refers to Sir Gordon as being the son of George Illingworth, the son of John T Illingworth, who formed Illingworth and Sons Ltd, snuff manufacturers in the 1880s. It notes that George sold his share in the snuff company to his brother James (he took sole control of the firm when his father died in 1888)and started his own business in Liverpool. Sir Gordon is referred to as captain of the Queen Mary and commodore of the Cunard line.
My reason for researching the Illingworths is to find out about Robert who built the mansion (Highfield, later Kilmidylke)in Grange over Sands, Cumbria, in the grounds of which our house was later built. Robert was I think born in 1836 in Blackburn and died before he could occupy his new house in 1897. His wife was I think Mary.
Robert seesm to be elusive - I cannot find him on the 1871 and 1881 census returns, nor is there a trace of his marriage - was he abroad for that period? On deeds prepared soon after his death he is described as a snuff manufacturer but in the 1891 census he is a retired merchant (assuming I have the right Robert).
I'd be grateful for any information about Robert and his family.
Robert.I came across this website almost by accident.Gordon Illingworth was my grandfather.His son,my father is still alive and living in Edinburgh,Scotland.I can answer a lot of your questions,and have also built up an incomplete family tree.Despite the surname,I'm not sure if and how we may be related.
Good wishes, Steve Illingworth
I was happy to see your name here - I have in my collection the minutes to a "private meeting" held aboard the first Mauretania in 1934 where C.G. Illingworth was present as Staff Captain. It was apparently a fun record of a drinking club if memory serves.
I'm a little short of articles relating to Mauretania.I have a photograph of C.G. Illingworth on board,dated 1934 and a rather lovely limited edition print of the ship.Curiously I have a good friend whose grandfather, James Boyle, also served on Mauretania at the same time.
We would both be interested in seeing the minutes that you possess.
My grandparents divorced, and Cyril remarried and settled in California.Fortunately,I have some personal items that are important,like his telescope.Many important artefacts have been lost.
I'm interested in building up my family history.
With good wishes,
Many thanks for responding. I will transcribe the minutes I have for you and scan his signature. One page back and front handwritten but good fun and with the signatures of many. Please do not share them but with your friend as they are slated for a project. I would be interested in seeing the photo you mentioned as I believe I may have a few candids of your grandfather as well. It will take me a bit to dig out the minutes but I will get to it. If memory serves he held another position prior to Staff Captain. Please write me at the address in my signature line so I can send the minutes and if you care to share the photo, which would be greatly appreciated.