News from 1937-38: Majestic II becomes RMS Caledonia


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Mark Baber

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The New York Times, 10 April 1938

LINER MAJESTIC SERVES AS NAVAL TRAINING SHIP
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Few passengers who knew the old White Star liner Majestic, once famous as the largest ship in the world, would recognize H. M. S. Caledonia, now serving as a British naval training ship at Rosyth dockyard near Edinburgh. Yet the Caledonia is no more than the old Majestic, sold out of the merchant service and made over to meet the requirements of the 2,000 Scottish boys who now live in her during their training year.

Her old first-class lounge and the French restaurant on A deck are now a huge gymnasium. All her old cabins on B and C decks have been thrown together into big classrooms by removing their partitions. On D and E decks the boys now swing their hammocks at night. The old first-class dining saloon is now the messroom of boys training for the seamen's branch; the old second-class saloon is the messroom of the engine-room apprentices; the same galley, once presided over by French chefs, serves them both. Guns used for instruction are mounted aft on the old third-class promenade deck and the old wireless room has been enlarged to accommodate signaling classes of 200 boys.

The engine-room and the Pompeian pool seem to be the only parts of the ship that have not been changed.

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The New York Times, 21 March 1937

EVENTS OF INTEREST IN SHIPPING WORLD
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56,000 Ton Majestic Being Converted Into a Training Vessel

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The former Cunard White Star liner Majestic, with a tonnage of 56,000, will soon sail from Southampton for Rosyth to become a training ship for 2,000 cadets, Captain William [sic; should be "John"] Binks will take the ship to the Clyde on what will probably be her last voyage. Morris Evans will be in charge of the engine room. It is understood that the engines have been overhauled at Southampton and that her speed will be increased.

The liner's interior has been ripped out and fitted up for the cadets, and guns have been installed on her decks.

[The balance of this article is irrelevant for present purposes and has not been transcribed.]

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Mark Baber

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The New York Times, 8 April 1937

MAJESTIC CONVERTED INTO A TRAINING SHIP
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Once Proud Liner Sails Today to 'Exile' Off Rosyth, Scotland---Will Accommodate 2,000
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Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES
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LONDON, April 7---Many who knew the liner Majestic when she was the largest and proudest vessel flying the British flag will look on sadly as she sails tomorrow from Southampton harbor into "exile" off Rosyth, Scotland.

Although she has been saved from the fate that befell the Homeric, the Mauretania and the Olympic, which long ago were sold for scrap, she probably will never again pit her 56,600 tons against an angry sea.

Extensive alterations have been completed, converting her into a training ship for Britain's naval cadets, and hereafter, rechristened H. M. S. Caledonia, she will ride comfortably at anchor on the placid inland waters of the Firth of Forth.

For more than a dozen years the mighty Majestic reigned supreme, but with the launching of the more modern superliner Queen Mary her doom was sealed. Because of her. great size, limited docking facilities restricted her sphere of further usefulness, so after a time the liner was sold for scrap. Breakers were in the midst of the work of tearing out the elaborate fixtures when the Admiralty issued a reprieve.

The Majestic will now be commissioned on April 23 and will accommodate 1,500 youths and 500 artificers and apprentices. The estimated cost of purchase and conversion was about £391,000. Stateroom partitions have been broken down to provide large classrooms as well as barracks.

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