RMS Aquitania The Ship Beautiful

Aug 8, 2007
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Mark, I am also greatly looking forward to this one. I have your other three books and the quality of the information and research is second to none. Aquitania has been largely ignored so far as detailed books on her history go, and your book will certainly help fill that gap. My highest compliments to you and your work!

Any comments as to your next project?

Russell
 
Jan 5, 2001
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I appreciate all the very kind comments, Michael, Tarn, Mark, Jason and Russell. They mean a lot to me.

Michael wrote:
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Your latest work, on the Majestic, was a fine piece of work. I especially enjoyed the photos which went along with the text.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Michael. Majestic has been such a forgotten ship in so many ways — the largest and fastest liner White Star ever operated, indeed the largest ship in service for over a decade, and often the most popular ship afloat in the 1920s. Her history is fascinating, even if her career was all too short. I am just glad you enjoyed the book, and hope that it serves as a concise tribute to the ‘Magic Stick.’

Tarn wrote:
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I am eager to see the colour photos of the Aquitania- Until now, the only published colour photos of Aquitania I have seen were in the book 'Majesty At Sea-The Four Stackers."
Steven would know better than I, but I don’t think there have been more than ten colour Aquitania photos that have been published widely — if that. That’s why I am so grateful to the gentleman who allowed me to use the colour slides, and also Eric’s work on ensuring that they are shown to their full potential. All in all, I think there were almost 40 colour images, but due to space it was necessary to be selective (isn’t it always?) and the finest were chosen; there were at least 30 submitted. There is one particularly stunning image, taken from the ship’s stern, and the quality is very high. It shows Aquitania at Halifax, and the scene is reminiscent of seeing Titanic’s stern in the departure from Southampton in the Cameron film.

Jason wrote:
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I'll add my thanks to you as well for all your efforts. I really enjoyed your RMS Olympic book, and cannot wait to see your latest venture!
I am pleased that you liked it, Jason. After all, that makes writing it worthwhile! I trust the new book lives up to expectations for you, as well.

Russell wrote:
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Aquitania has been largely ignored so far as detailed books on her history go, and your book will certainly help fill that gap. My highest compliments to you and your work! Any comments as to your next project?
I really hope that you enjoy the book, Russell. I certainly know it’s got original research and new information in it, although due to the format there was a natural limit on content. There’s probably enough Aquitania material to write a six-volume series on her, like Frank Braynard did with Leviathan!

I appreciate your interest in my future work. At present, I have two detailed specification files — one on Olympic, one on Majestic — which will be uploaded (as articles) onto my website in the near future. There are a number of articles — varying enormously in length — that will be published in 2008, including some for the THS, TI and ITHS. It’s intended to offer them online at a suitable time after that. The subjects vary enormously, from an analysis of what I call the ‘66,000 ton myth’ (Olympic’s displacement) for ITHS; to an article co-authored with Sam Halpern about Titanic for the THS; a paper co-authored with Paul Lee about the Gigantic/Britannic debate (first started on my own back in 2003) for the THS; an original Olympic article for the THS; an original (and, I believe, extremely intriguing) Titanic piece for TI, and one or two others.

I am also working on several additional articles at the moment, although I don’t yet know when they will be finished or ready for publication. One (for Britannic) was started back in 2005, for instance. Another, recent, one will examine aspects of Majestic’s career, and I am also taking a look at her time as Caledonia in 1937-39. I have been fortunate to make contact with several gentlemen — now in their mid to late eighties — who have generously donated material (photographs, documents) and shared their memories of their time as cadets dating back to 1938. I may be able to put one or two Homeric items up on my website, as well, but her early life is in many ways a black hole — as Ray Lepien discovered — in existing (or non-existent) German records. She may be the product of a short article, but not an illustrated book, at some time in the future. (I hope someone else out there may be researching her because I know an interested publisher!)

In the longer term, I hope to convince my publisher to give the go-ahead for a revised and expanded ‘Olympic’ class ships edition for 2012 (to pick a random date!), perhaps with a colour section in the middle like that one used in the Olympic book. It has many strengths, and it’s my hope that in a revised edition I can seek to eliminate many of its weaknesses (for instance, some secondary sources cited introduced demonstrable errors into the text) and substantially improve the work. Given that it’s easier to revise an existing book than write an entirely new one, my efforts may succeed…

Generally, my interest and research continues and I’m sure there’ll be future projects on the horizon. There’s still a lot of ‘Olympic’ class, Majestic and Aquitania research to analyse and I will keep writing articles and so on. However, I wouldn’t discount seeing another illustrated-format book from me in the next four years.

Best wishes,

Mark.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I hope to convince my publisher to give the go-ahead for a revised and expanded ‘Olympic’ class ships edition for 2012 <<

Random huh? Riiiiight!
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Actually, that would be about the best time and I'm sure there has to be some new material you feel a need to add to the work. It's amazing what you can find in some dusty archives and newspaper morgues if you're willing to dig deep enough.

I think you may be on to something with producing books on some amazingly obscure ships. The Olympic and Aquatania were quite famous in their time as was the Majestic. Need I also mention the Berengeria (hint hint.) aka "Rostron's Express?"

With all the noise and fury over the Titanic these days, these great ships are all but forgotten and they deserve better.
 

Eric Longo

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"...and also Eric’s work on ensuring that they are shown to their full potential."

Dear Mark,

I hope everyone will be as pleased with my restorations as you were!
Carefully color correcting each slide back to its original appearance was rather like being the first to see the old gal in over half a century. It was quite a privilege to be selected for this most challenging restoration work and I thank Mark for this unique opportunity. I utilized every skill I have honed from restoring and correcting 1939 New York World's Fair Kodachrome slides and other vintage prints to produce images I expect will thrill all.
The finished images we selected for inclusion in his book are simply the finest and most evocative photographs of her I have ever seen. Magnificent slides in terms of composition and needing only minor cropping, they provide a great variety of extremely unusual vantages both on board and off this great liner. Thanks to the skill of the original photographer and with the subsequent color correction the slides appear, much to my delight, to have been taken only yesterday.
Hats off to Mark for writing this stunning book and locating such amazing photographs. The images provide a very rare glimpse into the life of this ship that is sure to intrigue anyone interested in this period, not to mention the Aquitania which, combined with Mark's excellent text, lives again.

Best wishes,
Eric
 
Feb 14, 2011
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I have a hunch we will all be blown away by the Aquitania book- Mark, is it best to order it from you via your website, or via Ebay?

Here is a question- given the fact Aquitania had such a long life- was she ever used as a set (either exterior or interior) for any films?

Just as the France (1912) completed her maiden voyage just after the Titanic sank (and thus was eclipsed in the papers by stories of the Titanic) I read the Aquitania completed her maiden voyage right after the Empress of Ireland went down...I wonder if the Empress sinking distracted public attention from Aquitania's maiden voyage...
Cunard knew White Star had the Gigantic/Britannic in the stocks- so I wonder if they had toyed with the idea of building even a bigger ship...Of course WW1 changed priorities for everyone..
 
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You've got me sussed, Michael. Random...indeed!

Absolutely -- there's a lot of new material that I could add, and at the same time some material that has been superseded and can be removed. After all, the book is pretty long already!

Eric, I appreciate all your valuable work, as you know. I am sure others will, and I trust that the photos will be printed to a very high standard. If nothing else, it'll be a good picture book for anyone who does not want to read the text!

I am grateful for your interest, Tarn. I intend to sell signed copies on ebay when the time comes. As for film sets, I'll defer to a film expert!

Aquitania did end up being somewhat larger than early proposals, but bear in mind that her structural design and specification had been approved in 1910 and her keel laid in June 1911 -- some months prior to Britannic's. Interestingly, her gross tonnage fell somewhat below the estimate of 47,000 gross tons seen in 1913 publicity material.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 
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I always wondered had Britannic had seen a full life, would she have proven stiff competition for Aquitania? I supppose we'll never know...
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Mark if you do add new info about Olympic's career, you might want to expand on the horrific storm that battered her hull in 1921...
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I always wondered had Britannic had seen a full life, would she have proven stiff competition for Aquitania? I supppose we'll never know...<<

In concert with the Olympic, which remained a popular and well loved ship throughout her service life, I think both would have given Aquatania and Mauritania a run for their money. The Olympic still managed to do that much running solo.
 
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Tarn, I appreciate both your suggestion and the information about that incident that you kindly sent to me.

I certainly do intend to use it. My problem is finding the time to make available the information I have.
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Best wishes,

Mark.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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Mark Writes:

>>Steven would know better than I, but I don’t think there have been more than ten colour Aquitania photos that have been published widely — if that. That’s why I am so grateful to the gentleman who allowed me to use the colour slides, and also Eric’s work on ensuring that they are shown to their full potential. All in all, I think there were almost 40 colour images, but due to space it was necessary to be selective (isn’t it always?) and the finest were chosen; there were at least 30 submitted. There is one particularly stunning image, taken from the ship’s stern, and the quality is very high. It shows Aquitania at Halifax, and the scene is reminiscent of seeing Titanic’s stern in the departure from Southampton in the Cameron film.<<

Mark, I know I asked the question of what color images people knew of, a few years back on the Cunard Line Aquitania tread. At that time I think I had listed about 14 or 15 known color images that had been published. The number of known color images had gone up greatly over the last few years. I think you obtained some of your color images for your book, from the same source that I purchased a few of mine from.

Speaking of stearn images did you see the color image of her in Southampton awaiting the trip to the breakers unbelievable. Also the color images of her at the breakers yard. Another great image was the full color image of her on the way to the breakers yard that appeared in the Illustrated London News - I had to pay $20 pounds to get my hands on this newspaper to get a copy of that image. But the best color images I have ever seen were color video of her de-comissioning and flag lowering. A cut version of this was on U-Tube a few months ago.

I am looking forward to see any new images of this grand old lady that I am currently not aware of.

Here is a Aquitania trivia question for you:

Aquitania appeared on the cover of a "very" famous American Magazine - Name the Magazine and when. - Hint - Queen Mary also appeared on the cover of this magazine.

By the Way - both images are increadable.

Mark, I know you have seen some of the rare images of Aquitania I have in my collection.

I will post a few here for others to see since we are now on the topic of the Aquitania. (Images are of smaller size and quality)

Photographic Postcard - Aquitinia in Construction on Stocks - S. Anderson Postcard Collection

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Photographic Postcard Aquitania Pre-Launch - S. Anderson Postcard Collection

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Rare Photographic Postcard of Aquitania on Stocks - Pre Launch.

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One off - Photographic Postcard Image of Launch - S. Anderson Postcard Collection

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Stern View Postcard of Launch - S. Anderson Postcard Collection

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Bow View Postcard image of Aquitania Launch - S. Anderson Collection.

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Postcard image of Aquitania in Fitting Out Basin - S. Anderson Collection

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I could go on and on so to say as there are currently over 500 + Aquitania Postcards in my collection before I even get in the the photographs.

This last image is from a series of one off photographic postcards of the Aquitania leaving the Clyde. I have several images that look like this but they are all different as the Aquitania and tugs are further and further down the Clyde.

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That is all for now enjoy.

Mark, I await the book with great antisipation.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Steven,

Thanks for your response.

quote:

Mark, I know I asked the question of what color images people knew of, a few years back on the Cunard Line Aquitania tread. At that time I think I had listed about 14 or 15 known color images that had been published. The number of known color images had gone up greatly over the last few years. I think you obtained some of your color images for your book, from the same source that I purchased a few of mine from.
It looks like my estimate of ten was a little outdated. Even so, the figures we have now very much reinforce your comments, in that there are well over double 15 colour photos that are now known. I would suspect we may have known of these images from the same source; of course, I did not buy any of them. I used digital scans with the owner’s permission, as that was more than sufficient for the book and my purpose.

The stern image is indeed amazing. I did see the Youtube footage, and that was a real sight to behold. It is incredible to see her moving in gorgeous colour.

Given your extensive collection, I suspect you’ll have seen almost all of the images in the book. Having said that, there are many rare images included and so there may be some that are new to you which you will enjoy.

quote:

Here is a Aquitania trivia question for you:

Aquitania appeared on the cover of a "very" famous American Magazine - Name the Magazine and when. - Hint - Queen Mary also appeared on the cover of this magazine.
I’m afraid I can’t answer that offhand. An American reader may be better than me, as I am not up to speed on American publications.

Thanks for sharing all these wonderful images. I hope that other ET readers appreciate them as much as I have. Thanks also for your kind comments on the book. As you know, I appreciate the help you gave me.

Best wishes,

Mark.​
 
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Absolutely, Tarn, and there are many examples.

On the last day of 1924 she arrived in New York some thirty hours late, having encountered hurricanes and waves that smashed over the bridge.

In January 1944, Aquitania descended from the crest of a wave and the stern rose above the surface. The exposed propellers caused the propeller shafts to accelerate. There's a vibrant account in my book.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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The other day I asked:

Here is a Aquitania trivia question for you:

Aquitania appeared on the cover of a "very" famous American Magazine - Name the Magazine and when. - Hint - Queen Mary also appeared on the cover of this magazine.

By the Way - both images are increadable.


The anwser for you Mark:

Life Magazine - "Atlantic Convoy" - July 27, 1942 issue

As for the Queen Mary she appeared on the cover of the April 19, 1937 issue and again As a lead story on the cover of the October 6, 1967 issue - A Sentimental Journey - Last Crossing of the Queen Mary.

Also the Lusitania appeared on the cover of the October 13, 1972 issue.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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Tarn:

I know also the Aquitania encountered a bad storm in September, 1930 as there are a series of images that were taken by the ship's photographer of this storm.

If I remember correctly Brian Hawley had a couple of these images for sale on his sight

www.Luxurylinerrow.com
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Steven is quite right with regard to the September 1930 storm. There’s at least one photo in the book.

We could examine almost any year and find a horrific storm. As far as 1930 goes, at the end of 1930 Aquitania arrived at Soton (December 19th 1930). Heavy weather had been encountered and damage included a number of portholes — from G to D-deck — all smashed.

It was at this time that problems were being caused by the new suites. In 1926, the original raised section of the B-deck promenade was removed, and the interior bulkheads were brought out to the original edge of the raised section of deck. This allowed new, large suites to be fitted for first class passengers. However, by 1930-31, cracking was evident on both sides of the ship, beneath the original edge of the raised deck. Several windows had cracks at the corners, while the same was true for door openings. A number of cracked deck girders required repairs.

Best wishes,

Mark.