Well, actually, it was just the way my scanner read the photo- in the original one can see that it is a grey front on the bridge being struck by full sunlight, and my scanner heightened the contrast 'til it appeared white.
Here is a photo from "happier times" showing the Aquitania during a November 1931 storm. I don't know anything about the origins of this 10" x 12" photo- it does not bear a studio imprint, nor is it marked by any of the news services. It puts me in mind of that series of photos (1966) taken from the forward superstructure of the Michelangelo showing the wave which caved in the whole front end of the ship rushing towards the photographer- whose shoes I would not like to have been in.
The storm certainly looks bad. Judging from the photo, it's hardly surprising that the storm did so much damage -- by the time Aquitania got back to Southampton, she needed substantial repairs. From memory, the bad weather wrecked 900 rivets. (I can check -- meanwhile, don't quote me.)
As for the origins of your 1931 photograph, this image in my opinion comes from a series of photographs taken by the Aquitania's ships photographer, and was sold on-board during this stormy crossing as I have, (when I can find them) several additional images relating to this crossing in 1931. These is also a series taken during her famous stormy crossing in 1929 that I have copies of somewhere also.
Once I get organized again I will post more on Aquitania.
Since like you I have been dealing with a computer crash and re-installation over the past few weeks that has gotten me behind on reading a lot of my e-mail.
It certainly is annoying when that happens. In my case three years worth of photo files which I did not take the time to store on disc are gone. Fortunately, I still have the originals for 99% of them so it is not a complete loss. And, thanks for the input on that storm photo- at some point I will try to find other prints from this series now that I know they are out there.
To continue on with the "Aquitania's" history, here is a write up and image that I had on a AOL members page a few years back.
"AQUITANIA" - ARMED MERCHANT CRUISER
The history of the "Aquitania's" conversion to an Armed Merchant Cruiser is as follows:
On August 1, 1914, "Aquitania" was requisitioned by her Majesty's government for conversion to an Armed Merchant Cruiser. This was done after "Aquitania" had only completed three round trip voyages from Liverpool to New York.
The maiden voyage being on May 30, 1914. However, the departure took place without the normal press fanfare. As the world and the press were stunned by the loss of the "Impress of Ireland" on the previous day.
"Aquitania" was berthed in Liverpool, at the start of the Great War. And when hostilities started between Germany and Great Britain on August 4, 1914, "Aquitania" was already under conversion to an Armed Merchant Cruiser. And most of her furnishings and fittings had been moved ashore for safe keeping.
With the declaration of war on August 4, 1914, the pace of the work was speed up and "Aquitania's" conversion was completed by August 8, 1914.
For this conversion "Aquitania" was painted with a drab gray camouflage paint, hinged blast shutters were placed over her bridge windows, and her exterior hallways were equipped with plaited-rope splinter curtains. To top this off she was also fitted with 10 6" inch guns.
On August 8, 1914, "Aquitania" left Liverpool for patrol duty in the Irish Sea and North Atlantic. During the third week of her patrol off the Irish coast she collided with the 9,000 ton steamer "Canadian". This collision severely damaged the smaller vessel and crumpled "Aquitania's" stem, along with additional damage to her port side. As result of this damage "Aquitania" was
required to return to Liverpool for investigation of the damage and repairs.
While "Aquitania" was being repaired at Liverpool the "Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse" a converted german liner was sunk by the "HMS Highflyer" on August 27, and the "Cap Trafalger" was sunk by the "Carmania" (after which "Carmania" was severely damaged and had to be withdrawn from service), on September 14, 1914.
The Admiralty as result of these liner sinkings desided not to risk the "Aquitania" in the same way. "Aquitania" and "Mauretania" were then withdrawn from military service and stripped of their guns. Both liners were then laid up until a more suitable role for them could be found.
In May, 1915, "Aquitania" left on duties as a troop transport to and from the Dardanelles, after she was painted with a dazzle paint scheme.
Thus ended "Aquitania's" role as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. "Aquitania" went on to play an important role in the First World War as a Troop Transport and Hospital Ship.
Now getting back to the postcard. It is a real photo-image of the "Aquitania" in the Liverpool dry-dock. But what is interesting is that there is a lot of furniture & fixtures on the pier not to mention several lifeboats which are being inspected.
But the true piece of history in this real photo is there is a 6" GUN on her foredeck.
Now the next interesting thing is the postmark and text of the postcard.
Liverpool, AUGUST 3, 1914
Dear Aunt Yanny:
I hope you are both well, we are very well at present, and are staying here for a week. Have just been to see this large ship they are getting her ready -- for the war. Liverpool, seems very busy it is a very nice place
Love from all, L. Dennis
So the interesting thing here is that the british had the "Aquitania" in dry-dock on or before August 3, 1914, when this postcard was mailed and had off loaded her furniture and fixtures and on loaded some of her 6" guns.
The guns were on the "Aquitania" on or before August 3, 1914, and war was declared on
August 4, 1914.
Am Image of History
Now for a closeup of the unmounted 6" Gun on her foredeck. (Sorry but due to the image limitations on ET I can't do much better)
You might want to try and locate [all I believe being reprints from the Shipbuilder] a copy of:
Ocean Liners of the Past: Aquitania.
It is part of a series. Other volumes include: Olympic & Titanic; Lusitania & Mauretania and the Queen Mary.
Thanks very much for the information folks. You've been most helpful, I also enjoy the photos you are all posting. Keep it up! Those shipbuilder special number reprints are always a good source of information, but wow are they expensive. Seems to me the Aquitania reprints that I have seen are especially expensive. I wonder why? Thanks again.
For those interested on some of the Aquitania's history, there is a nice article on www.greatoceanliners.net with photos including a color photo of the Aquitania in her grey paint scheme before scrapping. One of the crowing centerpieces of my collection is a carved oak capital from the Aquitania's Second Class Smoking Lounge, removed in 1951 when she was scrapped. Regards - Eddie Petruskevich