Another ‘Queen Mary’ anecdote. (1955)

QM Med

I was a curious and observant young man with a lot of spare time on my several Atlantic crossings. Of course I wanted to explore the whole ship, but class distinction was very strict indeed for, as I mentioned, if the prime minister or a member of the royal family were crossing, they would also be on the ship, in first class.

I discovered an unmarked door that led to steps for the crew and up them I found myself in cabin class. A good start and enough for a while. The real breakthrough came when I watched as a stewardess walked straight through a door at the end of a corridor that I had just discovered “locked”. What a puzzle! I waited a few minutes and went back to try again. Still the door didn’t open. Something odd; she hadn’t used a key or delayed for a moment. There must be a trick. I discovered that if I turned the handle the “wrong” way the door opened for me…. and I was in first class!

Thereafter the whole of the passenger accommodation of the ship was open to me and on later voyages I showed my younger brothers round. Of course, the crew knew we were out of place, but we were awed and very respectful and they just kept a discreet eye on us and never spoke to us.

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