New Churchill Exhibit Celebrates Queen Mary’s 50 Years in Long Beach

History buffs and ship enthusiasts were given free admission on board the Queen Mary on Saturday, December 9 to commemorate the vessel’s 50th anniversary in Long Beach.

Originally built as a luxury cruise ship, the Queen Mary was converted into a troopship at the beginning of World War II and painted a camouflage silver, earning it the nickname “Grey Ghost”. With the capacity to transport 16,000 troops at 30 knots, she was the largest and fastest troopship of her time.

Winston Churchill’s great granddaughter, Jennie Churchill dedicated the newly opened Churchill Exhibit “Their Finest Hour”, to the 810,000 Allied troops and personnel the Queen Mary carried during the war.

“The Churchill exhibit contains many authentic and reproduced articles used by my great grandfather as he helped guide our nation and the free world during difficult times,” Jennie Churchill said in a statement.

The Queen Mary was arguably the former British Prime Minister’s favorite ship and the exhibit explores his deep connection with it and features both original and reproductions of personal items and artifacts. According to Cambridge University College Archivist Allen Packwood, Churchill made at least 10 known voyages in both peace and wartime, while records show some of the purchases he made included cigars, whiskey, champagne and stationery supplies.

“Once aboard, he did the ordinary things of life including buying new shoes and replenishing his writing materials,” Churchill said in a statement. “That he also bought toys and a camera as gifts for others says much about the person many consider to be the greatest statesman of the 20th century.”

Also featured in the exhibit are the Churchill war room bunkers, cabinet rooms and staterooms designed for the war drama film “Darkest Hour”. The reproductions mimic the rooms where Churchill and his staff strategized against the Nazis. Attendees were treated to a free viewing of the exhibit as well as lectures on the ship’s history, deck games and a tea party.

For more information on viewing the exhibit click here or call (877) 347-0742.

The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway.

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