TDISH: Safety Precautions Lead to Tragedy

On October 2, 1942, the ocean liner the RMS Queen Mary was sailing to Glasgow, Scotland carrying some 20,000 American troops to fight in Europe during World War II.  The mighty ship was escorted by the HMS Curacoa, a light cruiser, to protect the Queen Mary from German U-Boat attacks.  The Queen Mary was also engaging in a classic zig-zag pattern meant to make targeting by U-Boats difficult.  However, the Curacoa was not zig-zagging, and, since it was slower than the ocean liner, the zigs eventually caught up with the 800px-RMS_Queen_Mary_20Jun1945_NewYork.jpegcruiser’s straight line.  The two ships collided and the Queen Mary “sliced the cruiser in two like a piece of butter, straight through the six inch armoured plating.”  The ocean liner continued on since there was a standing order to not help stricken ships due to fears of lurking submarines.  The British admiralty were attempting to avoid a Lusitania-type disaster that struck them during World War I.  All of these safety precautions led to the tragic deaths of nearly 250 crewmen aboard the HMS Curacoa.

Featured Image: “HMS Curacoa.” By Unknown – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//17/media-17788/large.jpgThis is photograph A 5808 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums., Public Domain.
Image 1. “RMS Queen Mary.” By USN – U.S. Navy photo 80-GK-5645; U.S. Defense Visual Information Photo HD-SN-99-03026 [1]. The negative is available at NARA, Public Domain.
Source: Johnson, Alfred. “HMS Curacao Tragedy.” BBC – WWII People’s Home. 11 June 2004.
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