QE2 was never RMS (Royal Mail Ship)

April 14th 2013 by Rob Lightbody.  Content provided and vouched for by Michael Gallagher, Cunard Historian and QE2 Captain Ian McNaught, now Depute Master and Executive Chairman for Trinity House

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The purpose of this article, is to put to rest once and for all, the misconception that QE2 was an RMS like her predecessors and successor.  I spoke to Michael Gallagher at Cunard who told me he has seen a letter from Sir Basil, mentioned below, and is trying to get hold of a copy for me.  It is in the Cunard archives in Liverpool.  I then spoke to Captain Ian McNaught... read on!

Here's the explanation and proof...

A direct Quote from QE2 Captain Ian McNaught

You are correct, Sir Basil Smallpiece wanted the “ship of tomorrow, today” to quote him, so boring old fashioned terms like RMS were not sexy enough for him, so on the original Cert of Registry she is described as a steamship, after re engining she was then described as TSMV, twin screw motor vessel, and then when the new form of Cert of Registry was introduced in the 90s she was described on there as a motor vessel, but never in her life did she have any letters of designation in front of her name, she was always just written as or called, Queen Elizabeth 2 on all her official paper work and certificates. 

People have written all sorts in books though as you well know.   She did carry mail on the odd occasion, I can remember taking mail to St.Helena when we did calls there, and we did have a mail pennant which we flew, but she was never re designated for the odd voyage where mail was carried, she was still just QE2, the greatest ship in the world !!


So there you have it. There is no doubt that many people, including her own crew, mistakenly referred to her as RMS throughout her service life, and continue to do so, but this does not make it correct.  To discuss this topic, please click here to go to the forum topic about it.