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From the Titanic to the Queen Mary 2: The story of the ships

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:19 am
by Andrew Clarkson
Eighty-one years ago this week the RMS Queen Elizabeth (above) was launched by her namesake, later the Queen Mother.

As well as being one of the most luxurious ocean liners ever, the Queen Elizabeth, along with her Cunard sister ship the Queen Mary, was also responsible for transatlantic mail transit.

BT’s forerunner, the GPO, was central to UK communications, contracting ships to deliver mail across the ocean from the early Victorian era. Here’s a look at the rich history of Royal Mail Ships.

The first mail ships.

The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) distinction was first awarded in 1841.

Originally, RMS vessels were run by the Admiralty as part of a contract with newly-formed Royal Mail Steam Packet Company (RMSPC). It provided 14 purpose-built vessels for the service.

The first RMS ships were named after British rivers (Thames, Trent, Severn, Avon, for example) and sailed to Barbados twice a month. From 1850 a South American route was added.

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