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Washington and Manhattan
PLENTY of competition for British and foreign liners on the North Atlantic in the 1930s was provided by two US Lines' ships, Washington and Manhattan, both more than 24,000 tons each.
Although scrapped in the early 1960s memories of both ships remain. In fact the famous Manhattan cocktail was named after the ship.
Manhattan was the first to be launched on December 5, 1931 and Washington followed in August, 1932.
Each was more than 700 feet long and were the biggest to have been built in the United States at the time.
Their route was from New York to Hamburg, with calls at Plymouth or Southampton, and Le Havre.
On the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 both Washington and Manhattan were moved to a zone of greater safety, the Genoa to New York route.
Washington, however put into Galway Bay in 1940 to embark 2,000 Americans anxious to get home.
During the voyage a U-boat stopped the liner and passengers were ordered to the boats.
After the submarine captain had confirmed the identity of the ship and her passengers, he let them continue on their voyage, shaken but unharmed.
When America entered the war both ships became troopers, Manhattan as Wakefield and Washington renamed Mount Vernon.
As Mount Vernon she was the first US liner to carry British troops on a voyage from Halifax to Singapore in November 1941.
Altogether during the war she carried 315,000 troops as well as GI brides from Southampton to America in 1946.
After the war Washington began plying the North Atlantic again as a tourist ship, with a minimum fare of £43 13s (£43.65p) for the Southampton to New York run.