R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth 1940-1968


Located in Torrance, California (about 30 minutes south of Los Angeles), are a number of important artifacts from the Queen Elizabeth.  Torrance might seem like a strange place for these artifacts to be on display, but had the Elizabeth entered the service C.Y. Tung intended, she would have been based in Los Angeles.  With that in mind, this monument to the liner was erected outside a building once owned by Mr. Tung.


One of the Elizabeths anchors.

One of the “Qs” from her bow.

One of the “Es” from her bow.

The text of a letter written by the Private Secretary of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, written after the liner burned. (See below for full text.)

A letter from Edmond G. Brown, Jr., the Governor of California when this memorial was erected. (See below for full text.)

A brief, but not-too-accurate, history of the liner. (See below for full text.)


Clarence House



13th January 1972


Dear Mr. Tung,


I am to tell you how deeply distressed Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother is at the disaster which has overtaken the liner which was launched by Her Majesty and bore her name.


Ever since Her Majesty learnt of the plans you had for Seawise University, Queen Elizabeth had felt a very keen interest in your enterprise and hoped from her heart that the great liner would have many years of useful service.  Alas, it seems that this is not to be and the Queen Mother asks me to send you her very sincere sympathy in the tragedy which has anyhow temporarily dashed your hopes.


Your sincerely,


Martin Gilliat


Private Secretary to

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother


State of California

Governor's Office

Sacramento, 95814

Dear Mr. Tung,

I am pleased to join in dedicating this monument to the liner R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth.  The ship had a proud and long history.  And the monument is truly a tribute to her services in war and peace.

Sincerely, Edmund G. Brown, Jr.


The R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth, 83,673 gross tons was the biggest and fastest passenger liner ever built.  She contributed valuable service as a troop carrier during World War II.  In peace she served as a blue-ribboned passenger ship for two decades.  Mr. C.Y. Tung of Seawise Foundation acquired her and renamed her “Seawise University,” but she was destroyed by fire in Hongkong Harbor on January 9, 1972 as her renovation and conversion was about to be completed.  Her projected work as a floating university has been taken up by the S.S. “Universe Campus” based in Los Angeles.  Her bow initials  “Q” and  “E” and her anchor are placed here in Los Angeles County appropriately as a memento of her service unrivalled in shipping history.

All images courtesy of the Eric Sauder Collection unless otherwise noted.


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