5th May 1919 – US Navy commissions USS Imperator

imperator stern with stars n stripesThe Allied Control Commission had a large pool of ex-German liners available to them following the Armistice. Imperator was temporarily allocated by the Allied Control Commission to the United States on 27th April 1919, to be used to repatriate American service­men from the battlefields of Europe. Having been stuck in the river mud for over four years, four weeks of dredging was needed to free her. Once the boilers were lit the engines were found to be in a reason­able condition, and she sailed for Brest.

uss imp and levi at new yorkOn 4th May 1919 she officially became USS Imperator, a Navy Trans­port, and was formally com­miss­ioned at 1.00pm on 5th May 1919 as Transport No. 4080. Over the next few days she was refitted to carry 1,000 officers, 966 NCOs and 7,939 enlisted men, with a crew of 2,200 US Navy officers and men. Leviathan, which had already been converted to a troopship, arrived at Brest on 13th May and a number of experienced officers and crew were transferred to USS Imperator. Troops began boarding both liners for the journey home.

5th May 1935 – trials begin for CGT’s Normandie

with minotaure at joubertOn Sunday 5th May 1935 Normandie was ready for sea. In the afternoon the engineers started up the engines: at 5.00pm she eased away from the quay, and with the assist­ance of harbour tugs moved out into the Atlantic. Speed trials were per­formed over a measured course at Les Glénans, off the south coast of Brittany, on Monday and Tuesday. This was followed by handling trials. Normandie reached 30·156, 32·125 and 31·925 knots over three consecutive runs, without some of the boilers being fired up.

aerial on trialsTests included 8 hours continuous sailing in the Atlantic, during which she reached an average speed of 30·894 knots. There were three days of manœuvering and emergency hand­ling trials, and equipment testing. Fuel con­sumption was even lower than expected. As soon as the trials were completed,  Normandie headed for Le Havre, arriving on 11th May, where Captain Pugnet docked the massive liner without needing tugs, which were only used to swing the liner round as she entered the harbour.