Bill Lee  Lives in Monroe North Carolina USA

Matsonia in May 1947

Matsonia 1956


Good morning, Carol!   Your very nice website was recommended to me by Steve Mulliss.   While my personal interest is the AMERICA /AUSTRALIS, I did enjoy reviewing your efforts to remember 'your' ship, and I wanted to tell you that - plus pass on some little-known historical information about the MONTEREY/MATSONIA/LURLINE/BRITANIS.
I was serving an apprenticeship at Newport News Shipbuilding in the latter half of the 1950's, and was privileged to see (and go aboard) MATSONIA when she was there for major conversion work.   Her old 'straight stem' bow was cut off and replaced with a then-more modern 'clipper bow' - which is the way I suppose you remember her.   When I visited her, the interiors had been completely gutted and most of her machinery had been removed for rework in the shops.   After a year of intensive work, she was completely rebuilt and went back into service.
Many people questioned why the ship was towed from San Francisco to Virginia, then sailed back to the Pacific for service.   Well, one reason was that in those post war years, the Newport News yard needed work, so they bid aggressively to help keep their people employed.   Another reason was that the extent of work required exceeded the capability of any west coast shipyard.   And, NNS had (and still has) a reputation for doing some of the finest marine work that money can buy - and many of the craftsmen that worked on her interiors had previously worked on the UNITED STATES.
I share your feelings that her demise was more fitting than so many others that are ignobly reduced to scrap.   
Regards - Bill Lee    

Bills latest contribution A Sea Farers Salute inspired by Sergey Tyumentsev's story

Bill Lee's BiographyAMERICA�s Unofficial Historian