1942: Wreck of the SS Normandie

“SS Normandie entered service in 1935 as the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat. Her novel design and lavish interiors led many to consider her the greatest of ocean liners. Normandie held the Blue Riband for the fastest transatlantic crossing at several points during her service career.

“During World War II, Normandie was seized by US authorities at New York and renamed USS Lafayette. In 1942, the liner caught fire while being converted to a troopship, capsized onto her port side and came to rest on the mud of the Hudson River. Although salvaged at great expense, restoration was deemed too costly and she was scrapped in October 1946.”

- Wikipedia

7 Responses

  1. Syglinch

    Footage of this wreck was used by Alfred Hitchcock in his film ‘Saboteur’, which apparently angered the Navy quite a bit.

  2. R

    Is that ice in the Hudson? Can’t remember the last time I’ve seem that much of it anywhere near NYC.

  3. Gene

    What a shame-the “Normandie” was the most elegant ship of her age-it was 100% Art Deco! I believe that many of the ships interior panels, furnishings were salvaged-they are worth a fortune today!

  4. Tim Douglass

    As I understand it, the fire broke out after all, or most all, of the interior furnishings and decorations had been removed and stored. At one point I think there was discussion of using them in another ship, but I don’t know what eventually happened to them. It would sure be interesting to track down some of the panels and sculptures because the pictures I’ve seen of the interior are flat out incredible.

    • James

      It’s true, some of the furniture had already been taken off the ship. Many were reused by the French Line on the Liberte after the war (the pre-war German Europa, which was awarded to them by the Allies).

      Items can be found all over the place. A few decorative panels are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is (or at least was) a bar at the Chicago Hilton furnished with lots of Normandie items, and other pieces turn up now and then.


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