This film is part of Free

Liberté Liner

Cruising into the history books SS Liberté makes its final voyage stopping at Plymouth en route to Le Havre.

Current affairs 1961 5 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Lord Mayor of Plymouth Arthur Goldberg is received aboard for the last ever stop for ocean liner SS Liberté. Liberté began life as the North German Lloyd liner SS Europa but was claimed by the French as war reparations. By 1950 following a refit by the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique also known as Transat, the Liberté began sailing the route from New York to Le Havre with a stopover at Plymouth. ABC reporter Mary Lenowski and Captain Ferenberg are interviewed.

The liner had sail-on parts in movies including musical The French Line (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and Sabrina (1954). French Line ocean liners were popular for their luxury interiors and decor, fine dining and excellent service. They were the cruise liner of choice for African American actors and singers travelling to perform in Europe because they faced less prejudice aboard at a time of segregation and burgeoning civil rights in the US. Commercial airlines took over transatlantic routes and cut journey times but a nostalgia for ocean liner heritage means many items have been saved by museums around the world. Liberté was laid up and scrapped at La Spezia in Italy in 1963.