Sir James Bisset

Bisset Resources Pages

Captain Sir James Bisset

Sir James Bisset was captain of the ocean liner "Queen Mary" during World War Two.  The following photo was taken on the R.M.S Queen Mary, in September 1944.  James Bisset is on the right and Sir Winston Churchill is on the left.

tn073.jpg (1682 bytes)  (To see a bigger version of the photo, click on it.)


The following biographical information is taken from "Who Was Who", Vol VI

Born 15 July 1883, son of James Smith Bisset of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, and Ellen Butler of Liverpool. Married 1913, May Hodgson (no children. Went to sea 1898; joined Cunard 1907; during 1914-18 war served with RNR and commanded destroyers; first Cunard command was RMS Aurania, 1929; 1939-1945 War commanded Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth; Commodore of the Cunard White Star Line 1944-47. CBE, 1942, Kt, 1945; Hon LLD, Cambridge University, 1947, US Legion of Merit, 1949. Died 28 March 1967.

In June 2003, I had an e-mail message from Thorsten Totzke of Germany, who wrote: "I have two corrections to your work. You write (source "Who was Who" Vol VI) that his first Command was the Aurania 1929. This is a mistake because he became the Commander of the Aurania on 13.05.1931. It was only for one cruise. Also, you wrote "...Hon LLD, Cambridge University, 1947". I have [received] just today the information from the University of Cambridge that James Gordon Partridge Bisset was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law by Cambridge University on 31 January 1946 (source: UA Graduati 12/23)."


Sir James's ancestry in the male line is as follows (based on my work - I hope someone else can take it further) :-

  1. Sir James Gordon Partridge Bisset born 15 July 1883 at Everton England, son of James Smith Bisset Bookkeeper and Sarah Helen Butler. Married May Hodgson 1913 (no children).
  2. James Smith Bisset born 10 October 1847 at Blairgowrie fifth of seven children of James Bisset and Susan Smith. Married Sarah Helen Butler 30 June 1881 in Liverpool, England.
  3. James Bisset chr. 23 February 1807 in the parish of Lethendy & Kinloch Scotland, second of 12 children of David Bisset and Jean Nichol. Married Susan Smith at the parish of Clunie Scotland 29 December 1837.
  4. David Bisset (date of birth uncertain - possibly the son of Robert Bisset chr. Blairgowrie Scotland 15 Jan 1764). Married Jean Nichol 3 February 1805 at either Blairgowrie or Lethendy & Kinloch (banns were read in both of these parishes).


Sir James Bisset wrote three volumes of autobiography

- "Sail Ho! My Early Days at Sea", Angus & Robinson, 1958
- "Tramp and Ladies My early days in steamships",  Angus & Robinson, 1959
- "Commodore War, Peace and the Big Ships", Angus & Robinson, 1961


See also James Bisset biography at for a good account of James Bisset's role in the rescue of Titanic survivors.

Posted by Jim Rowe ( contact me )

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