Aquitania (1914)
HMS / HMHS Aquitania

Owner:
Cunard Line
Liverpool, England

Builder:
John Brown & Company
Clydebank, Scotland
Ordered:
December 8, 1910
Keel Laid:
June 5, 1911
Year Built:
1914
Launched:
April 21, 1913
Sister Ships:
None
Maiden Voyage:
May 30 - June 5, 1914
Liverpool - New York
Fate:
Scrapped at Faslane, Scotland 1950.


Dimensions, machinery and performance

Length:
901'
Engines:
4 Parsons direct drive steam turbines (b)
Beam:
97'
Boilers:
21 double ended (coal fired) (c)
Draft:
36'
Shafts:
4
Tons:
45,647 GRT
HP:
62,000
Speed:
23 knots
Crew:
972
Funnels:
4
Passengers:
3,230 (a)
Masts:
2

Construction notes:
(a):
2,200 after 1926.
(b):
3 high pressure and 1 low pressure. Built by John Brown & Co.
(c):
Converted to oil burning in 1919-20.


Armament carried in World War 1
Number Carried
Type
Arrangement
Maximum Range / Ceiling
10
6"/45 (15.2cm)
Single mounts
14,600 yards @ 20° (8.2 miles)



Armament carried in World War 2
Number Carried
Type
Arrangement
Maximum Range / Ceiling
1
6"
Single mount
Unknown caliber and model of gun used
3
5"
Single mounts
Unknown caliber and model of gun used
Unknown
20mm
Single mounts
Unknown caliber and model of gun used
Unknown
40mm/56
Single mounts
10,750 yards @ 45°
AA ceiling 23,500'


Captains
From
To
Name
May 1914
William T. Turner (first capt.)
George Gibson
Capt. James T. Charles (during the Shaw collision Oct. 1918)
July 15, 1928
Capt. Sir James T. Charles (Commodore of the Cunard Line)
Harry Grattidge (last capt.)


Timeline
May 30, 1914:
Maiden voyage Liverpool - New York.
June 5, 1914:
Arrived at New York.
June-July, 1914:
Two voyages Liverpool - New York.
Aug. 2, 1914:
Requisitioned by the Admiralty as an armed merchant cruiser and converted at the
Cunard dock in Liverpool. Ten 6" guns installed, hull painted in a camouflage scheme.
The conversion was completed on Aug. 7.

Aug. 7, 1914:
Commissioned into the Royal Navy.
Aug. 8-16, 1914:
First war patrol in the Western approaches (Irish Sea and North Atlantic).
Aug. 22, 1914:
While on the second patrol collided in heavy fog with the Leyland liner Canadian off
Ireland (which crushed the Aquitania's stem). Aquitania returned to Liverpool for repairs.
While under repair it was decided by the Admiralty to withdraw Aquitania from service as
an AMC. Her guns were removed, she was repaired and then laid up.

Aug. - Dec. 1914:
Under repair at Liverpool.
Dec. 1914:
Laid up at Liverpool.
June 18, 1915:
Requisitioned by the Admiralty fur use as a troopship. (cap. aprox. 5,000)
June 25, 1915:
First of three voyages as a troopship to the Dardanelles.
July 1915:
Converted at Mudros for use as a hospital transport ship. Used for one voyage (Mudros - Southampton). Aquitania carried about 2,400 wounded soldiers from the Dardanelles to England.

Aug. 1915:
Converted at Southampton into a hospital ship with a capacity of 4,182 beds.
Apr. 10, 1916:
Decommissioned and returned to Cunard. Aquitania was taken to Harland & Wolff in Belfast for a refit as a passenger liner.

Nov. 1916:
Requisitioned by the Admiralty for use as a hospital ship.
Dec. 1916-
Jan. 1917:

Used as a hospital ship in the Mediterranean.
Jan.-Dec. 1917:
Laid up in the Solent.
Nov. 1917:
Aquitania along with Mauretania and Olympic were requisitioned by the US Government for use as troopships. The request was approved by the Ministry of Shipping and all three ships sailed for the US in Dec. of 1917.

Jan.-Nov. 1918:
Aquitania made 9 trooping voyages from New York to Southampton carrying about 6,000
US and Canadian troops on each trip.

Oct. 2, 1918:
Departed on 8th trooping voyage.
Oct. 9, 1918:
Collided with the USS Shaw DD-68 (Cmdr. William A. Glassford) 40 miles south of Portland, England. The Shaw was steering a zig-zag course when her steering gear jammed causing her to cross the bow of the Aquitania. About 90 feet of Shaw's bow was cut off and 16 men were killed in the collision (some sources indicate only 12 killed). Both ships made port under their own power.

Nov. 2, 1918:
Departed New York on the last trooping voyage with 5,717 troops.
Feb.-Mar. 1919:
Made three voyages Liverpool - Brest - New York repatriating US and Canadian troops.
June-Dec. 1919:
Returned to commercial passenger service (Southampton - Cherbourg - New York).
First post war voyage began on June 14, 1919.

Nov. 1919-
June 1920:

Refit at Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Newcastle. Converted to oil burning. A new bridge was built (on top of the old one) for better viability. A gyrocompass was also fitted, the first one permanently fitted to a merchant ship.

July 18, 1920:
First post refit voyage (one voyage Liverpool - New York).

July 19, 1920:
A stop valve on one of the boilers blew off injuring Fireman James Curran and
killing Sixth Engineer Scot Seymour Bannerman Barkway. His body was
buried at sea.

Aug. 14, 1920:
Placed back on Southampton - Cherbourg - New York route.
1926:
Refit to carry 1st, 2nd and tourist class (see above).
1927:
Refit no details available.
Winter 1927:
Damaged in a storm while entering the English Channel. Three lifeboats were destroyed
and sixteen portholes were blown out of the aft dining room.

July 15, 1928:
At Cherbourg Aquitania's captain, Sir James Charles, Commodore of the Cunard Line, collapsed in his cabin. He was taken across the English Channel on the ship he had served on as captain for most of the 1920's for medical treatment but died never regaining consciousness.

1930:
Made one voyage as a floating art gallery.
Oct. 1931:
Refit to a 1st, tourist and 3rd class ship.
Feb. 3, 1932:
First New York - Mediterranean Cruise. Later used for both transatlantic crossings and
cruising including "Booze Cruises" out of New York.

Nov. 1932:
Refit, passenger accommodations changed (see above). A theatre was also added.
Jan. 26, 1935:
Grounded on Calshot Spit for 2 1/2 hours.
Apr. 10, 1935:
Grounded at Thorne Knoll near Southampton. The passengers were removed by ferry.
It took 26 hours and ten tugs to pull her free. The ship suffered very minor damage.

Feb. 1936:
Refit to a cabin, tourist and 3rd class ship.
Aug. 23, 1939:
Last peacetime voyage Southampton - New York.
Nov. 21, 1939:
Requisitioned by the Admiralty for use as a troopship (cap. 7,000+).
Refit in the USA. (see armaments added above)

Nov. 1939 -
Mar. 1940:

Used to transport Canadian troops from Halifax to England.
Mar. 1940:
Moved to Sydney and used to transport troops from Australia to England and returning
with wounded soldiers and Axis POW's.

Nov. 23, 1941:
Recovered 26 men from a rubber raft in the Indian Ocean about 100 miles east of
Carnarvan, Australia. The men in the raft turned out to be the survivors from the German
Hilfskreuzer Komoran, which sank, along with the HMAS Sydney on Nov. 19. It was only from these survivors that the story of the Sydney and the Komoran was learned.
(HMAS Sydney sank with all 645 hands and has not been found to this day.)

Feb. 22, 1942:

Departed Pearl Harbor with civilian evacuees bound for San Francisco arriving on Mar. 1.


Mar. 12-
Apr. 5, 1942:

Aquitania made two trooping voyages for the US Government between San Francisco and Honolulu carrying 12,000 troops to Hawaii and hundreds of evacuees back to the States.
After departing Hawaii Aquitania began an around the world trooping voyage. First stopping in New York and picking up US troops bound for England. She arrived in Liverpool on May 12 and disembarked her US troops then embarked British troops heading to the
Middle East arriving in Aden, Egypt on July 8, 1942. She then headed for the USA arriving in Boston on Aug. 14 to pick up US troops and airmen bound for the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Arriving in Egypt on Oct. 31 she loaded ANZAC troops and Axis POW's heading to Australia arriving in Sydney in early November. She then moved to Wellington, New Zealand dropping off the remaining troops and picking up Royal New Zealand air force personnel she departed for Egypt arriving on Jan. 5, 1943.

Mid 1943-
Early 1945:

Returned to the USA for trooping duty in preparation for the invasion of Europe.
Late 1945-
Mar. 1948:

Used to repatriate US and Canadian troops from Europe. On the return voyage she brought home British children who had been evacuated during the war. In the later months after the trooping duty was finished Aquitania was used to transport war brides and children of Canadian soldiers from England to Canada (over a dozen children were born on the Aquitania during these voyages).

Sept. 18, 1946:
Depart Southampton.
Sept. 23, 1946:
Arrive at Halifax.
Oct. 8, 1946:
Depart Southampton.
Oct. 13, 1946:
Arrive at Halifax.
Dec. 24, 1946:
Depart Southampton.
Dec. 30, 1946:
Arrive at Halifax.
April 1, 1948:
Released by the Ministry of Transport and returned to Cunard.
Apr.-May 1948:
Refit to carry immigrants.
May 25, 1948:
Chartered by the Canadian government to bring immigrants from Southampton to Halifax. Aquitania made 25 such voyages completing the final voyage at Southampton on
Dec. 1, 1949.

Sept. 29, 1948:
Departed Southampton, England.
Oct. 4, 1948:
Arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Nov. 9, 1948:
Departed Southampton, England.
Nov. 17, 1948:
Arrived Halifax, Nova Scotia, canada.
Nov. 14, 1949:
Departed Southampton on her last transatlantic voyage.
Dec. 1, 1949:
Arrived at Southampton, England and withdrawn from service.
Feb. 13, 1950:

Sold to British Iron & Steel Corp. Ltd. for £125,000, fittings auctioned off by Hampton & Sons Ltd. at shed 108 in Southampton. Sale of items continued until Feb. 22.

Feb. 18, 1950:
The Cunard flag is hauled down for the last time and Officially transferred to British Iron
& Steel.

Feb. 19, 1950:
Departed Southampton for the breakers yard, Captain R.G.B. Woollatt in command.
Feb. 21, 1950:
Arrived at Faslane, Scotland for scrapping. Scrapping completed in Nov. 1951.
Oct. 12, 1950:
Swept by fire while at Faslane being scrapped.


Notes:
Lusitania and Mauretania are sometimes viewed as sister ships but these were much
smaller in size and tonnage. Aquitania was designed by Leonard Peskett, the designer of the Mauretania, and was based on the Mauretania design.

Christened by the Countess of Derby
Over 100,000 people attended the launch ceremony.
During World War 1 Aquitania transported over 25,000 wounded.
In World War 2 Aquitania sailed over 500,000 miles transporting over 400,000 people.
The only liner to serve in both world wars.
Sailed a total of over 3,000,000 miles during her career carrying over 1.2 million
passengers.

Made 443 transatlantic voyages.

The last liner with four funnels in service.
(The Arundel Castle was the last of the four funnel liners in service but, two funnels had been removed in 1937.)



Builder's Data
Page published Aug. 11, 2007