SS Mauretania

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SS Mauretania
SS Mauretania.jpg
RMS Mauritania.jpg
War time grey paint job - photo Wikipedia
Name SS Mauretania
Owner Cunard White Star Line
Builder Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
Yard number 1029
Launched 28 Jul 1938
Completed 1939
In service 17 Jun 1939
Out of service 1965
Fate Scrapped in the UK
General characteristics
Type Ocean Liner
Tonnage 35,739 tons
Length 771 feet, 10 inches (235.26m)
Beam 89 feet, 4 inches (27.23)
Depth 33 feet (10.06m)
Propulsion Twin turbines
Speed 23 knots
Capacity 7,124 passengers


Built for the Cunard White Star Line. Named Mauretania to honour the previous record breaking Mauretania which had been retired in 1935. The ship was designed for the London to New York service and was the largest vessel ever to navigate the River Thames and use the Royal Docks. She was also intended to stand in for one of the Cunard Queens when they were undergoing maintenance.

Mauretania was to experience only the briefest period of commercial operation before the outbreak of hostilities halted this work for over six years. In September 1939 she was requisitioned by the government, had some armaments attached, painted battle grey and then dispatched to the US where she was idle for the next three months. Converted in Sydney as a troop ship she left Sydney as part of one of the greatest convoys ever mustered for the transport of troops. With her were Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and Aquitania, with 2,000 troops, bound for the River Clyde via South Africa. Other notable liners in this great convoy were RMS Empress of Britain, RMS Empress of Canada, RMS Empress of Asia, and SS Nieuw Amsterdam.

During the early stages of the war the ship transported Australian troops to Suez, India and Singapore but later she mainly served in the North Atlantic. Like Aquitania, she amassed over 50,000 nautical miles (93,000 km) during the course of her war duties, first crossing of the Indian Ocean, then working the Atlantic with American and Canadian troops and finally serving in the Pacific. In total she carried over 340,000 troops. After the war's end, Mauretania made several further voyages for the government repatriating troops. This mainly took the ship to Canada and Singapore. In addition, she made at least one voyage from New Zealand via Australia and South Africa to Liverpool.

Soldiers carried

Melbourne to Colombo (Convoy US 8), Ceylon 29 Dec 1940 - 11 Jan 1941

Port Tewfik, Egypt to Durban, South Africa 21 - 31 October 1941

Suez Canal Zone to Fremantle 15 November - 3 December 1942