RMS Carmania (1905)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

United Kingdom
OwnerCunard Line
Operator1914–16: United Kingdom Royal Navy
Port of registryLiverpool
RouteLiverpool – New York
BuilderJohn Brown & Company, Clydebank
Yard number366
Laid down17 May 1904
Launched21 February 1905
CompletedNovember 1905
Maiden voyage2 December 1905
FateScrapped 1932 at Blyth
General characteristics
TypeOcean liner
Tonnage19,566 GRT, 9,250 NRT
Beam72.2 ft (22.0 m)
Draught33 ft 3 in (10.13 m)
Depth40.0 ft (12.2 m)
Installed power21,000 SHP
  • 1 × High-pressure steam turbine
  • 2 × Low-pressure steam turbines
  • 3 ×
Speed20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
  • As built:
  • 2,650 berths in four classes
  • 1923: 1,440 berths
  • Cargo: 46,280 cubic feet (1,311 m3) refrigerated
Sensors and
processing systems
  • (as AMC):
  • 8 ×
    QF 4.7 inch Mk V naval guns
NotesSister ship: RMS Caronia

RMS Carmania was a Cunard Line transatlantic steam turbine ocean liner. She was launched in 1905 and scrapped in 1932. In World War I she was first an armed merchant cruiser (AMC)[1] and then a troop ship.

Carmania was the sister ship of RMS Caronia, although the two ships had different machinery. When new, the pair were the largest ships in the Cunard fleet.[2]


Leonard Peskett designed Carmania. John Brown & Company built her, launching her on 21 February 1905[3] and completing her that November.[4]

Carmania had three

propellers, each driven by a Parsons steam turbine. A high-pressure turbine drove her centre shaft. Exhaust steam from the centre turbine powered a pair of low-pressure turbines that drove her port and starboard shafts.[5]

Caronia, which was launched the year before, had twin propellers which were driven by quadruple-expansion engines.[6] The essentially identical ships with the two different sets of engines was an opportunity to compare operations and clarify the advantages and disadvantages of turbine engines.[5]

Carmania's sea trials were in November 1905. On the nautical measured mile off Skelmorlie she achieved 20.19 knots (37.39 km/h).[5]

Another feature that differentiated the two liners was that Carmania had two tall forward deck ventilator cowls, which were absent on Caronia.

As built, Carmania had berths for 2,650 passengers: 300 first class, 350 second class, 1,000 third class and 1,000 steerage class.[5] Her holds included 46,280 cubic feet (1,311 m3) refrigerated cargo space.[7]


Carmania left Liverpool on 2 December 1905 for her maiden voyage to New York arriving on 10 December. She completed the voyage in 7 days, 9 hours and 31 minutes, averaging 15.97 knots (29.58 km/h) over the 2,835 nautical miles (5,250 km) route.[5]

Carmania plied between Liverpool and New York from 1905 to 1910. In the spring of 1906 she took H. G. Wells to North America for the first time. He noted her size in a book about his travels, "This Carmania isn't the largest ship nor the finest, nor is to be the last. Greater ships are to follow and greater. The scale of size, the scale of power, the speed and dimensions of things about us alter remorselessly—to some limit we cannot at present descry".[8]

In June 1910 in Liverpool Carmania suffered a major fire in her passenger accommodation. Her structure and machinery were undamaged, and repairs were completed by 4 October.[2]

Captain James Barr

On an eastbound crossing in October 1913 Carmania answered a distress signal from Volturno to pick up survivors in a storm, which resulted in many awards for gallantry being presented to various members of her crew and Captain James Clayton Barr.[9]

In August 1914, after the outbreak of

QF 4.7 inch Mk V naval guns. She was commissioned as HMS Carmania, with the pennant number M 55.[10]

Commanded by Captain Noel Grant she sailed from Liverpool to Shell Bay in

Trindade. At the time Cap Trafalgar's appearance had been altered to resemble Carmania.[11]
Carmania suffered extensive damage and several casualties to her crew.

Trinidad, September 14, 1914" by Charles Dixon

After repairs in Gibraltar, she patrolled the coast of Portugal and the Atlantic islands for the next two years. In 1916 she assisted in the Gallipoli campaign. From July 1916 she was a troop ship. After the war she took Canadian troops home from Europe.

By 1919 she had returned to passenger liner service. In 1923 Cunard had her refitted as a cabin class ship,[12] with her total accommodation reduced from 2,650 berths to 1,440. Caronia was similarly refitted, and the two sisters kept busy until the shipping slump[13] caused by the Great Depression after 1929. By 1930 Carmania's navigational equipment included submarine signalling and wireless direction finding.[4]


Toward the end of 1931 Cunard listed both Carmania and Caronia for sale.[13] In 1932 Hughes Bolckow & Co. bought her for scrap. She arrived at Blyth on 22 April to be broken up.[3]

Carmania's bell is on display aboard the permanently moored HQS Wellington at Victoria Embankment, London.


  1. ^ Solem, Børge. "S/S Carmania, Cunard Line". Norway~Heritage.
  2. ^ a b Ljungström, Henrik (23 March 2018). "Carmania (I)". The Great Ocean Liners. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Carmania". Scottish Built Ships. Caledonian Maritime Research Trust. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Steamers & Motorships". Lloyd's Register (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1930. Retrieved 22 December 2020 – via Plimsoll Ship Data.
  5. ^ a b c d e "The New Turbine Liner Carmania". International Marine Engineering. 11 (January). Marine Engineering: 1–6. 1906. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  6. ^ Frame, Chris. "Carmania". Chris' Cunard Page.
  7. ^ "List of Vessels Fitted with Refrigerating Appliances". Lloyd's Register (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1930. Retrieved 22 December 2020 – via Plimsoll Ship Data.
  8. ^ Wells, HG (1906). The Future in America: A Search after Realities. New York and London: Harper and Brothers. pp. 21, 29.
  9. ^ "Capt. Barr Cites Log On Volturno. Says Carmania's Part in Rescue Work Was Misrepresented in English Reports". The New York Times. 27 October 1913. Retrieved 26 February 2010. The Cunard liner Carmania arrived yesterday from Liverpool with forty-three survivors from the Volturno, including twenty-two women and children who had been rescued by the Leyland steamship Devonian and landed at Liverpool.
  10. ^ Howard Stagg; Naval Enthusiast (eds.). "HMS CARMANIA – August 1914 to May 1916, British waters, Central Atlantic, Carmania v Cap Trafalgar single ship action, Mediterranean". Royal Navy Log Books of the World War 1 Era. Naval History.Net. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  11. .
  12. ^ Wilson 1956, p. 42.
  13. ^ a b Wilson 1956, p. 194.


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