SS Cameronia

Launched on 27 May 1911, the Cameronia embarked on its maiden voyage for the Anchor Line on 13 September of that year.  Her assigned route was Glasgow – Mowville – New York.  In 1915, the Cameronia was employed in a joint Anchor-Cunard service on the Glasgow – Liverpool – New York route which she began that February.  That June the ship managed to outpace a submarine west of the Skerries, Anglesey.

Both the Cunard Line official site and Arnold Kludas state that the Cameronia was not requisitioned for troop transport until January 1917.  If that is the case, then what was being done to the Cameronia on 1 May 1915 that led to the deaths of thirty-some people on board the Lusitania?  Contemporary accounts suggested that the Cameronia was on her way to Halifax, Canada to carry supplies and Canadian troops.

The Cameronia‘s first trooping voyages were from Davenport to the Mediterranean.  Her base was subsequently relocated to Marseilles, France.  On 15 April 1917 the Cameronia was torpedoed by the German submarine U-33 enroute from Marseilles to Alexandria, Egypt while carrying 2650 troops and 150 nautical miles from Malta.  The Cameronia sank in 40 minutes, resulting in 210 deaths.  Some of the survivors were picked up by the escorting destroyer, HMS Rifleman. As the U-boat was in the area, the remaining survivors had to be picked up the next morning by a sloop from Malta.

Cameronia specifications

Flag United Kingdom
Shipping company Anchor Line
Port of registry Glasgow
Gross tonnage 10,963
Length overall 515 feet / 157.0 meters
Beam 62 feet 4 inches / 18.99 meters
Number of funnels 2
Number of masts 2
Machinery Six-cylindered triple expansion engines geared to twin screws, 10 000 horsepower.
Service speed 16 knots
Builder D & W Henderson Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland
Yard number 472
Launch date 27 May 1911
Passenger accommodation As of 1911:
250 first class
450 second class
1000 third class
As of 1915:
362 first class
304 second class
802 third class

Contributors:
Paul Latimer
Senan Molony
Eric Sauder
Judith Tavares
Hildo Thiel

References:
Bailey, Thomas A. and Paul B. Ryan.  The Lusitania Disaster:  An Episode in Modern Warfare and Diplomacy.  The Free Press, 1975.

Ballard, Robert D. and Spencer Dunmore.  Exploring the Lusitania.  Warner Books, 1995.

Cunard Line Heritage.  Online.  <http://www.cunard.com/aboutcunard/TheFleet.asp?Active=Heritage&Sub=fleet>

Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1981.

Hoehling, A. A. and Mary Hoehling.  The Last Voyage of the Lusitania.  Madison Books, 1956.

Kludas, Arnold.  Great Passenger Ships of the World, Volume I:  1858-1912.  Patrick Stephens, Ltd., 1972.

Molony, Senan.  Lusitania:  An Irish Tragedy.  Mercier Press, 2004.

Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002. 

Simpson, Colin.  The Lusitania.  Little, Brown, and Company, 1972.

2 Responses

  1. Downton Abbey Recap, Season 4 Episode 6 | TIME.com

    […] of the Week: The ship on which Robert and Thomas sail for the U.S. was a real liner. The first SS Cameronia was torpedoed during World War I and sank; a second ship of the same name launched in 1919 and […]

  2. Joe Bleau
    Joe Bleau 19 April 2014 at 00:04 · Reply

    My great-great grandfather was a Canadian sapper during the First World War. He arrived in England on August 18th, 1916 on the S.S. Cameronia.

Leave a Reply