Aquitania 1913 HMS - Armed Merchant Cruiser
Armed Merchant Cruiser – MI.56
Military Hospital Ship
launched by John Brown Clydebank, Yard No 409, on 21/4/1913 as a Transatlantic Liner for the Cunard Steam-Ship Company, Liverpool. Arrived for Scrapping at Faslane on 21/02/1950
901ft x 97ft x 36ft
4 Screw, 4 x Parsons Steam turbines, 21 boilers, 62000 shp, giving 24 knots
12 x 6in guns
May 30/5/1914 Maiden Voyage from Liverpool
2/8/1914 requisitioned by the Admiralty to serve as an Armed Merchant Cruiser and was converted in Liverpool.
7/8/1914 left Liverpool to patrol the Western Approaches returning on the 16th
22/8/1914 while on her second patrol she collided with the Leyland ship Canadian during thick fog, and had to return to Liverpool. The subsequent enquiry concluded that she was too large to be used as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. Repair work on the ship was finished by the end of 1914.
18/6/1915 she was requisitioned by the Government to serve as a troopship and assisted in the Gallipoli campaign.
25/6/1915 she left Liverpool with a full complement of over 5,000 troops on board. After three voyages as a troop transport she was then converted into a hospital ship and served in this role during December 1915 and January 1916 in the Mediterranean. She could carry about 4,200 wounded
On 10 April 1916 she was de-commissioned from Government service and reconditioned by Harland & Wolff in order to return to Cunard service. When this was almost complete the Government was forced to requisition the Aquitania once again to serve as a hospital ship in November 1916. The ship served in the Mediterranean for the rest of the year and was then anchored in the Solent for the whole of 1917. The entry of the USA into the war in December 1917 brought the ship back into service to transport the American Expeditionary Force. After the war she was also used in the repatriation of Canadian troops.
November 1919 commenced an extensive Refit at Armstrong Whitworth and converted to oil
On 21 November 1939 the Aquitania was again requisitioned as a troop transport.. At first she was used to transport Canadian troops. During 1940 she underwent a refit in America and was defensively armed with six inch guns. From March onwards she was based in Sydney transporting Australian and New Zealand troops, also making two passages between Pearl Harbour and San Fransisco. For the remainder of the war she was employed on the Atlantic, and after the war had ended, in the repatriation on Canadian and American troops. Later she was also used to to carry the wives and children of Canadian servicemen over to Canada.
See also: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=9626