RMS Laconia (1911)
|RMS Laconia at New York.|
RMS Laconia at New York
|Builder:||Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd.|
|Launched:||27 July 1911|
|Acquired:||12 December 1911|
|Maiden voyage:||20 January 1912|
|Fate:||Torpedoed and sunk 25 February 1917 by the German U-boat U-50|
|Class and type:||Ocean liner|
|Length:||183m (600 feet)|
|Beam:||22m (72 feet)|
|Installed power:||Eight-cylinder quadruple-expansion engines by Wallsend Slipway Co Ltd|
|Speed:||17 knots (31 km/h)|
RMS Laconia was a Cunard ocean liner built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, launched on 27 July 1911, delivered to the Cunard Line on 12 December 1911, and began service on 20 January 1912. She was the first Cunard ship of that name.
On the outbreak of World War I Laconia was converted into an armed merchant cruiser in 1914 and based at Simon's Town, South Africa in the South Atlantic, from which she patrolled the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean until April 1915. She was then used as a headquarters ship for the operations to capture Tanga and the colony of German East Africa. Four months later she returned to the patrolling of the South Atlantic. She was handed back to Cunard in July 1916 and on 9 September resumed service.
On 25 February 1917 she was torpedoed by the German U-50 six miles (11 km) northwest by west of Fastnet while returning from the United States to England with 75 passengers (34 first class and 41 second class) and a crew of 217 under the command of Captain Irvine. The first torpedo struck the liner on the starboard side just abaft the engine room, but did not sink her. Twenty minutes later a second torpedo exploded in the engine room, again on the starboard side, and the vessel sank at 10:20 pm. Twelve people were killed, six crew and six passengers, including two American citizens, Mrs. Mary Hoy and her daughter, Miss Elizabeth Hoy, who were originally from Chicago.
In March 2009, it was announced that the wreck of the Laconia was located and claimed by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., a commercial archaeology company in Tampa, Florida. She was found about 160 miles off of the coast of Ireland. "Britain claims it is the legitimate owner of the wrecks because, under a wartime insurance scheme, it paid the owners of the vessels when they sank, in effect making the remains the property of the taxpayer."
- Gross Tonnage: 18,099 tons
- Length: 183m (600 feet)
- Beam: 22m (72 feet)
- Number of funnels: 2
- Number of masts: 2
- Construction: Steel
- Propulsion: Twin propellers
- Engines: Eight-cylinder quadruple-expansion engines by Wallsend Slipway Co Ltd
- Service speed: 17 knots (31 km/h)
- Builder: Swann, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne
- Passenger accommodation: 300 1st class; 350 2nd Class; 2,200 3rd Class
- List of ship launches in 1911
- List of shipwrecks in 1917
- History of the Laconia I
- Sinking of the Laconia I 1917 First Hand Account
- Immigrant Inspection Card - Passenger aboard the Laconia I
- Sterage Passenger Ticket - Cunard Line R.M.S. Laconia I - 1913
- 1912 Brochure on the RMS Laconia and Franconia - Includes many interior photographs
- Floyd Gibbons's article on the sinking of the Laconia
- "Battle for the treasure chest that changed the course of the Great War". London: The Independent. 17 March 2009. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/battle-for-the-treasure-chest-that-changed-course-of-the-great-war-1646524.html. Retrieved 18 March 2009.