RMS Carmania (1905)

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Name: RMS Carmania
Owner: Cunard Line
Port of registry: United Kingdom
Builder: John Brown & Company, Clydebank
Yard number: 366 [1]
Launched: 21 February 1905
Fate: Scrapped in 1932 at Blyth, Northumberland
General characteristics
Class and type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 19,524 gross tons
Length: 650.4 feet (198.2 m)
Beam: 72.2 feet (22.0 m)
Installed power: Steam turbines
Propulsion: three propellers
Speed: 18 knots
Capacity: 2,650, reduced to 1,440 in 1923

The RMS Carmania (I) was a British passenger liner of the Cunard Line, which in World War I was converted to an armed merchant cruiser.[2]


When launched, the Carmania and her sister ship, the Caronia, were the largest ships in the Cunard fleet and two of the fastest in the world,[3] since they had been designed to compete with the Germans for the Blue Riband. The Carmania had steam turbines, and the Caronia had quadruple-expansion engines.[4] Another feature that differentiated the two liners was that Carmania had two tall forward deck ventilator cowls while they were absent on Caronia.The Carmania traveled the New York-Liverpool route from 1905 to 1910, suffering one major fire in June 1910. In October 1913, while eastward bound, she responded to a distress call from the Volturno to pick up survivors in a storm, resulting in many awards for gallantry being presented to various members of her crew and Captain James Clayton Barr.[5]

Following the outbreak of World War I, the Carmania was converted into an armed merchant cruiser, equipped with eight 4.7 inch guns, and put under the command of Captain Noel Grant. She sailed from Liverpool to Shell Bay in Bermuda. She subsequently engaged and sank the German merchant cruiser SMS Cap Trafalgar during the Battle of Trindade[6] The ship suffered extensive damage herself and several casualties to her crew. After repairs in Gibraltar she patrolled the coast of Portugal and the Atlantic islands for the next two years. In 1916 she was summoned to assist in the Gallipoli campaign. From May 1916 she was used as a troop ship. After the War she transported Canadian troops back from Europe.

In early 1920, she returned to passenger liner service, being refitted in 1923. In 1932, she was sold to Hughes Bocklow & Co., and scrapped at Blyth.[7]


  1. "SS Carmania". Clydebuilt Ships Database. http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=2212. 
  2. "S/S Carmania, Cunard Line". Norway Heritage. http://www.norwayheritage.com/p_ship.asp?sh=carma. 
  3. "Carmania (I)". The Great Ocean Liners. http://www.thegreatoceanliners.com/carmania1.html. 
  4. "Carmania". Chris' Cunard Page. http://www.chriscunard.com/carmania.php. 
  5. "Capt. Barr Cites Log On Volturno. Says Carmania's Part in Rescue Work Was Misrepresented in English Reports.". New York Times. October 27, 1913. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=980CE0DD133FE633A25755C1A9669D946296D6CF. Retrieved 2010-02-26. "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." 
  6. Simpson, Colin (1977). The Ship that Hunted Itself. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140048235. 
  7. "Carmania I". Cunard website: Cunard Heritage - The Fleet. http://www.cunard.com/AboutCunard/default.asp?Active=Heritage&Sub=GetShip&ShipID=53. 


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