RMS Fort Victoria

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SS Willochra
Name: Willochra (1912-19)
Fort Victoria (1919-29)
Owner: Adelaide Steamship Company (1912-19)
Furness, Withy & Company (1919-29)
Operator: Adelaide Steamship Company (1912-13)
Union Steamship Company of New Zealand (1913-15)
Adelaide Steamship Company (1915-19)
Quebec Steamship Company (1920-21)
Bermuda & West Indies Steamship Company (1921-29)
Port of registry: United Kingdom Port Adelaide (1912-19)
United Kingdom Montreal (1920-21)
United Kingdom Hamilton (1921-29)
Route: United States - Australia - New Zealand (1912-19)
Builder: William Beardmore & Company, Dalmuir
Yard number: 507
Launched: 14 August 1912
Completed: 7 February 1913
Out of service: 18 December 1929
Identification: UK Official Number 122744
Fate: Sank
General characteristics
Tonnage: 7,784 GRT
Length: 411 feet 7 inches (125.45 m)
Beam: 56 feet 7 inches (17.25 m)
Propulsion: Two quadruple expansion steam engines
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h)

Fort Victoria was a 7,784 GRT cruise ship which was built in 1912 as Willochra. During the First World War she was requisitioned for use as a troopship. In 1920 she was sold and renamed Fort Victoria, serving until lost in a collision in 1929.


Willochra was built by William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, West Dunbartonshire. She was yard number 507 and was launched on 14 August 1912.[1] Completion was on 7 February 1913.[2] Willochra was built for the Adelaide Steamship Company.[1] Her identical sister ships, also built by William Beardmore and Company, were SS Warilda (1911) and Wandilla (1912).

In 1913, Willochra was chartered by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand.[3] She was used as a troopship.[4] In November 1914, Willochra was requisitioned, continuing her trooping duties.[5] In 1919, Willochra was sold to Furness Withy. She was refitted and renamed Fort Victoria.[4] Initially, she was operated by the Quebec Steamship Co, Montreal but in 1921 she was transferred to the Bermuda & West Indies Steamship Co, Hamilton, Bermuda. Both companies were owned by Furness Withy.[1]

On 18 December 1929, Fort Victoria sailed from New York Harbor for Hamilton with just over 200 passenger on board. The weather at the time was dense fog, and Fort Victoria stopped to await an improvement in conditions. While anchored,[4] she was hit by the Clyde-Mallory Line's SS Algonquin,[6] a liner which was on a voyage from Galveston, Texas to New York. Algonquin cut into the port side of Fort Victoria. Distress calls were made by both ships, which were answered by the United States Coast Guard and other ships in the area. All on board Fort Victoria were rescued before the ship sank later that day.[4] The position of the wreck is 40°28′27″N 73°53′13″W / 40.47417°N 73.88694°W / 40.47417; -73.88694.[6] To replace Fort Victoria, a contract was given to Vickers-Armstrong's to build the SS Monarch of Bermuda, which entered service in 1933.[7]


The ship was a 7,714 GRT cruise ship. She was 411 feet 7 inches (125.45 m) long with a beam of 56 feet 7 inches (17.25 m).[1] She was powered by two quadruple expansion steam engines which could propel her at 16 knots (30 km/h).[2] As Fort Victoria she was fitted up for 400 first class passengers, no lower class accommodation being provided.[8]


A boardroom model of Willochra is in the possession of the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, Newport Beach, California.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Launched 1912: ss WILLOCHRA". Clydesite. http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=4552. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 ""1122744"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  3. "Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand". The Ships List. http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/unionnz.html. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Eastlake, Keith (1998). Sea Disasters, the truth behind the tragedies. London N7: Greenwich Editions. pp. p20. ISBN 0-86288-149-8. 
  5. "Adelaide Steamship". Merchant Navy Ships. http://merchant-navy-ships.com/index.php?id=7,0,0,1,0,0. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "SS Fort Victoria (+1929)". Wrecksite. http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?23080. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  7. "About Furness Bermuda Line". Furness Bermuda Line. http://www.furnessbermudaline.com/index_files/Page1207.htm. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  8. "BERMUDA STEAMSHIP SERVICE". Timetable images. http://www.timetableimages.com/maritime/images/fur24b1.htm. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  9. "NEWPORT HARBOR NAUTICAL MUSEUM". The Nautical Research Guild. http://www.thenrg.org/MIS/newprtbh.html?nauticalresearchguild=27762dc40d3a25861882fd3777bc45c2. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 

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