RMS Empress of Scotland (1906)

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Name: 1906-1919: SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria
1919-1919: USS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria
1920-1920: SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria
1921-1930: RMS Empress of Scotland
Owner: 1906-1919: Hamburg America Line
1919-1919: US Navy
1920-1920: Cunard
1921-1930: Canadian Pacific Steamships
Port of registry: 1906-1919: German Empire
1919-1919: United States
1920-1920: United Kingdom
1921-1930: Canada
Builder: Vulcan AG shipyard in Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland)
Yard number: 264
Launched: 29 August 1905 By the German Empress
Maiden voyage: 10 May 1906
Fate: Scrapped in 1930 Blyth
General characteristics
Class and type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 24,581 gross tons
Length: 677.5 feet (206.5 m)
Beam: 77,3 feet (23.5 m)
Propulsion: Three masts
twin propellers
Speed: 17.5 knots
Capacity: 1,897 passengers
Notes: [1]

RMS Empress of Scotland was the later name of an ocean liner built in 1905-1906 by Vulcan AG shipyard in Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland) for the Hamburg America Line. The ship was launched as the SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria; and she regularly sailed between Hamburg and New York until the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914. At the end of hostilities, the re-flagged the USS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, transported war-weary American troops from Europe to the United States. For a brief time, Cunard sailed the re-flagged ship between Liverpool and New York.

The ship was refitted for Canadian Pacific Steamships and in 1921, she was renamed the Empress of Scotland -- the first of two CP ship to be named Empress of Scotland.[2] This Empress was distinguished by the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) prefix in front of her name while in commercial service with Canadian Pacific.[3]


The SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, was built by Stettiner Vulcan AG in Stettin on the Baltic in 1905-1906. The new ship was ordered by the expanding Hamburg America Line.

German ship

When the keel was laid down as "Ship #264," this vessel was intended to be named the SS Europa; and she was to have been a sister ship to the SS Amerika which was being built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast during the same period. At the time of her launching on 29 August 1905, her only peer in size was the very slightly smaller Amerika which had been launched mere days earlier.

File:Fred Pansing SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria.jpg
The SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria sailed under a German flag for only eight years.

The German Empress permitted the vessel to be named after her, and Empress Victoria participated in the launching ceremonies.[4]

The 24,581-ton vessel had a length of 677.5 feet, and her beam was 77.3 feet. She had two funnels, four masts, twin propellers and an average speed of 18-knots. The ocean liner provided accommodation for 472 first-class passengers and for 174 second class passengers. There was also room for 212 third-class passengers and for 1,608 fourth-class passengers.[5]

The SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria left Hamburg on 10 May 1906 on her maiden voyage to Dover, Cherbourg and New York under the command of Captain Hans Ruser. Thereafter, she regularly sailed the route between Hamburg and New York.[5] In 1910 the ship was to be used in experiments for the world's first ship-to-shore airplane flights by pilot John McCurdy. A special platform was built on the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria so as to provide a runway for McCurdy's plane. McCurdy abandoned the attempt however as he was beaten to the become first by rival pilot Eugene Ely who flew off a naval warship in Virginia in November 1910. The Kaiserin Auguste Victoria then returned to sailing on her regular schedule. A similar experiment to use airplanes launched at sea carrying mail would be carried out on the SS Bremen twenty years later. In June 1914, the Kaiserin August Victoria made her last voyage under a German flag, sailing from Hamburg to Southampton, Cherbourg and New York and returning to Hamburg.[5]

During the Great War, the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria stayed in the port of Hamburg in August 1914. In March 1919, she was surrendered to Britain.[5]

File:USS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria 3963.jpg
The USS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria was commissioned in the US Navy as a troop transport after World War I, but the better part of her service history was in trans-Atlantic passenger service.

American ship

The ship was chartered by the U.S. Shipping Board; and the U.S.S. Kaiserin Auguste Victoria carried American troops from Europe to America. The ship made five crossings between France and the United States, bringing troops home from the war. This temporary U.S. Navy vessel flew the American flag as American troops were repatriated.[6]

British ship

On 14 February 1920, the ship was decommissioned and chartered to Cunard, sailing under a British flag. The SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria sailed between Liverpool and New York although her life with Cunard would be very short lived. [6]

Canadian ship

On 13 May 1921, the ship was sold to Canadian Pacific; and she was re-named the Empress of Scotland. The new Empress was refitted to carry 459 first-class passengers, 478 second-class passengers and 960 third-class passengers. At the same time, this refit incorporated a conversion to oil fuel.[5] Evidence exists to show that the Empress of Scotland was actually in the ownership of and being operated by the Canadian Pacific on the 12 January 1921.

On 22 January 1922, the Empress of Scotland embarked on her first voyage from Southampton to New York. On 22 April 1922, she made her second trans-Atlantic voyage, sailing the Southampton-Cherbourg-Quebec route. [5]

On 14 June 1922 she transferred to the Hamburg-Southampton-Cherbourg-Quebec service. In 1923, she was involved in a collision with the SS Bonus at Hamburg.[5]

In 1926, the Empress was refitted again, this time with accommodations for first-class, second-class, tourist-class and third-class passengers. In 1927, another refit resulted in first-class, tourist-class, and third-class accommodations.[5]

On 11 October 1930, the Empress of Scotland made her last voyage from Southampton to Cherbourg and Quebec.[5]

When the new Empress of Britain came into service, the once-grand vessel was sold for scrap. The ship was gutted by fire and sank actually breaking in two at the ship-breakers yard at Blyth; Later the yard raised the hull of the Empress both pieces were then scrapped. By 1933 she was finally gone[5]


  1. [1]
  2. The second SS Empress of Scotland (1930) was built for CP as the SS Empress of Japan, then she was re-named in 1942 because of Japan's military actions in December 1941.
  3. Simplon Postcards: Empress of Scotland, 4 images
  4. Michael, Paul. (2001). Hermann Broch, Visionary in Exile: The 2001 Yale Symposium, p. 134 n2.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Ship List: Description of Empress of Canada
  6. 6.0 6.1 U.S. Department of the Navy: Naval Historical Center


See also

External links

de:Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria (Schiff)