SS Montrose

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Name: SS Montrose
Owner: 1897: Elder, Dempster & Company
1903: Canadian Pacific Steamship Company
1914: Admiralty
Builder: Sir Raylton Dixon & Co.
Launched: 17 June 1897
Maiden voyage: Middlesbrough–Quebec–Montreal, September 1897
Fate: Wrecked on Goodwin Sands sometime after 28 October 1914
General characteristics
Tonnage: 1897: 5,440 GT (as built)
1901: 7,094 GT
1905: 6,278 GT
1911: 7,207 GT
Length: 444.3 ft (135.4 m)
Beam: 52.0 ft (15.8 m)
Propulsion: single screw propellor
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h)
Notes: one funnel, four masts

SS Montrose was a transatlantic ocean liner for Elder, Dempster & Company and the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company. She is most notable as the vessel on which Hawley Crippen and his lover, Ethel La Neve, fled England after Crippen's wife was murdered.


Montrose, a 444.3-foot (135.4 m) ocean liner with a gross tonnage (GT) of 5,440 tons, was built by Sir Raylton Dixon & Co. of Middlesbrough and was launched on 17 June 1897 for Elder, Dempster & Company. Making her maiden voyage from Middlesbrough to Quebec and Montreal in September 1897, she began regular service from Avonmouth to Montreal the following month. On 14 March 1900, she began the first of eight voyages from Liverpool to Cape Town as a Boer War troopship.[1]

Rebuilt in 1901 to 7,094 GT in 1901, she was sold to the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company in 1903, and outfitted for 70 second-class and 1,800 third-class passengers. She began her service between Liverpool, Quebec, and Montreal on 20 April 1903. She moved to service from London to Antwerp and Saint John, New Brunswick, in April 1904, and from London to Antwerp, Quebec, and Montreal the following month. Rebuilt again in 1905, the liner was increased to 6,278 GT.[1]

Montrose was involved in a sinister affair in 1910. American physician Hawley Crippen and his lover, Ethel La Neve had fled England after the circumstances around his wife's death were questioned. After a body was found in the basement of Crippen's North London residence, Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Walter Dew sought the couple for murder charges.[2] One theory had the couple sailing from Dover on SS Kroonland, but when inspected in New York on arrival, Crippen and Le Neve were not to be found.[3] The fleeing couple had instead sailed on the Montrose from Antwerp on 20 July. Crippen, identified on Montrose after the vessel received a description of the pair via a wireless dispatch, was arrested, convicted of his wife's murder, and hanged. La Neve was acquitted.[2]

The following year, Montrose was rebuilt a final time, this time to 7,207 GT. On 28 October 1914, Montrose was sold to the Admiralty for use as a blockship at Dover. Breaking loose from her moorings during a gale, the liner drifted out and wrecked on Goodwin Sands.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Ship Descriptions - Mi to Mu". Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Crippen hanged in London jail at dawn of day". The Atlanta Constitution: pp. 1–2. 1910-11-23. 
  3. "Saw Crippen in train". The Washington Post: p. 3. 1910-07-20.