1893 - 1918
the end of the 19th century, steamships were really beginning
to look like 'real' steamships. But one could still make out some resemblance
to the old sailing vessels, even on some of the newest ships built. The
holder of the Blue Riband, the Inman & International Line's City
of New York, had a clipper-like bow and masts ready to take sails if
entry of Cunard's new Campania and Lucania took the ship
design a little further towards the 'genuine' steamship appearance. The
Campania was launched on September 8th 1892, at the Glasgow
shipyards of Fairfield Co. Ltd., by the Cunard chairman's wife, Lady Burns.
The Campania and her sister Lucania was built with the purpose
to retrieve the Blue Riband from the City of New York and City
of Paris, which had taken the award from Cunard's Etruria in
her launch, the Campania was to be fitted out. This took some time,
and the ship was not ready for her maiden voyage until April 22nd,
1893. The Cunard Line still operated out of Liverpool as their main terminus,
and the Campania would serve on the Liverpool-New York run. Before
setting out on her premiere crossing, the Campania must have been
an awe-inspiring sight. Her bow was almost not raked at all, and seemed
to be cutting the water surface like a knife. Her massive funnels, each
19 feet in diameter, were raked backwards and gave the ship an all out
'speedy' appearance. The bridge was of the new kind; it was something completely
different from older ships. It rose high above the other decks, and was
situated towards the bow. With the steamships
getting bigger, the helmsman
had to be high and far forward to see over the forecastle.
|A nice photograph
of Cunard's speed-queen.
was fitted with ten-cylindred triple-expansion engines linked to two propellers.
She was actually the first in the Cunard fleet to be fitted with twin screws,
a feature introduced on the North Atlantic run by Inman & International
Line's City of New York and City of Paris.
the Campania slipped her moorings and set out on what was anticipated
to be a record crossing. But the new vessel could not beat the City
of Paris' 20.7-knot westbound record, at least not on her first crossing.
However, on her return trip she crushed the City of New York's eastbound
record, and the Blue Riband was partly back in Cunard's possession. And
it would not take long before the westbound record was beaten. The Campania
was a true success.
of 1893, the Campania was given a running mate in her sister Lucania,
launched on February 2nd, 1893. The Lucania proved to
be the slightly faster ship, taking the Blue Riband from her older sibling
the following year. She would keep the fabled award until the entry of
Norddeutscher Lloyd's Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse in 1897.
their 22-knot service speed, the two Cunarders provided an efficient Liverpool-New
York service. The two ships retained a trusted reliability, and it was
not until July of 1900 that an accident occurred.
that accident was a rather serious one. On an eastbound crossing, the Campania
encountered heavy fog 207 miles west of Queenstown and was brought
to a halt to wait for the fog to lift. The next morning, on July 21st,
the Campania collided with the barque Embleton, cutting right through
it like a knife. 11 out of the Embleton's 18-man crew were killed
in the collision, and the starboard side of the Campania had taken
a rough beating. The ship could be repaired quickly though, and set sail
for New York again on July 28th.
was an eventless year for the Campania, but still a historic one
when she became the first ship ever to be fitted with a Marconi Wireless
years later, the Campania again suffered from bad luck. While en
route in the middle of the North Atlantic, a rouge wave hit the ship and
swept five steerage passengers into the sea. They could not be saved and
in addition another 29 people was hurt in the crash. For the first time
in history, the Cunard Line had lost passengers through an accident.
after 20 years of German dominance on the high seas, Cunard struck back.
The entry of the Lusitania and Mauretania was an immediate
success, and the two former record-holders Campania and Lucania
were now getting old. Then, two years later, the Lucania was destroyed
by a fire. Now the Campania was a lone sister.
the two new ocean greyhounds could easily maintain the company's Liverpool-New
York service, the old Campania was kept on. On April 14th,
1914, she made her crossing number 250. After that she was briefly chartered
to the Anchor Line.
Campania's days appeared
to be numbered, but the outbreak of World War One gave her the opportunity
of a second career.
|The final moments of
the Campania. Note the two smokepipes that have replaced her forward
Cunard had already sold her to scrappers, the Admiralty thought that the
Campania could come to good use. She was bought and subsequently
converted into an aircraft carrier. Her forward funnel was removed and
replaced by two smaller smoke pipes and a 160-foot wooden flight deck was
added at the stern, making her capable of carrying ten aeroplanes. On April
30th, 1915, she left Mersey to converge with the grand fleet
in Scapa Flow. A few days later, the Campania once again wrote history
when she became the first Royal Navy vessel to launch aircrafts whilst
was a success also as an aircraft carrier, and soon returned to Mersey
to have her flight deck lengthened to accommodate more planes. She then
returned to Scapa Flow, but could not participate in the famous battle
of Jutland because of engine troubles.
raged on with the Campania working from Scapa Flow. In the autumn
of 1918 she was operating in the Firth of Forth. The sad end of this great
ship would come on the morning of November 5th, 1918.
was lying at anchor in the Firth of Forth, and winds were very strong.
Suddenly, the ship began to drag anchors. She collided with the nearby
battleship Revenge, and a hole was torn up in the Campania's
hull. The ship started to settle by the stern. Two battleships stood by
during the two hours it took for the former Blue Riband-champion to go to
had avoided enemy attacks throughout the war, and had managed to escape
the fate of among others the Lusitania and the Britannic.
Her end had come through a sheer accident. Four days later, the First World
War came to an end.
|The Campania - Specifications:
||622 feet (190 m)
||65 feet (19.9 m)
||12,950 gross tons
reciprocating engines turning two propellers.