Ascania (I) (1911-18)



These statistics are derived from NRP Bonsor, North Atlantic Seaway, 5 vols, David & Charles, 1975-80. The Cunard fleet is dealt with in Vol 1.

Gross Tonnage - 9,111 tons

Dimensions - 142.31m x 17.10m (466.6ft x 56.1ft)

Number of funnels - 2

Number of masts - 2

Construction - Steel

Propulsion - Twin screw

Engines - Six-cylinder turbines by Palmers Co, Jarrow-on-Tyne

Service speed - 13

Builder -Swann, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne

Passenger accommodation - 200 2nd Class; 1,500 3rd Class

Cargo - 2,080 tons (insulated)

Details of Career

The Ascania was originally laid down for the Thomson Line as the Geronia. It was bought by Cunard in 1911 for 149,224. along with the Ausonia and Albania, and launched on 6 March 1911 under its new name. These three ships were intended to start the company's service between London, Southampton and Canada to take advantage of a treaty signed between the

Canadian and French Governments, whereby goods shipped to Canada through a British port received a rebate. These were the first Cunard ships to sail on a route out of Southampton. Cunard's new route was pioneered by the Albania on 2 May 1911, being followed by the Ausonia on 16 May and the Ascania on 23 May. Cargo was loaded in Tilbury Docks, London, passengers joining the ship at Southampton, which then proceeded to Quebec and Montreal. This service was the first Cunard sailing to the St Lawrence, which became a familiar

destination for the company. During the winter months, when the St Lawrence was closed, it was diverted to Portland, Maine. On 13 June 1918 the Ascania was wrecked in the Breton Strait, 20 miles east of Cape Ray, Newfoundland. No lives were lost, but the ship could not be refloated and was declared a total loss.