M 705 - RMS Aquitania

RMS Aquitania - M705

This is the Tri-ang Minic Ships model of the RMS Aquitania which was commissioned by Cunard in 1910 as the third in a trio of fast ships to provide a weekly Trans-Atlantic sailing in each direction between Liverpool and New York in partnership with RMS Mauretania and RMS Lusitania.

RMS Aquitania was built to the same well balanced four funnel design as her predecessors, albeit with more splendid interior layout and finishing, but was a larger vessel being some 100 ft longer and 15,000 tons heavier than RMS Mauretania or RMS Lusitania.

On her completion RMS Aquitania was dubbed the "Ship Beautiful" a reflection of both her perfectly balanced exterior lines and the elegance of her interior which included such features as the two deck high columned Palladian Lounge and the equally sumptuous Jacobean Smoking Room that was modelled on the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

The company decided against extremely powerful machinery for RMS Aquitania thereby eliminating any attempt at winning the "Blue Riband" a trophy that was left to RMS Mauretania who held it between 1907 and 1929, the longest period in history.

RMS Aquitania only made a few Atlantic crossings before the outbreak of the First World War when she and her "sisters" were called for military duty as Armed Merchant Cruisers. The government quickly concluded however that these ships were too vulnerable to German U-Boats and RMS Aquitania was laid up until May 1915 when she was painted in dazzle camouflage and sailed to the Dardenelles as a troopship.

In 1916 RMS Aquitania was painted in all white livery and served as a hospital ship carrying 25000 casualties from the Turkish war zone before being laid up again in December 1916. She spent all of 1917 laid up in Liverpool before again being pressed into service as a troopship carrying 60000 US troops to Europe in March 1918. RMS Aquitania then spent the rest of the year repatriating US troops after the conclusion of hostilities before making her first post war Atlantic crossing in February 1919.

RMS Aquitania underwent an extensive refit at John Brown & Company between December 1919 and July 1920 during which time her interior was completely re-furbished and her propulsion systems were converted from coal burning to oil.

In July 1920 RMS Aquitania resumed the weekly Trans-Atlantic service a role that she performed until the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 although in latter years, with the downturn in Trans-Atlantic passenger traffic, she also spent part of the year operating cruises. She was partnered on the Trans-Atlantic service by RMS Mauretania and RMS Berengaria, the replacement for RMS Lusitania, until the 1930's.

From 1936 RMS Aquitania ran the trans-Atlantic service in conjunction with RMS Queen Mary when she had to maintain an average speed of 24.87 knots in order to maintain the schedule set by her modern partner.

In November 1939 RMS Aquitania was again requisitioned as a troopship and throughout 1940 she transported troops from Australia to the Middle East. She continued to serve throughout the Second World War and during early 1948 was engaged in repatriating US troops from Europe. She carried a total of 384,586 personnel on unescorted runs during the period of hostilities.

RMS Aquitania spent the last year of her life operating an austerity service for the Canadian Government transporting emigrants, troops and their families. She was the last of the four funnel liners when she completed her final voyage from Halifax to Southampton on 1st December 1949.

She was finally sold for scrap in 1950 and was broken up at Faslane in Scotland after a career spanning 35 years during which time she steamed over 3 million miles and carried 1.2 million people.


Owner: Cunard White Star Line
Builder: John Brown & Co Ltd, Glasgow
Launched: 21st April 1913
Displacement: 45647 tons
Length (OA): 901 ft ( 274.6 m )
Beam: 97 ft ( 29.6 m )
Propulsion: 4 Parsons - Brown direct acting turbines, 4 shafts, quad screw, 56,000 shp
Maximum Speed: 23 Knots
Passenger Accommodation: 597 - 1st Class
614 - 2nd Class
Disposal / Demise: Broken up at Faslane in 1950


Further details can be obtained from the following links -
Cunard Fleet Search Engine http://www.cunard.com/AboutCunard/default.asp?Active=Heritage&Sub=Fleet
Monsters of the Sea Web Site http://www.ocean-liners.com/ships/aquitania.asp