RMS Empress of Canada (1928)
Empress of Canada arrives in Montreal, 1947.
|Namesake:||Duchess of Richmond|
|Operator:||Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd|
|Port of registry:||London, UK|
|Route:||Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal (Apr-Nov), Liverpool to St. John (Nov-Apr)|
|Builder:||John Brown & Company, Clydebank|
|Launched:||18 June 1928|
|Maiden voyage:||15 March 1929|
|Tonnage:||20,022 (1947, 20,325)|
|Length:||601 ft (183 m)|
|Beam:||75 ft 3 in (22.94 m)|
|Propulsion:||Geared turbines, twin screw|
|Capacity:||As built 580 cabin, 480 tourist and 510 3rd class passengers, 1947, 400 1st class, 300 tourist|
The Duchess of Richmond was one of the several "sturdy Canadian Pacific liners which were known as "Drunken Duchesses" for their lively performance in heavy seas." She was built as a sister ship to SS Duchess of York, SS Duchess of Bedford and SS Duchess of Atholl.
At midnight on Saturday, 26 January, 1926 she sailed from Liverpool to Freetown and back, on a cruise, calling in at
- Gibraltar, 30 Jan
- Monte Carlo, 2 Feb
- Majorca, 4 Feb
- Algiers, 5 Feb
- Tangier, 7 Feb
- Las Palmas, 12 Feb
- Freetown, 16 Feb
- Dakar, 18 Feb
- Tenerife, 21 Feb
- Casablanca, 25 Feb
- Cadiz, 2 Mar
- Lisbon, 4 Mar
- Liverpool. 8 Mar
During World War II, the Duchess was requisitioned as a troopship, and also played a role in transporting the Tizard Mission, which brought secret military equipment and designs from Britain to the United States. On September 6, 1940, she delivered the Mission, including highly secret and important equipment such as the cavity magnetron, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Mission then went onward by land to the United States. She also transported men to the fighting in North Africa, stopping briefly in Algiers to disembark troops on November 14, 1942.
War losses reduced the Canadian Pacific fleet considerably and post war only the Liverpool to Montreal service was resumed. The two surviving cabin class Duchesses were upgraded to "Empress" status and refitted with accommodation for 400 1st class and 300 tourist passengers (down from the pre-war three class total of 1,570). In May 1946 "Duchess of Richmond" arrived at the Govan yard of Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering for her overhaul and refit. Upon completion she was renamed "Empress of Canada" on July 12, 1947 and sailed on Canadian Pacific's first post-war Liverpool-Montreal sailing four days later.
On 25 January 1953 "Empress of Canada" caught fire and heeled over against the dock wall at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool. Re-floated after being righted by parbuckling, the following spring she was taken to La Spezia, Italy where she was scrapped. The difficulty of her recovery has been likened to that of USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor in 1943 and SS Normandie in New York harbor in 1942.
- "1160631". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 21 June 2009. (subscription required (. ))
- Buchan, William. (1982) John Buchan: a Memoir, p. 224.
- From my mother's journal, to be "put up" shortly. I'll insert the URL when it's ready.
- Netherlands Navy: "Mystery photos". Archived 13 February 2011 at WebCite
- Liverpool Ships. "The Canadian Pacific Liner EMPRESS OF CANADA was destroyed by fire in the Gladstone Dock at Liverpool on 25th January, 1953.". Liverpool Ships. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- Musk, George. (1981). Canadian Pacific: The Story of the Famous Shipping Line. Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-7968-4
- A website for the Empress of Canada with photos
- Ship List: , Canadian Pacific's Empress fleet
- Australian War Memorial: Empress of Australia with defensive armament, 1941