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SS Rajputana

Coordinates: 65°50′N 27°25′W / 65.833°N 27.417°W / 65.833; -27.417
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SS Rajputana
United Kingdom
BuilderHarland and Wolff, Greenock
Yard number661[1]
Laid down1925
Launched6 August 1925
Completed30 December 1925[1]
AcquiredSeptember 1939
CommissionedDecember 1939
ReclassifiedArmed merchant cruiser
FateTorpedoed and sunk by U-108 off Iceland, 13 April 1941, in position 65°50′N 27°25′W / 65.833°N 27.417°W / 65.833; -27.417
General characteristics
Length547 ft (166.7 m)
Beam71 ft (21.6 m)
PropulsionQuad expansion steam engine
Speed17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Complement323 (as armed cruiser)
  • 8 × 6 in (152 mm) guns
  • 2 × 3 in (76 mm) guns

SS Rajputana was a British passenger and cargo carrying ocean liner. She was built for the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company at the Harland and Wolff shipyard at Greenock on the lower River Clyde, Scotland in 1925. She was one of the P&O R-class liners from 1925 that had much of their interiors designed by Lord Inchcape's daughter Elsie Mackay.[2] Named after the Rajputana region of western India, she sailed on a regular route between England and British India.

She was requisitioned into the Royal Navy on the onset of World War II, outfitted in December 1939 at Yarrows, in Esquimalt, as an armed merchant cruiser and commissioned HMS Rajputana. The installation of eight six-inch guns gave her the firepower of a light cruiser without the armor protection. She was torpedoed and sunk off Iceland on 13 April 1941, after escorting a convoy across the North Atlantic.

World War II


In the Battle of the Atlantic HMS Rajputana escorted several North Atlantic convoys from Bermuda and Halifax, Nova Scotia including BHX 42, BHX 45, BHX 49, BHX 52, BHX 54, BHX 61, BHX 64, BHX 71, BHX 83, BHX 94, BHX 101, BHX 111 and BHX 117.

On 13 April 1941, four days after parting company with convoy HX 117, she was torpedoed by U-108 under Klaus Scholtz in the Denmark Strait west of Reykjavík, Iceland. She sank over an hour later with the loss of 42 men, including her last civilian captain Commander C. T. O. Richardson. A total of 283 of her crew were saved by the destroyer HMS Legion and Polish ORP Piorun, some of them after spending twelve hours in overcrowded lifeboats. Among the survivors was Daniel Lionel Hanington, who later become a rear admiral in the Royal Canadian Navy.



The following are some notable passengers who sailed in the SS Rajputana.


  1. ^ a b McCluskie, Tom (2013). The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff. Stroud: The History Press. p. 133. ISBN 9780752488615.
  2. ^ P & O Line Ships (and technical data) from 1920 to 1930 Archived 30 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Kalchuri, Bhau: "Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba", Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 1380
  4. ^ The Biography of Muhammad Loutfi Goumah - Al-Hatyaa Al-Misreyya Al-Aama Lelketab- 2000 - Part I- P. 554 ISBN 977-01-6651-0


  • Osborne, Richard; Spong, Harry & Grover, Tom (2007). Armed Merchant Cruisers 1878–1945. Windsor, UK: World Warship Society. ISBN 978-0-9543310-8-5.