Friday, December 15, 2006

RMS Aquitania..The last of the four stackers....Called the Ship beautiful...1914--1950 (photos at the end of article)

In this day and age when all of the ships I see look like boxcars, it is nice to look at some of the beautiful ships of the past. The Aquitania was truly in a class by herself. She was the final 4 stacker made.

She made her maiden voyage weeks before the onset of World War One. It was often said she looked like a larger Lusitania, and she had many of the features of the Lusitania, but had better lines.

She grew out of the great race that was taking place between the English, French and the Germans.
Each country produced it version of 4 stacked liners...The English produced the most..with names like the Olympic, Titanic, Britannic, Mauritania, Lusitania.

There were some 4 funneled ships produced in the 1920's but were not of the class and style of these floating palaces....The Aquitania was the last of the great floating palaces of the pre war age for England.

My Grandfather went to WWI on the Olympic and returned here on the France..Both were 4 stackers..

By the mid 1930's she was the last of the English 4 stackers still sailing. By 1942 she was the last period of any 4 stacker.

When the 4 stack craze started in Germany with the Kaiser Wilhelm De Gross in 1897, it was thought that immigrants would be impressed by the number of funnels. In fact, it was stated by many that the more funnels the safer the ship!

That went out the window with the Titanic!!

She served under one house flag for 35 years...Very few ships have ever had a career and a following by the world as this wonderful ship had. She was removed from the world 7 years before I joined it, so I never got to see her...

However, I did get to see both the Queens sailing..The Queen Mary in New York in 1965, and the Queen Elizabeth in Port Everglades, Florida in 1969.

I have found some photos of this great ship and introduce you to her, and for a few of you reintroduce you to her...The one and only Aquatania.

A Cunard poster of the ship beautiful. In its early design. Do note that the bridge and wheelhouse is incorporated into the top deck in front. Sadly, that was just not high enough and soon after a top bridge was added and it did spoil the look of the ship a bit. But she was still beautiful.

Here she is as a hospital ship during the early part of World war One. Note that the bridge of the ship had not yet been altered. She had such beautiful lines. This photograph is very becoming .

A rare color photo of the Aquitania coming into New York in the late 1930's

A very late photograph of the ship. This photo dates to around 1948. Does not look bad for a 34 year old ship.

The ship did a great deal of troop transporting during World War Two. She was one of the first ships that went into Pearl Harbor after the attack. She traveled hundreds of thousands of miles and carried hundreds of thousands of troops during the war. She was the only big major liner that served successfully in both world wars. In this picture you see her in 1945-46 returning servicemen..By the end of the war the company colors were added to the funnels of the ships. She was affectionately called by the sevicemen "Granny" She was older than most of the people on her in World War Two.

The end of the road....The venerable ship sails for the breakers in 1950. You will see they kept adding onto the wheelhouse during WW2 and it was starting to look stupid. But here she sails to immortality...She will forever be known as the ship beautiful

1 comment:

Stan Perkins said...

G'day from Australia,

the photo of RMS Aquitania reminds me of when I crossed The Atlantic on24th May 1945 with a contingent of would be Pilots in RAF for training at Terrell Texas.( No.1 British Flying Traing School)
The ship was also carrying ex POW's and wounded for repatriation.
Coming up the Hudson river the ship "listed" at a disasterous angle of some 35 degrees and the Captain had to use his Tannoy to get people to move over to the other side !!! The reason was that the first of the POW's and sick were being greeted by the "Big Bands" and live Varga girls which were too much for the girl starved men.
Returned to UK after The Bomb was dropped at Hiroshima. The Queen Elizabeth was the ship for that purpose.............all we got was a Pommy band playing "Rule Britannia"
Bye for now, keep up the good work.

Stan Perkins

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