Collision between Aquitania and Leyland's Canadian


Sep 22, 2003
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I found this little tidbit of information while looking through my Shipbuilder reprint for the Aquitania (Ocean Liners of the Past: vol 3). according to while the Aquitania was leaving port on 8/14/1912 right after she had finished being converted to an armed merchant cruiser she was involved in a collision w/ the Leyland Line's Californian Which happened on the Aquitania's port side.

I'm currently looking for more info on this, if I find any I'll be sure to post it. or if any has any recomendations when it comes to published sources let me know please.
 

Mark Baber

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Hello, Jesse---

8/14/1912

1912 is two years early, no?

;-)

According to an article in The New York Times of 2 September 1914 it was Leyland's Canadian that collided with Aquitania in August 1914, and was then escorted a couple of hundred miles by Leyland's Devonian (ex-White Star Cretic).

Similar information appears in Shaum & Flayhart's Majesty at Sea, citing Lloyd's Casualty Report for 25 August; according to this, the two ships collided off the Old Head of Kinsale sometime between Aquitania's departure from Liverpool on 8 August and her return on 25 August. Although S&F write that "[l]ittle is known of this accident," they state that on her return Aquitania showed "heavy damage to her bow" and that Lloyds listed Canadian as having incurred considerable damage.

Nothing in either NYT or S&F about Californian.
 
Aug 8, 2007
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Hi Jesse, this is pure speculation on my part. My copy of "The Blue Riband of the Atlantic" by Tom Hughes has an advertising blurb on the back cover for the Ocean Liners of the Past reprint series which states that "the last three in the series [Empress of Britain, Normandie, Queen Mary] contain introductions and epilogues by Leslie Reade". While the Aquitania reprint does not expressly state who wrote the epilogue in which this error occurs, Leslie Reade is mentioned at the very end of the introduction to this book, in the "Acknowledgements for valuable assistance" paragraph. As Leslie Reade was well into his research for his own book on the Californian at the time this book was reprinted (1971), my hunch is that he also wrote the epilogue for this book, and he accidentally substituted "Californian" for "Canadian".
 

Mark Baber

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In his Aquitania book, Mark Chirnside quotes Aquitania's log entries for 22 August 1914 describing the collision with Canadian.
 

mgellhause

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In his Aquitania book, Mark Chirnside quotes Aquitania's log entries for 22 August 1914 describing the collision with Canadian.
I realize this is a really old thread, sorry about that! But I’m looking and hoping for some information or clarification of a ship that sailed in 1914. I recently came across some family information written by my late great-grandmother of her life. One part of it was that she and her family left to go back to Lithuania from the US (they were living in PA) so I’m assuming maybe they left from NY. She mentions that 1/2 way through the trip the ship gets a big hole in the bottom and all of the luggage, trunks were ruined but the crew was able to pump out the water and repair the hole. The got off in Germany, but names the ship as “Quiatania”, I’m assuming she possibly meant Aquitania?? I have no further details, but my interest is peaked and this is how I stumbled across this decade old thread...hoping someone out here might have some insight or recommendation. Thanks in advance for any information!
 
Nov 14, 2005
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As much as I don't like using Wiki as source on their page they say the Aquitania at the time of the collision with the Canadian was already in the service of the British navy for WW1. So if that's true I don't think passengers would be on her. I will look for other sources to see if I can verify that. I recently tried to get Mr. Chirnsides book on the Aquitania but couldn't find one other than a used one. Guess I need to go that route. Anyway good luck with your search. And Welcome to the board.
 
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Seumas

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I realize this is a really old thread, sorry about that! But I’m looking and hoping for some information or clarification of a ship that sailed in 1914. I recently came across some family information written by my late great-grandmother of her life. One part of it was that she and her family left to go back to Lithuania from the US (they were living in PA) so I’m assuming maybe they left from NY. She mentions that 1/2 way through the trip the ship gets a big hole in the bottom and all of the luggage, trunks were ruined but the crew was able to pump out the water and repair the hole. The got off in Germany, but names the ship as “Quiatania”, I’m assuming she possibly meant Aquitania?? I have no further details, but my interest is peaked and this is how I stumbled across this decade old thread...hoping someone out here might have some insight or recommendation. Thanks in advance for any information!
It could not have been the RMS Aquitania. She did not call at German ports.

The Hamburg-American Line did have a few ships in service at the time whose names ended in "ia". Probably a much more likely option.
 
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It could not have been the RMS Aquitania. She did not call at German ports.

The Hamburg-American Line did have a few ships in service at the time whose names ended in "ia". Probably a much more likely option.
Excellent point. I never really thought about it before but I wonder how liners were caught up in certain ports when WW1 broke out. Interesting.
 
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Excellent point. I never really thought about it before but I wonder how liners were caught up in certain ports when WW1 broke out. Interesting.
To answer my question. I didn't find that any were seized in german ports. But I'm still looking. However it seems the americans seized over 90 german ships in her ports and used some dirty tricks (in my opinion) to do it. From a legal stand point that is.
 

Seumas

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To answer my question. I didn't find that any were seized in german ports. But I'm still looking. However it seems the americans seized over 90 german ships in her ports and used some dirty tricks (in my opinion) to do it. From a legal stand point that is.
Many German and Austro-Hungarian merchant ships had really no choice but to just lay up in neutral ports in August 1914.

The ships of the Royal Navy's "North American & West Indies Station" were waiting just outside US waters to intercept any German merchants brave enough to chance a return journey to Germany.

Those that did manage to get past that hurdle would have to then somehow evade the dozens of warships (some of them converted merchants themselves) on station between Scotland and Norway.

It was worse if you were the captain of a Austro-Hungarian merchant ship. There was no point even trying. You would have to get through the tightly guarded straights of Gibraltar to get home. Royal Navy warships and long range British Army shore batteries on Gibraltar itself would have made such a task suicidal.

The German's didn't find this out until after the war but the moment war broke out the Royal Navy already had a detailed plan in hand for how to blockade Germany and paralyse it's international commerce. Admiral Jackie Fisher was the man behind it all, a very interesting and rather controversial man in his day.
 
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Many German and Austro-Hungarian merchant ships had really no choice but to just lay up in neutral ports in August 1914.

The ships of the Royal Navy's "North American & West Indies Station" were waiting just outside US waters to intercept any German merchants brave enough to chance a return journey to Germany.

Those that did manage to get past that hurdle would have to then somehow evade the dozens of warships (some of them converted merchants themselves) on station between Scotland and Norway.

It was worse if you were the captain of a Austro-Hungarian merchant ship. There was no point even trying. You would have to get through the tightly guarded straights of Gibraltar to get home. Royal Navy warships and long range British Army shore batteries on Gibraltar itself would have made such a task suicidal.

The German's didn't find this out until after the war but the moment war broke out the Royal Navy already had a detailed plan in hand for how to blockade Germany and paralyse it's international commerce. Admiral Jackie Fisher was the man behind it all, a very interesting and rather controversial man in his day.
Good post. I and most others here know about the liners that were seized as part of the reparations settlement after the war. I just read an article on how during the war the U.S. seized german ships. The couldn't do it legally because of the rules/laws of the time concerning non combatant civilian owned ships under the war rules. So what they did was very loosely interpret the immigration laws and charged them with immigration violations and seized them under that and took 90+ ships. But don't take that as gospel as it was just one article. I'm looking for more info on that.
 
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Seumas

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Good post. I and most others here know about the liners that were seized as part of the reparations settlement after the war. I just read an article on how during the war the U.S. seized german ships. The couldn't do it legally because of the rules/laws of the time concerning non combatant civilian owned ships under the war rules. So what they did was very loosely interpret the immigration laws and charged them with immigration violations and seized them under that and took 90+ ships. But don't take that as gospel as it was just one article. I'm looking for more info on that.
Maybe some of those ships seized were in retaliation for the wave of bombings German agents carried out in 1916 against American industries making war material for the allies ?
 
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The article I read sounded like it took place before that. I'm still looking for info on what types were seized and the timeline. They still do that today but its mostly seizing another countries assets (money). As a side note there's a good old movie that deals with this but it takes place at the beginning of WW2. "The Sea Chase". A good older movie if you haven't already seen it. Cheers.
 

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