Postcards From the Past


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I was thinking about Randy's letter from Lucille on another thread and we were discussing what a wonderful idea it would be to collect a volume of Titanic letters-most written after the tragedy. I have a few. As usual, I am slow to actually follow through with an idea and some truly ambitious and energetic sort beats me to it! But how about a thread to share letters and postcards from famous ships here? I have a big postcard collection- they are still pretty cheap to collect. Also menus and programs from old liners are chock full of great details- shall we try ?! I'll start off with one from our favorite liner.
 
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Tichnor Brother's Titanic (actually Olympic!)
postcard, green one penny stamp, To Mrs. E. Brown, R. Bruce Piper, Ashland, N.H.RFD#1 postmark, April 29, 1912
Everyone is still talking of this dreadful tragedy-I have a friend who lost a cousin-his wife was saved. They have 3 boys- the youngest 8 years- They were at home. Write to me soon. Lots of Love. E.A.M.
 
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On board Laconia, Liverpool postmark, 1938, red 1 penny of George V, Laconia with 2 tugs steaming out of NY City
Dear Binny and Comfy,
Thank you very much for the presents. It is very foggy but I am having a good time. The Captain has a pet tiger and I am going to see him. Lots of love, Hazel

* ONLY WAY TO CROSS describes a tiger escaping at the pier. Wonder if it was Hazel's tiger?!The things those ships' holds carried across the ocean- from mummies to Rembrandts!
 
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Onboard Cunarder Albania( sepia 3/4 portside)
Cherbourg-Manche postmark To Mr. A Loper
Stonington, CT, half-penny George V stamp, brown

The Cunard Line wishes to sell this oil-burner as she costs more to run than she is worth. The passengers' fare just pays for the oil she burns in one trip across. She is only three years old and makes a little over 14 knots. Cherbourg on Tuesday, and London late Tuesday-Landing on Wednesday. Bye. P.O.

* Never heard of the Albania- when was she built??
 

Mark Baber

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Hello, Shelly---

From the text of the message and your description of the stamp, it sounds like this is Cunard's second Albania you're asking about.

This Albania was laid down in 1914 at Scott's Shipbuilding and Engineering, Greenock, but wasn't launched until April 1920 due to World War I. Although she was intended to serve Canada like all of Cunard's "A" liners, her maiden voyage on 18 January took her from Liverpool to New York.

Albania was transferred to Cunard's Canadian service in April 1922, sailing to Montréal in the summer and Boston/New York in the winter. During the summer of 1925, she was placed on the London-New York route and was then laid up.

Albania was sold to Navigazione Libera Triestina in 1930, renamed California, and placed on a Trieste-Seattle route. She also served as a hospital ship during the Italo-Abyssinian war.

With the reorganization of the Italian merchant marine in 1935, California was transferred to Lloyd Triestino ownership. She was sunk during a British attack on Syracuse on 11 August 1941 and was eventually refloated and broken up.

Sources: Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway; Haws' Merchant Fleets.

MAB
 
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Wow- Thanks, Mark- had forgotten the A ships of Cunard Canada!- she's a pretty little thing- single funnel,nice knife bow and a counter stern-what a life on the high seas.
 
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Much nicer than the sepia card I have-thanks!/

Tonight: The France, Postmark, Southampton, 12 Sept.1974,purple 5 p. Queen Elizabeth stamp to Miss Elizabeth Curley, Crystal Avenue, New London, CT. USA
Dear Elizabeth,
Mr. Ottana and I are having a lovely trip on the S.S. France. It is a beautiful ship- too bad they feel they can't continue to run her anymore. They lose too much money on every crossing. Best wishes, OOXX Gertrude

* One of the saddest decisions made. I remember reading all of France mourned as she pulled into port the last day- there were even strikes by unions which worked on her. Such a Beauty- am not fond of the sampan funnels as a rule, but on her they looked good. She never looked as snappy in Norway blue hull. I hear she's doomed again. Anybody got an update? I hope not because she looks like a SHIP- not a Kleenex box- am disgusted by the profiles of the new "ships". The 1912 France was a real knockout too- so eclipsed by Titanic sadly
 
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Here's a little puzzle. Postcard of the Carmania/Caronia, dated August 25, 1920, red one-penny King George, to Fred Walker, 31 Abbey Road, Stirling
This has "Cunard Line Agency" printed on it- K.A. VICTORIA now 31st Aug.
Dear Sir,
Please note that above steamer sails on Tuesday 31 August instead of 28th. All third class passengers must call at Cunard Office, Liverpool before embarking on steamer. Yours Truly, Alex Learmonth- /sepia, white border
Wonder why 3rd class had to call at the offices and I thought the Kaserine Augusta Victoria was German? Experts out there?
 
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Rolf Vonk

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Hello Shelley,

I can't give you information about the 3rd class passengers, but I do have some information about the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria. The ship was built in Germany for the Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hapag). She was launched in 1905. During World War I she was laid up. On 23 of March 1919, the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria was turned out to England (I guess as a War payment. Many German ships were divided among other countries after WWI). From that moment the Kaiserin Auguste Victoire was steaming for the Cunard Line under her new name "Empress of Scotland" till 1930.

Hope this Helps.

Regards,

Rolf
happy.gif
 

Mark Baber

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Rolf---

Your answer is mostly right, but you missed a step. KAV was, in fact, laid up in Germany during World War I and ceded to Britain as a war reparation after the Armistice. Then, she sailed under her old name and Cunard management, making 10 Liverpool-New York roundtrips between February 1920 and January 1921. Next, in May 1921, she was sold to Canadian Pacific, and that's where the Empress of Scotland name came in. ("Empress of ..." was a distinctive Canadian Pacific name, just as "-ic" was distinctively White Star.) Her service during 1922-1930 as Empress of Scotland was for CP, not Cunard.

Sources: Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway; Haws' Merchant Fleets, Vol. 23: Canadian Pacific.

MAB

P.S. The spellchecker on this board wanted me to change "roundtrips" to "rotundities", but I resisted that suggestion.

P.P.S. The second time around, it wanted me to change "spellchecker" to "speechmaker", a particularly odd suggestion given that the checking is being done by spellchecker.net!
 
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Wow- all this from a postcard. I guess August 1920, Cunard had just taken her over. How convenient Victoria ended in the Cunard -ia!
 

Mike Herbold

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Mark:
Just found out recently that my dad was transported on the Amerika from the US to Britain in WWII, and sent him pictures of the postcards from Great Ships. Any idea where I could find a picture of how it looked during the war?
 
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Rolf Vonk

Guest
Hello,

Mark B. Thanks for the information. It's good that you added those points. For one detail: Kaiserin Auguste Victoria was laid up in Hamburg during world war I.

Mark H. To which country or what line belonged the Amerika you mentioned?

Rolf
happy.gif
 

Mike Herbold

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Rolf:
Britain, I think. I'm not a ship person, but believe that Germany lost it to Britain as part of the repayments of WWI.
 

Mark Baber

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Mike---

Amerika was indeed German to begin with, part of Hapag's pre-World War I fleet. But she was seized by the U.S. in 1917 and then ceded to the U.S., not to Britain, after the war. She became U.S. Mail's America in 1921, U.S. Lines' America later in the same year, and was laid up in 1931. She was then rebuilt as a troopship, with only a single funnel, after the U.S. entered World War II and was brought back into service as Edmund B. Alexander. She was laid up again in 1949, and was scrapped in 1958.

As for pictures of her in her last incarnation, there's one in Vol. 1 of Kludas' Great Passenger Ships of the World, at page 119; it shows her being towed to the shipbreakers. I know of no others, and couldn't find any others offhand.

Sources: Kludas' Great Passenger Ships of the World; Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway.

MAB
 

Mike Herbold

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Thanks a million, Mark:
This is going to end up as one great unique Father's Day present.
FYI, my dad got to Europe in the fall of 1944. Things were so fouled up that the Amerika landed in Glasgow and then they ended up taking the train down to Southampton, and were quickly shuttled over to France.
 
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Tonight: Postmarked Docks Southampton, 2:45 pm, Dec. 16, 1905 To Miss Helen Odell
"Wiesbaden" Castlemain Rd. Bournemoth, green 1 penny Edward the VII?
On board the American Line U.S. Steamer New York (10, 799 tons) British and US flags crossed with an eagle overhead in upper right corner. Starboard lithograph, 2 funnels, black with white banding, 3 masts ship at sea.

My darling Helen. We have just come on this ship and will stay until 5 o'clock. You should see the nice rooms we have! Hope you and Marjorie will have a nice time this afternoon- with love from your mother-XXXXXXXX

*I assume this is our New York which nearly collided with Titanic at the pier?
 

Mark Baber

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Indeed, it is the same New York.

Quite a remarkable ship. She was the first ship, save Great Eastern, of over 10,000 tons and an 1892 Blue Ribband winner as the Inman Line's City of New York. Her name was shortened when the American Line acquired her in 1893. During the Spanish American War she served as an auxiliary cruiser under the name Harvard. She was rebuilt in 1903; this resulted in, among other modifications, a reduction from three funnels to two. She served as an armed transport in World War I, under the name Plattsburg. American sold her to the Polish Navigation Co. in 1921, and she was scrapped in 1923.

In addition to her close encounter with Titanic, New York was also on the scene when Republic II foundered after a collision in 1909, and escorted Lloyd Italiano's Florida to New York after the collision.

See http://www.greatships.net/newyork.html

Sources: Flayhart's The American Line; Kludas' Great Passenger Ships of the World; Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway.

MAB.
 
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