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Name:                         RMS Carinthia


Line:                           Cunard, White Star, Liverpool

Builder:                      Vickers-Armstrongs,             Barrow-in-Furness, England

Launched:                  February 24th, 1925

Maiden Voyage:        August 22, 1925 (Liverpool to New York City)

In Service:                  1925-1940

Fate:                           Torpedoed off Coast of Ireland by German Submarine U-46, June 6th, 1940.(4 men were killed instantly, but the remaining crew were rescued, as Carinthia remained afloat for over 30 hours)



Tonnage:                    20,277 GRT

Length:                       624 Feet

Beam:                         74 Feet

Depth:                         45 Feet

Draft:                           33 Feet

Engines:                      Four sets of Steam Turbines (Double-Reduction Geared)

Screws:                       Twin

Speed:                         17 Knots

Capacity:                     1731

            First Class: 321

            Second Class: 460

            Third Class: 950

            Cruise Capacity: 800

            Crew: 450

WWII Data:                Converted to an Armed Merchant Cruiser, December 30, 1939

RMS Carinthia- Additional Interesting Facts:


You may be interested to know that there actually have been 3 British ships with the name Carinthia. The first, was a freighter, known as the SS Carinthia. This first ship was only in service from 1895 to 1900. The ship that you see here in our presentation is actually the second Carinthia, initially known as The RMS Carinthia. And, the third Carinthia, also a passenger liner, was put into service in 1956 through 1968.


It should be noted that the Carinthia that we are highlighting at our museum was referred to using 3 different referential designations. This is due to the fact that, in her relatively short lifetime from 1925 to 1940, The Carinthia actually provided 3 different services. Initially, she was known as the RMS Carinthia, when she was being used for regular trans-Atlantic passenger service with Royal Mail Service between London and New York. Hence, the RMS designation. Later, during the cold Winter months, she was used as a cruise ship, traveling to warmer climates, and was then designated as The SS Carinthia, the general term used for Steam Ships that were not carrying the mail. Finally, when WWII broke out, she was converted to an Armed Merchant Cruiser, and given the title of HMS Carinthia, which formally is His (Her) Majesty’s Ship.


This Carinthia was a grand ship that featured excellent accommodations for all first, second, and third class passengers. She was considered to be a very well built, steady, and comfortable ocean liner. Later, while in cruising mode, the 3 “classes” of quarters were knows as Cabin Class, Tourist Class, and Third Class. As a cruise ship, she made many around the world cruises. In 1935, she was permanently converted over to a cruise ship, and had her hull painted white.


In August of 1939, she became HMS Carinthia, as she was put into service as the aforementioned armed merchant cruiser. She stayed in this service until June 6th, 1940, when she was torpedoed by a German U-46. 4 men were killed instantly by this large explosion, but thankfully, all others on board were saved, due to the fact that she remained afloat for more than 30 hours. Her remains are at the bottom of the sea, off of the coast of Ireland.


For greater details, and excellent photos, please visit the following website:

The RMS Carinthia and WCC were engaged in tests using short waves. Though the reception was not entirely as good as was hoped for, there was some successful short wave communication and at a much greater range than that afforded by the then standard of using long waves. Soon after these and other tests were completed, short waves were adopted with great success for the majority of long distance wireless communications. The following are entries in the Chatham Superintendent's Diary.

September 13, 1926 superintendents  diary page
September 13, 1926 superintendents diary entry
Superintendents diary entry for SS Carinthia communications test

Short waves not making good showing in tests with S/S Carinthia - Mr Erickson made observations today as follows: - 1700-1715 GMT 44 meters (unheard) 1748-1800 GMT on 40 meters - (unheard)

WCC Superintendents Diary
Superintendents Diary page from September 14, 1926
WCC Superintendents Diary date entry september 14, 1926
WCC Superintendents Diary entry
Image of WCC Superintendents Diary September 15, 1926
WCC Superintendents Diary Entry September 15, 1926
WCC Superintendents Diary September 15, 1926

Short wave schedules with S/S Carinthia kept but results not encouraging. Have not heard a signal from him in past two days.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  

“Hilda Marjorie James (27 April 1904 – 27 July 1982) was a British competitive swimmer who competed at the 1920 Summer Olympics. James won a silver medal in the women's 4×100-metre freestyle relay and swam in semifinals of the 300-metre freestyle event. She held seven world records and 29 English records. “Very shortly after the Olympics, she took a job with Cunard Line” (on the RMS Carinthia, working as a swim instructor), “where she was employed as a celebrity.” (She even taught Gloria Vanderbilt Jr. how to swim, during her transatlantic voyage with her mother). “She eventually married (William) Hugh McAllister in 1930 who also worked on Cunard's luxury liner Carinthia,” (as their onboard wireless radio operator). “They had one child, Donald Hugh McAllister.”


For more information on Hilda James, please see the following link:


For more information and a photo of Gloria Vanderbilt Jr’s swimming lessons with Hilda James while onboard Carinthia, please see the link below:


Hilda James: British competitive swimmer

Hilda Marjorie James

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