RMS Franconia (1922)
|Port of registry:||United Kingdom|
|Builder:||John Brown & Co, Clydebank|
|Launched:||21 October 1922|
|Maiden voyage:||23 June 1923|
|Fate:||Scapped at Inverkeithing by Thos. W. Ward, December 1956|
|Class & type:||Ocean liner|
|Length:||623 ft (190 m)|
|Beam:||73 ft (22 m)|
|Installed power:||Steam turbine engines (double reduction)|
|Speed:||16.5 knots (31 km/h; 19 mph)|
The RMS Franconia was an ocean liner operated by the Cunard Line from 1922 to 1956. She was the most famous of three liners named Franconia which served the Cunard Line, the others being Franconia (I) in 1910 and Franconia (III) in 1963.
She was launched on 21 October 1922 at the John Brown & Co shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland. Her maiden voyage was between Liverpool and New York in June 1923; she was employed on this route in the summer months until World War II. In the winter she was used on world cruises.1 She was involved in a collision in Shanghai harbour in April 1929 with an Italian gunboat and a Japanese cargo steamer.2
In September 1939, she was taken into service as a troop transport after refitting at Liverpool. She was involved in a collision off Malta with the Armed Merchant Cruiser Alcantara, but was repaired in time to participate in the ill-fated Norwegian campaign.3 On 16 June 1940, while en route to St Nazaire as part of Operation Ariel (the evacuation of the Second British Expeditionary Force from France), she was damaged by near-misses from German bombs and had to be escorted back to Liverpool for repairs.4
Later in the war, she took troops to India and took part in landings at Madagascar, North Africa, Italy5 and the Azores.6 In 1945 she was used as a headquarters ship for Winston Churchill and the British delegation at the Yalta Conference.7 At the end of the war in Europe, Franconia made several trips across the Atlantic carrying returning US troops and refugees. After VJ Day she was employed repatriating British troops, including freed Prisoners of War, from India.8 During her government service, she had covered 319,784 miles and carried 189,239 military personnel.9
Franconia was returned to Cunard in June 1948 and was refitted on Clydeside; finally resuming passenger service on 2 June 1949 on the Liverpool to Quebec and Liverpool to Halifax routes.1 The ship sailed from Liverpool 28 June 1949 and arrived Quebec 5 July and sailed from Liverpool again 21 July arriving Quebec 28 July. In July 1950 she went aground on the Île d'Orléans in the Saint Lawrence River after leaving Quebec.10 After being pulled off the reef she was repaired and resumed in service on the Canadian run in September 1950.11 The Franconia was retired in 1956 with her fleetmate the RMS Ascania (1923) having been replaced on the Canadian run by the Saxonia, Ivernia and the Carinthia.7 Fraconia's pre-war around-the-world cruises and distinguished wartime service made her a popular name within Cunard so in 1963, the RMS Ivernia was renamed Franconia to continue the name within the company.
- "Liner In Collision At Shanghai" (News). The Times (London). Thursday, 11 April 1929. (45174), col D, p. 15.
- The Sinking of the Lacastria, Jonathan Fenby, Simon & Schuster UK Ltd 2005 ISBN 0-7434-8943-8 p.72
- The Sinking of the Lacastria, Jonathan Fenby, Simon & Schuster UK Ltd 2005 ISBN 0-7434-8943-8 p.76
- "Liner Franconia Nears Retirement - Fame As Troopship" (News). The Times (London). Friday, 12 October 1950. (53660), col G, p. 6.
- "Tugs Removing Cargo From Franconia - Insurance Rate Increase" (News). The Times (London). Saturday, 15 July 1950. (51744), col G, p. 6.
- "Franconia Back In Service" (News). The Times (London). Saturday, 9 September 1950. (51792), col D, p. 6.