HMS Campania

The Ship

Collided and Sank 5 November 1918

The first Campania, purchased in 1914, was a passenger liner converted to a seaplane tender. She collided with Royal Oak and Glorious in 1918 and sank.

Campania was built for Cunard by Fairfield Co., Ltd., of Glasgow, and was launched on 8 September 1892. Her maiden voyage to New York began at Liverpool on 22 April 1893; a month later, her second roundtrip to New York resulted in Campania's first Blue Riband, and her only eastbound record. Campania would twice set westbound records -- in June 1893 and August 1894.

Campania, converted into an armed merchant cruiser, represented Cunard at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Review at Spithead in 1897, and remained on Cunard's Liverpool-New York service until she was retired in April 1914.

After being chartered briefly to Anchor Line, she was temporarily recalled from August to October 1914 while Aquitania served as a troop ship. Sold to shipbreakers in November, she was quickly re-sold to the Admiralty and converted into an armed merchant cruiser with a flight deck and hangar, capable of handling airplanes and observation balloons.

HMS Campania missed The Battle of Jutland as she was at Scapa Flow, stationed 5 miles from the main fleet anchorage, having been at sea earlier that day. She received the the general signals to the fleet regarding leaving harbour, but somehow didn't receive the signal to leave harbour, or see the rest of the fleet leave. The absence of the fleet was finally noticed at 23.45 and her captain decided to try to catch up. When Jellicoe was informed he ordered Campania to return, fearing she would fall prey to a submarine as she was unescorted.

This meant that the main fleet lost its potential for aerial reconnaissance

She served as a scouting aide to the Fleet until November 1918, when she sank after colliding with HMS Revenge in the Firth of Forth. All of the crew of Campania were saved prior to her sinking.

My Postcards

Message written on the back from Tony to his Mum, Dada and Lil. Obviously a sailor on board the HMS Campania he writes 'Well the New Year will soon be upon us now, and I trust the coming year will prove brighter for us than the past'. This ship sank 11 months later, but luckliy all the crew were saved.


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