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October 19, 2021

Amazing Photos of RMS Aquitania During Her Life

RMS Aquitania was a British ocean liner of the Cunard Line in service from 1914 to 1950. She was designed by Leonard Peskett and built by John Brown & Company in Clydebank, Scotland. She was launched on 21 April 1913 and sailed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 30 May 1914.

RMS Aquitania

Aquitania was the third in Cunard Line’s grand trio of express liners, preceded by RMS Mauretania and RMS Lusitania, and was the last surviving four-funneled ocean liner. Shortly after Aquitania entered service, World War I broke out, during which she was first converted into an auxiliary cruiser before being used as a troop transport and a hospital ship, notably as part of the Dardanelles Campaign.

Returned to transatlantic passenger service in 1920, she served alongside the Mauretania and the Berengaria. Considered during this period of time as one of the most attractive ships, Aquitania earned the nickname “the Ship Beautiful” from her passengers. She continued in service after the merger of Cunard Line with White Star Line in 1934. The company planned to retire her and replace her with RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1940.

However, the outbreak of World War II allowed the ship to remain in service for ten more years. During the war and until 1947, she served as a troop transport. She was used in particular to take home Canadian soldiers from Europe. After the war, she transported migrants to Canada before the Board of Trade found her unfit for further commercial service.

Aquitania was retired from service in 1949 and was sold for scrapping the following year. Having served as a passenger ship for 36 years, Aquitania ended her career as the longest serving Cunard vessel, a record which stood for six years until overtaken by RMS Scythia’s service record of 37 years.

In 2004, Aquitania’s service record was pushed into third place when Queen Elizabeth 2 became the longest serving Cunard vessel.

A set of amazing photos from Kenneth Allyn Barton that shows beautiful images of RMS Aquitania during her life.

Aquitania at the Clydebank yards of John Brown. Built to maintain a weekly transatlantic schedule with Lusitania and Mauretania, the larger Aquitania was perhaps the most successful of all the great liners, 1913

The passenger liner Aquitania under construction by John Brown & Co Ltd. at Clydebank. A general view along the port side of the ship, 1913

901 feet long, 97 feet wide. Passenger capacity- 610 1st Class, 950 2nd, and 1,998 3rd. The 45,647 ton Aquitania at John Brown & Company shortly before her launch, circa 1913

Cunard's Aquitania on the stocks at John Brown & Company of Clydebank; the same Scottish yard that would later build the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth 2, circa 1913

One of Aquitania's massive funnels is about to be hoisted onboard during the liner's fitting-out, circa 1913

A sea of spectators watch the launch of Aquitania at John Brown & Company of Clydebank on 21 April 1913

Aquitania in John Brown's fitting-out basin, early 1914

View from Aquitania's flying bridge. As a consequence of Titanic's woefully insufficient number of lifeboats, the upper decks of the new Cunarder were crowded with the latest in lifesaving equipment, circa 1914

One of Aquitania's officers is dwarfed by the towering forward funnel and a collection of cowl ventilators. The steam whistles fitted to the first and second funnels are visible, circa 1914

Aquitania moves down the Clyde beginning her sea trials on 10 May 1914

Aquitania during her 3 days of trials. She reached 24 knots; a full knot more than expected, May 25, 1914

Aquitania's portside Boat Deck with steamship lines still reeling from the loss of life aboard Titanic, strolling space for passengers has been sacrificed for lifesaving equipment, circa 1914

2nd Class open deck space has been sacrificed in order to carry additional collapsible lifeboats, circa 1914

The sheltered part of Aquitania's 1st Class Promenade, on the port side of the Bridge Deck (B Deck). The hundreds of steamer chairs that will line the deck have yet to be brought onboard, April 1914

Aquitania's 1st Class Garden Lounge, photographed prior to the delivery of dozens of potted palms and ferns. Decoration of the Garden Lounge was carried out by Waring & Gillow Ltd, London, April 1914

Aquitania's 1st Class Grand Entrance. The port side of the Grand Entrance at Promenade Deck (A Deck) level, decorated in the Louis XVI style, April 1914

Grand Staircase aboard the Aquitania. The decoration of the Grand Staircase was carried out by Marcel Boulanger, Paris, April 1914

Aquitania's 1st Class Lounge, prior to the liner entering service. This was also called the Palladian Lounge, and was located on the Promenade Deck (A Deck), April 1914

1st Class Drawing Room aboard Aquitania. The Drawing Room was also called the Adam Drawing Room, and was located on the Promenade Deck. This view is of the library section, looking forward, April 1914

1st Class Swimming Pool, on the starboard side of the Main Deck (E Deck). The pool ladders and dressing room curtains have not yet been fitted. Aquitania was the first Cunard liner to have a swimming pool below decks, April 1914

Interior of Aquitania showing the 3rd Class General Room (or Non Smoking Compartment), on the Upper Deck (D Deck), a view of the port side, looking forward, April 1914

Aquitania's 1st Class Lounge (fireplace detail). Aquitania's Palladian Lounge is often described as the most beautiful room ever put to sea, May 1914

1st Class Smoking Room aboard Aquitania, also called the Carolean Smoking Room, and located on the Promenade Deck (A Deck), May 1914

Aquitania in the Gladstone Graving Dock, Liverpool, in preparation for her maiden voyage. The cleaning and painting work appears to be complete, May 1914

Portside view of Aquitania in Gladstone Graving Dock, Liverpool, in preparation for her maiden voyage across the Atlantic, May 1914

Aquitania Wheelhouse, part of the Navigating Bridge on the Boat Deck. Forward of the steering platform are binnacles and the telemotor gear for controlling the steering engines, May 1914

Aquitania departs the Liverpool Landing Stage at the start of her maiden voyage to New York, May 30, 1914

Adorned with fresh flowers and ready for her first passengers; Aquitania's 1st Class Lounge, May 30, 1914

1st Class Dining Saloon aboard Aquitania. The First Class Dining Saloon (Louis XVI Restaurant), on the Upper Deck (D Deck). A view of the central area, looking forward, May 1914

1st Class Grill Room aboard Aquitania. A view of the forward section of the extra tariff Grill Room, located on the port side of the Upper Deck (D Deck), May 1914

The 1st Class Holbein Suite aboard Aquitania, May 1914

1st Class suite C133 aboard Aquitania, May 1914

1st Class suite C102 aboard Aquitania, May 1914

1st Class stateroom A36 (an outside single) aboard Aquitania, May 1914

1st Class cabin C24 (an outside single) aboard Aquitania, May 1914

2nd Class Promenade aboard Aquitania. The starboard side of the Promenade Deck (A Deck), with a view of the sheltered area under the Boat Deck aft, May 1914

Aquitania's 2nd Class Lounge. The Louis XVI-style Second Class Lounge was on the Promenade Deck (D Deck). This is a view from the port side, looking towards the piano at the after end, May 1914

The 2nd Class Smoking Room aboard Aquitania. Also called the Kensington Palace Smoking Room and was located on the Bridge Deck (B Deck). This view looks forward, showing the central area under the raised roof and skylights, May 1914

Aquitania's 2nd Class Verandah Cafe, on the Bridge Deck (B Deck). This view is looking across to the starboard side, with the sliding doors opened, May 1914

View of Aquitania's 2nd Class Drawing Room, on the Bridge Deck (B Deck); a view from the starboard side, looking towards the fireplace at the forward end, May 1914

Aquitania's 2nd Class stairway, May 1914

The 2nd Class Dining Saloon aboard Aquitania, May 1914

Aquitania's 2nd Class stateroom C303, May 1914

Aquitania's 2nd Class stateroom C265. An outside four-berth, it was located on the Shelter Deck (Deck C), May 1914

Aquitania's 2nd Class stateroom E27. This two berth outside stateroom was on Main Deck (E Deck), May 1914

Portrait of Mr. William Henry Allison (1863-1939). Mr. Allison was Chief Steward of the Aquitania on the voyages prior to the First World War, May 1914

Deck view showing Aquitania's 3rd Class Promenade at the after end of the Upper Deck (D Deck), a view of the port side, looking aft. Sparred seats are fitted along the bulwark at the right edge of the image, May 1914

The forward section of Aquitania's 3rd Class Dining Saloon, on the Lower Deck (F Deck), looking across to the port side. Stairs up to the Main Deck are visible in the background on the right, May 1914

Aquitania passengers disembarking on to the tender at Fishguard, Jun 16, 1914

Professional photographers aboard Aquitania during her maiden call at Fishguard, Wales, 16 June 1914

On a misty June morning, disembarking passengers crowd the rail of their tender for a last look at Aquitania, making her maiden call at the Welsh port Fishguard on June 16, 1914

Aquitania in New York Harbor in July 1914

Aquitania as a hospital ship, off the Greek island of Lemnos, October 2, 1915. After her maiden voyage to New York in May of 1914, Aquitania's commercial life was brief. By August of that year she had been requisitioned by the government for use as an armed merchant cruiser. In the spring of 1915 it was decided the huge liner was better suited to trooping and hospital work. She was sent on troop voyages to the Dardanelles and then converted to a hospital ship

Captain William Turner aboard Aquitania, May 1915

Aquitania returned to commercial service in August 1920. She is seen here at Southampton. Behind her are (from left) Majestic, Olympic and Berengaria

Aquitania departs Southampton for New York on September 3, 1923. After WWI, Southampton replaced Liverpool as the 'big ship' terminal

Passengers enjoy afternoon tea on Aquitania's 2nd Class Promenade Deck, circa 1926. For two decades during the 1920s and 30s, Aquitania was the most popular liner on the Atlantic

A group of Aquitania passengers pose on the liner's bridge during a Fancy Dress Ball on the night of January 25, 1927

Aquitania arriving at Southampton, which after WWI replaced Liverpool as the 'big ship' terminal, circa 1927 

Two Cunarders at New York- the inbound Aquitania passes the outbound Franconia (also built at John Brown & Company) on June 24, 1932

Aquitania about to sail to Europe from Pier 54, W. 12th St. A young New Yorker has been hoisted on to his dad's shoulders for a better view, circa 1934

Four legendary Atlantic liners at New York on August 8, 1934. (From left) White Star Line's Olympic, Cunard's Aquitania, and at their westside piers, United States Lines' 3-funnel Leviathan and French Line's 3-funnel Paris

Aquitania, photographed from North German Lloyd's Europa as both liners depart New York in April 1939

Aquitania arrives at New York on September 16, 1939

Aquitania and Île de France during Operation Pamphlet, circa 1943

Cunard's Aquitania at Wellington, New Zealand during WWII, circa 1943

The troop-carrying Aquitania at Wellington, New Zealand during WWII, circa 1943

Troop-carrying Cunarders Queen Mary and Aquitania at Sydney in 1943

Aquitania at Southampton in 1946. In eight years of military work, Aquitania sailed more than 500,000 miles, and carried nearly 400,000 soldiers, to and from places as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, the South Pacific, California, Greece and the Indian Ocean

Aquitania and Britannic at Halifax in the summer of 1949. After completing troopship service, Aquitania was handed back to Cunard-White Star in 1948. She underwent a refit for passenger service

Aquitania at Halifax's Pier 21 in the summer of 1949

A final view of Aquitania, affectionately known throughout her long life as the 'Ship Beautiful'. She rests at Berth 107, Southampton Western Docks in September 1949

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