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HMHS AVOCA

SS Avoca was built by William Denny & Bros, Dumbarton, in 1891 for the British India Associated Steamers. She was a 5,183 gross ton ship, length 340ft x beam 43ft, one funnel, three masts (rigged for sail), single screw and a speed of 14 knots. There was accommodation for 80-1st and 1,000-3rd class passengers. Launched on 9th June 1891, she sailed on her maiden voyage on the Queensland Royal Mail service on 14th September 1891.

In 1896 she was chartered to the Spanish Cia. Trasatlantica, renamed San Fernando and was used on the Central America service to Cuba, mainly with troops. She returned to British India later the same year, resumed her previous name and went back to the Australia service.

Between 1899-1900 she made four trooping voyages between India and South Africa for the Boer War and a fifth as a hospital ship. In 1903 she was transferred to British India Steam Navigation Company and in 1907 was sold to the East Asiatic Co, Copenhagen and renamed Atlanta. She was used as a Royal Yacht for King Christian's visit to Greenland and was then laid up at Copenhagen.

Sold to the New York & Continental Line in 1908, she reverted to her original name of Avoca and on 1st April 1908 commenced her first Hamburg - Rotterdam - Halifax - New York voyage. In July 1908 she landed 300 passengers at the Hook of Holland and then collided with an anchored German steamer. She docked at Rotterdam and was then arrested for the costs incurred as the result of the collision. The company was insolvent and the Avoca was auctioned to C.G. Ashdown for £15,000, they then resold her two months later to North West Transport Line for £35,000. She was renamed Uranium, and was in poor condition and fit only for the emigrant trade. Resumed the Rotterdam - Halifax - New York route on 3rd April 1909 and made nine voyages on this service, the last starting on 9th Apr.1910. In 1910 she came under the ownership of Uranium Steamship Co and continued Rotterdam - Halifax - New York voyages for her new owners starting on 4th June 1910.

On 12th January 1913 she went ashore in thick fog near Halifax while going to the aid of the Allan liner Carthaginian which was on fire. She was salvaged and then refitted and improved and returned to the same service until starting her last sailing on 23rd July 1914 when she left Rotterdam for Halifax, New York, Montreal and the UK. In 1916 she was sold to Cunard Line, renamed Feltria, and commenced Avonmouth - New York sailings in November 1916. On 5th May 1917 she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC-48, while 8 miles off Mine Head, County Waterford, Ireland with the loss of 45 lives.

[Extract taken from The Ships List]

Last updated 29 January, 2009

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