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RMS LETITIA

later EMPIRE BRENT and CAPTAIN COOK Letitia in a 1930s promotional postcard from the Donaldson Line


The LETITIA was built in 1924 by the Fairfield Co, Glasgow for the Donaldson Line of Glasgow. She was a 13,475 gross ton ship, length overall 538ft x beam 66.4ft, one funnel, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 15 knots There was accommodation for 516-cabin and 1,000-3rd class passengers. Launched on 14th Oct.1924, she sailed from Glasgow on her maiden voyage to Liverpool, Quebec and Montreal on 24th Apr.1925, and she ran a joint service with the ill-fated ATHENIA to Quebec and Montreal in the summer and Halifax and St John NB in the winter. In 1927 her accommodation was altered, to carry 298-cabin, 310-tourist and 964-3rd class passengers. In 1939 she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and commissioned as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. She later became a troopship and was extensively damaged in 1943 and was temporarily repaired in the USA. In 1944 she was taken over by the Canadian Government and converted into a hospital ship with a medical staff of 200 and a capacity for 1,000 wounded. Over the next year or so she carried over 7,000 sick and wounded back to Canada and was on her way to the Pacific theatre of war when Japan surrendered.

RMS Letitia As a hospital ship c. 1944

RMS Letitia

She was then used for the repatriation of Canadian troops and families. While still engaged in this work, she was sold in 1946 to the Australian Ministry of Transport and renamed EMPIRE BRENT. While on route to Halifax in 1947, she collided with and sank the STORMONT in the River Mersey. In December 1947, she was completely overhauled on the Clyde and refitted as a troopship. Used for trooping voyages to India and the Far East until 1948 when she commenced an emigration service between the UK and Australia with a capacity for 965 emigrants. Withdrawn from this service late in 1950, she was laid up for about six months and was then completely reconditioned as a New Zealand emigrant ship with accommodation for 1,088 passengers in two-, four-, and six berth cabins.

Renamed CAPTAIN COOK in 1952 , her ownership was to pass to the New Zealand government, She commenced sailings from Glasgow via Panama to Wellington on 5th Feb.1952, taking about 33 days, sometimes being used to repatriate troops from the Far East on the return voyage. From April to October 1955 she was chartered to Donaldsons and made seven round voyages between Glasgow, Liverpool and Montreal, but then went back to the New Zealand service. In 1957 she had a fire while in Wellington, but was able to sail to the UK for repairs. She arrived at Glasgow at the end of her 25th New Zealand voyage in February 1960, was laid up at Falmouth and was then sold to British Iron and Steel Corporation, towed to Inverkeithing and broken up. The Captain Cook in the 1950s


 
Visitors since Nov 1 2004
Revised August 25 2011(with thanks to John Griffiths who sailed on the Empire Brent from Glascow on July 13th 1948)