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NAME

RMS. FRANCONIA

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

JULY 23rd 1910

BUILT

SWAN HUNTER WIGHAM RICHARDS / NEWCASTLE / ENGLAND

WEIGHT

18,150 TONS

LENGTH

625 FEET

WIDTH

71 FEET

SPEED

17 KNOTS - PISTON ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS


Franconia and her sister ship Laconia were built for Cunard to replace the aging Saxonia and Ivernia on the Liverpool - Boston run. They were also intended to provide cover for Lusitania and Mauretania on the Liverpool - New York run. Franconia’s maiden voyage from Liverpool - Queenstown and New York began February 25th 1911. In March of that year, she embarked on a Mediterranean cruise calling at Gibraltar, Algiers, Naples and Alexandria. The success of that venture led to Cunard operating her on one such cruise each year. By 1915, the British Admiralty had requisitioned Franconia to transport troops to the Dardanelle's campaign in the Mediterranean. The following conversion to a troopship gave her the capacity to carry over 2,700 servicemen.

Franconia

Franconia served as a troopship for nearly two years without incident. On October 4th 1916, Franconia’s luck changed when one torpedo fired from the German submarine UB-47 slammed into her side. The extensive damage caused by the explosion gave her crew no time to try and save their ship. Fortunately, Franconia was not carrying any troops at the time and most of the crew had abandoned ship before she went down. As she sank in the Mediterranean approximately 195 miles east of Malta, 12 of her crew were lost and 302 rescued. Her sister ship Laconia departed New York February 17th 1917 bound for England carrying 73 passengers, 216 crew, food, cotton and war supplies. Eight days later, the German submarine U-50 succeeded in hitting her with two torpedoes as she approached the coast of Ireland. Laconia sank soon after with the loss of 13 lives.

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