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NAME

RMS. FRANCONIA II

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

OCTOBER 21st 1922

BUILT

JOHN BROWN & CO / CLYDEBANK / SCOTLAND

WEIGHT

20,158 TONS

LENGTH

623 FEET

WIDTH

73 FEET

SPEED

16.5 KNOTS - TURBINE ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS


As Cunard continued to rebuild their fleet after World War One, Franconia followed their 19,860-ton liners Sythia, Samaria, and Laconia. Although only slightly larger than the previous three ships, Franconia’s design was a vast improvement as her interiors were as grand as that on the largest Trans Atlantic liners. Franconia set out on her maiden voyage from Liverpool - New York June 23rd 1923. Cunard operated her between this run in summer and cruising in winter until the outbreak of World War Two 16 years later. The German invasion of Poland in September 1939 led to the British Admiralty requisitioning Franconia to serve as a troopship. After a collision with another British troopship Alcantra October 5th 1939, she had to be put into Malta for repairs.

Franconia 11

Franconia had to undergo repairs for a second time in 1940 after being damaged by an Axis aircraft attack. Following the completion of these repairs, she went on to be involved in the invasions of Madagascar, North Africa and Italy. Some of Franconia’s luxurious interiors were reinstalled in 1945 so the British Prime Minister ‘Winston Churchill’ and his staff could use her as their headquarters for the Yalta Conference (the meeting between Britain, America and Russia in the Black Sea about the splitting up of Germany). After the war in Europe came to an end in May 1945, she was used to transfer refugees and emigrants to America before being handed back to Cunard in 1949. Franconia’s return to Cunard saw her deployed on the Liverpool - Greenock and Quebec run. During one of these voyages July 14th 1950, she ran aground one mile off Quebec City after her steering gear failed. It took tugs four days to pull Franconia free and tow her into Quebec for repairs. With Franconia’s mechanical problems persisted from then on, Cunard was eventually forced to take her out of service in October 1956. Two months later, work on her dismantling began at Inverkeithing/Scotland.

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