|[TSL] The Unhappy Ship Ultonia 1898|
|"Don Hazeldine" <firstname.lastname@example.org> on 09/26/2009|
Some ships are happy ships throughout their careers; others have no end of
difficulties, and are very unhappy. One of the latter was the Cunard Line
On November 12, 1898, the new Cunard steamer Ultonia arrived in Boston on
her maiden voyage. Primarily designed for cattle and cargo, the Ultonia could
also carry considerable numbers of passengers. She was 513 feet long with
a 57 foot beam, and she had twin screws, registering 10,402 tons.
In June, 1905, the Ultonia faced her first major mutiny on a voyage between
New York and Fiume. The firemen balked at being switched from a four hour
watch to a six hour watch and struck. Faced with this situation, her Captain
ordered some of his Austrian crewmen to replace the striking firemen.
Having none of it, the Austrians attempted to beat up the British officers.
Resorting to their pistols, the officers and put the Austrians in irons, and
ordered the rest of the crew into the engine rooms at gun point, there to act
as firemen and stokers.
In 1911, the Chief Officer of the Ultonia and the Second Officer of the
Austrian ship Laura participated in a wireless chess match that lasted two
Even though the two ships never sighted each other, the match continued.
The Ultonia's Chief Officer won.
In a scene eerily reminiscent of the recently lamented Titanic, the Ultonia
under the command of Captain Prothero struck ice on her first trip of the
1912 season, from Southampton to Montreal. She struggled into Halifax having
lost one propeller in the prevailing "phenomenal ice conditions," which existed
that year. Her 1,200 passengers disembarked at Halifax for transit to their
ultimate destinations in Canada and the US. She had departed Southampton on
April 28, and arrived at Halifax May 6. She departed Halifax for Montreal on
In 1915, the Ultonia had a tie-in with the loss of the Lusitania. Her
commander, Captain Malin, became ill, and the only available master was Captain
W.T. Turner, late of the Lusitania. At this time, the Ultonia was still
fully a Cunard ship, not being chartered to the Admiralty. By this time,
though, the Ultonia had become something of a joke in shipping circles, being
described as ".the slowest vessel in the Cunard service in the Atlantic
trade, and has the record (sic) of taking twenty-three days from Gibraltar to New York."
Embarrassingly, the Ultonia closed out 1915 stuck in the mud at St Nazaire.
Four tugs released her from her position of shame.
1916 saw the Ultonia a victim of yet another mutiny among her crew. This
unhappy ship had a mixed crew of Spaniards, Bengalese, West Indians, Maltese,
Irish, and Americans. In this instance, the Spanish firemen decided after the
ship had sailed from Erie Basin to Boston, but before leaving New York
Harbour, that it was time for them to be paid off. Captain Turner, still in
command (what a demotion after commanding the Lusitania), anchored in the
vicinity of Liberty Island and summoned assistance. The New York police refused to do
anything about what Turner described as a "mutiny," but he sent his purser
ashore to the British consulate to get replacements for the Spanish being put
ashore. Most of the replacement crew, mostly Arabs and West Indians, were
from the recently sunk Industry, so the crewmen were pleased to be at sea again
so soon. No doubt, Turner was pleased to see the backs of the troublesome
Spanish, who had also caused trouble recently in St Nazaire in knife fights
with locals, which resulted in 12 of the Spanish crewmen in durance vile, and
three in the hospital.
On June 27, 1917, the unhappy life of the Ultonia was brought to an end by a
German submarine 190 miles Southwest of Fastnet. Lightly armed for
defensive purposes, her armament was of no use against the torpedo that gave no
notice of its approach. One man was killed.
Thanks to John Emery, Cedar Hill, Texas
Posted by Don
visit TheShipsList Website
To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to THESHIPSLISTemail@example.com with the word 'unsubscribe' without the quotes in the subject and the body of the message
Easy citation: highlight, copy, and paste the following into your wordprocessor:
|[TSL] The Unhappy Ship Ultonia 1898 09/26/2009: [Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org]|