The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

06 June, 2010

R.M.S. Saxonia

R.M.S. Saxonia was the ship my great grandmother, Emily Elizabeth Sinclair (Cochrane) took, along with my great uncle Benjamin Sinclair, who was 3 at the time, to immigrate from London to the United States. 

Boat Deck accessible to all passengers 

The ship left Liverpool on September 17, 1909, stopped in Queensferry, Ireland for additional passengers, and arrived in Boston 9 days later on September 26, 1909, a far cry from the speed of a 30 knot 5 day QE2 crossing.

Early incarnation of the ship's bridge, as viewed from the bow

Launched in 1899 from the same yard which would later build QE2, the Saxonia was built by John Brown and Co, Clydebank, Scotland for the Cunard Line.  The ship was 14,200 tons, 580 feet long, 64 feet wide, and had a service speed of 15 knots.  She and her sistership, the R.M.S. Ivernia, have the distinction of having the tallest funnel every fitted on a steamship.  The Saxonia held 1960 passengers, with 164 1st Class, 260 2nd Class, and 1600 in 3rd Class accommodations.  These 3rd class accommodations, specifically designed for immigrants, paid for the majority of the operating costs of the ship.  I suspect that my relatives traveled in 3rd class.

Utilitarian 3rd Class accommodations

3rd Class Lounge, no doubt where my relatives spent time in during the crossing 

3rd Class Dining

The Saxonia was later requisitioned by the British Admiralty to serve in WWI and survived her wartime service without major incident.  After the war ended, the ship was used to transport solders from France back home to New York.  In 1919, the ship re-entered commercial passenger service.  In 1924, the ship was laid up in Tillbury, her career with Cunard over.  In 1925 she was purchased for scrap by a Dutch yard and broken up.

Saxonia  Postcard  available on the ship for purchase

Unfortunately, I do not have any family photographs of the ship.  The majority of the black and white photos are courtesy of the National Maritime Museum archives, Greenwich, London.

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