By Mark Chirnside
Of the fourteen four-stackers built, Aquitania was one of the longest-lived and the only one to survive two world wars. Launched in 1913, she was the third four-funnelled liner for Cunard and the only one not to have a government subsidy. Aquitania entered commercial service in May 1914 and was christened “The Ship Beautiful” thanks to her elegant interiors. Unfortunately, she was soon called up for war service as an armed merchant cruiser and her gorgeous interiors either stripped out or covered over.
A varied career as an armed merchant cruiser, hospital ship and troopship finally led into a successful period as a transatlantic liner and cruise ship before a war intervened once more. Aquitania sailed again from 1939-1946 as a troopship to far-flung parts of the British Empire. From the USA, Canada, Australia to the Red Sea and South Africa, she helped ensure the shortening of the war by transporting hundreds of thousands of troops. Afterwards Aquitania went from carrying troops to taking war brides and their children to their new homes. She re-entered commercial service as an emigrant ship taking passengers to Canada and the USA until she was finally withdrawn from service in 1950. Mark Chirnside tells the story in words and in gorgeous color and black and white archival pictures of one of Cunards finest liners from her birth to her death, a journey that began on the Clyde and which took Aquitania three million miles only to finish within twenty miles of her birthplace. Softcover. Lavishly illustrated. 100 pages