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

T.S.S. Cameronia

The T.S.S. Cameronia was used for Atlantic crossings at least twice by my family members.  The Cameronia was built for the Anchor-Donaldson Line in 1919 by the William Beardmore & Co. Ltd. shipyard located on the River Clyde in Glasgow.  The T.S.S. designation either refers to "turbine steam ship" or "twin screw steamer."  The ship measured in at 16,365 gross tons, 552 feet long, with a beam of 70 feet.  She was a one funnel, two masted, twin screw ship with a service speed of 16 knots.  The ship carried a total of 1740 passengers in 265 1st class, 375 2nd class, and 1100 3rd class accommodations.  Additional information on the ship can be found here.

On October 19, 1929, my great aunt Jane (Jean) MacLeod, 18 years old at the time, left Glasgow on the Cameronia to join my grandfather as an immigrant to the United States, arriving in New York City 10 days later on October 29, 1929.  At this point, the Cameronia was owned by Cunard as they had purchased the Anchor-Donaldson Line and were running it as a subsidiary of Cunard, often sharing the same facilities and piers in New York. 

From left, Susan Connon (Angus) Milne, Isabella (Angus) Grant, John Baird Angus, Janet McDougal Angus, and Mary Jane (Angus) McLeod, my great grandmother.

Ten years later, my great grandmother, Mary Jane MacLeod made a similar trip along with her brother John Angus.  An Angus family reunion of sorts was held on the deck of the Cameronia at the pier in New York.

From right to left; Jane McLeod, Mary Jane Angus McLeod, Susan Connon Angus Milne, unknown relative, Isabella (Beldy) Angus Grant with grandchild(?), Charlotte Grant (pretty confident on this) and unknown relative.

I had these photographs of my grandfathers, but could not identify the ship or the year.  I studied Bill Miller's book on the Cunard Line, looking in particular for a Cunard ship with woodwork on the bridge area as seen in the background on this picture below, but to no avail.  It wasn't until I found the actual records on the Ellis Island site, did I solve the ship mystery.

         

Mary Jane (Angus) McLeod                              Mary Jane (Angus) McLeod and my grandfather William MacLeod

On June 30, 1939, my great grandmother Mary Jane McLeod, departed Glasgow on the Cameronia with her brother John Angus, arriving in New York City nine days later on July 9, 1939.  She made this trip without my grandfather, who apparently stayed behind in Peterhead, to see her first grandson who had just been born, my uncle Robert MacLeod.  At this time, I am still searching for confirmation as to how long she stayed and how she got home, since crossings at this time would become increasingly dangerous due to the war.  At this time, the Cameronia had been sold when the Cunard-Anchor Line had gone into bankruptcy and had been purchased by a newly formed Anchor Line.

The Cameronia continued to make unescorted transatlantic crossings until she was requisioned as a troop ship by the British Admiralty in December 1940.  In December of 1942, she was hit with an aerial torpedo, with the loss of 17 lives, but carried on to port for repairs.  The ship woould later go on to become the largest troopship to take part in the Normandy Landings. After the end of WWII, the ship was laid up, but was brought out of retirement and converted for use as an Australian emigration ship. 

January 1, 1953, the ship was sold to the Ministry of Transport and renamed the "Empire Clyde."  After 39 years in service, including hard wartime service, the ship was sold to scrappers in March 1958.

16 comments:

  1. I am writing a biography for a gentleman who says that when he was a young boy he sailed with his family from Britain to the Untied States on the Cameronia in 1941. His family were German Jews attempting to find some place where they could live.

    Apparently this ship was used for more than transporting troops during those years?

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  2. I travelled on Cameronia's last voyage as an Australian migrant ship, reaching Fremantle in July 1952. We had to drink contaminated water for the last leg of the journey and many were sick.

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  3. I was a child and travelled to Melbourne from Glasgow on the Cameronia in 1952.

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    1. I was 8 years old when we left Glasgow in late 1952. I think it was its last trip down-under. My dad had come out earlier that year on the Otranto,(R.A.A.F. enlistee), and we followed him later. There was my mum, me 8, and two sisters aged 5 and 1. I remember bits of the trip through the Suez and the natives in little boats selling their wares and arriving in Melbourne after six weeks. I still dont know how my mum handled it on her own. When we got here we had no relatives at all and had to make our own way. I dont think any young couple today could do it, or even think of going to the other side of the world with no family or support system that is now in place for them even if they were to move interstate.

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  4. I SAILED ON 'THE EMPIRE CLYDE' AS A RAF NATIONAL SERVICEMAN FROM LIVERPOOL IN OCTOBER 1955 TO ADEN (NOW YEMEN)IT WENT ON TO SINGAPORE AND AUSTRALIA. I WAS HEARD PLAYING THE PIANO IN THE BAR AND WAS INVITED TO PLAY IN THE CAPTAINS LOUNGE FOR THE REST OF THE TRIP. PLAYING TO THE EARLY HOURS I WAS EXCUSED DUTIES SO IT WAS A VIRTUAL HOLIDAY CRUISE! I WAS ALLOWED TO CHOOSE A MATE FROM MANCHESTER.WE WERE ASSIGNED TO TURN BUNK MATTRESSES OVER IN THE SUN TO GET RID OF BED BUGS! WE SPENT THE DAYS SUNBATHING ON THE HOSPIAL DECK. AT THE STERN. I HAILED FROM CHEADLE CHESHIRE THEN THOUGH BORN IN CONWAY.
    DEREK DAVIES AGE 74 NOW 18 THEN!

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  5. I think I just came across an antique steamer trunk from one of the ladies pictured above. On the front of this trunk is a sticker that reads: "Anchor Line/ Steamer of passage: Cameronia/ October 19th, 1929/ Janet McDougall. It's amazing what doing a google search will find.

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    1. Could you send me a picture of this? This is an amazing find as she would be my great great aunt. Ken

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  6. My Mother travelled from Bombay, with her mother sisters and brother in 1946, arriving in Glasgow on Xmas Day. Family name then Jameson, they had never been to the UK before.

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  7. My family and I, which included my Mum, Dad and two younger brother's came out to Australia on the "Cameronia". We left Scotland on my 7th. birthday which was 11th. June, 1952 and arrived in Sydney on 9th. July, 1952. I remember coming through the Suez Canal and how hot it was, I still have the menu for our final night on the ship, a children's menu and one for the adults. Would be interested in hearing from anyone else who was on this voyage. Our family name was Gardner, Lewis & Jean, with children Jane, Lewis & Alex. I am now 66 years old and love looking up old records like this.

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    1. Hi Jane

      I was almost five when my family emigrated from the UK to Melbourne on the "Cameronia" in June 1952. There was me, Dad and my Mum who was four months pregnant with my sister Annette (who was born 22 November 1952). Being so young I have limited memories of the voyage, however I remember the boat train proceding to the docks in Glasgow plus recollections of looking through the railings at the white sails of a passing yacht. My parents said she was a good ship however there was an incident with unruly crew, and one night they came up on deck to see a crew member being thrown overboard. They weren't spotted themselves and hurredly departed the scene. Ron

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  8. Great Ship.sailed back from Colombo in 1952.Docking at Liverpool.I was 7years old at the time,my DAd was in the Royal Air Force at the time,was returning to the UK after two years at RAF Negombo.Does anybody remember him,his name was.Junior tech Raoul (Ralph) Berthiaume?

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  9. MY GREAT UNCLE (JAMES NEILSON) AND HIS WIFE (ELEANOR); SAILED ON THE S.S. CAMERONIA ;(9 MARCH 1926).
    THEY MADE A NEW LIFE FOR THEMSELVES IN AMERICA.RELATIVES WERE ALLOWED TO SAIL DOWN THE CLYDE WITH THE EMIGRANTS ;TO GREENOCK,WHERE THEY THEN DISEMBARKED.MANY OF THEM NEVER SAW THEIR RELATIVES AGAIN.

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  10. In war and peace many of the deckcrew seamen on the Cameronia came from the Western Isles of Scotland. Known around the globe as amongst the finest of seamen. Many were MacLeods and wonder if the MacLeods mentioned aqs passengers to the USA were originally from the Wstern Isles.
    Gaelic Viking

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  11. My mum travelled on the Cameronia with her parents Roy & Alice Collins departing Southampton on the 11th June 1952 and arriving in Fremantle on 12th July.
    She was only young so doesn't remember much of the voyage, just that it was really rough when they first left Southampton and she spent the first day or so being seasick.
    I'm writing a piece on our family history and would love to hear any tales of that particular voyage, such as those written above, or any details of what the ship was like - the accommodation arrangements, the facilities & the type of meals served.

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  12. My mom sailed on the Cameronia from Glasgow to New York; leaving Glasgow on Sept. 5, 1939. She was in room A-74. It was the first British ship to enter New York after the outbreak of war. My mom was returning to her home (at the time) in Attleboro, Massachusetts, after visiting her relatives in Brechin, Angus, Scotland, where she was born in 1921. She still recalls that voyage, even at her current age of 91! She now resides in Wisconsin, and has been here since my parent's marriage in 1946. Her name at the time she sailed was Anne Shand.

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  13. My Ancestor John Allford sailed on the Cameronia on 17th of August from Glasgow, reaching New York on the 25th of August. He had already emmigrated in 1907. Richard Hallford

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