S.S. Melita

5:10 PM

New merchant navy and warship images have been added to our Dan McDonald collection on Flickr, including this image, which shows the S.S. Melita being re-fueled with coal in 1924.


Built by Barclay, Curle & Co, Whiteinch in 1918, the Melita was originally intended for the German Hamburg-America Line (HAPAG), but at the outbreak of World War I the unfinished ship was sold to Canadian Pacific Railway Ocean Lines. Her main engines were built by Harland and Wolff, Belfast, who subcontracted her maiden voyage in January of 1918 from Liverpool to St John. At 13967 tonnes, and 520 ft by 67.2 ft, she was built to be a passenger ship, but was requisitioned by the Royal Navy as a troop ship to transport American soldiers to Europe. After the War, she helped return American and Canadian soldiers back across the Atlantic and German P.O.Ws back home before being placed on the Liverpool-Montreal run and the Antwerp-Southhampton-Montreal run. 

After the Great Depression, the Melita was re-purposed as a cruise ship, travelling to the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean before being sold for scrap. Avoiding this fate, she was bought up by the Italia Line in 1935 and renamed the Liguria. She took part in the mass emigration initiative under Mussolini and transported Italian settlers to Libya, but was largely being used as a troop ship when she was scuttled in January 1941. Nine years later, she was raised and scrapped.

Thanks to this site, which provided much of the information for this post. 

Olivia Howarth, archives trainee.

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