Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Remember the Titanic's Rescue Ship RMS Carpathia?

The Titanic's rescue ship RMS Carpathia has some interesting connections to the Great War.

RMS Carpathia

Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia during the Titanic rescue, and later captained the Lusitania. As an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve, when war broke out he was called to service and commanded the troopship Aulania at Gallipoli. He subsequently commanded a number of naval transports.

The Legendary "Unsinkable Molly Brown" Presenting
an Appreciation Cup for the Rescue

Sadly, Carpathia was lost in service during the war. On 15 July 1918, Carpathia departed Liverpool in a convoy bound for Boston. On the summer morning of 17 July she was torpedoed, at 9:15, in the Celtic Sea by the German submarine U-55. Of the two torpedoes initially fired at the ship, one hit the port side while the other penetrated the engine room, killing two firemen and three trimmers. As Carpathia began to settle by the head and list to port, Captain William Prothero gave the order to abandon ship. All 57 passengers (36 saloon class and 21 steerage) and 218 surviving crew members boarded the lifeboats as the vessel sank.  

RMS Carpathia Goes Under, 17 July 1918

U-55 surfaced and fired a third torpedo into the ship and was approaching the lifeboats when the Azalea-class sloop HMS Snowdrop arrived on the scene and drove away the submarine with gunfire before picking up the survivors from Carpathia. America's Last Doughboy, Frank Buckles, had sailed for England on an earlier voyage of the Carpathia.


  1. There is another Titanic-Great War connection: 12 May the RMS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic,pressed into service as a troop ship, sighted a u-boat while transporting American service men to France. The Olympic turned and was able to ram the u-103, sinking her.