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Post by aukepalmhof » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:03 pm

As given by Mr. Wilson the vessel depict on the 67p stamp is the ASCANIA (II) ... =9&t=11173

Built as a passenger-cargo vessel under yard No 971 by Armstrong Whitworth Co., High Walker-upon-Tyne for the Cunard Steamship Co. Ltd., Liverpool.
20 December 1923 launched as the ASCANIA (II) she was No 5th of the A class of the Cunard Line, of this class six ships were built.
Tonnage 14,013 gross, 8,537 net. Dim. 164 x 19.9m., length bpp.158.5m.
Powered by two geared steam turbines, manufactured by the shipbuilder, 8,500 shp., twin shafts, speed 15 knots.
Accommodation for 500 cabin and 1,200 third class passengers, crew 270.
Due to cost overrun was she not completed until 02 May 1925.

22 May 1925 she sailed from London where she had loaded cargo, then via Southampton embarking her passengers to Quebec and Montreal in Canada. When the St Lawrence River was frozen she shifted to Halifax
1927 She made also calls at Cherbourg, France, that year in July she got also her accommodation changed to cabin, tourist and third class.
October 1934 she received a S.O.S. from the British cargo steamer MILLPOOL underway from Danzig to Montreal that she was in trouble and needed assistance, when the ACSANIA arrived at the position she started to search for wreckage or survivors, after 12 hours the search was called off, and it is believed that the MILLPOOL was foundered in 53 30N 37 10W on 03 October 1934 with the loss of all crew.
December 1934 she rescued some of the crew of the sinking British cargo vessel USWORTH in mid Atlantic. First 14 men were taken off by a lifeboat of the JEAN JADO but the lifeboat capsized drowning 12 men of the survivors and 2 men of the crew of the lifeboat.
When the USWORTH was sinking the ASCANIA lowered a lifeboat on the 14th and the last 9 men were taken off. In total 17 men lost their live in this tragedy. The USWORTH sank in a position 48 10N 31 49W on 14 December 1934.
March 1937 again changed to cabin and third class.
01 July 1938 she sailed from Quebec and travelling down the St Lawrence River when it struck the submerged Alcide Rocks near Bic Island. Damage on the port side and four of her holds were flooded, and one propeller was damaged. She got firmly stuck on the rocks.
06 July refloated and towed back to Quebec where she was dry-docked and repaired.
26 August again in service.
12 August 1939 she made her last sailing from London via Southampton to Quebec and Montreal.
28 August 1939 was she requisitioned by the Royal Navy.
Converted by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead in an Armed Merchant Cruiser from 06 September till 16 October 1939.
Armament: 8 – 6 inch and 2 – 3 inch HA guns.
04 September 1939 commissioned as HMS ASCANIA (F 68)
From October 1939 until May 1940 in the Halifax Escort Force in the 3rd Battle Squadron.
June 1940 until April 1941 in the Bermuda & Halifax Escort Force thereafter until October 1941 again in the Halifax Escort Force.
06 May 1941 escorted convoy HX 125 sailing from Halifax with other Royal Navy warships.
28 August 1941 received orders to look and search for a German Hipper class cruiser in the North Atlantic.
October 1941 she left the Clyde bound for the Middle East as an escort of a convoy to the Middle East via Freetown and the Cape of Good Hope. In Port Elizabeth, South Africa she was detached from the convoy and dispatched to Colombo, Ceylon.
From there she sailed via Freemantle and Melbourne to Auckland
November 1941at the New Zealand Station, from where she made patrols in the Pacific around New Zealand and Fiji.
August 1942 she left New Zealand via the Panama Canal where after she joined a convoy on the USA East Coast bound for the U.K.

After arrival in the U.K. she was converted in an Assault Landing Craft (Infantry). (AMC)
Took part in the landings in Sicily and Salerno and in 1944 in the Anzio landings.

Later in 1944 became a troop transport and used in this roll until September 1947.
September 1947 handed back to Cunard.
20 December 1947 re-entered commercial sailings from Liverpool to Halifax as a passenger-cargo vessel.
1949 till 1950 Refitted, accommodation for 200 first class and 500 cabin class passengers.
Returned to the Liverpool to Montreal service.
From 1955 used in the Canada service from Southampton.
October 1956 it was announced that she was withdrawn from service, but the Suez Crises gave it a slight reprieve, she made two trooping voyages to Malta.
Sold to British Iron & Steel Corporation.
01 January 1957 arrived at the breakers yard of J. Cashmore, Newport, Monmouthshire.

Isle of Man 2011 69p sg1645, scott?.

Source: Armed Merchant Cruisers 1878-1945 by Osborne, Spong & Crover. Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the age of steam 1824-1962 by Charles Hocking. Various other web-sites. North Atlantic Seaways N.R.P. Bonsor. Merchant Fleets in Profile 2 by Duncan Haws.

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