The TSS Cameronia (II) – 1922 was used as an emigration ship between England and Australia.
Doris and George KOSBAB and their two sons (Derek and Michael) emigrated to Australia in June 1952 aboard the CAMERONIA.
The voyage from Glasgow (Scotland) to Melbourne (Australia) took 6 weeks.
Michael was taken down with the highly contagious Impetigo, an infection of the outer layers of the skin due to bacteria.
The “Cameronia” was built in 1919 by Wm Beardmore & Co Ltd, Glasgow for the Anchor Line of Glasgow. She was a 16,365 gross ton ship, length 552.4ft x beam 70.4ft, one funnel, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 16 knots.
There was accommodation for 265-1st, 370-2nd and 1,100-3rd class passengers. Launched on 23/12/1919, the installation of the final parts of her passenger accommodation were delayed due to a strike and she had to be towed to Cherbourg for completion.
She commenced her maiden voyage from Glasgow to Liverpool and New York on 11/5/1921 and between 1921-1924 she made several similar Cunard-Anchor Line voyages. In October 1925 she rescued the crew of the burning US Coastguard cutter “CG 128” off New York and in November of the same year collided with the Norwegian steamer “Hauk” in the Clyde.
In January 1926, one voyage had to be abandoned off Ireland due to steering gear failure and she was forced to put back to Glasgow for repair. In August of that year she missed collision with the Cunard liner “Samaria” by only six feet in dense fog. She was refurbished in 1929 to carry 290-cabin, 431-tourist and 698-3rd class passengers.
In December 1932 the ship suffered an influenza epidemic and 400 passengers were confined to their beds. It is reported that the ship’s doctor made 500 visits a day to his patients. Between Dec.1934 and Oct.1935 the ship was laid up at Glasgow, and from then until April 1936 was used as a troopship to the Far East carrying a total of over 16,000 personnel.
In 1936 she was refitted again and on 10/7/1936 resumed the Glasgow – New York service. In 1937 she attended the Spithead Naval Review for the coronation of King George VI and on Sept.5th 1939 left Glasgow and became the first British ship to enter New York after the outbreak of war. She made 11 unescorted transatlantic voyages until she was requisitioned as a troopship in Dec.1940. In January 1941 she trooped 3,000 men to Suez via the Cape and then shuttled between Alexandria and Greece, mainly with New Zealanders. In 1942 she took part in the training and run up to the North African landings (Operation Torch) and in Nov.,took part in the landings.
She was hit by an aerial torpedo in December 1942 with the loss of 17 lives, but reached Bone, Algeria. She returned to Gibralter for repair and thence to the Clyde. In June 1943 she resumed service and participated in carrying the Canadian Tank Division from Malta to Sicily and in June 1944 was the largest troopship to take part in the Normandy landings.
In August 1945 she was derequisitioned after carrying a total of 163,789 troops over a total distance of 321,323 miles.
Laid up as ‘worn out’ at 25 years of age, she was brought out of retirement in July 1948 and refitted by Barclay Curle at Elderslie for use as an Australian emigration ship, with capacity for 1,266 passengers.
On 1/11/1948 she commenced the first of 11 UK-Australia voyages.
On 21/1/1953 she was sold to the Ministry of Transport and renamed “Empire Clyde” and in March 1958 was scrapped at Newport, Mon. [North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.1,p.468] [Merchant Fleets by Duncan Haws, vol.9, Anchor Line]
She (Cameronia / Empire Clyde) was scrapped in 1957.
TSS Cameronia (II)
- TSS Cameronia (II) – Geocities
- 1922 SS Cameronia – Time passenger nostalgia
- HMT Cameronia –
- Australian Migrant Ships 1946-1977 – Google Books
- Cameronia Picture Gallery
I found your site after googling “Cameronia”.
I notice that the Kosbab’s arrived in Australia on the same voyage that I did with my parents and siblings.
We got off at Fremantle, and still live in the Perth area.
I recall that there was widespread sickness in the latter part of the voyage due to contaminated water taken on board.
The crew exploited the situation by selling soft drinks to the passengers, many of whom (us included) were not in a financial position to take advantage.
We heard that the crew had become unruly after Fremantle and that passengers had a difficult time.
Any truth in this?
Interesting to hear from you Rob.
Yes, we arrived in Melbourne in July 1952 after a voyage that involved me and my brother Michael both having impetigo and being quarantined in a section of the ship to prevent the disease spreading through the ship.
Due to the sores, we were shaved from head to foot and painted purple with mecurachrome. We were not allowed to wear any clothing which was interesting since there were about 15 of us, boys and girls, from about 5 to 16 years of age.
I cannot recall the crew becoming unruly after Fremantle and passengers having a difficult time. But, I was only 10 at the time. So, I will ask mum about it when I call her later this week. She is almost 91 years of age and retired in Queensland; and, my brother Michael referred to above lives in Maroochydore with his two children and four grandchildren.
Just a note about this ship, Cameronia.
I have come across a postcard postmarked September 6, 1945, notifying my mother about the impending return home of my father from England after the war. His ship was the Cameronia (and then the train number into Toronto is given). I assume this would have been one of the last trips this ship made.
Having just heard of an item on TV about £10 Poms, I googled Cameronia and hey presto..
Our family was on that very same voyage from Glasgow (June 52) when I was 10 years old and my brother 8. Although the ship stopped at many ports on the way, the only trip ashore we managed was at Aden late one evening. I don’t think the Captain wanted to stop long in the ports.
There was a childrens fancy dress which I won when my parents dressed me as Old Mother Riley (I didn’t even know who that was).
We left at Freemantle and stayed at Graylands Immigrant Hostel for two years before returning back to England on the Otranto in July 54 as my mum was homesick. We went ashore at every port on the way back to Tilbury this time. On the way out, the four of us had a cabin to ourselves but on the Otranto, they segregated us and mum ended up in another cabin with another woman.
I know that a few families my parents kept in touch with in the Hostel eventually moved to the east coast and even on to NZ. I enjoyed the experience and the fact that sweets weren’t on ration. However the school education was a year behind (and we had to buy the school books) so I had missed my 11+ and on our return I had to catch up and pass my 13+ a year later.
From google earth I have found the area where we stayed has changed a lot but the memories still remain of running around in bare feet like the other Aussie kids.