SS Pannonia
SS Pannonia
  • Gross Tonnage - 9,851 tons
  • Dimensions - 148.27 x 18.13m (486.5 x 59.3ft)
  • Number of funnels - 1
  • Number of masts - 4
  • Construction - Steel
  • Propulsion - Twin screw
  • Engines - Six-cylindered triple-expansion
  • Service speed - 13 knots
  • Builder - John Brown & CoLtd., Glasgow
  • Launch date - 5 September 1902
  • Passenger accommodation - 90 1st class, 70 2nd class, 2,066 3rd class

Like its sister ship, the Slavonia, the Pannonia was acquired by Cunard to cater for the Hungarian emigrant trade. It had originally been built for the Furness Line, but was bought from the shipyard by Cunard. By 1904 Cunard had successfully negotiated a contract with the Hungarian Government to operate a service from Fiume to New York. Soon after this new route opened several other shipping lines began to bombard the Hungarian Government with requests to be allowed to compete with Cunard in this trade. This in turn led to a price war as various companies tried to undercut each other.

The Pannonia made its maiden voyage on 28 May 1904 calling at Trieste, Fiume, Palermo and New York. Until the outbreak of World War 1 it served this route very effectively. On westbound voyages the ship would be full of emigrants heading for the New World and on the return voyage from New York it would carry more 1st and 2nd class passengers who were returning to their former homes.

Once World War 1 had begun the Hungarian trade was effectively finished and for nearly the next two years the Pannonia ran from London to New York, carrying only cabin passengers and cargo. In May 1916 it also began to call at Montreal and Quebec and soon it was carrying troops from Canada to France. The Pannonia survived the War and then made two voyages from Avonmouth to Portland towards the end of 1918.

By 1919 it had returned to the Mediterranean service. The collapse and break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire meant that there was a fresh wave of emigrants. The ship served various Mediterranean routes during this period to suit the trends in emigration. The Pannonia made its last Mediterranean voyage 17 September 1921 and then began to sail on the Liverpool to New York route. By 1922 Cunard's post-war building programme was well underway and the Pannonia was becoming surplus to requirements.

The Pannonia left New York for its last voyage on 18 April 1922 bound for Hamburg, calling at Plymouth and Cherbourg. It then lay inactive at Hamburg until October, and was scrapped later that year. Despite being less glamourous than many of the Cunard liners, the Pannonia and Slavonia performed an effective and profitable service for Cunard. (Courtesy © 2000 Cunard Line. All Rights Reserved)

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