Tintern Abbey | Remuera | Bombay | 58th Regiment
|REMUERA - 1924|
|"Remuera" - 11276 tons - built 1911.|
|Robert Fergusson STRONG with spouse Eva Gladys (nee STEVENS) disembarked the "Remuera" at Wellington, 1924. [See: Robert Fergusson Strong's Diary]|
Remuera was the last delivered of the three 11000 tonners built by the William Denny organisation between 1909 and 1911, and joined the fleet in September 1911 when she undertook her inaugural voyage from London to Wellington. Three years later, in 1914 - just after the outbreak of World War I - Remuera made history for her country and her proud owners when she was the first British ship to transit the newly opened Panama Canal.
During the next six years Remuera voyaged under the control of the British Government. She continued to serve upon the London/New Zealand route, although her holds were mainly used to freight vital military supplies. All units of the New Zealand Shipping Company's fleet were utilised in this manner.
Remuera was returned to her owners during early 1920 and immediately despatched for a full overhaul and refit before she was to resume regular passenger services. She received the same conversion as her sole remaining sister Ruahine and became an oil-firing ship. Although the transformation resulted in no noticeable improvement to either ship's performance, the lack of bunkering requirements permitted quicker turn-arounds at ports of call as well as lessening the capacity previously required for the carriage of bulky coal.
In 1933 Remuera's passenger accommodation was converted from the original three classes into a more flexible cabin and tourist class configuration.
During the six remaining years of peace Remuera operated an independent schedule on the England/New Zealand route; whereas the three new 'Rangi' 16000 tonners' speed of 16 knots enabled them to be operated upon the main schedule of four-weekly departures, in company with Rotorua (2) and Rimutaka (2). After the withdrawal of the latter ship, the ex-P&O mail steamer Rimutaka (3) joined the fleet's joint schedule. Remuera's voyages were more leisurely in contrast to the other ships and included a call at the Fijian port of Suva.
The older Ruahine was transferred to cargo-only services during 1934 and it was rumoured towards the end of the thirties that both she and Remuera would be despatched to the breaker's yards before the end of 1939. However, both ships were granted a reprieve from such a fate when World War II began in September 1939.
Remuera was claimed by the British Government for military use, and initially converted for use as 'trooper'. However, she remained upon the New Zealand service as her capacity for carrying frozen food was more useful to the war effort than her passenger accommodation.
Destiny caught up with Remuera on 26 August 1940, while nearing Great Britain at the end of the fourth wartime round voyage to New Zealand. As her normal route would have taken her through the U-boat and mine-infested English Channel Remuera's master had been instructed to approach London by steaming around the northern tip of Scotland and thereby following the east coast to the Thames estuary. It was considered that this route was less hazardous for a lone merchant ship as it was well-patrolled - or so it was thought. Ironically, after heeding all precautions, Remuera was not to elude the enemy. Shortly after entering the North Sea Remuera was spotted by German torpedo-carrying aircraft, and made the target of several attacks.
Remuera received several direct hits, causing her to lose way. Mortally wounded, she began to sink and not long after her crew took to their lifeboats, Remuera reared up out of the water and plunged to the bottom of the North Sea. In remembrance of this gallant ship New Zealand Shipping Company awarded the ex-Cunard Parthia her name when that ship joined the fleet in 1962. Sister ships: Ruahine (2), Rotorua (1).
|R.M.S. "REMUERA" 11,500 tons, 8,000 H.P. Departed Plymouth 29th March 1916 - Commander - H.E. Greenstreet. Surgeon - A.J.Grant M.D. M.R.C.S. see Passenger List|
|My father and his two brothers emigrated from Glasgow (sailing Portsmouth) to Wellington on the first "REMUERA" in 1931. They called at Pitcairn. My father recalled trading a bowler hat for a bunch of bananas. At the end of his life he lived in Remuera in Auckland, as I now do. ... see Garry's site.|
|The R.M.S. "REMUERA" - with twin screws and triple expansion engines her size of 11,445 grt, 485' x 62' x 41' makes her one of the largest ships to sink off the North East coast of Scotland. see Great British Shipwrecks|
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