Aquitania Hospial Ship









Hospital Ships


In time of war, the requisitioning of liners was common practise. The size and structure of the ships made it possible to transport sick and wounded soldiers from enemy lines back home.

There were 77 military hospital ships requisitioned between 1914 and 1917. The luxurious liners would have their grand interiors adapted to become hospitals.

The Hague Conference (1907) stipulated that Hospital ships would be granted immunity from attack from enemy attack. Hospital ships would be painted in such a way that they could easily be recognised as an hospital ship and not a normal military vessel. The hulls were painted white and a green stripe painted horizontally across the side. Two red crosses would be painted at the front end and back end of the ship.


Examples of Hospital shops


RMS Aquitania

Aquitania before requisition


The HMHS Aquitania was the largest of the hospital ships. She was fitted out with 4,182 beds. She was in active service as a hospital ship for 2 years during the First World War but also used again during the Second World War.

1st Class Lounge


She was built byJohn Brown and Company, Clydebank, Scotland. Aquitania was launched on 21st April,1913 and was fitted out over the next thirteen months. In May of 1914 she was tested in her sea trials and steamed at a full spee, exceeding all expectations. On May 30th 1914 she made her maidwen voyage.

In 1915 she was converted into a hospital ship, and served in that role in the Dardanelles Campaign. In 1916 she returned to the trooping front and again in 1917 was again laid up.

In 1918, she was back on the high seas in troopship service, conveying North American troops to Britain.

45,647 gross
901 feet (275.2 m)
97 feet (29.6 m)
Steam turbines; 59,000 shp (44 MW).
Four propellers
23 knots
1914 - 618 1st, 614 2d, 1,998 3d 1926 - 610 1st, 950 2d, 640 Tourist


RMS Britannic

  Click here to read about Titanic's sister ship and her fate.


RMS Mauretania


 Mauritania was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson at Wallsend. She was launched on 20th September 1906 by the Duchess of Roxburge.


790 feet (240.8 m)
88 feet (26.8 m)
Steam turbines, 68,000 shaft horsepower (51 MW), designed speed 25 knots (46 km/h),
Four quadruple screw propellers
27 knots
Passenger Capacity:
2165: 563 first class, 464 second class, 1138 third class

Her name "Mauretania" originated from a Berber kingdom on the coast of North Africa.

The RMS Mauritania was the sister ship of the RMS Lusitania. After the tragic loss of the Lusitania , the Mauritania was refitted as a hospital ship and became the HMHS Mauritania. She was able to transport 2000 patients at any one time. Her war time service ended on the 25 th January 1916 .

She was then refitted as a passenger liner until the RMS Queen Mary made her obsolete on 30 th June 1934 and was scrapped in 1935.

RMS Queen Mary Hotel today


Although great ships had been offered immunity from attack under the Hague convention, several ships had struck mines or been torpedoed. International law was ignored from 1917 and many vessels from then became targets of war.



  © TPD Turner 2001-2006