RMS ‘Aquitania’ transported nearly 3,500 Australian troops from 8th Division including the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion to Ratai Bay in the Sundra Straits where it anchored on 20th and 21st January 1942 to allow the men to be transported to Singapore onboard Convoy MS2A which included Dutch ships Reijnst, Van Swoll, Both, Real, Sloet van der Beele, Van der Lijn and Taishan with naval escorts and arrived at Singapore on 24th January at 1030 hours.
It was considered too dangerous for such a large ship like ‘Aquitania’ to enter Singapore harbour.
RMS ‘Aquitania’ was a British ocean liner from the Cunard fleet serving from 1914 to 1950 and was the last surviving 4-funnelled ocean liner.
The ship displaced approximately 49,430 tons of which the hull accounted for 29,150 tons, machinery 9,000 and bunkers 6,000 tons.
She served in WW1 as a troop carrier and hospital ship and returned to the transatlantic route in 1920. She earned the nickname of “Ship Beautiful” by her passengers.
Unlike other liners with four funnels, ‘Aquitania’ did not have a dummy funnel; every funnel was utilised in venting steam from boilers. ‘Aquitania’ was built larger and wider than her sister-ships ‘Lusitania’ and ‘Mauretania’.
She was about to be retired in 1940 when WW2 broke out and she served as a troop carrier until 1947, transporting Canadian, Australian and New Zealand troops.
‘Aquitania’ was retired in 1949 having serving 36 years as a passenger liner. She was scrapped in Scotland in1950.
Above ‘Aquitania’ prepared for war
‘Aquitania’ 1942 in Boston
Above HMAS ‘Canberra’ the naval escort to ‘Aquitania’ sailing from Fremantle 16th January 1942 to Ratai Bay, Sundra Straits.