Rarely in life will you be able to dive into a unique and tragic part of early 20th century history – the Campania, however, offers just that and more!
Built for Cunard Lines, she was launched on 8 September 1892. Her maiden voyage to New York began in Liverpool on 22 April 1893; a month later, her second roundtrip to New York resulted in Campania’s first Blue Riband, and her only eastbound record. Campania would twice set westbound records – in June 1893 and August 1894. A testament to her strength and speed.
Over the next twenty years she remained on Cunard’s Liverpool-New York service until retired in April 1914.
Taken over by the Royal Navy during WW1 she was converted into an aircraft carrier, becoming the first Navy vessel to launch aircraft whilst underway.
As part of her Admiralty refit, her forward funnel was removed and replaced by two smaller smoke pipes and a 160 foot wooden flight deck was added at the bow, making her capable of carrying ten Sopwith Pup fighters.
For the majority of the war, the Campania worked out of Scapa Flow, however, in the autumn of 1918 she transferred operations to the Forth.
The sad end of this great ship would come on the morning of November 5th 1918. The Campania was lying at anchor in the Firth of Forth. Suddenly, in strong winds, the ship began to drag anchors. She collided with the nearby battleship, Revenge, and a hole was torn up in the Campania’s hull. The ship then started to settle by the stern. Two battleships stood by during the two hours it took for the former Blue Ribband champion to go to the bottom.
The Campania had avoided enemy attacks throughout the war, and had managed to escape the fate of among others the Lusitania and the Brittanic. Her end had come through a sheer accident. Four days later WW1 came to an end.
Now HMS Campania is protected as a site of historic importance and is an awesome dive, weather and tides permitting.
To dive the Campania you must be accompanied by a licensed diver and a strict no touch policy is in force. Mark Blyth at the Dive Bunker is a licensed diver.
Interested? Contact Mark for further information on dives throughout the late winter and early spring.
HMS Campania – Vital Statistics
- Builder: Fairfield Co. Ltd, Glasgow 1893
- Displacement: 18,000 tons
- Dimensions: 190x 20m
- Machinery: Steam 10-cylinder, triple expansion,reciprocating engines, twin screw 28,000 h.p. = 22 knots!
- Armament: 6-4.7 in. (6x1). 1-3in AA guns
- Complement: 600
- Onboard Aircraft: 10 x Sopwith pup
Campania Sidescan Image