AQUITANIA ’S COMMANDERS, 1914-50

This document is intended to be read in conjunction with the list of captains and associated documentation published in RMS Aquitania – The ‘Ship Beautiful’. In one of the book’s appendices, the most comprehensive list of Aquitania ’s commanders yet compiled was based on the crew agreements and logs for the 1914-50 period, with considerable archival work from Hilary Thomas. To complement the list, a document entitled ‘Detail of Masters, 1943-49’ was also included, as it differed somewhat from the crew agreements.

The list of captains given here is taken from the registry papers relating to Aquitania which were filed in Liverpool . In that much of it is written in the same handwriting (one person’s writing for the period from 1914 to 1940 and then another person’s writing for 1941 to 1949), the list was presumably compiled towards the end of Aquitania’s time in service. It is very similar to that published in the book, yet there are some differences such as dates and the occasional omission of a captain’s service (i.e. Captain Loring is not mentioned). It is hoped that the interested reader or researcher can discover the details of an individual captain’s service history by means of comparing the documentation in the book and on this website, and pursue further research.

The register was handed to the Registrar of Shipping in Liverpool on February 24th 1950,[*] after Aquitania had arrived at the scrapper’s yard. Compiling a list of the commanders of any of the large liners is troublesome. Even primary source material can be conflicting. Handwriting can be faded or hard to read, sometimes entirely illegible. Errors of omission can creep in, or dates can be written next to the wrong name as the researcher works through a tedious set of documents. In Aquitania ’s case it is even more awkward owing to the length of her service. Captains’ names are written as they were recorded on the original document, as are their certificate numbers; and the dates given are for when each captain signed on – repeat voyages without a change of commander are excluded, as per the original.

Port

Captain’s Name

Certificate Number

Date

Liverpool

W. T. Turner

02168

May 26th 1914

Liverpool

D. Dow

011565

May 17th 1915

Liverpool

C. A. Smith

012114

June 21st 1915

Greenock

E. T. Britten

031493

March 28th 1916

Greenock

C. A. Smith

March 31st 1916

Southampton

J. T. W. Charles

015759

March 5th 1918

Southampton

C. A. Smith

February 12th 1919

Liverpool

J. T. W. Charles

February 19th 1919

Southampton

W. R. D. Irvine

019984

August 11th 1921

Southampton

J. T. W. Charles

August 30th 1921

Southampton

E. T. Britten

August 13th 1926

Southampton

J. T. W. Charles

September 3rd 1926

Southampton

A. H. Rostron

022747

January 25th 1927

Southampton

J. T. W. Charles

February 15th 1927

Southampton

A. C. Greig

035096

April 8th 1927

Cherbourg

S. G. S. McNeil

022337

April 9th 1927

Southampton

J. T. W. Charles

April 26th 1927

Southampton

S. G. S. McNeil

August 9th 1927

Southampton

J. T. W. Charles

August 31st 1927

Southampton

A. H. Rostron

November 2nd 1927

Southampton

E. G. Diggle

025938

January 16th 1928

Southampton

J. T. W. Charles

June 27th 1928

Southampton

E. G. Diggle

July 18th 1928

Southampton

W. Prothero

025281

November 23rd 1928

Southampton

E. G. Diggle

January 22nd 1929

Southampton

W. Prothero

April 5th 1929

Southampton

E. G. Diggle

April 26th 1929

Southampton

W. Prothero

August 8th 1929

Southampton

E. G. Diggle

August 31st 1929

Southampton

W. Prothero

April 23rd 1930

Southampton

E. G. Diggle

June 26th 1930

Southampton

W. Prothero

August 28th 1930

Southampton

E. G. Diggle

September 18th 1930

Southampton

R. B. Irving

002045

August 7th 1931

Southampton

P. A. Murchie

003023

October 21st 1931

Southampton

R. B. Irving

November 4th 1931

Southampton

J. C. Townley

034482

June 16th 1932

Southampton

R. B. Irving

July 8th 1932

Southampton

J. C. Townley

September 7th 1932

Southampton

R. B. Irving

September 30th 1932

Southampton

G. Gibbons

036447

March 8th 1933

Southampton

R. B. Irving

March 27th 1933

Southampton

G. Gibbons

June 3rd 1933

Southampton

R. B. Irving

June 23rd 1933

Southampton

J. C. Townley

April 20th 1934

Southampton

G. Gibbons

July 6th 1934

Southampton

P. R. Vaughan

030781

January 21st 1935

Southampton

G. Gibbons

April 17th 1935

Southampton

P. R. Vaughan

May 7th 1935

Southampton

R. V. Peel

031038

June 18th 1935

Southampton

G. Gibbons

September 17th 1935

Southampton

R. V. Peel

October 9th 1935

Southampton

R. B. Irving

December 31st 1935

Southampton

A. T. Brown

035106

November 4th 1936

Southampton

R. B. Irving

December 14th 1936

Southampton

G. R. Dolphin

003254

August 25th 1937

Southampton

J. C. Townley

October 5th 1937

Southampton

E. Edkin

035196

November 30th 1937

Southampton

J. C. Townley

January 5th 1938

Southampton

G. Gibbons

April 12th 1938

Southampton

J. C. Townley

May 24th 1938

Southampton

G. Gibbons

July 6th 1938

Southampton

J. C. Townley

July 26th 1938

Southampton

G. Gibbons

January 13th 1939

Southampton

J. C. Townley

January 28th 1939

Southampton

G. Gibbons

February 11th 1939

Southampton

P. A. Murchie

March 24th 1939

Southampton

J. C. Townley

April 8th 1939

Southampton

G. Gibbons

June 20th 1939

Southampton

J. C. Townley

August 9th 1939

Southampton

G. Gibbons

August 23rd 1939

Southampton

A. R. MacDonald

037036

February 14th 1940

Southampton

G. Gibbons

March 9th 1940

Sydney

W. C. Battle

February 3rd 1941

Singapore

G. Gibbons

April 25th 1941

Sydney

J. D. Snow

January 9th 1942

New York

W. C. Battle

[Undated.]

Glasgow

C. M. Ford

May 1943

Glasgow

R. B. Woolatt

November 29th 1943

Glasgow

C. M. Ford

December 21st 1943

Glasgow

C. G. Illingworth

March 23rd 1944

Glasgow

E. M. Fall

July 1st 1944

Glasgow

R. Spencer

September 13th 1944

Glasgow

W. C. Battle

October 8th 1944

Glasgow

E. M. Fall

February 2nd 1945

Glasgow

G. E. Cove

June 20th 1945

Southampton

C. M. Ford

October 16th 1945

Southampton

J. D. Snow

January 26th 1946

Southampton

A. R. MacDonald

May 14th 1946

Southampton

J. D. Snow

August 6th 1946

Southampton

G. E. Cove

March 8th 1947

Southampton

J. D. Snow

December 11th 1947

Southampton

G. E. Cove

December 29th 1947

Southampton

H. Grattidge

July 22nd 1948

Southampton

R. B. G. Wollatt

November 8th 1948

Southampton

R. G. Thelwell

March 25th 1949

Southampton

R. B. G. Wollatt

April 19th 1949

Southampton

R. G. Thelwell

August 22nd 1949

Southampton

R. B. G. Wollatt

September 29th 1949

Above: ‘Cunard Captains.’ Top row, left to right: Captain J. T. W. Charles; Captain J. C. Barr; Captain W. T. Turner; middle row, left to right: Captain C. A. Smith; Captain D. Dow; bottom row, left to right: Captain D. S. Miller; Captain W. R. D. Irvine; Captain A. H. Rostron. (Courtesy Mike Poirier.)

Above: More ‘Cunard Captains.’ Top row, left to right: Captain E. G. Diggle; Captain H. M. Benison; Captain W. Prothero; middle row, left to right: Captain G. W. Melsom; Captain S. G. S. McNeil; bottom row, left to right: Captain R. Capper Captain R. G. Malin. (Courtesy Mike Poirier.)

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[*] Maritime Archives & Library, Merseyside Maritime Museum. Cunard collection, reference B/CUN/3/5/1.


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