RMS Empress of France (1913) | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

RMS Empress of France (1913)

This page documents the visits of the Canadia Pacific liner, the RMS Empress of France, to Hong Kong. If you can add any visits I've missed, or make any corrections, please leave a comment below.

She started life as the SS Alsatian, launched in 1914. In 1919 she was bought by Canadian Pacific, and renamed to Empress of France. She was scrapped in 1934. (For more details see the ship's page on Wikipedia.)

She mainly sailed on the Atlantic route between Britain and Canada, but made several visits to Hong Kong:

March 1923: Visited as part of a round-the-world tour. The ship was chartered by a New York tour operator for the trip. The newspaper said it was to be the ship's last chartered tour, as Canadian Pacific would run future trips themselves.

March 1925: Visited on a round-the-world tour that began in New York. The newspaper noted that the next year's round-the-world cruise would be on the Empress of Scotland.

November 1928 - November 1929: The Empress of France replaced the Empress of Canada on the Pacific service, becoming a regular visitor to Hong Kong. There are mentions of visitors arriving in Hong Kong on the Empress of France in January and July 1929. The Empress of Canada resumed service, but in October 1929 it ran aground and the Empress of France took over the service again, sailing from Hong Kong on November 16. I believe that was the last time she visited Hong Kong, though...

October 1930 ?: Page 9 of the Hong Kong Daily Press, 1930-10-21 mentions: "Mr. T. V. Soong, Finance Minister, is proceeding to Canton on board the Empress of France, leaving Shanghai on the 21st inst. [...]". Did the ship also visit Hong Kong?

Sources:

  1. Searched local newspapers on MMIS for phrase "Empress of France". (9 results)
  2. The NewspaperSG website is also a good resource
Forum: 

Mention made here ,the voyage from Shanghai to Hong Kong was on the Empress of Canada. 

 

Thanks Moddsey, then I'll stick with 1929 as the last year that the Empress of France visited HK.

Yes, 16 November 1929 for Port Said is the last date.

The ship's last years were reported in the The Straits Times, 17 November 1934, Page 3:

WORK FOR THE CLYDE.
Big Liner To Be Broken Up.

The Canadian Pacific liner Empress of France has been sold for scrap to Arnott, Young and Co., of Glasgow, and will be broken up at their ship-breaking yard on the Clyde. The price paid is in the region of £35,000.

The Empress of France is a quadruple-screw turbine steamer of 18,452 tons gross, and was built by Wm. Beardmore and Co. at Glasgow in 1913. She has been laid up in the Clyde since September, 1931.

It is particularly gratifying that the work of demolition of this ship is to be retained in Great Britain since the three other large British liners sold for scrap during the past two years (s.s. Baltic, Lapland and Albertic) were all bought by Japanese ship-breakers and broken up in Japan.

Actually there had been keen competition from Japanese buyers for the Empress of France, but owing to her turbine machinery, and for other technical reasons, the cost of delivering her in Japan would have brought the total to well over £50,000, which would have been prohibitive. The work of demolition will provide employment for some hundreds of men.