Red Ensign
Harry O'Grady

During the war My Father Harry O'Grady served in the Merchant Navy as a fireman on the SS Duchess of Bedford from about 1941 to 1946. His brother Terry served in the Royal Navy and was on the Edinburgh when she was attacked off Bear Island by German destroyers, but that is another story. There was always a friendly rivalry between the two, Terry would proudly say he was "in the Navy" to which Harry would reply "I went to sea"
If you have any memories of the Duchess of Bedford, or the people who sailed on her, that you would like to share,
please email me at harry@feegan.com

QUITE A FEW PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN TO ME WITH QUESTIONS OR SENT IMAGES OR RECOUNTED MEMORIES OF THE DUCHESS OF BEDFORD, CLICK TO READ THEM

Thanks to Donna Cognac who wrote to me "I have 2 evening programs from March 1929 from the ship. I found these among the possessions of my deceased step-father. I have no idea why he had them and know he himself never sailed aboard her. But he was ship happy. He must have just picked them up somewhere.
To view the Programmes click here - You can visit Donna's web site here

Sailings marked with a BT reference number indicate passenger lists are available at the National Archives Website

Pictures - page0 | page1 | page2 | page3 | page4 | page5 | page6 | page7 | page8 | page9 | page10 | Page 11 | The Barry Hotel | Page 13 | The Duchess of Bedford's Football Team | Loggan Family

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1948 | 1956 | 1958 | 1960

DUCHESS OF BEDFORD / EMPRESS OF FRANCE 1928
She was built by John Brown & Co Ltd, Glasgow in 1928 for Canadian Pacific SS Ltd. She was a 20,123 gross ton ship, length 601ft x beam 75.2ft, two funnels, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 18 knots. There was passenger accommodation for 580-cabin, 480-tourist and 510-3rd class.

The Duchess of Bedford, called "the most bombed ship still afloat", was a very lucky ship. During World War II, she sank a U-boat, damaged another, was shot at and bombed on a number of occassions, and once struck an iceberg without sustaining damage.

SS DUCHESS OF BEDFORD SIERRA LEONE

1928      
  January 21   Launched on 24/1/1928 by Mrs Stanley Baldwin, the wife of the British prime minister
  May   Arrived Liverpool images
  June 1   she sailed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage to Quebec and Montreal. On her second westbound crossing, she set a new record of six days, nine and a half hours from Liverpool to Montreal.
  July 27
Liverpool
Quebec Arrived August 2 link
  August 18
Liverpool
Montreal List of Tourist Third Cabin Passengers on the Steamship Empress of France 18,500 Tons Sailing from Southampton and Cherbourg to Quebec on Saturday, 18 August 1928 . Includes listing of Passenger Fleet, Approximate Distances between 44 ports, and a section on nautical terms and references to Duchess of Bedford. (6.5mb) Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives
  September 7
Montreal
Liverpool  
  September 21
Liverpool
Montreal  
  October 5
Montreal
Liverpool  
  October 19
Liverpool
Montreal  
  November 2
Montreal
Liverpool  
  December 22
New York
West Indies - Panama 16 Days Cruise
1929 Top    
  January 10
New York
West Indies - Panama 29 Day Cruise
  February 11
New York
West Indies - Panama

29 Day Cruise

Passenger list From the "New York Times" dated Feb. 11, 1929, on page 21

ABBOT Henry H.
ABBOT Henry H., Mrs.
BESETT Jennie R., Mrs.
BEST Frederic W., Mrs.
BROOKS William
BROWN O. S., Dr.
BURTON Charles E.
BURTON Charles E., Mrs.
CARUSI Charles F.
CLARKE Thomas L.
CLARKE Thomas L., Mrs.
COBB Frederick H., Mrs.
COE Henry W., Mrs.
COOPER H. R., Mrs.
COWDEN Daniel W.
DALTON Howard
DALTON Howard, Mrs.
FRANCE Enoch H.
FRANCE Enoch H., Mrs.
HANRAHAN Thomas H.
LARKIN Lucy, Miss
LARKIN Rebecca, Miss
MACKENZIE A. Stanley
MAPES C. H., Mrs
MONETT H. B.
MONETT H. B., Mrs.
RAPP R. G.
ROCKWELL F. W.
ROCKWELL F. W., Mrs.
RONDEBUSH J. H.
RONDEBUSH J. H., Mrs.
SEELEY Walter E.
SMITH H. Blair
SMITH H. Blair, Mrs.
ULLMAN Monroe A.
WESTON William B.

  June   I have documents, infact immigration papers that list The Duchess of Bedford as the ship that my great grandmother came to Canada on. I have a picture of her, my great grandfather and my great aunt aboard the ship. They came to Canada in June 1929 arriving in Quebec. This is a time period that is missing from your roster so I thought you might be interested. I'll find the papers if you like and get you more detailed info.
1930
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  April 6 Saint John, New Brunswick 6 APR 1930 William B. O'Hanlon , age 19, nationality Scottish arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard The Duchess of Bedford of the Canadian Pacific Line. (National Archives of Canada's ArchiviaNet Immigration Records 1925-35 microfilm reel T-14856, 1930 volume 4, page 37. Reference RG76-IMMIGRATION, series C-1-c.)
  June 27 Quebec 27 JUN 1930 Edward Hanlon , age 18, English and Robert Hanlon , age 16, English arrived in Quebec, Quebec aboard The Duchess of Bedford of the Canadian Pacific Line. (National Archives of Canada's ArchiviaNet Immigration Records 1925-35 microfilm reel T-14765, 1930 volume 10, page 78. Reference RG76-IMMIGRATION, series C-1-a.)
  July 24 Quebec 24 JUL 1930 Denis O'Hanlon , age 24, nationality IFS (Irish Free State) arrived in Quebec, Quebec aboard The Duchess of Bedford of the Canadian Pacific Line. (National Archives of Canada's ArchiviaNet Immigration Records 1925-35 microfilm reel T-14766, 1930 volume 13, page 201. Reference RG76-IMMIGRATION, series C-1-a.)
1931
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  March 27   National Children Homes Passengers SS Duchess of Bedford link
NAME D.O.B.
Benjamin C. Billingham 1/9/16
Charles H. Gordon 21/10/14
Ronald Lester 23/10/16
Maldwyn Powell 26/2/25
Alan Robertson 28/8/15
Oliver W. Sayer 9/9/16
James Stannard 30/7/16
Leslie Windmill 19/5/16
1932
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  October 14   Passenger List
Cabin and Tourist Class
S.S. Duchess of Bedford
Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal via Belfast and Greenock
Departed 14 Oct 1932
1933
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  February  

In February 1933 she is chartered by Furness Withy awaiting the arrival of the Queen of Bermuda to run alongside their Monarch of Bermuda.

In an interesting little twist of history, while Furness-Bermuda Line awaited delivery of the Queen of Bermuda in 1933, they chartered the Duchess of Bedford from Canadian Pacific Lines as a temporary running mate for the new Monarch of Bermuda.  This is the same ship that had carried another member of the family, Josephine Murphy, to Canada in early 1933.  Once the Queen of Bermuda was delivered to Furness, the Duchess of Bedford returned to the Canadian Pacific Lines. link

  May 8   On her second westbound crossing, she set a new record of six days, nine and a half hours from Liverpool to Montreal. On May 8, 1933, she was rumoured sunk after striking an iceberg off Newfoundland. The cause of this story was thought to have been the result of a misunderstanding of a messsage picked up by an unidentified wireless operator. News of the "disaster" swept through the country, and the stress of relatives of those on board was not alleviated until 2 a.m. the following day, when the Duchess radioed from mid-ocean that all was well. On her July 13, 1933 voyage she actually collided with an iceberg in the foggy straits of Belle Isle, Newfoundland, but but sustained only slight damage.
BT 26/1011/13 June 10
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool. Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Greenock, Belfast and Liverpool.
BT 26/1011/63

July 7
Montreal

Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool. Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
  July 13 Montreal In July 1933 she was in collision with an iceberg Strait of Belle Isle, from London to Montreal arr. Aug 1 3 plates damaged
1934
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One CP liner not mentioned of the Atlantic service calling at Saint John in the 1930s was the 20,000 to Duchess of Bedford--this ship was assigned during the winter months operating New York-Bermuda. Other CP Duchess liners were rotated on the Bermuda run--or West Indies cruises with the Empress of Australia (1). link

  June 24  

ST. DUCHESS OF BEDFORD. Real Photograph. Pmk. Quebec June. 24, 1934. link

1935
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BT 26/1060/113 January 7
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick and Halifax. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania].
  February 9 Halifax 9 FEB 1935 Alfred O'Hanlon , age 21, English arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard The Duchess of Bedford of the Canadian Pacific Line. (National Archives of Canada's ArchiviaNet Immigration Records 1925-35 microfilm reel T-14834, 1935 volume 1, page 138. Reference RG76-IMMIGRATION, series C-1-b.)
BT 26/1061/46 February 26
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, French, Germany, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia].
BT 26/1061/94 March 22
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Holland, Poland and Romania].
BT 26/1062/14 April 22
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Austria, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and Yugoslavia].
BT 26/1062/87 May 18
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Holland, Italy, Norway and Yugoslavia].
BT 26/1063/50 June 16
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Holland].
BT 26/1064/26 July 13
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Norway and Poland].
BT 26/1065/12 Ausust 9
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Holland, Poland, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland].
BT 26/1065/61 August 31
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Belgium].
BT 26/1065/81 September 28
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.
BT 26/1066/86 October 26
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.
BT 26/1066/108 November 23
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.
1936
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BT 26/1087/87 January 11
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool.Embarking at St John, New Brunswick and Halifax.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France and Poland].
BT 26/1087/151 February 8
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool.Embarking at St John, New Brunswick.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.
BT 26/1088/34 March 8
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool.Embarking at St John, New Brunswick and Halifax.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.
BT 26/1088/99 April 16
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool.Embarking at St John, New Brunswick.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.
BT 26/1090/25 June 27
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Denmark, Finland and Poland].
BT 26/1091/46 July 20
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
BT 26/1094/60 December 3
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal and Quebec. Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Holland, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Romania and Sweden].
1937
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BT 26/1116/29 January 23 Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia].
BT 26/1116/69 February 21
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool.Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland and Yugoslavia].
BT 26/1116/112 March 21
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool.Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Czechoslovakia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Romania, Switzerland, the United States and Yugoslavia].
BT 26/1119/3 June 11
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal and Quebec.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.
BT 26/1119/36 July 9
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Finland, Holland, Norway, Poland and Romania].
BT 26/1120/20 August 6
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Belgium, Lithuania and Romania].
BT 26/1120/14 August 29
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Finland, Germany, Poland and Romania].
BT 26/1122/58 November 20
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal and Quebec.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Greenock and Belfast.
1938
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BT 26/1144/12 January 16 Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Halifax to Liverpool. Embarking at Halifax and St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Greenock and Liverpool. [Includes list of transmigrants bound for Antwerp, Cherbourg, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Le Havre, Helsinki, Lemberg, Lwow, Oderberg, Ostend, Prague, Rotterdam, Stickholm, Tarnopol and Zagreb].
BT 26/1145/3 March 6
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick and Halifax. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Greenock, Belfast and Liverpool.
BT 26/1145/68 April 3
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool.Embarking at St John, New Brunswick.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Czechoslovakia, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia.
BT 26/1145/77 May 2
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal and Quebec.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Denmark, Finland, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia.
BT 26/1145/71 May 28
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal and Quebec.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Basle, Fredrikshavn, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Helsingfors, Le Havre, Rotterdam and Warsaw.
  June 10 1938
Montreal
June 17 1938
Liverpool
One image is the front and back of a ticket for the S.S. Duchess of Bedford sailing from England to Canada.
Three are images of Beatrice Baldwin and her daughter Mollie Baldwin (now 90 years old) ...on the Duchess of Bedford in 1938.
BT 26/1146/56 June 25
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Sweden].
BT 26/1147/23 July 23
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock.[Includes list of transmigrants Ostend and Turin].
BT 26/1148/58 August 17
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Genoa, Antwerp, Stockholm, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Budapest and Czernovby.
BT 26/1148/74 September 12
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal and Quebec.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Greenock and Belfast.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Cherbourg and Helsinki.
BT 26/1148/74 October 8
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Copenhagen, Helsinki and Memel].
BT 26/1149/114 November 5
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool. Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Greenock, Belfast and Liverpool.
1939
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BT 26/1169/46 January 28
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool and Greenock.
BT 26/1169/134 February 26
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool.Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool and Greenock.[Includes list of transmigrants bound for Belgium, France, Hungary, Romania, Sweden and Yugoslavia].
BT 26/1170/1 March 26
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Budapest, Helsinki, Ljublijana, Ostend, Prague and Zagreb].
BT 26/1170/118 April 23
St John, New Brunswick
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from St John, New Brunswick to Liverpool. Embarking at St John, New Brunswick. Official Number: 160482 List of passengers disembarking at Greenock and Liverpool.
BT 26/1171/58 May 20
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool. Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Greenock, Belfast and Liverpool. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Belgium].
BT 26/1171/65 June 17
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool. Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock. [Passengers include transmigrants in transit to Budapest, Czernowitz, Helsinki, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Warsaw and Zagreb].
  June 1939
Montreal
Liverpool

After the train trip to Montreal, we went on board the CPR Liner, the "Duchess of Bedford", and set off down the St. Lawrence River, past the location of the sinking in May, 1914 of the "Empress of Ireland ", on which Mr D and his family had been passengers. (That ship sank in 13 minutes after a collision with another vessel in a dense fog, and Mr D's brother Leonard was among the thousand passengers or so who lost their lives.) The trip to Liverpool took 5 days, but for those of us who were seasick for the first time in our lives, it seemed like weeks! Our ship, and her sister ships, "Duchess of Atholl" and "Duchess of York", were built at the same time, all with the same design flaw. They wallowed and floundered through the high waves, instead of cutting through steadily. For this reason, they were known as "The Drunken Duchesses"! link

  June   48°16'N 49° 27'W, 150 mi E of St. John's Wood schooner (or Fr. Bark) BEN-HUR hit a berg she was Set on fire and abandoned after Crew transferred to DUCHESS OF BEDFORD
BT 26/1172/36 July 8
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal and Quebec.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool, Greenock and Belfast.
  August 29   On 29th August 1939 she is requisitioned and found herself trooping to Bombay
  September 4  

CLYDE, SCOTLAND, 1939-09-04. FIRST CONVOY OF WORLD WAR II LEAVING THE CLYDE, SCOTLAND EARLY AM ON 1939-09-04. ALL THE SHIPS WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE SS CLAN FERGUSON, AN AMMUNITION SHIP WITH THIS CONVOY, ARE CONVERTED PASSENGER LINERS NOW TROOPSHIPS. THE SHIPS ARE, FROM LEFT, SS SCYTHIA, SS MONTCALM, SS ORFORD, SS RIEMA DEL PACIFICO, SS ORION, SS CLAN FERGUSON, SS BRITTANIC, SS DURBAN CASTLE, SS DUCHESS OF BEDFORD SS STRATHIRD, SS ORCADES.(DONOR R.WEBBER)
click image to see larger picture

  December 10
Halifax
December 17
Glasgow
On September 1st, 1939, when Hitler's forces invaded Poland, The Saskatoon Light Infantry (M.G.) was mobilized and recruiting commenced under command of Lieut.-Colonel J. M. Cleland.  On the third of September the battalion was designated as one of the units of the Canadian Active Service Force.  Soon afterwards it was selected to be part of the First Canadian Division.  On 25th of November Lt. Col. J. M. Cleland was succeeded by Colonel A. E. Potts, E. D. (Later Major General A. E. Potts, C.B.E., E.D., G.O.C. 6th Canadian Division) who, as commander of the 19th Infantry Brigade, reverted to the rank of Lt.Col. to take command of the battalion.  On the 4th day of December 1939 the battalion entrained on two trains for Halifax.  One half of the battalion embarked on board the "Duchess of Bedford" and the other half on board the "Aquitania".  On the 10th December the convoy of five troop ships with protective craft sailed for England.  On the 17th of December the "Duchess of Bedford" docked at Glasgow, Scotland  and the "Aquitania" dropped anchor in Gourock Basin.  The Battalion preceeded by train to North Camp Station, Hants., and took up their station in Tournai Barracks, Aldershot, which they shared with the Toronto Scottish Regiment (M.G.).  Three days later the Battalion was visited by Rt. Hon. Hore-Belisha, Britain's Secretary of State for War. link
  December 10
Halifax
December 17
Gourock
On December 10th the great convoy steamed slowly out of Halifax, and gradually the misty shores of Canada slipped out of sight.  The crossing was uneventful except that a thick fog scattered the vessels for most of the voyage.  On the final day the "Aquitania" collided with the "Samaria" in the fog, but fortunately no great damage was done.  As the visibility increased the troops were very pleased to note that two additional cruisers had joined their formidable escort, and eight destroyers from British bases had replaced the original six.  On the 17th, the great convoy, minus its heavy escorts, slipped into harbour at Gourock, Scotland link
  December 17 - 18  

Convoy T.C.1 "Duchess of Bedford", "Monarch of Bermuda", Empress of Britain",
"Aquitania", "Empress of Australia".

SHIPS CARRYING CANADIAN TROOPS download pdf 21k

1940
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  January 5   Resumed Liverpool - St John NB - Halifax voyages, being used on the Eastbound crossings to ferry Canadian troops to Britain
  February 11  

On 11th February1940, HMS Forester was ordered to the assistance of the SS Imperial Transport, a tanker which had been torpedoed about 150 miles WNW of the butt of Lewis. The bows of the ship had been blown off by the torpedo explosion and the damaged vessel was drifting rapidly out into the Atlantic. Together with the tug Buccaneer, lines were passed to the tanker and she was brought safely to port. The Forester had transferred 10 men to the tanker to assist with the towing operations and these had to rejoin the ship later as they could not be taken back aboard before the Forester returned to her base at Scapa. HMS Forester's next duty was to escort the SS Orion and SS Duchess of Bedford safely across the Atlantic with an RCAF contingent to the UK. During March 1940 attacks were made on two more submarine contacts but without any success. link

  March   HMS Forester's next duty was to escort the SS Orion and SS Duchess of Bedford safely across the Atlantic with an RCAF contingent to the UK. During March 1940 attacks were made on two more submarine contacts but without any success. link
  May 8   I am interested in the list of passengers arriving Quebec city May 8th 1940, aboard Duchess of Bedford, English children sent to Canada in reference to Fairbridge farm school in Cowichan Valley B.C. My wife's step father "Douglas Townsley" was a passenger. email
  May 22   Convoy T.C.4. "Antonia", "Duchess of Bedford"
  May 30
Liverpool
Halifax

On the afternoon of May 30,1940, we boarded the Duchess of Richmond and sailed, together with the Duchess of Bedford and His Majesty's frigate H.M.S. Revenge, in convoy across the Atlantic to Canada. Link - nice story

  June 8
Canada
June 20
Liverpool
This party left Winnipeg on 5th June with great fanfare by the P.P.C.L.I. Band, etc. On board the same train, first acquaintances were made with the Nursing Ssiters of No. 5 Canadian General Hostpital, who later became familiar personnel in Mess functions in England.
On 8th June the party sailed aboard the Duchess of Bedford in a convoy including the "Duchess of Atholl" and the Samaria and the escort battleship Revenge. The ship was crowded but the trip was a smoot one compared to the one made by the main body in December. Arriving in Liverpool on 20th June, the party entrained for Morval and Delville Barracks in Cove, Hants, near Aldershot. It was days before the baggage caught up with them and some of it never did arrive.
Air-raid sirens, steel hats, respirators and weapon regulations soon convinced the men that they were in a war zone. During the summer the party became familiar with the south country transportation sysmtes and tactical requirements of hte daily-expected main party of the regiment. link
  Jun 20 - 21  

Convoy T.C.5. "Duchess of Bedford", "Duchess of Atholl", "Samaria".

BT 26/1189/5 July 15
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool. Embarking at Montreal. Official Number: 160462. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
 

Mid July
Liverpool

Montreal

In the spring of 1940, we lived in Hornchurch, Essex to be near the Dagenham plant where Dad worked. This area is almost a suburb of London and was also home to an RAF base and therefore deemed a target area.

Mom and Dad wanted me to go to Canada to be safe from the bombing and that soon I would be back with them when the war ended. It was a big rush getting outfitted, buying a trunk to put it all in, seeing all of my aunts and uncles, getting documents from school and saying goodbye to all my friends. To say I was thrilled was putting it mildly. I was completely oblivious to the effect this would have on my parents.

In no time it was mid-July and we were at the train station saying goodbye - shaking hands in manly fashion with Dad and being embarrassed by a long hug from my Mom. (She told me years later that she ran down the station platform, to try to take me off the train.)

We were chaperoned all the way by Ford Motor personnel and finally arrived in Liverpool to board the CP ship "Duchess of Bedford." It was a fast liner and so was able to travel alone. It was an exciting time, meeting the other evacuees, learning lifeboat drills, and generally getting in the way.

I attended most meals while we were in the North Atlantic, getting only mildly seasick. Then we were traveling down the St. Lawrence River where we really marveled at all the sights down to Quebec City. link

BT 26/1189/58 August 10
Montreal
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Montreal to Liverpool.Embarking at Montreal and Quebec.Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool. [Includes a list of Military Personnel travelling from Montreal].
  August   In August 1940 she commenced the first of three voyages to Suez via Freetown and Cape Town.
BT 26/1190/41 November 15
Durban
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Durban to Liverpool. Embarking at Durban and Suez. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool. [Passengers include military personnel travelling from Suez to Liverpool].
1941
Top
   
  January 4
Newport
March 3
Port Tewfik

On the night of 1-2 January 1941 units of the New Zealand formation in England began to leave Aldershot Command for points of embarkation to join the remainder of the New Zealand Division in the Middle East . B Company 5 Field Ambulance, under the command of Captain Palmer, 1 embarked on the Athlone Castle on 3 January at Liverpool, while Headquarters and A Companies, under Lieutenant-Colonel Twhigg, embarked on the Duchess of Bedford at Newport, Wales, on 4 January. Captain T. G. de Clive Lowe 2 remained behind in charge of NZ Base Camp, while Major Robertson retained charge of Warbrook Convalescent Home and became DADMS ( UK ). Lieutenant Manchester 3 and Lieutenant Hutter 4 continued their courses of instruction in maxillo-facial surgery and a medical officer was appointed to the Forestry Group, New Zealand Engineers, which remained in the United Kingdom .

On 12 January the convoy proceeded to sea from Belfast Loch in the early morning, heading west in a zigzag course and then south. All ranks slept in their clothes in the danger zone and wore steel helmets and lifebelts while on deck. By 17 January permission was given for the removal of clothes at night. The hospital accommodation on the ships was taxed by the numbers of influenza patients, and nursing orderlies from the field ambulance companies were attached to their respective ship's hospital for duty. When influenza abated there was a mild epidemic of measles on board the Duchess of Bedford .

The voyage to Egypt was uneventful, although the double crossing of the Equator entailed conditions of temporary discomfort, especially for sleeping. The convoy completed its journey through the Red Sea and reached Port Tewfik on 3 March. link

  January 12  

Three other transports accompanied the Duchess when, guarded by a plane and a destroyer, she wallowed out of Newport into the Irish Sea. It was soon realised that she had not been called the 'Drunken Duchess' for nothing. The following morning she was in Belfast Lough, where the convoy was assembling. Sunday, 12 January, was departure day, and 21 troopships carrying 42,000 troops, protected by a battleship, two cruisers, and twelve destroyers, with the RAF overhead, began the seven weeks' voyage to Egypt.

An extensive record of life on the Bedford in the middle east on this page

  Februay 8  

The Duchess of Bedford berthed in Table Bay at 10.30 a.m. on 8 February, and leave was granted until midnight for all ranks. There was no repetition of the disorderly horseplay that characterised the first visit.

  February 12   The Duchess sailed on the afternoon of 12 February and four days later picked up a portion of the convoy that had gone on to Durban
  February 25   The Gulf of Aden was entered on 25 February and the following day the enemy-occupied coast of Somaliland could be seen on the port bow.
  March 3   The voyage ended on 3 March at Port Tewfik. Here there was the usual congestion of shipping, the usual barrage of balloons; and behind the white, flat-roofed buildings of Suez barren brown hills, half hidden in a purple haze, were like a drop scene hiding the desert stage.
  March 14   On 14 March the troops were ordered to be ready to move within 48 hours. Stores from the Duchess of Bedford were slow in coming forward and a working party was sent down to Port Tewfik to expedite the unloading, but even with this extra help lorry-loads of equipment and gear were still arriving on the day of departure.
BT 26/1193/164 May 8
Port Taufiq
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Port Taufiq to Liverpool. Embarking at Port Taufiq, Durban and Freetown. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
  Late  

On arrival at Tampa we were placed on a troop train for New York. We were stopped on the rail station at Washington DC and looking out of the train window I noticed a big placard say only two shades of nylons are available for ladies and in small print the Ladies of England fight fires. On arrival in New York, we embarked on another troopship. My crew was again U Boat & aircraft lookouts.

The ship was the Duchess of Bedford and Canadian owned. We had 3000 American troops on board. Many of them WW1 veterans returning to England to fight in WW2. When talking to us they said "last time we were going to a shooting gallery but not this time. This is a real war".

As we sailed it was a terrible sight to se the French Liner Normandy lying on its side in the Dock opposite us. We steamed north in convoy to Bedford Bay, Halifax, Canada where we became part of a very large convoy bound for England. This large group sailed in darkness north toward the Arctic and then proceeded, in fierce fog for 3 or 4 days, east towards England. When the fog cleared we came under attack by U Boats and Condor aircraft. The convoy reached Liverpool with little loss. link

  November   In November 1941 she left Liverpool on a 5 month voyage which took her to Singapore with 4000 Indian troops and 40 nurses. Arriving at the end of January 1942, she embarked 875 women and children for evacuation to Batavia, Java. Although attacked on several occasions, she was not seriously damaged, and arrived at Liverpool on 2/4/1942. link
  November 5 April 3 1942

I am not sure if you are still collecting items that are related to the Duchess of Bedford. Attached is a copy of my father's records from Marconi. It shows he was a radio operator of the DOB on the trip to Singapore in late 41/early 42.

Regards,

Laurence McDonald view here

  Christmas Day  

After some very heavy weather we came to the Azores, to Ponta Delgada, and the ships company gladly suffered haircuts at the hands of a very precocious juvenile. Much fruit was purchased. In the evening we sailed and a few glorious days brought us to Freetown. This was on Christmas Day 1941. We had previously dined on corned beef. As we entered a huge convoy came out. It included H.M.S. Ramilles, Empress of Australia, Cameronia, Orcades, Duchess of Bedford, Winchester Castle, Stirling Castle and many others. Then into port and an anchorage near the Edinburgh Castle, a veteran of 1910.

All the ships in the harbour were keeping Christmas in their own manner. Jasmine played "Tombola on the focsle". A year had to elapse before carol singing became a feature of Jasmine, (or is it). link

1942
Top
   
  January 9  

West Point sailed for Singapore at 1300 on 9 January, in a "15-knot" convoy, with Capt. Kelley as the convoy's commodore. In addition to the two American ships, three British transports- Duchess of Bedford, Empress of Japan, and Empire Star -made up the remainder of the van. Escorted by British light cruiser HMS Caledon until this ship was relieved by light cruiser HMS Glasgow at 1630 on the 22d, the convoy's escort soon swelled to three cruisers and four destroyers as the convoy neared Java. Japanese submarine activities near the Indonesian archipelago prompted concern for the safe arrival of the valuable ships, hence a 200-mile detour through the shallow, coral-studded Sunda Strait. Full account link

  January 11  

During the stay in Bombay the situation in Malaya was changing by the hour. British authorities were uncertain as to just what reinforcements were required. 'Westpoint' and 'Wakefield' were loaded and at 1300 hours on the 29th, these ships sailed for Singapore in a 15 knot convoy with Captain Kelly named Commodore. Aside from the two American transports, the troopships 'Duchess of Bedford', 'Empress of India' and 'Empire State' made up a sizeable armada with 'HMS Caledon' and 'Glasgow' escorting.

(DM1) Convoy DM1 was beefed up on January 11th with the addition of 'HNMS Van Tromp' and three more unnamed Dutch destroyers. Various changes of course were required again in order to negotiate the Karimata Straits as the convoy passed into the South China Sea. link

  January 19
Bombay
January 21
Singapore

Convoy: BM11 Left Bombay 19/01/42 Arrived Singapore 29/01/42

Ships: Empire Star, Duchess of Bedford, Empress of Japan, Wakefield, West Point

Escourt: Exeter, Dragon, Durban, Glasgow, Thanet, Tenedos, Express, Electra, Caledon

Carrying: 5 Light AA Batteries, 1 Lt. Tank Squadron, Railway Coy., 18th Div. (less 53rd Brigade Grp. 17,000 troops) and Stores link

  January 19   With the rapidly deteriorating situation in Malaya, the British ordered both transports to Singapore with their troops. After the 30-foot draft West Point jettisoned some ballast, she and Wakefield, Duchess of Bedford, Empress of Japan and Empire Star sailed on January 19, 1942. Escorted by H.M.S. Exeter through Java's shallow Sundra Strait to avoid Japanes subs, West Point docked at Keppel Harbour, Singapore, with 5,272 troops and vital supplies on the 29th. A Japanese air raid early the next morning hit Wakefield, straddled West Point and showered her with shrapnel. The transport rendered medical assistance to her fleetmate and both hastily completed their refuelling. After taking on 1,946 military and civilian evacuees, West Point, together with Wakefield, sailed at 6:00pm. on January 30th, 1942, and called at Batavia the next day. In perhaps the "first" for a U.S. Navy vessel, a baby boy was born aboard on February 4th. on the Equator, Christened Westpoint Leslie Sheldrake, and the crew, "initiated the juvenile pollywog into a heavenly shellback, certainly the youngest in the history of the navy" link
  January28
Empire Dock Ontario
February 8
Columbo
Arrived at Empire Dock 28th January, together with "Wakefield" and "Westpoint" sailing again 30.1.42 between them evacuating more than 4,000 Women and Children.", and passed through Tandjong Priok after spending three days undergoing repairs, sailing on 5th February for Colombo, reaching there ond the 8th. ("The Fourth Service" suggests sailed ex Singpoare 8.2.42) link
       
  January 30 Friday  

Japanese naval land attack planes ( Genzan Kokutai ) bomb Allied shipping at Keppel Harbor, Singapore, Straits Settlements; transport Wakefield (AP-21), waiting to embark passengers, is damaged by a bomb, as are British transports (ex-passenger liners) Duchess of Bedford and Empress of Japan and freighter Madura. Transport West Point (AP-23) is straddled and showered with fragments, but suffers no damage. She provides medical assistance to Wakefield. Both U.S. transports subsequently embark passengers that include dockyard workers from Singapore and their families, in addition to Royal Navy officers and enlisted men and a small RAF contingent. The ships will then proceed to Batavia, Java, N.E.I., and thence on to Colombo, Ceylon.

"So we left Keppel Harbour on the way to Batavia. The Duchess of Bedford was left behind. She had received a bomb through one of the open hatches, but although the hold was flooded she eventually arrived at a safe port."

  January 31   Five CPR ships -- Aorangi , Empress of Australia , Empress of Japan , Duchess of Bedford , and Empress of Asia , were all involved in the last attempts to reinforce Singapore and to evacuate refugees. The first four liners were able to successfully carry out their missions and get away to safety by the end of January 1942.
  April 2   arrived at Liverpool followed by two trips to Cape Town
 

June 30
New York

July 12
Liverpool
Company "E", among the first group in the Division to head overseas, proceeded to New York City and loaded on Army Transport number 150 at 2000 hours. The ships name was The Duchess of Bedford, affectionately referred to by the men in the Company as "The Dirty Duchess", for reasons all who have ridden on troopships will understand. Thus, on a summers evening there began quietly and without fanfare or incident, an overseas career that was to take Company "E" through the invasions of three hostile shores, participations in major battles in upwards of a half-dozen countries, and to last for over three long years.
The rather large convoy suffered no accidents; there was gun drill and fire drill and boat drill; the usual number of men were sea sick, the usual number of small fortunes were won and lost, and on July 12, the "Dirty Duchess" steamed into the British port of Liverpool. Debarkation was carried out the next day-the Company moved by motor and marching to Tidworth Barracks near Salisbury, England. For the next two months there was a full training schedule, inspections, night problems, and long hikes through picturesque countryside, and through the not so picturesque rain and fog. But there were weekends in London, and liberal passes in the evenings to the small towns around Tidworth. link
  August 1942  
geoffrey hayes from palm desert california  

August 1942 joined Duchess of Bedford..as third radio officer...sailed independant to Boston to pick up American troops for Iceland and return to Liverpool with British troops..about 300 miles off Boston attacked by U Boat on surface returned fire and sank uboat...event reported in Liverpool Echo Feb 43???a few very anxious moments..Capt Buskin was Master..we had a naval gunnery officer onboard...subsequently sailed in many convoys across Atlantic but luckily kept my feet dry... Liverpool Echo

  Summer   Unfortunately, in the summer of 1942 Ken was injured while serving aboard CPR's Duchess of Bedford , and he had been hospitalized ashore in New York link
  August 5  

Hi Harry...was referred to your website by old Wireless College student in
West Kirby

...I signed on Duchess of Bedford Aug5th 1942 as Junior Radio Officer Geoffrey S Hayes R274043..we sailed from Liverpool independent for Boston

...sinking of UBoat happened about 400 miles off Boston...in calm waters!!!!my action station was on the bridge...so was a number of days after leaving
Liverpool..speed 20 knots...we were carrying quite a number of civilian/diplomatic/military passengers...in radio officer we broke radio silence and sent SSSS SSSS SSSS Uboat sighting etc...Captain Busk-Wood was Captain he had a goatee beard!!!

...THEN...we loaded US troops and in company with Otranto and Ormonde and two Canadian destroyers Skeena and Skate for escorts sailed to Iceland!!!!!!!!!your report about the Halifax convoy is erroneous am sorry
to say Harry...we got bombed in Akuryie by Fokke Wolfe Condors...no
damage...loaded British troops for Greenock...then we exercised with British troops around the Scottish Isles...got bombed in Jura Sound!!!

THEN we loaded US TROOPS for North Africa...yes D of B at Arzue...actually Capt Busk Wood put the old girl aground and had to have destroyers pull us off!!!!!

...then we made couple trips to Algiers with more US troops...left Liverpool with British troops...Black Watch Highlanders..Freetown...Capetown....to Suez...just before Suez in Red Sea some Highlanders in a fantastic feat of seamanship launched a forward starboard side lifeboat (just forward of bridge) in middle of night...ship steaming at 19knots and NOBOBY heard it...the soldiers were rounded up as deserters...they made land in Red Sea

...we were in Suez couple months exercising for invasion of Sicily...a spitfire tried to fly between our funnels in Suez and ditched plane and pilot died!!!

...after Sicily landings picked up a lot of drowned British paratroopers!!!...on way back off Lisbon we were carrying German/Italian prisoners of war...US troop guards!!attacked by Uboats and German bombers...D of Bed had two bombs on one side and three on other side...no damage ship lurched...prisoners locked below restless and US guards shot a few!!!that day was July16th 1943(my mother died same day) signed off arriving Liverpool

...on one trip to Algiers off Lisbon at 7am one morning saw the Warwick Castle and Winchester Castle go down in heavy seas...only a few hundred saved sorry to say

...that's my experience of the Drunken Duchess of Bedford 1942/43 the Chief Radio Officer was OSullivan...a chap called Fergerson in Brisbane Australia sailed as a seaman on D of B same time

Harry...that UBoat incident was reported in the Liverpool Echo in March
1943...under...Former luxury liner sinks Uboat...I have tried to no avail to get
a copy from achivies!!!

...best regards Geoffrey Hayes

August 7  

From "Canadian Pacific" by George Musk -

The DUCHESS OF BEDFORD left Liverpool for Boston on 7th Aug.1942. Two days
out of Liverpool in heavy seas, a U-Boat was sighted about 400 yards astern.
Captain Busk-Wood altered course and opened fire at a range of only 100
yards. The first shell hit the water and ricochetted the length of the
U-Boat. The second struck abaft the conning tower with a terrific explosion.
Two more direct hits were scored, one entering the hull and the other
hitting the conning tower. Immediately after these hits, the U-Boats bow
rose 30 degrees out of the water and she sank. A second u-Boat was sighted
shortly afterward, but after three rounds from the BEDFORD, she submerged
quickly. For this action, the captain was made an OBE.

link to message board thread

  August 9 Marcello Class

Is this the unidentified Submarine the Duchess of Bedford sunk?

CPR ships and men had made significant countributions to the war
effort. CPR passenger liners carried hundreds of thousands of troops, as
well as evacuees of all ages, prisoners of war, wounded combatants, and
equipment and supplies. They sailed all over the world and took part in
landings at Spitzbergen, Madagascar, Casablanca,and Sicily. One liner, the
graceful Aorangi, acted as a hospital ship and engine repair shop for more
than 1200 vessels during the Invasion of Normandy. Another, the plucky
Duchess of Bedford, managed to sink a U-boat in the North Atlantic in
1942 -- an amazing feat for a troopship and a great tribute to her skilled
gunners! CPR's "Beaver" freighters played a vital role in the early years of
the Battle of the Atlantic and delivered over five hundred thousand of tons
of equipment and supplies to Britain. link

  August 11  

Morosini T.V. Francesco D'Alessandro S Probably sunk by a British plane in Atlantic

On July 27th, as in the previous mission, it received 25 tons of diesel fuel from the Finzi, submarine with a very large fuel capacity, thus continuing operations for a few more days. On the 31st of July, having reached the minimal fuel reserve, it began the journey home. On August 5th, the Morosini informed base that it was in position 41° 00' N 33° 00' W and that it would reach base on the 10th at around 14.15. On the 8th, it sent a confirmation signal to Betasom in reply to instructions for the approach to the Gironde. At 23:00 of the 9th, Betasom sent another message informing the Morosini of the presence of a merchant ship and three German torpedo boats, but the submarine never confirmed receipt. The boat never reached base and it was assumed that it had been lost between 8° 80' W and 3° 00' W after 14:50 of the 8th. Possibly it was sunk at night by a plane equipped with radar, but it has never been confirmed.

  August 21
Halifax
Greenock Convoy AT-20, a fast convoy carrying troops and priority supplies, left Halifax, Nova Scotia for Greenock, Scotland during the 04-08 watch on August 22, 1942. In a five-minute period in heavy fog on the 20-24 watch that same day, two modern U.S. destroyers were rammed. One had her stern almost sliced off and lost both propellers. Her after steering engine watch personnel became casualties. The other destroyer blew up and sank. Only 11 survivors were recovered. Transport SS Awatea with 5000 Canadian troopers bound for England disappeared but later turned up in a maritimes port. A U.S. Navy tanker was left on fire in her forward hold. No enemy action was involved. link link
  October 10   SS DUCHESS of Atholl (sister Ship to the Bedford) was sunk by 3 torpedoes from U-boat on 10th October 1942 James Cullen has posted his father's account link
  October 15  

Our stay in England didn't last long. In the last week of September, the Regiment moved to Rosenheath, Scotland, on Grenoch Harbor, where amphibious training again started. Three landings a week were made in Battalion strength, with the other battalions coming in as reserve battalions. All of these landings were made in pouring rain-it wasn't to accustom the men to rainy weather, but because in Scotland it always rains!

On 15 October 1942, the Regiment embarked on the HMS Warwick Castle and HMS Duchess of Bedford. The 3rd Battalion and Special Unit Companies less Anti-Tank Company were on the HMS Warwick Castle, and the 1st and 2nd Battalion plus Anti-Tank Company were on the Duchess of Bedford. Everyone knew that this was the "real thing". The Officers and Enlisted Men were quite enthusiastic about getting into their first action and everyone was restless. On October 17th, the troops left Grenoch Harbor and went to Glasgow, Scotland, where they stayed four hours. At Glasgow each Company was issued two bicycles; the rumors really started then! At lunch they met the rest of the convoy and started with the trip. On 2 November 1942,the men were finally told where they were going and what their job was to be; a beach landing on the shores of North Africa at Arzew, Algeria, with the mission of occupying Oran, Algeria, 25 miles west of Arzew. link
  November 26
Liverpool
December 8
Oran

THE ADVANCED GROUND ECHELON left Chelveston on November the 26th and boarded the "Duchess of Bedford" and "HMS Toranto" the next day at Liverpool. The ships were to dock at Oran but instead went to Algiers and remained in the harbor for two days and nights. The ships then steamed back to Oran and discharged the remainder of the advanced echelon on December 8th. The rest of the ground echelon started on its way to Africa by train after leaving the station at Higham Ferres on December 8th. The next day they boarded the "Duchess of Richmond". The rest of the convoy left on December the 9th but the "Duchess" was delayed until the 12th because the anchor cable was fouled by a sunken ship in the harbor. The Duchess was forced to run through the out of bounds minefield that was the Saint George channel and sail for three days and nights with only one destroyer as escort in trying to catch up with the rest of the convoy. It was successful and on December the 21st the 32nd unloaded at Mers-el-Kebir, a small port outside of Oran. After a three mile hike up a long hill in the boiling sun with full packs they boarded trucks for their trip to their new home. It was a barren soggy hill later called "mud hill" due to the December and January rains. Link

  1942   Reg. F. Hodgson, AB, 10th Flotilla, D/JX316872. Lowridge, Knowl Hill Common, Reading, RG10 9YD. 10th Flotilla.
I was a member of the 10th Flotilla operating on the Astrid under the command of Lt. Com. Chunky Hewitt RNVR during 1942. After recovering from the bombing we sailed to the Clyde where we were transferred to The Duchess of Bedford where we formed a larger flotilla the 60th L.C.A.
1943
Top
   
  January 8
Liverpool
Algiers

My Father-in-Law John (Jack) Falshaw, served with the KOYLI during WWII. From an old diary I know he left Liverpool Jan 9 1943 on the Duchess of Bedford for Algiers. On April 23 at Goubelliat they were under constant bombing all night. 65 were killed and 87 wounded including Jacks 2 pals. After the Africa campaign he served in Italy before being transferred to the RE in May 1944. Jack passed away 2 years ago. rcaldicott@attbi.com

  July 10 Avola Scicily

I have a photo of the Duchess at Avola landing troops, photo was taken from the Prins Albert my uncle's ship, hope its of use to you.
regards
Tony Rodaway

link

The invasion of Sicily

  July 13   After the completion of this training, my father then joined his first ship, 'The Duchess of Bedford', at Greenock. This passenger liner had been requisitioned from Canadian Pacific for use as a troop carrier and sailed with British troops, via The Cape and The Suez Canal, to join the Sicily invasion (Operation Husky) on 13th July 1943. He was part of the crew of an LCA which ferried troops to the beach. After the area was made safe, he was given shore leave. Finding lemons growing and being due to get married, he picked some to take back home, where they would be needed to make white icing. The ship then left Scicily and on its way back to the UK stopped off in North Africa to pick up German prisoners of war. She went on to pick up American soldiers and took them to the Salerno invasion in Italy (Operation Avalanche), which took place on 9th September. After that, he returned to the UK where, that November, he was given a week's leave in which to get married. link
  Early
Arzu
 

After Dieppe, Ferguson took command of the renamed 60th LCA and was sent to the Mediterranean, where he landed American troops at Arzeu in North Africa from the Canadian Pacific liner Duchess of Bedford. In March 1943 he began his very successful association with British 50th Division, taking part in the invasion of Sicily, the crossing of the Messina Strait, and the landings at Salerno and Anzio. He was awarded the DSC.

  August 26
Augusta Scicily
August 28
Sliema Malta
25-8. 0945, Arrived Augusta, Sicily. Distance covered 316 miles. Can see Mount Etna in distance. Anchored near HMS Orion and Prince Leopold. 1640, Dive bombed by enemy planes. Two near misses. Planes gone before anyone could open fire. Went sailing in harbour with PO Stringfellow. Saw an old lady in an orchard, and swapped a packet of cigarettes for about 12 rosy apples. Thought we had a bargain, but on trying them, we threw them overboard, as they took all the moisture out of our mouth, because they were cider apples.
26-8. 1110 and 1715, Action Stations, but no enemy planes over harbour. Flotilla preparing to leave ship.
27-8. SS. Duchess of Bedford in harbour. Flotilla left ship with LCA's. 1930, Left Augusta.
28-8. Arrived Sliema, Malta. Distance covered 115 miles. Tied up alongside Prince Charles. Went ashore. Lots of places damaged by bombs here. Highest temperature of week. Shade 91, Sea 84, Night 81. Now on The Government of Malta money, English coppers as small change. Notes from 1/- to £1. link
  September 1 1943
Algeria
September 9 1943
Italy

Link to full account text file

Cpl. Raymond G. Fisher
Co. F. 337 Engr. Regt.

On Sept. 1, 1943 we boarded a British ship “The Duchess of Bedford” at Oran harbor

  November   She was used in the North African landings and shot down an enemy aircraft in November 1943. Later used in the Sicily and Salerno landings and various trooping voyages, and prisoner of war repatriations.
1944
Top
   
  February 11
New York
February 22
Firth of Clyde,
Scotland
M Crowley on board
  February 12
New York
February 22
Firth of Clyde,
Scotland
6th Traffic Regulating Group; others Ed Wagner on board
  Liverpool  

In 1944 the Bedford left Liverpool with more than 3000 Russian ex-prisoners of war, bound for Basra, from where the ex-prisoners would have been taken by train to Russia. link

1945
Top
   
BT 26/1210/98 June 26
Lagos
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Lagos to Liverpool. Embarking at Lagos, Takoradi and Freetown. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
  ?  

The 1st North Nova Scotia Highlanders were moved back to England where they boarded the SS Duchess of Bedford for their return to Halifax. Ten pipers and two drummers marched and counter marched on the Halifax Pier while the Battalion scrambled off the ship to locate their relatives. These musicians were the members of the 3rd North Novas, and included the following personnel: Pipe Major John W. MacLeod, drummers Pte R. D. McDowell, Pte J. S. Krozonouski, Pte E. J. Dillman, Pte M. P. Leon, Pte F. H. Purchase, Pte T. A. Stark, and Pte R. V. Lafferty, pipers LCpl C. C. Sutherland, Pte J. S. MacNeil, Pte H. D. Fraser, Pte W. G. Shaw, Pte G. G. Thompson, and Pte C. A. MacDonald, and Drum Major R. Roy. 712 of the North Novas had returned home from the war. link

  August 2  

Troopships docking during last weekend brought back several more soldiers, along with some Nursing Sisters, to their homes in Charlotte County and district.  Those arriving were;

On the Duchess of Bedford ;  Ltd. R. S. Wadup , St. George, Pte. D. W. McGrattan , St. George, Pte. F. H. Patterson , St. George link

  November 6  

My dad's name was private james Wilkinson the 9th Border Regiment I believe he was serving with the Darjeeling India Company at all so no he was recovering from a slight injury in a convalescent home some were called Tiger Hill near the Himalayas I have a letter which he wrote dated 24-9-45 I do not have his Serial No. but I think I could get it if it would help.

I believe my dad was in the Signals; I think he came home on November 6 - 1945' on the SS " Duchess of Bedford " I think that information I have given you is correct but I may have got some details wrong. link

BT 26/1212/42 Novermber 23
Bombay
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Bombay to Liverpool.Embarking at Bombay.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
  December 19-20
Liverpool
Halifax,
Nova Scotia
mailto:kmorris@nb.sympatico.ca D morrison on board
  December 27  

When the Duchess of Bedford docks at Halifax this Saturday, she will be carrying home to Canada the personnel of  two well-known New Brunswick units, the 105th Anti-Tank Battery, and the North Shore (N.B.) Regiment.  The following men from this district are listed as coming home with the North Shore Regiment;

Pte. G. E. Dick , St. George link

1946
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  January 1
Halifax
 

I stayed with the Mutch family for the duration, returning to England on the SS "Duchess of Bedford", January 1st, 1946. Most of the Island evacuees had already left by that time and I think I was the last to leave. It was a very sad parting indeed, as I didn't want to go. As it turned out, the voyage back was another adventure where I met up with returning evacuees from other parts of the Maritimes. The arrival in Liverpool meant the adventure was over. The train ride to London through the rubble of the bombings, was a sobering Reminder of what I had been fortunate enough to miss. It was quite a shock to a sheltered 14 year old to realize and see the extent of the damage. It was a sight I will never forget.

Journey over, and it was good to see my family again and my new Canadian brother-in-law, waiting for me on the platform at Euston Station in London. In July 1949, I returned to PEI via Pier 21 again, this time on the SS "Aquitania", and as a landed immigrant. link

BT 26/1216/196

January 7
Halifax

Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Halifax to Liverpool. Embarking at Halifax. Official Number: 160482. List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
BT 26/1217/20 April 21
Columbo
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Colombo to Liverpool.Embarking at Colombo, Port Said and Naples.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
BT 26/1217/166 July 28
Naples
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Naples to Liverpool.Embarking at Naples.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
BT 26/1218/73 October 10
Bombay
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Bombay to Liverpool.Embarking at Bombay, Mombasa, Suez and Naples.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
BT 26/1218/175 December 15
Rangoon
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Rangoon to Liverpool.Embarking at Rangoon, Colombo and Aden.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
1947
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BT 26/1223/82 February 20
Bombay
Liverpool Liverpool: SS Duchess of Bedford (Canadian Pacific) travelling from Bombay to Liverpool.Embarking at Bombay, Port Said, Malta and Gibraltar.Official Number: 160482.List of passengers disembarking at Liverpool.
  March 3  

Fairfields, Govan, Glasgow for refit

She emerges from the refit as the Empress of France, second ship in CP to carry the name and commences on the Liverpool-Quebec-Montreal service.

Her specifications are now as follows: 20, 448g, capable of carrying 400 First Class passengers and 482 Tourist.

  March 3   she arrived at Glasgow to be refitted to carry 400-1st and 300-tourist class passengers, her speed increased to 20 knots
  October   Renamed EMPRESS OF FRANCE
1948
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  September 1   She resumed Liverpool - Quebec - Montreal sailings
1956      
  December 4   On 4 December 1956 the Empress of France left Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada on a week long voyage to Liverpool England.
I was a passenger with my parents and sister. My father was a major in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and was on his way to a new posting in Germany. We had adjacent first class cabins.
There was a storm at sea but our good Nova Scotian family made every meal and were cited for doing so.
On the open sea we met the Queen Mary bound for USA with refugees from the Hungarian revolution. There were overhead announcements during the trip about the develoing Suez crisis.
The food was terrific and the trip over all was a very memorable time for a nine year old youngster
Ian Anderson
1958
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      fitted with new streamlined funnels and her accommodation altered to carry 218-1st and 482-tourist class passengers.
1960
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  November 30   She started her last Montreal - Liverpool crossing on 30/11/1960 having made 310 round voyages on the North Atlantic link
  December 19   On the 19th December 1960 she leaves Liverpool for her final voyage to the breaker's John Cashmore of Newport, Monmouthshire, South Wales.

Her Empress bar was taken from the yard and can now be found at the Barry Hotel, Barry, Glamorgan
Finished
With
Engines

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