Cunard took delivery of Laconia from Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson on 12 December 1911, having been launched in July of that same year. Her maiden voyage departed 20 January 1912.
At the outbreak of World War I, Laconia was called into military service. She was converted into an armed merchant cruiser and then sent to South Africa where she was based at Simon’s Town. While here, the ship patrolled the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean until April 1915.
Laconia became a base of operations for the allied capture of Tanga and German East Africa. After this operation, the ship was released from military service and returned to Cunard.
Laconia was torpedoed by U-50 west of Fastnet while en-route to the UK from America. A second torpedo sealed the ship’s fate, and she sunk on 25 February 1942 at 10:20pm with the loss of 12 people.
Image source: Simplon Post Cards