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SS Armenian facts for kids

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SS Armenian.jpg
Name: SS Armenian
Owner: Leyland Line Flag.png Leyland Line
Operator: White Star flaga.svg White Star Line
Port of registry: United Kingdom Liverpool, United Kingdom
Route: Liverpool to New York
Builder: Harland and Wolff Belfast
Yard number: 292
Laid down: 1895
Launched: 25 July 1895
Completed: 19 September 1895
Maiden voyage: 28 November 1895
Out of service: 1915
Identification: Official number 105338
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk U-24 on 28 June 1915.
Quick facts for kids
General characteristics
Displacement: 8,825 gross register tons
Length: 512 ft 0 in (156.1 m)
Beam: 59 ft 1 in (18.0 m)
Height: 35 ft 1 in (10.7 m)
Installed power: Quadruple expansion engines, 718 hp, maximum speed 13 knots

SS Armenian was an 1895-built British cargo liner built for the Leyland Line, but managed by the White Star Line from 20 March 1903. She was employed on the cargo service between Liverpool and New York City, with the passenger service between the two ports having been previously withdrawn. In 1910 she was repainted in the Leyland livery (a pink funnel with black top).

War service

Second Boer War

The Armenian was fitted out to transport horses and used as a transport in the South African War. In 1901, the ship was briefly used as a prison ship for Boer prisoners of war in Simon's Town in the Cape Colony. In the same year was she used to transport 963 Boer prisoners of war to Darrell's and Burt's Islands in Bermuda, and 1017 Boer prisoners of war to India. In 1902, the Armenian transported a further 150 prisoners of war to India.

First World War

The Armenian made a last sailing on 3 March 1914 before being briefly laid up prior to deployment as a horse and mule transport to France.

Although no longer fitted as a passenger vessel, the Armenian, and the SS Turcoman, were used to transport the Grenadier Guards to Belgium on 7 October 1914.


On 28 June 1915 she was engaged by the German submarine U-24 captained by Rudolf Schneider off Trevose Head, Cornwall. After a failed attempt at escape the crew were allowed to abandon ship and the vessel was sunk by two torpedoes fired into her stern. Twenty-nine members of the mostly American crew were lost in the sinking, along with the vessel's cargo of over 1,400 mules.

Following on from the sinking of the RMS Lusitania 52 days earlier, the sinking caused a second crisis to develop between Germany and the United States as the majority of the men who died were Americans. The survivors were picked up the following day by the Belgian steam trawler President Stevens, although four of the survivors later died.


The 2002 discovery of the wreck turned out to be incorrect, with the wreck of the auxiliary cruiser HMS Patia being misidentified by amateur divers. SS Armenian was featured on the History Channel in an episode of Deep Wreck Mysteries entitled Search for the Bone Wreck where it was successfully located and identified by the wreck hunter and archaeologist Innes McCartney. The wreck of the "mule ship" sits upright in 95 metres of water, forty five miles from the reported sinking location given by the British. McCartney used German archival documents located in Freiburg-im-Breisgau to pinpoint the location of the site.

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