CPR Ships: a Partial List
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CPR SHIPS: A Partial List



The following table is a partial list of both the Canadian Pacific Railway ships which served in World War II and some of the other great ships which served before and after that war. The information has been taken from the books Canadian Pacific: The Story of the Famous Shipping Line, written by George Musk and published by Holt Rinehart and Winston Ltd., Toronto in 1981, Musk's Canadian Pacific Afloat 1883-1968: A Short History and Fleet List, published by Canadian Pacific in 1968, and Merchant Fleets in Profile, Volume 3 written by Duncan Haws and published by Patrick Stevens Ltd., Cambridge, 1979.

To avoid confusion where a ship's name has been used for more than one ship, the appropriate number has been listed in brackets following the name. The initials "AMC" stand for Armed Merchant Cruiser. The tonnage figures are in Gross Registered Tons (GRT) and refer to the volume of space within the hull and enclosed spaces above the deck which is available for cargo, stores, fuel, passengers and crew. GRT is measured in units of 100 cubic feet and its use dates back to the time when a ship's capacity was measured by how many barrels ("tuns") of wine that a ship could carry.

Canadian Pacific ships flew the company's distinctive red and white chequered House Flag along with the British Merchant Navy's Red Ensign. When CPR was granted a licence for its fastest liners to carry the Royal Mail, the designated ships had the right to use the prefix R.M.S. , short for "Royal Mail Ship", before their names. If a ship's master and a certain percentage of the officers and crew were members of the Royal Naval Reserve (R.N.R.), the ship would fly the R.N.R.'s Blue Ensign. When a ship was taken over by the British Admiralty in wartime to serve in a naval capacity such as an Armed Merchant Cruiser, the ship then flew the British Royal Navy's White Ensign. After World War Two, the CPR's House Flag was painted on the ships' funnels.

For a complete listing of all the CPR Ships please visit The Ships List website. For some of the WWII-era ships in this list, there are other photos which are on the Role of the CPR Ships in WWII page. In addition, there are photos of Empress of Japan (II) on the Tribute to the Merchant Seamen of WWII, Part Two page. For links to other sites with photos of Canadian Pacific ships, please visit the CPR Ships Tribute LINKS Page.

Canadian Pacific Flag

Merchant Navy Red Ensign

Royal Navy White Ensign

Royal Naval Reserve Blue Ensign

Canadian Australasian Line

Royal Mail Flag
All flags but the Royal Mail are courtesy of the Flags of the World Website.


Ships Name Dates of CPR Service Gross Tonnage Comments
Empress of Japan (I) 1891-1922 5,905 One of the first generation of "White Empresses" to service the Pacific. Replica of figurehead is preserved in Stanley Park, Vancouver. Sister ships were Empress of India and Empress of China.
Lake Champlain
1903-1916 7,392 This former Beaver Line ship, launched in 1900, served on CPR's Atlantic routes with Lake Erie (later Tyrolia). In May 1901 she was first British merchant ship to be fitted with the new Marconi wireless telegraphy apparatus. Renamed Ruthenia 1913 for Trieste service. Requisitioned 1914 and disguised as HMS King George V "dummy battleship" May-Sept 1915. Sold to Admiralty January 1916 and used as naval oiler. Survived war and still in use as oil storage hulk at Singapore when captured by the Japanese in February 1942. Renamed Choran Maru. Recaptured 1945 and broken up 1949. Click here for pic.
Lake Manitoba 1903-1918 8,850 This former Beaver Line ship, launched in 1901, served on the Atlantic. Gutted by fire at Montreal and scuttled August 1918. Refloated and sold October 1918 to Bishop Navigation. Renamed Ivor Heath. Sold twice more and scrapped 1924. Click here for pic.
Mount Temple 1903-1916 8,790 This former Beaver Line ship, launched in 1901, was stranded in December 1907 off Lehave, Nova Scotia and her 600 passengers and crew were rescued by a breeches buoy. On 15 April 1912 she was one of the vessels which responded to the Titanic's distress call. She was refloated and repaired. On 6 December 1916 she was sunk 620 miles of Fastnet Rock by the German raider Moewe with the loss of 3 lives. To read more about Mount Temple please visit Dinosaurs in the Deep.
Lake Michigan 1903-1918 8,200 This former Beaver Line ship, launched in 1901, survived collision with the Matterhorn in February 1904 and a mining off Brest 15 November 1916. Torpedoed 16 April 1918 by U-100 north west Eagle Island with the loss of one life.
Montcalm (I) 1903-1916 5,478 Former Beaver Line ship which served on the Atlantic. Sold to Admiralty 1916 and renamed Empire Chief. Torpedoed but survived to serve again in WWII. Scrapped 1952.
Montrose (I) 1903-1914 5,431 Former Beaver Line ship launched 1897. Also fitted with the new Marconi wireless apparatus and became famous in July 1910 when its use resulted in the arrest of the murderer, Dr. Crippen . Upon his arrest, Dr. Crippen cursed the master, Captain Kendall , and four years later Captain Kendall's ship, Empress of Ireland sank near the same location in the St. Lawrence River. (For more see Marconi Calling .) Sold to Admiralty October 1914 and was to be sunk as blockship when wrecked in a gale off Dover December 1914.
Empress of Britain (I) /Montroyal 1906-1930 14,188 First of the Atlantic Empresses and sister ship to ill-fated Empress of Ireland. Served as AMC and troopship in WWI. Renamed Montroyal in 1924. Her beautiful lounge is part of the Norwegian School for Hotel Management in Stavenger, Norway. Click here for picture.
Empress of Ireland 1906-1914 14,191 She sank in St. Lawrence River after collision with Norwegian freighter Storstad on May 29, 1914 with the loss of over 1,000 lives. For more information, please visit the following websites: The Empress of Ireland, by Ian Kinder, and SeaView Imaging which is part of Sea-View Underwater Search Equipment. To read about Marion Kelch's successful campaign to save the Empress of Ireland artifacts, please go to StarNews.ca article Empress of Ireland Artifacts Saved.
Princess Sophia 1912-1918 2,320 One of the CPR's busy British Columbia coastal fleet. She was homeward bound from Skagway, Alaska when she became stranded on Vanderbilt Reef. Rough conditions made rescue attempts impossible and she was lost on October 25, 1918 with all 343 aboard.
Empress of Russia 1914-1945 16,810 Launched in 1912, she and her sister Empress of Asia were the second generation of "White Empresses" to service the company's Pacific routes. She set a speed record on the Pacific which held for 9 years. Served as an AMC and troopship during WWI. Remained a coal-burner after WWI even though many liners at that time were converted to oil. She served again in WWII and survived the war, but was lost to an accidental fire at war's end.
Empress of Asia 1913-1942 16,908 She was also launched in 1912 and joined her sister Empress of Russia on the company's Pacific routes. She served as an AMC and troopship in WWI and returned to the Pacific after the war. Like her sister she was not converted to oil fuel. Her reliance on coal proved a serious problem during her WWII troopship service -- unable to keep up with faster ships, she was sunk off Singapore by Japanese aircraft on February 5th, 1942. 1 crew member and 15 troops died from the attack and many of the survivors were taken prisoner by the Japanese and incarcerated in brutal prison camps.
Princess Irene 1914 5,900 She and her sister Princess Margaret were taken over by the Admiralty after they were launched. Princess Irene was serving as a minelayer when she blew up at Sheerness harbour, England. Only one out of her crew of 274 survived and 74 dockyard workers were also killed. There is a monument opposite the railway station. Princess Margaret survived the war and became an Admiralty yacht. Click Here for Photo
Alsatian/Empress of France (I) 1915-1934 18,400 This former Allan Line ship served as an AMC in WWI. She was the first Atlantic passenger liner to carry a motor lifeboat fitted with radio. Renamed Empress of France in 1919.
Calgarian 1915-1918 18,400 This sister ship of Alsatian served as an AMC in WWI and was torpedoed by U-19 on March 1, 1918 with the loss of 49 lives. . She was one of 12 CPR ships lost to enemy action in WWI.
Montcalm (II)
1917-1929 6,608 She serviced the Atlantic and was renamed Bolingbrooke in 1920. Sold in 1929.
Empress of Scotland (I) 1921-1930 24,581 Launched in 1905 as Kaiserin Auguste Victoria for the Hamburg-Amerika Line and came to the CPR as a war reparation. Renamed Empress of Scotland, she served on Atlantic and as cruise ship. Her magnificent furnishings were to be auctioned before she was scrapped, but tragically, she caught fire and everything was lost.
Montcalm (III) 1922-1942 16,418 First of the 3 "Monts" which entered Atlantic service in 1922. Requisitioned as AMC in 1939 and renamed HMS Wolfe. Sold to Admiralty. Survived War.
Montrose (II) 1922-1940 16,401 Second of the Atlantic "Monts". Requistioned as AMC 1939 and renamed HMS Forfar. Was on convoy duty west of Ireland when she was torpedoed December 2, 1940 by U-99 with the loss of between 173 and 184 lives (accounts vary).
Montclare 1922-1942 16,314 Third of the Atlantic "Monts". Served as AMC & submarine depot ship in WWII. Purchased by Ministry of War Transport 1942. Survived war. Click Here for photo.
Empress of Canada (I) 1922-1943 21,516 One of the third generation of the Pacific White Empresses. She was trooping when torpedoed in South Atlantic March 14, 1943 by Italian sub Leonardo Da Vinci. 392 lives were lost. Click Here for photo.
Empress of Australia (I) 1922-1952 21,860 This war reparation was the former Tirpitz of the Hamburg-Amerika Line. Renamed Empress of China (III) in 1921 and then Empress of Australia June 2, 1922. Served as troopship during WWII.
Princess Kathleen 1925-1952 5,875 /td> This British Columbia coastal ferry served as troopship in WWII. Survived war but ran aground off Alaskan Panhandle after war. All aboard were saved but she was a total loss.
Princess Marguerite (1) 1922-1942 5,875 Sister of Princess Kathleen. Serving as troopship when torpedoed by U-83 en route from Port Said to Cyprus. 49 lives were lost.
Beaverburn (I) 1927-1940 9,874 First of CPR's fast Atlantic cargo liners. Became their first war loss when torpedoed by U-41 in North Atlantic on Feb. 5, 1940. 1 death.
Beaverford (I) 1928-1940 10,042 Second of the "Beaver" cargo liners. Sunk with loss of all aboard by pocket battleship Admiral Scheer November 5, 1940 after putting up a 4 and a half hour defense. All 77 aboard lost.
Beaverdale 1928-1940 10,042 Third of the "Beaver" cargo liners. Two of her lifeboats were used in the Dunkirk evacuation. Torpedoed by U-48 April 1, 1941 with the loss of 21 lives.
Beaverhill 1928-1944 10,041 Fourth of the "Beaver" cargo liners. Serving in WWII when stranded near Saint John, New Brunswick. No loss of life.
Beaverbrae (I) 1928-1941 9,956 Fifth of the "Beaver" cargo liners. Sunk by enemy aircraft, North Atlantic March 25 1941. No loss of life.
Duchess of Bedford/Empress of France(II) 1928-1960 20,123 First of the four "Duchesses" on the Atlantic. Served as troopship in WWII. Renamed Empress of France in 1948. Click here for Picture #1, Click here for Picture #2
Duchess of Atholl 1928-1942 20,119 Second of the four Atlantic "Duchesses" which sailed between Canada and Liverpool, as well as on various cruise routes before the war. Requisitioned as troopship. Torpedoed October 10, 1942 two hundred miles East of Ascension Isle by U-178. 5 lives were lost. Click here for picture
Duchess of Richmond/Empress of Canada (II) 1929-1953 20,022 Served as troopship WWII. Renamed Empress of Canada in 1947. Gutted by fire at Liverpool's Gladstone Dock January 25, 1953. Click here for picture #1, Click here for picture #2
Duchess of York 1929-1943 20,021 Serving as troopship in WWII when sunk by enemy aircraft off Morocco July 11, 1943. 34 lives were lost. Click here for picture
Empress of Japan (II)
/Empress of Scotland (II)
1930-1957 26,032 Pride of the "White Empresses" of the Pacific fleet. Served as troopship in WWII. Renamed Empress of Scotland in 1942. Sold to Hamburg-Amerika Line 1958 and renamed Hanseatic. Destroyed by fire at New York September 7, 1966. Click here for picture
Empress of Britain (II) 1931-1940 42,348 Largest of CPR ships and flagship of their Atlantic fleet. Serving as troopship in WWII when set on fire by enemy aircraft October 26, 1940. 45 lives lost. Torpedoed two days later by U-32.
Niagara 1931-1940 13,414 Built 1912 for Union SS Company of New Zealand and transferred over to Canadian Australasian Line 1931. Companion ship to Aorangi. She was one of the first passenger liners to burn oil instead of coal and was possibly the first to have an elevator for passengers. Sunk by German mine off Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, June 18, 1940. No loss of life.
Aorangi (II) 1931-1953 17,491 Built 1924 for Union SS Company of New Zealand. "Aorangi" was the Maori name for Mt. Cook. In 1931 transferred to Canadian-
Australasian Line, of which CPR was a joint owner. Built with a diesel engine, she was the first large motorship on Pacific and the first large liner to have quadruple screws. In WWII she served as troopship and as a "mother ship" during the Normandy Invasion. Survived war.
Beaverburn (II) 1946-1960 9,875 Cargo/Passenger liner. Launched February 1944 as Empire Captain. Survived war. Sold to CPR and renamed Beaverburn March 1946.
Beaverford (II) 1946-1962 9,881 Cargo/Passenger liner. Launched August 1944 as Empire Kitchener. Survived war. Sold to CPR and renamed Beaverford in 1946.
Beaverbrae (II) 1948-1954 9,034 War reparation. Former Hamburg-Amerika line Cargo/Passenger liner Huascaran. Sold to CPR in 1947 and refitted to bring refugees to Canada from Europe. In 1954, sold to Compagnia Genovese d'armamento, Genoa and renamed Aurelia. Sold again in 1970, to International Crusies SA, Panama and renamed Romanza. Click Here for Photo
Empress of Australia (II) 1953-1956 17,707 Launched 1924 as French Line De Grasse. Sold to CPR in 1953 and renamed Empress of Australia. Served on the Atlantic before being sold to Fratelli Grimaldi, Genoa, in 1956. Click here for photo.
Empress of Britain (III) 1956-1964 25,516 The first of CPR's trio of Atlantic Empresses to be built after WWII, she was also the first British passenger liner to be fully air-conditioned. When passenger levels fell off, she was chartered for cruising and then sold in 1964 to the Greek Line. Sold again in 1975 to Carnivale Cruise Line which renamed her Carnivale. Transferred to Fiesta Cruise Lines 1992 and renamed Fiesta Marina. Sold to Epirotiki Lines in 1994 and cruised in Mediterranean as Olympic.
Empress of England 1957-1970 25,585 The second of CPR's post-war Atlantic trio, she was also chartered for cruising before being sold in 1970 to Shaw Saville Ltd. Renamed Ocean Monarch. She was scrapped in 1975.
Empress of Canada (III) 1961-1971 27,300 The third of CPR's post-war trio, she was the company's last passenger liner. She was sold to Carnival Cruise Line in 1971 and renamed Mardi Gras. She then joined her sister Carnivale, the former Empress of Britain, in the Caribbean. Click here for picture

Ship Line
Thank you to John Tomlinson, Cliff McMullen and Joe Marriott for keeping an eye out for CPR ships' photos for this page and to Barrie Bramhill for so generously sharing his collection with the rest of us.


The Ships List provides a wealth of information on such subjects as passenger fleets, immigrant voyages, passenger lists, etc. The site has a very useful On-Line Archives Database as well as many related links including one to the National Archives of Canada's Immigration Records (1925-1935) Database.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 also has helpful on-line resources for researching immigrants to Canada. In addition, Pier 21's Resource Centre offers personalized ship photographs.


CPR Links Page For some suggestions of where to look for photos, please visit this page.


Allied Merchant Navy of WWII Links This is the general links page for the site.

Allied Merchant Navy of WWII SOURCES This is the general sources page for the site.

CPR Ships LINKS This page lists links which are more specific to the CPR ships and other passenger liners.

CPR Ships SOURCES These sources are also more specific to the CPR ships and other passenger liners.

Chuck's Maritime LINKS and SOURCES This page features information on some of the great sailing ships of the past along with some of the other ships written about in Chuck's pages.

To go to "Allied Merchant Navy's" TABLE of CONTENTS Please Click Here.


This page has been written by Maureen Venzi and it is part of the Allied Merchant Navy of WWII website.