RMS Moldavia

RMS Moldavia was a British passenger steamship of the early 20th century. She served as the Royal Navy armed merchant cruiser HMS Moldavia during World War I until sunk by an Imperial German Navy submarine in 1918.

RMS Moldavia
United Kingdom
Name: RMS Moldavia
Owner: P&O Steam Navigation Co
Port of registry:
Builder: Caird & Company, Greenock, Scotland
Yard number: 301
Fate: Bought by the Admiralty in 1915 and converted into an armed merchant cruiser.
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Moldavia
Port of registry:
Acquired: 1915
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk 23 May 1918. 56 soldiers from the USA died.
Status: Wreck
General characteristics
Class and type: P&O M-class passenger liner
Tonnage: 9,500 tons
Length: 520 ft (160 m)
Beam: 58.3 ft (17.8 m)
Draught: 24.8 ft (7.6 m)
Installed power: 2 triple expansion steam engines
Speed: 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h)
  • 348 first class passengers
  • 166 saloon class passengers


Moldavia was built by Caird & Company of Greenock, Scotland for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Her yard number was 301 and she was launched on 28 March 1903. The completed ship was 520 ft (160 m) in length, a beam of 58.3 ft (17.8 m) and a draught of 24.8 ft (7.6 m). Her gross tonnage was 9,500.[1] Coal bunkerage was 2,000 tons and cargo about 3,500 tons. Moldavia was built for 348 first and 166 saloon class passengers.[2]


The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company[1] operated Moldavia on the EnglandAustralia route via the Suez Canal.

The British Admiralty purchased Moldavia in 1915 for Royal Navy service during World War I, when she was converted into an armed merchant cruiser and fitted with 6" guns before she was commissioned as HMS Moldavia.

Moldavia served on the Northern patrol as part of the 10th Cruiser Squadron, intercepting and examining merchant vessels in the North Atlantic.

Moldavia was later serving as a troopship and was carrying U.S. troops when she was sunk on 23 May 1918 off Beachy Head in the English Channel, by a single torpedo from the German Type UB III submarine SM UB-57. .[1][3] Her sinking resulted in the deaths of 54 U.S. soldiers on board, and 1 further at Western Heights Military Hospital Dover 2 days later.

The vessel was added to the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, 2017 No 147 and became a designated vessel on 3 March 2017. The wreck site is protected and may be dived on a "look but don't touch basis". Nothing may be removed from the wreck and nobody may enter the vessel, as it is now a war grave. (see Statutory Instrument 2017 No.147 for detail)

See also


  1. "SS Moldavia". Shipping Times. Archived from the original on 7 September 2004. Retrieved 20 July 2009.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  2. Fletcher, R.A. (1910). The Building of Steel Ships page 293. Steam-ships. Sidgwick & Jackson. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
  3. "Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company / P&O Line". The Fleets. The Ships List. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2009.

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