Here’s a vessel that’s perhaps best known for her long life under an almost equally long list of identities: sailing at various times and for various lines under the names Virginian, Drottningholm, Brasil and Homeland.
Virginian’s long history began with her 22 December 1904 launch. On 6 April 1905 she sailed on her maiden voyage between Liverpool and New York for Canada’s Allan Line. Virginian and her sister ship, Victorian, were the first transatlantic liners to be fitted with smooth and efficient steam turbine engines. In April 1912, Virginian was one of several vessels in wireless contact with the stricken Titanic.
With the outbreak of World War I, Virginian was operated under charter by Canadian Pacific Line beginning in 1914. She was acquired by the line in 1917. In 1920, Virginian was acquired by Swedish American Line and renamed Drottningholm. During World War II, neutral Sweden chartered the ship to Allied governments for the exchange of diplomats and prisoners of war with Axis nations. Drottningholm made 14 such voyages.
In 1948, Drottningholm was sold yet again, this time to Italy’s Home Lines, which renamed her Brasil. In 1951, she got yet another name, Homeland.
It would be the vessel’s last name change. At the time of her 1955 scrapping, Virginian-Drottningholm-Brazil-Homeland was the longest serving transatlantic liner. With such a long and distinguished history, the ship might be better remembered today if she hadn’t suffered from so many changing identities.
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