Cunard-White Star Line

Cunard-White Star Line, Ltd., was a British shipping line which existed between 1934 and 1949.[1]

Cunard-White Star Line Limited
PredecessorWhite Star Line
Cunard Line
Founded1934; 87 years ago (1934)
Defunct1949; 72 years ago (1949)
SuccessorCunard Line
HeadquartersLiverpool, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Percy Bates (Chairman)
OwnerCunard Line (62%) and White Star Line (38%)


The company was created to control the joint shipping assets of the Cunard Line and the White Star Line after both companies experienced financial difficulties during the Great Depression. Cunard White Star controlled a total of twenty-five ocean liners (with Cunard contributing fifteen ships and White Star ten). Both Cunard and White Star were in dire financial trouble, and were looking to complete enormous liners: White Star had Hull 844 – RMMV Oceanic – and Cunard had Hull 534, which would later become RMS Queen Mary. In 1933, the British government agreed to provide assistance to the two competitors on the condition that they merge their North Atlantic operations.[2] The agreement was completed on 30 December 1933. The merger took place on 10 May 1934, creating Cunard-White Star Limited. White Star contributed ten ships to the new company while Cunard contributed fifteen. Due to this arrangement, and since Hull 534 was Cunard's ship, Cunard owned 62% of the new company, with White Star owning the remaining 38%. White Star vessels flew the White Star flag over the Cunard flag while Cunard vessels flew the Cunard flag over the White Star flag.

Being in a better financial and operating state than White Star, Cunard began absorbing White Star assets and as a result, most of the White Star vessels were quickly disposed of or sent to the shipbreakers. White Star's Australia and New Zealand service ships were transferred to the Shaw, Savill & Albion Line in 1934 and RMS Olympic was retired and sold for scrap the following year, along with Cunard's RMS Mauretania. White Star's flagship RMS Majestic, the largest ship in the world until 1935, was sold in 1936.

Cunard White Star "Queen Mary" baggage tag

In 1947, Cunard acquired White Star’s 38% share in the company and in 1949 the company had dropped the White Star name and was renamed Cunard Line.[3] Both the Cunard and White Star house flags were flown on the company's liners at the time of the merger and thereafter. However, the Cunard flag was flown over the White Star flag on the last two White Star liners, MV Georgic and MV Britannic. Georgic was scrapped in 1956, while Britannic made the final Liverpool–New York crossing of any White Star vessel from New York on 25 November 1960, and returned to Liverpool for the final time before sailing under her own power to the ship breakers. She was the last White Star liner in existence, leaving the passenger tender SS Nomadic, which was also owned by the company until 1934, as the last White Star Line ship afloat.

Despite this, all Cunard Line ships flew both the Cunard and White Star Line house flags on their masts until late 1968. This was most likely because Nomadic remained in service with Cunard until 4 November 1968, and was sent to the breakers' yard, only to be bought for use as a floating restaurant. After this, the White Star flag was no longer flown, the White Star name was removed from Cunard operations and all remnants of both White Star Line and Cunard-White Star Line were retired.[4][5][6] Cunard operated as a separate entity until 1999, when it was fully acquired by Carnival Corporation.


Ship Built In service for Cunard White Star Line Tonnage Image
RMS Mauretania I 1907 1934–35 31,950 GRT  
RMS Adriatic 1907 1934 24,541 GRT  
RMS Olympic 1911 1934–35 46,439 GRT  
SS Ceramic 1913 1934 18,400 GRT  
RMS Berengaria 1913 1934–38 51,950 GRT  
RMS Homeric 1913 1934–35 35,000 GRT  
RMS Aquitania 1914 1934–49 45,650 GRT  
RMS Majestic 1914 1934–36 56,551 GRT  
RMS Scythia 1921 1934–49 19,700 GRT  
RMS Samaria 1922 1934–49 19,700 GRT  
RMS Laconia 1922 1934–42 19,700 GRT  
RMS Antonia 1922 1934–42 13,900 GRT  
Austonia 1922 1934–42 13,900 GRT
RMS Lancastria 1922 1934–40 16,250 GRT  
Doric 1923 1934–35 16,484 GRT  
Franconia 1923 1934–49 20,200 GRT
RMS Aurania 1924 1934–42 14,000 GRT  
RMS Carinthia 1925 1934–40 20,200 GRT  
Ascania 1925 1934–49 14,000 GRT
Alaunia 1925 1934–42 14,000 GRT
Calgaric 1927 Never entered service (owned 1934) 16,063 GRT  
Laurentic 1927 1934–36 18,724 GRT  
MV Britannic 1929 1934–49 26,943 GRT  
MV Georgic 1932 1934–49 27,759 GRT  
RMS Queen Mary 1936 1936–49 80,750 GRT  
RMS Mauretania II 1938 1938–49 35,738 GRT  
RMS Queen Elizabeth 1940 1940–49 83,650 GRT  
RMS Media 1947 1947–49 13,350 GRT  
RMS Parthia 1947 1947–49 13,350 GRT  
RMS Caronia 1949 1949 34,200 GRT  


  1. ^ McKenna, Robert (2003). The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-141950-5.
  2. ^ Mark Chirnside 2004, p. 123
  3. ^ Hyde, Francis E (18 June 1975). Cunard and the North Atlantic 1840–1973: A History of Shipping and Financial Management. ISBN 9781349023905.
  4. ^ Roy Anderson 1964, p. 183
  5. ^ Richard de Kerbrech 2009, p. 229
  6. ^

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