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   RMS Remuera 

The Name | Photographs | Trivia | The End | Captains  | Voyages  |  Later Remuera Ships  |  Links

Remuera was one of many ships that shaped the 20th century, expanding trade and taking migrants to new worlds. 

One of those migrants, on a 1931 voyage to Wellington, New Zealand, was my father, then 19 years old,  with his two younger brothers. Only one of them visited their native Glasgow again.

In a century of two calamitous wars she was a troop ship in the first and sunk in the second. 

New On This Site

January 2011: Cameron bureau added

 November 2010: More pics.

October 2010: More souvenirs.

August 2010: Postcards on interior views, embarkation notice - further iceberg pic.

RMS Remuera Site - Like this on Facebook

Thanks to all the people who have contributed information to this site - more is always welcome. 



Postcard courtesy  David Ransom. 
Mentions Panama, so is post 1914.




1911- 1940   11,445 tons, Twin Screw, Triple expansion engines, 502x62 ft.

Built 1911 by W Denny at Dumbarton for the New Zealand Shipping Company,  Official No 124590. 

Cargo and passenger ship, 60 first class berths, 90 second and 130 third class.

"Order 6 April 1910 / launch 31 May 1911 / left 22 August / delivered 8 September 1911
Final price £176,102 9s 4d." (P. Plowman 1981, Passenger Ships of Australia and New Zealand Vol 1, Collins, Auckland.)

 Built for the UK-NZ round the world route. Operated that route until 1933. On the cross- Pacific leg she often used to call at Pitcairn (See Pitcairn and RMS Remuera).

About the NZSCo   Ship List

The Name

Remuera is a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand.  It is named after a small volcanic cone - one of many that dot Auckland. The name is a Maori one - more properly Remuwera - which translates as ...

" ‘burnt edge’ or ‘the burnt hem of a garment’. This relates to an incident in the 1700’s when a young Hauraki chieftainess visiting Kiwi Tamaki with a Hauraki chief, was killed and eaten by the Waiohua inhabitants of the pa. The name of ‘Remuwera’ was originally given to the hill itself, although a contraction of this name – ‘Remuera’, has since been applied to the area in general."   Source

When the ship was built it was a suburb with a built up southern area near the railway and northern slopes with large houses interposed with some remaining farmland. It is now all built up.


Remuera as it was about the time RMS Remuera was launched


Photograph, Post refit

Postcard used 1913, On trials.

Post Refit

Postally used card - 1912 - Pre Refit

Card used 1913

Post Refit


NZ SS CO. RMS "REMUERA" (1911) - Postcard. Post Refit.

Steamers S.S. PORT ELLIOT S.S. PORT BOWEN and S.S. REMUERA at Port Lyttleton

Pre Refit

Postcard Wellington Harbour, Post Refit

Photo Postcard

Leaving Southampton

This photo shows of her lines well.


Postcards courtesy  David Ransom (Marked Ruahine, NZSS Co 1909 - 1949, and Remuera)


Photos from a 1926 voyage to New Zealand - courtesy Ron Myers

Souvenir booklet of the Panama Canal showing Remuera in transit.

Mast top view?

In Royal Albert Dock, London

In the Panama Canal

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The packaging (thumbnails)

A wonderful series of postcards from her early form in three classes. (thumbnails)

In Wellington

More pics:


Some Trivia:

Trip map given to passengers, with Remuera on trials photo   

Greetings card 

Painting (Thumbnail):  Remuera-painting.jpg (121256 bytes)

Teapot (thumbnail) teapot.jpg (108694 bytes)
Silver plated teapot - inscribed To Mrs W W Colquhoun from the Engineers, RMS Remuera June 1914.
W W Colquhoun was listed as 3rd engineer on Remuera in August 1914.

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Vesta Case marked Remuera 
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Souvenir Spoons  marked Remuera (Thumbnails) 
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Souvenir Gong marked Remuera (Thumbnail) 
 cup.jpg (5203 bytes)

Souvenir Silver (plated) Cup - three handled - marked Remuera (Thumbnail) 

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Bonbon dish (Thumbnail) 
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Bud vase (Thumbnail) 
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Souvenir Napkin Ring 
from 1926 voyage (Courtesy Ron Myers)
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Souvenir ship's wheel (Thumbnail) 

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Silver spoon, hallmark 1914 - perhaps to mark the first Panama passage

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Pewter Souvenir Napkin Ring (Thumbnail) 

Souvenir Spoon marked Remuera

Another napkin ring.

And another - they must have been popular.


Embroidered Cushion

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Eggcup (thumbnail)
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le lamp  (thumbnail)
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Letter Card - unused - (precursor to aerograms). (thumbnail) 


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Box of "coffee bean" silver plated spoons (thumbnails).

1913 Menu (Thumbnail) scan0020.gif (513928 bytes)

So what are Stanley Cakes?

Elevation Drawing (Thumbnail) plan1.jpg (10053 bytes)    Deck Plan (Thumbnail) deckplan.jpg (45386 bytes)

Brochure from 1935 Voyage

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(Thumbnails) - includes Passenger List - with George Bolt - pioneer aviator and, Sir Harold Beauchamp, father of Katherine Mansfield, the pen name of  Kathleen Beauchamp, born near Wellington in 1888, third daughter of Annie (Dyer) and Hal (later Sir Harold) Beauchamp.

Another notable on the voyage  is L D Austin who was a musician.

1915 Passenger List

1935 Passenger List

RMSRemueraPassengerListLog.jpg (374633 bytes)
1912 Log  - thumbnail


embarkation.jpg (345250 bytes)
1913 3rd class embarkation notice. (Thumbnail) 

The End:

"Remuera, sunk off Kinnaird Head,
11445grt, L485' B62.3' D41', torpedoed 26/8/1940
The Plymouth liner Remuera was built by W. Denny  at Dumbarton in 1911 for the New Zealand Shipping Co.
Homeward-bound from Wellington in New Zealand with 4801 tons of refrigerated cargo and 1646 tons of general cargo, she was sunk by a direct hit from an aerial torpedo about 12 miles North of Peterhead when the ship was attacked by four Heinkel 115 torpedo bombers and eight Ju-88 aircraft based at Stavanger, Norway.
All 93 crew and one gunner were saved, some by Fraserburgh lifeboat."

She had departed Wellington on July 12th 1940 for London with cargo only. After transiting the Panama Canal she joined a convoy at Bermuda, sailing on August 11th.  On August 25th the convoy lost ships to submarine torpedoes off the Hebrides and again early on the 26th. Remuera assumed the role of Commodore's ship that day when the previous Commodore's ship was lost. She later had a near miss from an aircraft bomb but was torpedoed a few minutes later. She sank stern first resting for a while with her stern on the bottom and bow in the air before sinking completely. 
(S.D. Walters, 1949, Ordeal by Sea. The New Zealand Shipping Company in the Second World War. Published by the Company, London)   

August 1940 was the height of the Battle of Britain. While it was mostly fought over south east England there were raids from Norway and Denmark to eastern Britain, but after a raid on August 15 with severe losses the Luftwaffe never again attacked on-shore in this area in daylight. 

The traffic was not all one way. Four squadrons of RAF Hudsons raided German shipping on the Norwegian coast and occasionally bombed targets in Norway, which had fallen to the Germans in June.

Location of the Wreck (Courtesy Bob Baird)

Latitude : 57 47 - N 

Longitude : 01 53 - W

Location : 
6½ miles NE of Kinnaird Head  Area : Buchan

Another Account of the Sinking

'We just drifted away from the ship and lay there and watched as she slowly went down.   ....   She slowly filled up from the stern and the last I saw of her, from the bridge up she was vertical and she just slowly went down. In those days at least, the ship was your home, and I'll never forget the feeling when of seeing my home disappear under the waves.'

Marine engineer Lionel Hodgson's recollection of the torpedoing of his ship, the SS Remuera - from Neill Atkinson, 2005,  Hell or High Water: New Zealand Merchant Seafarers Remember the War. Harper Collins, Auckland.

The book gives some more detail on the sinking:  The plane approached from 30 degrees off the port bow. The torpedo hit on the bulkhead between the two rear holds, (Nos 4 and 5). Hodgson thinks she might have survived being holed in one hold but not two. There were no passengers on board. The crew in Hodgson's lifeboat were rescued by a sloop Egret and delivered to Peterhead.

Later in the war Egret became the first ship ever sunk by a guided missile, in the Bay of Biscay.

Wreck Information

Courtesy Jim Burke: (From a dive, 2002): "All the accommodation is gone with the starboard side lying on top of the port side and her beam reduced to about 3 to 4m."

There is a great dive website about the wreck. It is now privately owned by a group of enthusiasts who want it left intact. They are progressively mapping the wreck - which is one of the largest in NE Scotland.

"The wreck is lying on her port side, reasonably well intact but with her starboard side collapsed reducing her beam to around 3m.  Most of her superstructure has gone but she is still recognisable from photographs. 

The bow line is intact, with a massive anchor hanging towards the seabed.  Heading sternwards, her hull is fairly intact but flattened, here and there, massive cracks allow an uninterrupted view of her holds.  Her huge fore-mast lies out on the seabed. "

CAD representation of the wreck by Tony Ray, 2005, courtesy Jim Burke.

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Other views (thumbnails).

The Wrecksite page on Remuera


1912 - 1917: H.E. Greenstreet

1919 - 1921: James John Cameron Captain JJC.jpg (138628 bytes) (thumbnail)

1921: Cainston

1922 - 1929: J.J. Cameron  

1929: A.W. McKellar
1929-30: H. Barnett 
1930-31 H.J. Wild (or Wilde in another source - initials H.W. in another))

1930-31: Edward Holland

1931: H.T. Wells

1932-35: Edward Holland

1935-37: F.W. Robinson

1937-38: C.B. Lamb

1938-40: F.W. Robinson

(the dates are voyage starts)


At commencement Remuera made slightly less than three return voyages a year. During the first world war the annual voyages dropped to two, constrained by the requirements of convoys and the congestion in British ports. In peacetime once the Panama Canal had opened, Remuera achieved 3 return trips to New Zealand a year. 

Some of the dates in the table are from British emigration records. These seem to be filing dates rather than actual dates and may be a day or two late.  Some advertised dates for the first world war sailings from Britain are a long way out, no doubt caused by having to wait for convoys and perhaps some disinformation for security.

Voyage No. Depart

Departure Date

Arrive Arrival Date Notes
1 London /Plymouth Sept 28/30,  1911 Wellington
2 London /Plymouth February 16/17, 1912 NZ Collision with Niobe
3 London

July 26, 1912


Passenger list

Includes À. E.G. Rhodes - former Mayor of Christchurch.



October 17 1912 Gravesend Nov 27 1912
4 London Tilbury Dock /Plymouth December 21/22 1912 Wellington


Plymouth April 15 1913 Times 16 Apr 1913: “Return of Surgeon Atkinson – Surgeon E. Atkinson, R.N., a member of Captain Scott’s Antarctic expedition, arrived at Plymouth yesterday on board the New Zealand Shipping Company’s steamer Remuera.  He was accompanied by Mrs. Wilson, widow of Dr. Wilson, who died with Captain Scott.  Mrs. Wilson had gone to New Zealand to meet her husband.”

Dinner menu from this voyage

5 Gravesend / Plymouth May 5/7 1913 Wellington June 24 1913 Via Tenerife, Cape Town, Hobart.
5R September 13 1913
6 London / Plymouth September 25 / 27 1913 Wellington November 8 1913 Via Hobart - Scarlet fever outbreak on board - one death before reaching Hobart. On arrival in Wellington there were three cases and in all 14 people were transferred to the quarantine station on Soames Island.

Michelle Sim's great-grandfather John Bachem was on this voyage. He is pictured on the ship 2nd from the right at the back. She would love to know the others in the pic. - response to the webmaster. She has also supplied from her family papers, the embarkation notice in the trivia section above.
 1913immig.jpg (98219 bytes) (thumbnail)

7 London February 19 1914


May 7 1914 London berg.jpg (22503 bytes) A South Pacific iceberg from this voyage. (thumbnail) 
8 London July 9 1914 News of the outbreak of war was received by radio during this voyage. (see)

The last peacetime sailing (war declared by Britain August 4). Advertised as via Cape Town. Relevant to early war voyages is the action of the German Cruiser Leipzig which raiding British shipping of west and southern South America from September 1914 onward. The German East Asia Squadron was in the area and defeated a British force at the Battle of Coronel  on 1 Nov 1914, before sailing to the Falklands.

8R November 4 1914
9 London / Plymouth  Nov 27 1914 NZ
9R March 25 1915
10 London / Plymouth May 5 1915 Wellington Via Cape Town


July 15 1915 London
11 London / Plymouth October 17 1915 Wellington
12 London / Plymouth

March 25 / 29, 1916   


Passenger list

À. E.G. Rhodes again.



New York Times, August 20, 1916.

Another source: 
15.07.1916: Made the first NZS passenger sailing through the Panama Canal, bound Wellington to London.

13 London / Plymouth September  ? /1916 Advertised via Panama. 
First visit to Pitcairn October 24th. She carried mail there. Pitcairn visits were mostly made on outward journeys until 1923, then either inwards or outwards, but from 1936 reverted to outwards. 
13R January 20 1917
14 Plymouth March 10 1917
14R July 29 1917
15 Plymouth August 27 1917
16 Plymouth March 14 1918 Auckland Initially in convoy - stops Sierra Leone and Capetown. Carrying mostly repatriated soldiers but with some civilians.


June 5, 1918 Liverpool July 31, 1918 Troop Ship Number 105  38th Reinforcements - Commander Colonel E. H. Saunders An printed voyage record The Remuerian was produced. Copy in Auckland Museum Library
17 Liverpool September 7, 1918 NZ October 23, 1918  Troop Ship Number 191 John Daniel passenger


December 11, 1918  January 29 1919
18 Plymouth March 17 1919 Lyttleton
19 Plymouth September 12, 1919 Auckland 26 October 1919 via Panama. Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Mackesy was a passenger - diary at
19R Southampton January 18 1919 (Expected)
20 Southampton March 13 1920 Auckland
20R August 2 1920
21 Southampton September 30, 1920 Wellington  November 16 1920

Stephen Smith,, is researching 1920's voyages of the Remuera and is interested in contact from anyone with a like interest.

21R Refit at the end of this voyage.
22 Southampton March 5 1921


May 25 1921 A passenger on this voyage published Travels Abroad in 1923 with an account of this voyage. An extract by David Ransom is linked. Travels.jpg (77103 bytes) (thumbnail).
23 Southampton August 18 1921
23 Southampton February 20 1922
24 Southampton July 20 1922 - Not completed - collision with Marengo
25 Southampton December 14, 1922 Auckland
26 Southampton May 10 1923 Auckland June 1923 Including a party of over 100 British naval ratings and officers to crew  HMS CHATHAM and PHILOMEL
27 Southampton September 20, 1923 Auckland Loading 
There is a published diary commencing with this voyage - which is not in any NZ library: 
ANON Round the World 1924 - SS. Remuera Ulimaroa Orsova Mongolia. Privately Printed, 1924.
27R London
Southampton January 17, 1924 Wellington
Southampton May 22 1924 Auckland


Southampton September 25 1924 Wellington


Southampton January 29 1925


Southampton June 5 1925 Wellington


Southampton October 23 1925


Southampton March 12, 1926  Auckland list holder
Southampton July 30 1926


Southampton Dec 4 1926 Wellington


Southampton May 6 1927 Wellington
Southampton September 30, 1927 Wellington and Lyttleton Bruce Blair .
has a passenger list for this sailing he is happy to share.


Southampton February 17 1928 Auckland


Southampton With NZ Olympic team for July 1928 games in Amsterdam.
Southampton July 18 1928
Southampton Nov 23 1928 Wellington


Southampton April 12 1929


Southampton August 30 1929 Auckland


Southampton January 17 1930 Auckland


London June 13 1930 Southampton
R Wellington Southampton


October 24, 1930 Wellington November 30, 1930 Southampton, Curacao, Panama


January 3, 1931 London February 9, 1931 Pitcairn, Panama, Curacao
48 Southampton  March 13, 1931 Wellington April 19, 1931  Passengers R Law, W Law, J Law
49 Southampton July 25, 1931 Auckland  September 5, 1931 
50 Southampton Dec 18, 1931 Wellington 
51 London May 5, 1932 NZ
52 London  August 25, 1932 Wellington
53 London December 15, 1932 Wellington January 22, 1933 Plymouth, Curacao, Panama


February 18, 1933 London March 28, 1933 Panama
54 London April 6, 1933 Wellington May 15, 1933 Plymouth, Curacao, Panama


June 10, 1933 London July 18, 1933 Panama, Curacao
55 London August 24, 1933 Auckland September 29, 1933 Curacao, Panama


October 26, 1933 London December 2, 1933 Panama, Curacao
56 London December 14, 1933 Wellington January 20, 1934 Plymouth, Curacao, Panama


February 17, 1934 London March 26, 1934 Panama, Curacao
57 London April 7, 1934 Auckland May 14, 1934 Curacao, Panama


June 9, 1934 London July 17, 1934 Panama, Curacao
58 London August 23, 1934 Wellington September 30, 1934 Curacao, Panama


October 24, 1934 London December 3, 1934 Panama, Curacao
59 London December 13, 1934 Wellington January 20, 1935 Curacao, Panama


February 16, 1935 London March 26, 1935 Panama, Curacao
60 London April 4, 1935 Wellington May 13, 1935 Curacao, Panama


June 8, 1935 London July 14, 1935 Panama, Curacao
61 London August 22, 1935 Wellington September 28 (scheduled)
61R Auckland  London


December 11, 1935
63 Plymouth / London April 4/7, 1936 NZ
63R Wellington London
64 Newport August 18, 1936 NZ
65 London / Plymouth December 10/11, 1936 NZ
66 London April 14, 1937 NZ
67 London / Plymouth August 18/20, 1937 NZ
68 London Dec 15, 1937 Wellington
69 London / Plymouth April 27/29, 1938  Auckland


July 2, 1938 NZ
70 London / Plymouth August 22/23, 1938 NZ
71 London / Plymouth March 9/10, 1939 NZ
72 London July 12,  1939 NZ
73 London December 12, 1939 Wellington


July 12,  1940 London Sunk August 26th

Remuera often travelled to different ports on the New Zealand Coast collecting cargo before making the trip to Britain. Stops included Lyttleton, Timaru, Tokomaru Bay, Port Chalmers, Bluff, Napier, Gisborne and Waikokopu.  She visited Auckland 19 times between 27 June 1924 and 13 June 1940.

Many thanks to: 

Findmypast - has UK outbound voyage lists (free) and passenger lists (pay-for).

David Ransom has a site New Zealand Shipping Company which has 

Other Remuera Sites and Information:

Sea Breezes, February 1971, Vol 45 No 302, p102  Steamers of the Past, "Remuera" of 1911.

New Zealand Marine News 1983 Volume 34 Number 1

time.jpg (106137 bytes)"Time to Go Sparky "  Victor Jack Hickey  published in 1994 by G D Hornby,  ISBN No 0 9522814 0 6 
Hickey was her radio officer in 1936/37.

"Pitcairn: Port of Call" Herbert Ford. 1996  Hawser Titles, Angwin California. ISBN 0964964201

Plowman, P.  1981, "Passenger Ships of Australia and New Zealand Vol 1", Doubleday, Lane Cove.

Tim Young,  SS Remuera. UCKLUN TULL UN DEM TULL, Pitcairn News. Volume 4 No 9 October 2010 Copy at

The Story of an Immigrant Ship Garry Law 2010 Heritage Matters.  Issue 25 Summer 2010/11

Photo from a 1914 voyage:




Later Remuera Ships:


SS Remuera - Ex Parthia

Parthia: 13,362 tons, Built 1948 for Cunard, Harland & Wolff - Belfast, geared turbine powered. In 1961 sold to New Zealand Shipping Co, renamed Remuera. She was the sole non-motor ship in the fleet and thereby a bit of a misfit. By 1965 the mixed passenger / freight ship had had its day. The airlines had captured the passengers. Transferred to P&O, renamed Aramac.  Later Eastern & Australian Line. Traded from Australia to the Far East. She last sailed in 1969 and was scrapped in 1970.

More pictures of the Remuera when with NZSS Co


Remuera Bay,  container ship, P&O

Built Walkers Tyneside, 1973, 42,007 tonnes






1810 TEU

Later BERLIN EXPRESS owned by the German Hapag-Lloyd (photo).  Since scraped.

Shipping News Jan 2002:

P&O Nedlloyd takes delivery of reefer containership

"The first of seven new large reefer containerships is being delivered to P&O Nedlloyd this month in Korea. Following successful sea trials, she will arrive on her inaugural voyage in New Zealand in early February.

The vessel will be named P&O Nedlloyd Remuera in Auckland on February 10. Following the ceremony she will make calls in Napier, Port Chalmers and Melbourne before proceeding on a round voyage to North Asia, returning to New Zealand in March.

This latest Remuera follows a line of vessels bearing the name through P&O Nedlloyd's predecessor companies. Over 25 years ago, the Remuera Bay was among the largest reefer containerships in the world. With 1,300 integral reefer plugs, the P&O Nedlloyd Remuera is once again one of the world's largest reefer containerships."

More on this Remuera


She has since been renamed Maersk Denia by a new owner but continues as a regular NZ visitor.






My father and his two brothers emigrated from Glasgow (sailing Portsmouth 13 March) to Wellington on the first Remuera in 1931. They called at Pitcairn. My father recalled trading a bowler hat there for a bunch of bananas. At the end of his life he lived in Remuera in Auckland, as I now do. Their mother had recently died (their father at Ypres in April 1918) and they were joining their maternal uncle, Robert Bremner in Wellington. More on R Law

From NZ National Archive  (with many thanks to Dave Grantham)

Name   Age Occupation Birthplace Port at which passengers have contracted to land
Law Mr J 17 Clerical  Scotland   Wellington
Law Mr R 19 Insurance Clerk  " "
Law Mr W


Scholar " "

 They are respectively, James (1914-93), Robert (my father, 1912-1985 ) and William (Bunt, 1917-55).

The Remuera is if you like the waka of the Law family - as she no doubt is of many other immigrant families.

There were only 58 passengers on this voyage.

Passenger loadings on 1931 and 1935 voyages (Word download). 



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