Caesarea and Sarnia

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Caesarea and Sarnia


Caesarea II

Caesarea in wartime service ass HMS Caesarea

There have been two sets of sister ships called Caesarea and Sarnia, in addition to the Caesarea, built in 1867, which had no sister vessel. The first pair was built for London and South Western Railway in 1910 at a cost of £75,000 each.

They were replacements for Frederica and Lydia and were built at Birkenhead by Cammel Laird and Company. They were triple screw turbine steamers of 1,505 tons, 284 feet in length and 39 feet beam, and had a speed of 201 knots. They carried 980 passengers.


Caesarea was originally to have been called Anglia, but this idea was dropped before she was launched as Caesarea on 26 May 1910. She first came to Jersey four months later and was in service until she was taken over for Navy service in October 1914. She was first used as an armed boarding vessel off Scotland, and then converted to a troopship, operating out of Southampton. She returned to civilian life in 1919 and arrived back in the Channel Islands the following year, continuing in service until 7 July 1923, when she struck a rock off Noirmont Point and, returning to St Helier struck the Oyster rock (so often the demise of many a fine ship) and sank just outside the harbourmouth, without any loss of life.

Caesarea was refloated and was sold in 1924 to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and renamed Manx Maid. She was engaged on Admiralty work during the 1939-45 war and was eventually sold and broken up in 1950.

The first ss Sarnia passes through St Helier Harbour pierheads en route for Guernsey


Sarnia, the first vessel to bear the name, first came to Jersey on 13 April 1911, a year later than planned, having been delayed by strikes at the shipyard. Like her sister ship, whe was an expensive vessel to run and was usually laid up off Southampton over the winter, operating between Jersey and St Malo during the summer.

She was also requisitioned during the First World War but was less fortunate than Caesarea. She was used as an armed boarding vessel in the Mediterranean, until she was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat on 12 September 1918.

Please note that although the numbering of the vessels as Caesarea I and II has been adopted for ease of identification in the captions to these pictures, the ships were never officially numbered

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