Known as "the millionaires ships" both the "Monarch of Bermuda" and her sister ship the "Queen of Bermuda" were built by Vickers-Armstrong Shipbuilders Ltd, Walker-on-Tyne, for Furness, Withy & Co's New York-Bermuda service. Engines by Fraser & Chalmers, Erich (turbines), and by General Electric Co Ltd, Birmingham (motors). The Monarch was 579 feet long with a beam of 76 feet.
Launched on 17 March 1931, she was 22,424 gross tons and powered by turbo electric propulsion driving 4 screws.
- 3 funnels, 2 masts, cruiser stern; service speed 19 knots;
- acccommodation for 799 passengers in 1st class, 31 in 2nd class; crew of 456.
1931-1939, New York-Bermuda. November 1939-1946, troopship.
On 24 May 1947, burned out at Hebburn-on-Tyne while being reconditioned for return to passenger service. Although declared a total loss, the wreck was reappraised and then purchased by the Ministry of Transport, who had her rebuilt by Thornycroft in Southampton as an emigrant ship; 20,256 tons; 553.2 x 76.7 feet; 1 funnel; 1600 passengers in one class.
1949, renamed "New Australia".
15 August 1950, first voyage, Southampton-Sydney, managed by the Shaw Savill Line.
January 1958, sold to the Greek Line, and renamed "Arkadia" (registered in the name of the Arcadia Steamship Co); rebuilt and modernized by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg; 20,259 tons; forpeak extended to provide a curved stem, length 590 feet; foremast replaced by two king-posts; 150 passengers in 1st class, 1150 in tourist class.
22 May 1968, first voyage, Bremerhaven-Cherbourg-Liverpool-Greenock-Quebec-Montreal.
17 June 1958, first voyage, Bremerhaven-Southampton- Cherbourg-Cobh-Quebec-Montreal.
1961, further refitting by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg; 20,648 tons; 50 passengers in 1st class, 1337 in tourist class.
16 August 1966, last voyage, Bremerhaven-Amsterdam-London-Havre-Cobh-Quebec-Montreal (departed 26 August).
November 1966, laid up in River Fal.
8 December 1966, arrived at Valencia, Spain, for scrapping.
Radio station: The first radio station in Bermuda was erected in the early 1930's. This station was located in Hamilton and it was on the air with communication traffic under the callsign ZFA, and with experimental broadcasting on shortwave as ZFD. Around the same era, the Monarch of Bermuda was also on the air with occasional broadcasting under the callsign VQJM. [Information by Dr. Adrian Peterson]
Location: Atlantic Ocean off the islands of Bermuda