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The Fleets

Thomson Line

Originally, from 1849 the line carried cargos of fruit, wine, and brandy from Marseilles, Tarragona, Denia, Malaga, Cadiz and Charente to Montreal. Their fruit was in such excellent condition that merchants from Canada and the US came to Montreal to buy from them. They added Leghorn to their stops for marble; Naples and Sicily for lemons and oranges; Patras for currants; Valencia and Burriana for oranges and Bordeaux for wine. They ran fortnightly between Newcastle and Montreal, calling at London, Dundee or Aberdeen. Few details are available of the early activities of the company's steamers, but in 1880 they began to carry cattle from Canada to Britain and from an early date, passengers and cargo were carried between the Mediterranean and Canada. In 1884 the company became known as Wm. Thomson & Sons. In 1907 the company was taken over by Cairn Line (Cairns, Noble & Co.) but the name Thomson Line was retained. Thomson Line passenger ships were sold to Cunard Line in 1911 and the company then operated only cargo services under the name Cairn - Thomson Line.

Many thanks to Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (on-site) ot the Immigrant Ship web site.

note: very little is known about these ships and the fleet is incomplete. TORTONA and CAIRNRONA, were the only two purely passenger ships.


  • 1909 Newcastle - Quebec - Montreal (summer)
  • 1909 Newcastle - Portland (winter)
  • 1910 London - Southampton - Quebec - Montreal.

Red with black top.


Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Avlona 1880 wrecked in March of 1901, near Bilbao, Spain. 1,833
Barcelona 1878 1890 wrecked and sold to Canada & Newfoundland Line 1,802
Bellona 1881 1907 to Cairn Line, 1912 aground Nfld, refloated and 1914 sold to Canada renamed Desola, 1915 destroyed in Halifax explosion. 2,932
Cairnrona 1900 ex- Consuelo, 1909 purchased from Wilson Line renamed Cairnrona, 1911 sold to Cunard Line renamed Albania. 7,640
Canny n/a n/a n/a
Carmona 1884 lost 3,000
Cervona 1896 1907 to Cairn Line, 1913 wrecked off Fermeuse, Nfld. 3,779
Deodar n/a n/a n/a
Deodara n/a n/a n/a
Deodarus n/a n/a n/a
Devona 1896 1907 to Cairn Line, 1920 sold to Convoy SS Co., Dundee renamed Willkeno. 3,779
Dracona 1884 n/a 1,854
Escalona 1884 n/a 1,854
Fremona 1887 1908 to Cairn Line, 1917 torpedoed and sunk off Brittany; loss of 11 lives. 2,922
Gerona 1888 1898 wrecked Seal Island 3,056
Hurona 1892 1908 to Cairn Line, 1919 sold to Charles M. Barnett, Dundee. 3,432
Iona 1892 1908 to Cairn Line, 1915 torpedoed and sunk off Fair Isle. 3,344
Jacona 1889 1908 to Cairn Line, 1915 mined and sunk off Troup Head; loss of 29 lives. 2,969
Latona 1893 ex- Warrigal, 1906 purchased from Blue Anchor Line,1907 to Cairn Line, 1908 sunk in collision with s/s JAPANIC in English Channel. 4,338
Scot n/a n/a n/a
Strathtay (1) n/a wrecked n/a
Strathtay (2) n/a wrecked n/a
Tortona 1909 1911 sold to Cunard Line renamed Ausonia. 7,907

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