California passing the Statue of Liberty, New York, 1925
|Port of registry:||Glasgow|
|Route:||Glasgow – New York|
|Builder:||Alexander Stephen & Sons, Glasgow|
|Launched:||17 April 1923|
|Identification:||Official number: 1147871|
|Fate:||Crippled by German air attack 11 July 1943; sunk the next day by the Royal Navy|
|Length:||553.0 ft (168.6 m)|
|Beam:||70.4 ft (21.5 m)|
|Depth:||33.8 ft (10.3 m)|
|Propulsion:||6 steam turbines; twin screw|
|Speed:||16 kn (30 km/h)|
Alexander Stephen & Sons of Linthouse, Glasgow built California for Henderson Brothers. Photographs of the ship taken in the 1930s show only one funnel, suggesting either a major refit, or that the original fore and aft funnels were dummies. Note the Infobox photograph shows smoke emerging only from the middle funnel.
California carried passengers between Glasgow and New York via Londonderry (Derry) and Boston, and in 1935 she was transferred to Anchor Line (1935) Ltd.
World War II
On 8 July 1943 the small fast Convoy Faith, comprising Port Fairy, the troopships Duchess of York and California, and escorted by the destroyer HMS Douglas and frigate HMS Moyola, sailed Port Glasgow, Scotland, for Freetown, Sierra Leone. On the evening of 10 July the convoy rendezvoused with the Canadian destroyer HMCS Iroquois 500 miles (800 km) WSW of Land's End. On 11 July 1943 when about 300 miles (480 km) west of Vigo, Spain, the convoy was attacked by three Focke-Wulf Fw 200 aircraft of Kampfgeschwader 40 from Merignac near Bordeaux.
Accurate high-altitude bombing left Duchess of York and California in flames. The attack cost the lives of 46 servicemen and crew, and both ships were abandoned. It was feared the flames from the ships would attract U-boats, so in the early hours of 12 July they were sunk by Royal Navy torpedoes in position Coordinates: .
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- "SS California (+1943)". Wrecksite.eu. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
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- Osborne, Richard; Spong, Harry & Grover, Tom (2007). Armed Merchant Cruisers 1878–1945. Windsor, UK: World Warship Society. ISBN 978-0-9543310-8-5.
- BBC World War II People's War