The ship was named the "Tortona" when she was launched on 18 Aug 1909 by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne (engines by Palmers Co., Ltd, Jarrow). She was originally owned by the Thomson Line, and had a length 450.6ft x beam 54.2ft, one funnel, four masts, twin screw, speed 12 knots,plus accommodation for 37 1st class and 1,000 3rd class passengers.
She sailed on 22 Oct 1909 from Middlesbrough for Quebec and Montreal. On 20 Nov 1909 she left Montreal for Quebec, Naples, Genoa and Leghorn and in March 1910 made her first Naples - Portland voyage. She later sailed between Naples, Quebec and Montreal and between London, Quebec and Montreal. In 1911 she was sold to the Cunard SS Co and renamed "Ausonia";.
Used on their new London - Southampton - Quebec - Montreal service until August 1914 when she was chartered to Anchor Line and made four Glasgow - Moville - New York voyages after which she returned to Cunard's Canada service.
The Ausonia took the 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers from UK to Lemnos in April 1915.
Ironically she was used by 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers in their evacuation from Gallipoli in Jan 1916
The Ausonia was torpedoed without warning and sunk by gunfire by U 55, 620 miles W by S (true) from Fastnet on 30 May 1918 with 44 lives lost.
1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers in Gallipoli