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She was originally ordered by Sir Christopher Furness'company, and purchased by Cunard prior to her launch on 5 September 1902. Like many other Cunard ships, she had refrigerating machinery made by the Liverpool Refrigeration Company. She started her maiden voyage on 28 May 1904, which was from Trieste to Fiume to Palermo to New York City. The captain of the Pannonia from 1 January 1911 until January 1912 was Arthur Rostron, who later rescued the survivors of the Titanic. In May 1916 she became a troopship carrying troops from Canada to France. She left New York on 18 April 1922 for the last time, "calling at Plymouth and Cherbourg, then finally to Hamburg, Germany where she was laid up until being sold for scrap in October."
There is a list of the ships officers and the saloon (i.e. 1st-class) passengers on the Pannonia for the crossing from Trieste to New York via Fiume, Palermo and Naples on 19 August 1905.
On 11 February 1911, the Pannonia arrived in New York after a 19-day crossing carrying 39-year old Andras Nemet, who later had a grandson Joe Namath.
There is a list of the ships officers and the saloon (i.e. 1st-class) passengers on the Pannonia for the crossing from New York to Gibraltar, Naples, Trieste and Fiume on 1 June 1911.
The Pannonia brought Armenian refugees to America. During one crossing an Armenian refugee called Noonia Simonian gave birth to a daughter on board. The captain named the girl after the ship; the girl became a British citizen because she was born on a British ship at sea, and did not become an American citizen until she was 21.
There is a list of passengers from New York disembarking at Plymouth from the Pannonia on 6 July 1916 in the UK National Archives.