In January 2007 I purchased an album about a 1936 Mediterranean cruise on the P&O ship Moldavia from an eBay seller in Connecticut, USA . It is 11" by 8" with a colourful cover, and contains photos, leaflets, postcards, a passenger list etc. My conclusions about the mysterious original owner can be found HERE.
I have attempted to recreate the cruise from this little archive and, in the process, have learned a lot about the places visited. I have added background information and some modern images to show what has changed since 1936.
I invite you to imagine we are following a small party on a cruise leaving Southampton Docks on 1st August 1936 that will visit various sites of major historical importance in the Mediterranean. The world has just struggled through WW1 - The war to end all wars - and a severe economic recession. Shadows hang over Europe as Fascist regimes tighten their grip, and just a few weeks ago the Spanish Civil War started.
The names on the passenger list suggest that most of our fellow-passengers are British, though some will be from mainland Europe or even farther afield. With hindsight we know that within a few years nearly everyone on board will be affected directly or indirectly by the unfolding events. Some will volunteer or be conscripted into the armed services; some will be killed or wounded in action or through bombing; some may wind up as prisoners of war and some exterminated in Nazi concentration camps. Passengers worrying about the country being dragged into war will be doing their best to push such thoughts to the back of their minds for at least for a couple of weeks to enjoy what will be the holiday of a lifetime.
This website is about the cruise rather than the ship but there is a history of Moldavia including many photographs, on the Benjidog Ship Histories website HERE.
Use the menu to navigate the site:
- Cruise Information takes you to pages giving an overview of the cruise, information about the passengers, life on board, food and drink and a brief history of P&O cruises
- Cruise Stages takes you to pages covering each leg of the cruise
- Copyright takes you to information about using material from this website.
- Benjidog Home takes you to the index page for all Benjidog Historical Research Resources and Search takes you to tools to search them
- Site Last Updated: 18 January 2019 - many typos corrected