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, part of which is shown above. It contains photos, leaflets, postcards, a passenger list etc. but, as the few written notes give only first names, I do not know who created the album. My thoughts on this 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 the cruise which left Southampton Docks on 1st August 1936 and visit various sites of major historical importance in the Mediterranean. The world had just struggled through WW1 - The war to end all wars - followed by a severe economic recession. Shadows hung over Europe as Fascist regimes tightened their grip, and just a few weeks before the date of departure 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.
I suggest you check out the Cruise Information pages via the Menu for background information then move on to the stages of the cruise. I have put links at the bottom of the pages assuming you will follow this sequence but you can jump around via the Menu if you prefer.
This story is about the cruise rather than the ship itself but there is a history of Moldavia including many photographs, on the Benjidog Ship Histories website HERE.