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Commonwealth & Dominion Line
Port Line

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On 23rd January 1914 James P. Corry & Co., Thos. B. Royden & Co., G. D. Tyser & Co. and Wm. Milburn & Co. merged their interests in routes to the Antipodes and incorporated the Commonwealth & Dominion Line Ltd with an issued share capital of 1,248.469 £1 Ordinary Shares and 649,075 £1 Cumulative Preference Shares. The Head Office was established at the office of G. D. Tyser at 9-11 Fenchurch Street in London and the first directors were Walter P. Tyser (chairman), P. K. Foot and Sir Montague Norman from Tyser's, Sir William Corry and R. Corry from Corry's, C. T. Milburn and W. H. Moore from Milburn's and T. B. Royden was represented by T. B. Royden himself who, as Sir and Lord Royden, later became chairman of Cunard. Additional directors were appointed overseas; H. C. Benson in Australia and Capt. R. Todd in New Zealand.
The Board of directors held their first meeting on 28th January and adopted Tyser's house flag, and Corry's buff with black topped funnel for the new company. The hulls of the ships were to be painted in Tyser's grey with white superstructure and masts. The 'Port' nomenclature of the Milburn fleet was to be given to all new buildings and this policy was accelerated in 1916 when all the ships in the fleet were given the 'Port' prefix.

The new company began operations with 23 ships with a further two under construction totalling 165,338grt and contributed as follows:-

J. P. Corry & Co. Star of Australia Port Stephens
  Star of Scotland Port Campbell
  Star of India Port Pirie
  Star of Victoria Port Melbourne
  Star of England (2) Port Sydney
Wm. Milburn & Co.   Port Hunter
    Port Augusta
    Port Phillip
    Port Pirie (Surplus and sold)
    Port Curtis
    Port Kembla
    Port Lincoln
    Port Macquarie
    Port Albany
Thos. B. Royden & Co. Indralema Port Alma
Port Elliott
  Indrapura Port Adelaide
G. D. Tyser & Co. Mimiro Port Hacking
  Niwaru Port Lyttelton
  Whakarua Port Chalmers
  Nerehana Port Hardy
  Muritai Port Victor
  Makarini Port Nicholson
  Hawkes Bay (2) Port Napier


On 18th January 1916 the Marere became the company's first war casualty when she was captured by U-35 and sunk by gunfire. Hence, she never had the name change which the others had during April and May of that year following the granting of permission by the Government which was required in time of war. From that time on the shipping world unofficially began to refer to the company as Port Line.
In June 1916, as a deliberate policy of diversification, the Commonwealth & Dominion Line was taken over by the Cunard Steam Ship Company Ltd who initally gave their new acquisition the unwieldy name of the Cunard Line Australasian Service, Commonwealth & Dominion Line Ltd. Sir Alfred Booth and Sir Percy Bates of Cunard joined the Board in exchange for Walter P. Tyser and Charles T. Milburn who became directors of Cunard. Thomas Royden was already a director of both companies and it was his initiative that had led to the takeover. Milburn and Tyser became the largest shareholders in Cunard and it was bandied about that they had really taken over Cunard as they could outvote any other individual director but not, of course, if the remainder acted as one.

The only other change was when, after the war ended, 'Port' Line was given the Cunard funnel with its two pinstripe black bands. It was Cunard policy to let their acquisitions remain as autonomous companies and the only outward change was that Cunard's offices in the United Kingdom and Germany handled the Commonwealth & Dominion ships and Wm. Milburn continued as agents in the north-east.

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