10/11/1897: Launched, after some delay due to an engineers’ strike.
She cost £250,000 and could accommodate 320 first class and 160 second class passengers, or 2500 troops. Her maiden voyage was to India and she spent all her peacetime service on that route.
1898: Took Lord Curzon to India to take up his appointment as Viceroy.
1902: Took a full load of passengers to the Delhi Durbar, who nicknamed her “RMS Grosvenor Square.”
1905: Collided with RIVERDALE in Bombay.
1910: Took part in an impromptu race with Orient Steam’s OMRAH (a ship with which she had a long rivalry) from Gibraltar to Plymouth, but lost.
1912: Involved in a collision with POWERFUL off Southampton.
1915/1916: Three return voyages UK/Australia.
09/05/1915: Escaped a surfaced enemy submarine in the English Channel by laying down a smokescreen.
03/07/1915: Avoided two enemy submarines in the Channel.
06/11/1916: Torpedoed and sunk at about 11am by the German submarine UB.43, at 36N 21E about 112 miles SxW of Cape Matapan, Greece. She was on a voyage from Sydney, NSW to the United Kingdom with 283 crew, 437 passengers and general cargo. 11 engineroom crew were lost but the survivors all took to the boats within 15 minutes and were picked up by four armed trawlers (who landed their rescuees in Malta) and the Ellerman liner CITY OF MARSEILLES, bound for Port Said.
ARABIA’s sinking produced an open exchange of letters between the United States of America and Germany, despite the comparatively slight loss of life. It was said that the German authorities claimed that the submarine commander had mistaken the dresses of lady passengers for Chinese soldiers en route for France.