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