Back in 2015 Dave J. wrote to me asking for help in identifying the date the darts shown here were made. 

Eventually between the two of us (and with assistance from my good friend and DDN subscriber Dave B) we found that the ship named on the box, ‘R.M.S. Samaria’, (pictured below) was a Cunard liner launched at the Cammell Laird shipyard in 1920. Its maiden voyage was on 19th April 1922 from Liverpool to Boston, a route that was later extended to include New York. The ship was extensively used for cruising and was converted into a troopship in 1939.

It is my view that the darts were awarded either for a crew darts league or, more likely, to passengers who played in a darts competition on board during their passage on the cruise liner. As for the age of the darts, my contact at Unicorn told me that whilst it is not possible to identify the exact year of manufacture the darts shown were sold by the company continuously for more than 10 years and in his view the earliest they could be is 1950.

Interestingly R.M.S. Samaria was only returned to Cunard after the war in 1950 but then had to undergo a full overhaul which meant that it did not return to service as a cruise liner until 1951. R.M.S. Samaria’s last voyage was in December, 1955, the ship being sold for scrap the following year.  This means that I can confidently date the set of darts as produced between 1951 and 1955. 

© 2015-2019 Patrick Chaplin

(With special thanks to Dave Bevan.)

This article first appeared in Dr. Darts’ Newsletter #60, May 2015.

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