Shaw, Savill & Albion

Shaw, Savill & Albion

Source: Duncan Haws
Part Four

Ceramic was the company's final loss for 1942 when she was sunk by torpedo fired from U 515 commanded by Kapitan Leutnant Henke during a storm when near the Azores on the 7th of December. Of the 656 onboard only Sapper A.E.Munday of the Royal Engineers was rescued by the submarine for interrogation purposes. Later Sapper Munday was forced to report on German radio that Ceramic had been transporting troops. Surprisingly Sapper Munday survived the war in the knowledge that Ceramic had been carrying passengers and not troops, which included women and children, these Henke, had refused to assist leaving them to drown. U 515 was sank a short while later, her Captain along with 43 crew were captured, Henke was later killed when trying to escape from a P.O.W. camp.


Built in 1913 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 18,481grt, 11,719nt.
Engines: Triple screw, 3 x triple expansion plus L.P. turbine to centre shaft by builder, 9,000 IHP, 15 Kts
Passengers: 600 all one class.
Launched on the 11th December 1912, completed 5th of July 1913.

Originally built for the Australian service of White Star and served as a Troopship during the First World War. Acquired by Shaw Savill in 1934 when the latter took over the formers Australian services. Underwent extensive modernisation in 1936 at the builders Govan yard and was taken up by the Government in 1940 for trooping duties.



Built in 1942 by Harland & Wolff,Belfast.
Tonnage: 13,478grt, 9,431nrt.
Engines: Twin screw, 2 x 6 Cylinder H&W Burmeister Wain, 16,000 BHP, 17 Kts.
Passengers: 112 Tourist.
Completed in April 1942 for the Ministry of War Transport as Empire Grace with Shaw Savill as managers.

In 1946 she was acquired by the company and renamed Wairangi and in 1951 underwent an extensive refit reducing her passenger accommodation to that of 12 1st Class passengers only. When en route to Stockholm from Rio Grande she ran aground on the 14th of August 1963, after discharging her cargo she underwent an inspection after which it was decided she was beyond economic repair. She left Stockholm under tow by the tug Utrecht of the Aruba Towage Company on the 26th of August and arrived at Faslane for breaking by Shipbreaking Industries.

Shaw Savills final war loss was the Tainui on the 22nd February 1943, she had been torpedoed the previous day by U-92 when lead ship in one of the columns, an attempt to assist her back to port was made by the escort HMCS Dauphin. Due to the fact that her steering gear had been wrecked she went round in circles, with no other option open to them Captain Baker finally gave the order to abandon ship and Dauphin was forced to sink her.



Built in1944 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 12,028grt, 7,032nrt.
Engines: Twin screw, 2 x 6 Cylinder H&W Burmester Wain, 16,000 BHP, 17 Kts.
Passengers: 112 Tourist.

Waiwera was completed for Shaw Savill and served out the rest of the war uneventfully. She was sold to Embajada Cia S.A. of Greece in 1967 for her final voyage to the breakers arriving at Kaohsiung on the 13th of January 1968.

The rest of the war was fortunately uneventful for Shaw Savill and in 1946 the Arawa made the company's first post war commercial sailing via the Cape on the 7th of February. Like other company's Shaw Savill had too some extent the necessity of rebuilding her fleet, not only due to wartime losses but because its fleet was by now somewhat aged. To this end the company retained two of the 'Sam' ships it managed on behalf of the Government and ordered nine new ships in 1947, four passenger and five freight, this would take its fleet to 28 ships, two more than at the outbreak of war. The first two ships off the stocks were Corinthic and Athenic. In August of the same year Arawa commenced the company's round the Cape route to Australia and New Zealand, she was joined by Dominion Monarch who was to remain on the service for the rest of her career.


Built in 1947 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead.
Tonnage: 15,682grt, 9,097nrt, 11,000dwt.
Engines: Twin screw, 2 x double reduction-geared turbines by builder, 14,000 SHP, 17 Kts.
Passengers: 85 1st Class.
Launched 30th May 1946, completed in the March of 1947.

Though she was damaged by fire in her refrigeration insulation Corinthic was completed on schedule, she underwent trials successfully on the 25th of March and made her maiden voyage to Sydney and Wellington on the 12th of April. She served on the service without incident until making her final voyage as a cargo liner on the 18th of February 1965. Corinthic was converted to cargo ship only at Schiedam in Holland where her passenger accommodation was removed, she continued as such until being sold for breaking and she arrived at Kaohsiung on the 23rd of October 1969 for work to commence.



Built in 1947 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 15,187grt, 8,760nrt.
Engines: Twin screw, 2 x double reduction-geared turbines by builder, 14,000 SHP, 17 Kts.
Passengers: 85 1st Class.
Launched on the 26th of November 1946, completed in the July of 1947.

Athenic made her maiden voyage to New Zealand on the 1st of August from London and sailed via the Panama Canal. She made her last passenger sailing on the 28th of January 1965 and in the July of the same year was converted by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson of Newcastle to a cargo ship only. Arrived at Kaohsiung on the 25th of October for breaking.



Built in 1948 by Cammel Laird, Birkenhead.
Tonnage: 15,896grt, 9,162nrt.
Engines: Twin screw, 2 x double reduction-geared turbines by builder, 14,000 SHP, 17 Kts.
Passengers: 85 1st Class.
Launched on the 30th of December 1947, completed November 1948.

Ceramic made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New Zealand via the Panama Canal on the 16th of November after which she reverted to her sister's normal departure port of London. Hull painted white in anticipation of her being chosen over her sister Gothic to serve as the Royal yacht in 1951, in the event she became stand by ship as Gothic was chosen. Her high-pressure turbine was removed and installed in Gothic in 1954 when the latter was on the Royal Tour. Her final voyage was in May of 1971 on charter to the Cape Town. She arrived at Tamise, Belgium for breaking by Jos Boel & Fils on the 13th of June 1972, the last of the four sisters to be scrapped. One notable exception of Ceramic's career was that she was the only one of the four not to be de-rated to that of a cargo ship thus retaining her passenger accommodation.


Built in 1948 by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson of Newcastle.
Tonnage: 15,902grt, 8,906nrt.
Engines: Twin screw, 2 x double reduction geared turbines by builder, 14,000 SHP, 17 Kts.
Passengers: 85 1st Class.
Launched on the 12th of December 1947, completed December 1948.

She made her maiden voyage Liverpool to Sydney on the 23rd of December 1948 after which she reverted to London as her home UK port. Like Ceramic her hull was painted white in March of 1951 to weather in and she was finally chosen over her sister in the August when she went on charter to the Admiralty, her conversion took place at Cammel Laird, Birkenhead. Fittings included a Thorneycroft cowl on her funnel, an upper saluting bridge, extra accommodation forward of the funnel and the passenger accommodation was upgraded for use by the Royal party. It was announced on the 10th of October that due to the Kings ill health his place would be taken by Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, Gothic's refit was completed on the 15th of December. On the 12th of January 1952 Gothic sailed for Mombasa, the Royal couples port of embarkation, due to the Kings death on the 6th of February the Queen and her husband flew home for her Fathers funeral, Gothic disembarked all the supernumerary staff and continued on her normal cargo service to Australia. In December of this year it was announced that the Queen would make a Royal visit to New Zealand and Australia in the following year, as most of the work carried out by Cammel Lairds had been removed Gothic found herself once more in the Birkenhead having it reinstated arriving in August for the work to commence.

She sailed from London on the 10th of November for Jamaica where the Queen would embark. Gothic arrived in Aden on the 28th of April 1954, after disembarking the Royal entourage she then proceeded to Malta where all the Royal accoutrement's were removed and placed onboard the newly completed Britannia. Gothic then sailed for Birkenhead for a refit which included the removal of all the extra accommodation after which she returned to Shaw Savill to commence her normal commercial service.

On the 2nd of August 1968 when five days out of New Zealand Gothic's bridge caught fire and subsequently three crew and four passengers lost their lives, she returned to Wellington arriving on the 6th to facilitate repairs. Her final voyage for Shaw Savill commenced in early 1969 and in the May she was sold for breaking at Taiwan, for her trip to Kaohsiung she transferred to Cairn Line and arrived for work to be carried out on the 13th of August.

In April of 1948 Mataroa and Tamaroa entered service via the Panama Canal, the following year New Australia previously owned by Furness Withy and called Monarch of Bermuda underwent a substantial refit at Thorneycrofts in Southampton, she was eventually handed over to Shaw Savill management for use on the Government sponsored British-Australian Migration Scheme in 1950. 1949 saw the introduction of Doric, Delphic and Persic, the following year they were joined by Runic, Suevic and Afric, Pakeha and Raranga both went to the breakers yard.



Built in 1952 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 11,232grt, 6,557nrt, 11,380dwt.
Engines: Twin screw, 2 x 6 Cylinder Harland & Wolff opposed piston, 14,300 BHP, 17 Kts.

Cedric was delivered in the November of 1952. She transferred to Cairn Line in 1973 with Shaw Savill as managers and returned to Shaw Savill for disposal in 1975. In 1976 Cedric was sold to Hong Kong owners becoming Sea Condor for Monrovian flagged Fife Shipping. She arrived at Kaohsiung for breaking on the 25th of August in 1977.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh joined Gothic in Jamaica on the 10th Of November 1953 to commence her world tour of the Empire, the tour had first been delayed by the Kings illness and then by his subsequent death.



Built in 1954 by Smiths Dockyard,Middlesbrough.
Tonnage: 6,320grt, 3,291nrt, 9,960dwt.
Engines: Single screw, Triple expansion and Bauer Wach LP turbine hydraulically coupled, Engine by builder, turbine Swan Hunter & WR, 13 Kts.

Romanic was built for the Bolton Steam Shipping Company of London and immediately went on charter to Shaw Savill entering service on their New Zealand-South Africa route, her maiden voyage was on the 17th of August sailing from Liverpool. Became Plate Clipper in 1961 for Plate Shipping Company of Piraeus. Renamed Marazul when she went to Cia Argentina de Transportes Maritimos of Beunos Aires, then another three name changes, namely Mionis, Chryssostomas and Bosphorus before arriving at Gadani Beach on the 11th of July 1976 for breaking.

In 1955 a new concept for Shaw Savill was introduced to its fleet in the shape of Southern Cross, engines aft, not a new idea to shipping as Canberra of P&O was of this design and as far back as 1909 Matson had pioneered the design with their Wilhelmina, however Southern Cross had no cargo space whatsoever. With her introduction Arawa made her final voyage to the breakers in Newport, South Wales.


Built in 1955 by Harland & Wolff of Belfast.
Tonnage: 20,204grt, 10,327nrt.
Engines: Twin screw, double reduction-geared turbines by builder, 20,000 BHP, 20 Kts.
Passengers: 1,160 1st Class.
Launched by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, on the 17th of August 1954, completed on the 24th of February 1955.

She made her maiden voyage on the 29th of March and was advertised as their 'Round the World Service' a venture operated since the company's earliest days, Southampton was to be the ships home port. She was chartered by the Australian Lions organisation for its Tokyo convention and whilst there used as a floating hotel in 1969. In 1970 she cruised for the first time either out of Australia or the |UK and due to the downturn in passenger trade was laid up at Southampton from November 1971. Due to what the company considered excessive harbour fees she transferred to King Harry Reach on the River Fal on the 26th of April 1972. Southern Cross was finally sold out of the fleet in January of 1973 to the Ulysses Line and renamed Calypso, she underwent an extensive refit in Piraeus before commencing cruising her first being for Hapag-Lloyd out of Venice on the 25th of April 1975. She then transferred to the UK market sailing out of Tilbury for Thomson Holidays starting in the June.

Her next move was to the Caribbean when she was acquired by Gotaas-Larsen in 1980 and renamed Azure Sea for cruising in Mexican waters, she flew a Panamanian flag and her registered owners was Eastern Steamship Lines of Panama. In November of 1982 she was sold to the Western Steamship Lines also of Panama and retained her name, still in service in 1987.

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