UNION, CASTLE AND UNION CASTLE LINES

Part Three




Union Castle Line


UNION CASTLE LINE

During operation Torch on the 8th of November in North Africa the Company had four ships present they were Warwick, Winchester, Durban and Llangibby Castles, Warwick Castle was torpedoed after landing her troops on the 12th. To bring the year to a close Llandaff Castle was torpedoed off the coast of Zululand on the 30th of November which meant that Union Castle had lost one sixth of its Fleet this year.

On the 22nd of February Roxburgh Castle was torpedoed and sank by U-107 in the North Atlantic off Ferraria Point, Azores. March the 23rd Windsor Castle was sank by an aerial torpedo when in convoy 110 miles off Algiers and in April Dundrum Castle was destroyed by fire in the Red Sea. In the build up for 'D' Day Athlone, Cape Town and Stirling Castles were employed in transporting American troops across the Atlantic.

ROWALLAN CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built : 1943 by Harland & Wolf, Belfast.
Tonnage: 7, 950g, 4, 728n.
Engine: Single Screw, 8 Cylinder 2S. D.A. by Builder, 6, 000 SHP, 16 Knots.
Launched 23rd December 1942, Completed 24th April 1943.

Completion delayed whilst awaiting the completion of the engine Rowallan was placed on the refrigerated South African-UK route. Heavily armed especially against air attacks this type of ship was allowed to travel out of convoy using their speed to outrun U-Boats, they were also fitted with paravanes forward to counter mines. After the War she made several voyages to the USA but then returned to her intended service remaining as such until August of 1971 when she was sold for scrap. She arrived at Kaohsiung on the 2nd of September for breaking by Sheyh Sheng Steel and Iron Works.

The new Rowallan Castle joined the Fleet. The Company Chairman Robertson Gibb died in 1944 after 61 years service with the Company and the new Richmond Castle was delivered.

RICHMOND CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1944 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 7, 971g, 4, 740n.
Engine: Single Screw, 8 Cylinder 2S. DA by Builder, 6, 000 SHP, 16 Knots.
Launched 23rd March 1944, Completed 28th September 1944.

Armed in exactly the same way as her sister Rowallan Castle and used on the same South African fruit service. She was sold for breaking in1971 and arrived at Shanghai on the 27th of August.

During the 'D' Day Landings Llangibby Castle saw action at the beaches of both Juno and Omaha in all making sixty crossings carrying over 100,000 troops.

In 1945 Dunluce Castle which had been the accommodation ship at Scapa Flow was scrapped, Edinburgh Castle which had been used for a similar purpose at Freetown was towed out to sea and sank by gunfire and depth charges by Allied ships. At war's end 274 Company personnel had lost their lives, 144 medals had been awarded and there had been 59 mention in dispatches.

RIEBEECK CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1946 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 8, 322g, 4, 923n.
Engine: Single Screw, 8 Cylinder 2S. DA by Builder, 6, 000 SHP, 16 Knots.
Launched 23rd October 1945, Completed 11th March 1946.

Served as a refrigerated fruit carrier on the South Africa-UK route carrying general cargoes south until being sold for scrap in 1971, arriving at Kaohsiung for breaking on the 2nd of September same day as Rowallan Castle.

RUSTENBERG CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1946 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 8, 322g, 4, 923n.
Engine: Single Screw, 8 Cylinder 2S. DA by Builder, 6, 000 SHP, Knots.
Launched 5th of March 1946, Completed 25th of June.

Same service as her sister Riebeeck Castle she was eventually sold for scrap in 1971 and sailed from Singapore on the 6th of September bound for Shanghai.

The Company took over three Ministry of War ships in 1946 naming them Drakensburg, Good Hope and Kenilworth Castle, two more new 'R' Class ships joined the Fleet, Riebeeck Castle and Rustenberg Castle. A new mail contract was signed on the 1st of January 1947 and some of the Company's ships transferred to the South African register, the first was Good Hope Castle on the 14th of July closely followed by Drakenburg Castle, both ships were used on the USA service.

EDINBURGH CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1948 by Harland Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 28, 705g, 16, 713n.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 3 Double Reduction Steam Turbine 35, 000 SHP, 22.5 Knots.
Passengers: 214 First Class, 540 Tourist, 400 Crew.
Launched 16th October 1947, Completed 26th November 1948.

Launched by Princess Margaret, her first major public engagement Edinburgh Castle was delivered well behind her contract date. She sailed on her maiden voyage to the Cape with Southampton Master Mariner Captain T. W. McAllen in command on the 9th of December. She established a new record for the voyage in January of 1954 of 11 days, 13 hours and 11 minutes UK to the Cape. March of 1964 she achieved her 100th round voyage, sailing 1, 368, 800 miles and carrying 209, 000 passengers. She underwent modernisation in 1967 but due to the increase in air travel left Southampton for the last time on the 5th of March 1976, she arrived at the yard of Chou's Iron & Steel Co Kaohsiung on the 4th of June for breaking.

PRETORIA CASTLE



Built: 1948 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage/ 28? 705g, 16, 713n.
Engine: Twin Screw, 2 x 3 Double Reduction Steam Turbine, 35, 000 SHP, 22.5 Knots.
Passengers: 214 First Class, 540 Tourist, 400 Crew.
Launched 19th August 1947, Completed 10th July 1948.

Her launch was a first in as much as it was performed electronically by radio telephone by Mrs. Jan Smuts wife of the then South African Prime Minister 6, 000 miles away at her home in Pretoria. Her maiden voyage was on the 22nd of July and she sailed as the new Flag Ship of the Company carrying 700 passengers. She attended the Spithead Review on the 15th of June 1953 at which 260 ships had assembled for inspection by Queen Elizabeth II on the Royal Yacht H.M.S. Surprise. In 1962 she underwent an extensive refit altering amongst other things her mast configuration. She was sold to SAF Marine on the 1st of January 1966 becoming S.A. Oranje, same service, manned by Union Castle but wearing SAF Marine livery. On the 17th March 1969 her registration changed to that of Cape Town. Having made a total of 187 voyages carrying over a quarter of a million passengers she was finally sold for breaking by Chin Tai Steel Enterprises at Kaohsiung arriving on the 2nd of November 1975

1948 saw the introduction of the Company's largest ships to date, Pretoria Castle in the July and Edinburgh Castle in December. Braemar Castle joined the Fleet in 1949 and in July Pretoria Castle carried 25,495 bags of mail, a Company record.

BLOEMFONTEIN CASTLE



Built: 1950 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 18, 400g, 10, 473n, 10, 023 dwt.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 8 Cylinder Burmeister & Wain by Builders 20, 000 BHP, 18.5 Knots.
Passengers: 720 Cabin Class.
Launched 24th August 1949, Completed 25th March 1950.

When conceived Union Castle had expected this ship to have a long career carrying emigrants to South Africa but with the cessation of assisted passages in 1948 the Company made alterations during construction and eventually emerged as their first one class vessel. She entered service on the 6th of April London-Rotterdam-Cape-Beira a route terminal that she alone served via the Cape. On the 8th of January 1953 she rescued 234 passengers and crew from the Holland Afrika liner Klipfontein which was sinking after hitting submerged rocks off Mozambique, a month later Captain J. A. Fergurson and Senior Officers received commemorative gifts from the Holland Afrika Line. Surplus to requirements she was sold to Chandris Lines on the 9th of November 1959, re-named Patris and made her first voyage for the Company now called the National Greek Australian Line on the 14th of December to Australia. Began 1972 by cruising out of Sydney before being placed on the Sydney-Singapore service. Became an accommodation ship at Darwin in February of 1975 after hurricane Tracey virtually destroyed the town.

In 1976 she returned to Greece and was converted for use as a car carrier for the Venice/Ancona-Patras route, fitted with side loading doors. She was sold in 1980 to the Michail A. Karageorgis group, renamed Mediterranean Island and in 1981 was renamed again to Mediterranean Star for the Star Navigation Corporation, same group. Sold for breaking to St. Vincent owners in 1988 renamed Terra.

For the Round Africa service Bloemfontein Castle made her debut in 1950 and Sandown Castle was scrapped. Three similar ships were to join the Bloemfontein Castle on the Round Africa service, Rhodesia Castle being the first in the November of 1951. Braemar and Kenya Castles joined Bloemfontein Castle in 1952, Talltallon and Tintagel Castle also entered service.

KENYA CASTLE



Built: 1952 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 17, 041g, 9, 435N.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 3 Double Reduction Steam Turbines, 14, 400 SHP, 17.5 Knots.
Passengers: 530 Cabin Class.
Launched 21st June 1951, Completed 16th February 1952.


©Iain Lovie

Sailed on the 7th of March to Casablanca and the Canaries for a 14 day shake down cruise before sailing on the 31st of March on her intended Round Africa service. Her funnel was remodelled in 1958 and two years later her accommodation was extensively refurbished reducing her cabin capacity to 442 passengers. On the 22nd of April 1967 she was laid up at River Blackwater and having been sold to Chandris Line she arrived at Piraeus on the 12th of August. She underwent an extensive refit with the National Hellenic American Line named as registered owners, becoming Amerikanis with accommodation for 920 passengers she made her first sailing on the 8th August 1968 Piraeus-Messins-Naples-Lisbon-Halifax-New York. She was still in service in 1989 in the Caribbean.

After thirty-eight years Company service Llanstephen Castle made her last voyage to the yard of J.Cashmore, Newport for breaking and in 1954 Llangibby Castle was also broken at the same yard after a truly remarkable career.



TANTALLON CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1954 by Harland & Wolff.
Tonnage: 7, 488g, 4, 369n.
Engine: Single Screw, 8 Cylinder Burmeister & Wain by Builder, 8, 500 BHP, 16 Knots.
Launched on the 22nd October 1953, Completed 5th of March 1954.

Built for the South Africa-United States-UK service. She was sold to Aria Shipping Co of Famagusta in October of 1971 becoming Aris II and a year later became Aris. She arrived at Aioi, Japan for breaking by Ishikajima Kogyo K.K. in August of 1978, work commenced on the 5th of September.



TINTAGEL CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1954 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 7, 447g, 4, 368n.
Engine: Single Screw, 8 Cylinder Burmeister & Wain by Builder, 8, 500 BHP, 16 Knots.
Launched on the 4th February 1954, Completed 5th of June 1954, Yard No; 1, 500.

Same service as her sister Tantallon she was the last ship built for Union Castle before it became known as British and Commonwealth and she made her maiden voyage on the 11th of June. In 1971 she was sold to Armar Shipping Co of Cyprus and renamed Armar. She arrived at Kaohsiung on the 27th of June 1978 for breaking by Nang Eng Steel Enterprise Co, work commenced on the 2nd of August.



KINNAIRD CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1956 by Greenock Dockyard, Greenock.
Tonnage: 7, 718g, 4, 256n, 10, 075 dwt.
Engines: Single Screw, 3 Parsons Turbines, Double Reduction Geared, 9, 400 SHP, 16 Knots.
Launched 1èth January 1956, Completed April 1956.

Delivered as Clan Ross for Clan Line Steamers she transferred with her sister Clan Stewart to SAF Marine becoming South African Scientist in 1961. Took up Union Castle duties in 1962 and renamed Kinnaird Castle and engaged on East African services, Clan Line managed. Sold in October of 1975 to Dansob Navigation, S.A. of Panama renamed Nazeer and on the 2-th of April 1978 she arrived at Gadani Beach for breaking.

REINA DEL MAR



Built: 1956 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 20, 263g, 11, 214n.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 3 Double Reduction Steam Turbines, 17, 000 SHP, 17 Knots.
Launched 7th of June 1955, completed April 1956.


©Iain Lovie

Built for Pacific Steam Navigation Co and made her maiden voyage on the 3rd May Liverpool-Valparaiso via the Panama Canal and joined Reina Del Pacifico operating the same route. She ran successfully for six or seven years until air ravel began capturing the normally seabourne passengers and was consequently laid up. At about the same time Mr. Max Wilson a South African entrepreneur launched his Travel Savings Association in the UK and with the backing of Canadian Pacific and Union Castle acquired the Reina Del Mar for a reported £3, 000, 000. After the liner had been cruising under the T.S.A. banner Max Wilson announced his intension to sell her to the Chandris Group, this proposal brought a storm of protests from the Maritime unions who wanted to ensure that the liner stayed on the British register. Talks were held involving the Ministry of Transport, unions and owners fortunately an agreement was reached whereby she would stay British be managed on behalf of the T.S.A. by the British and Commonwealth Shipping Company. Previously Canadian Pacific, Royal Mail and Union Castle had all been shareholders in T.S.A. but after her refit in Belfast Union Castle became the sole shareholder (not the ship). After her refit in 1964 she had facilities for 1, 047 passengers and was painted in Union Castle colours she cruised during the winter out of South Africa to South America. In 1969 Royal Mail charted her to Union Castle for the following five years but in 1973 Union Castle acquired her and ran her on the same service until 1975. She was eventually sold for scrap and arrived at Kaohsiung on the 30th of July 1975 for breaking by the Tung Cheng Steel Company.

To consolidate Union Castle, Clan Line and Bullard King a single organisation was formed on the 31st of January 1956 which was to be known as British and Commonwealth Shipping Co Ltd. Each Company retained its colours but inter group competition ceased also the interchangeability of cargo ships commenced. Penndennis Castle was launched at the end of 1957. 1959 saw the introduction of Rotherwick Castle and Rothesay Castle whilst Pendennis made her maiden voyage from Southampton on the 1st of January. The largest ship to date for Union Castle entered service in 1960, she was the Windsor Castle and at 37,640 gross tons she became the largest liner to berth at Cape Town. In 1962 Carnarvon Castle made her way to Japan, Durban Castle to Hamburg and Warwick Castle to Barcelona all for breaking. Transvaal Castle was commissioned and Kinpurnie Castle, formerly Clan Stewart and Kinnaird Castle, formerly Clan Ross transferred over from Clan Line.

PENDENNIS CASTLE



Built: 1958 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Tonnage: 28, 582g, 15? 600n.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 2 Double Reduction Parsons Turbines, 46, 000 SHP, 22.5 Knots.
Passengers: 197 First Class, 473 Tourist.
Launched 24th December 1957, Completed 14th November 1958.

She made her maiden voyage from Southampton to Cape Town. Durban on the 1st of January 1959 with Commodore George Mayhew in command. She caught fire alongside in Southampton in May of 1968 severely damaging both midship and starboard side accommodation but was able to sail on tile thanks to the efforts of Harland & Wolff's workers. A year later rerouted to Antwerp because of a dispute at the Port of Southampton she struck the quayside which delayed her sailing for two weeks. She made her final sailing from Southampton on the 23rd of April 1976 and was replaced by a refrigerated cargo liner Andalucia Star charted from Blue Star. Union Castle then sold her to Ocean Queen Navigation Corp of Panama who renamed her Ocean Queen. After four years of being laid up at Hong Kong she was sold for scrap arriving at Kaohsiung in the April of 1980.

ROTHERWICK CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1959 by Greenock Dockyard Co, Greenock.
Tonnage: 9, 650g, 5, 244n, 10, 240 dwt.
Engine: Single Screw, 6 Cylinder 2S. SA Burmeister & Wain, 9, 500 BHP, 16 Knots.
Completed December 1959.

An additional pair of Reefers for the 'R' Class Rotherwick and Rothesay were crewed by Clan Line and managed by Cayzer Irvine & Co for much of their time with British & Commonwealth. Sold in 1975 to Sea Fortune Co of Monrovia becoming Sea Fortune. Becoming Silver Rays for Barbridge Shipping Ltd of Liberia in 1980 and sold the following year to Jersey Shipping Ltd of Panama, same name. In 1983 she was sold to Mickle Shipping of Panama and broken up at Chittagong.

ROTHESAY CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1960 by Greenock Dockyard Co, Greenock.
Tonnage: 9, 650g, 5, 244n, 10, 240 dwt.
Engine: Single Screw, 6 Cylinder 2S. SA Burmeister & Wain, 9, 500 BHP, 16 Knots.
Completed June 1960.

Sold at the same time as her sister but this time to Lloyds Uruguayo S.A. of Montevideo becoming Laura. Left Kuwait on the 28th August 1980 bound for Karachi for breaking at Gadani Beach.

WINDSOR CASTLE



Built: 1960 by Cammell Laird & Co S.B. 1 E. Ltd; Birkenhead.
Tonnage: 37, 640g, 20, 948n.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 2 Double Reduction Geared Parsons Turbines, 49, 000 SHP, 22.5 Knots.
Passengers: 191 First Class, 591 Tourist, 475 Crew.
Launched 23rd June 1959 by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, completed July 1960.


©Iain Lovie

By far the biggest liner built for Union Castle, the biggest ever built by Cammel Laird. She was initially plagued by industrial action but eventually commenced her maiden voyage from Southampton on the 18th of August arriving at the Cape 11.5 days later. In December of 1967 she celebrated her 50th voyage having travelled 700, 000 miles carrying 35, 000 passengers without breakdown or delay. She made sailing. On her departure from Cape Town she was accorded much ceremony which included an Airforce flyby a rare distinction indeed. She was sold to John Latsis and renamed Margarita .L. sailing on the 3rd of October for refit at Piraeus. Converted for use as static luxurious her final sailing on the 12th of August 1977 which was also Union Castle's final mail accommodation at Jeddah for the Petrola International SA Construction Company. She arrived at Jeddah in February 1979 and became the Margarita L Leisure Centre with accommodation for five hundred people served by 250 crew, she also has a helicopter pad forward. In 1983 she underwent dry docking and refit and was still in use in 1989.

TRANSVAAL CASTLE



Built: 1961 by John brown & Co (Clydesbank) Ltd, Clydesbank.
Tonnage: 32, 697g, 17, 932n.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 2 Double Reduction Geared Parsons Turbines, 44, 000 SHP, 22.5 Knots.
Launched 17th January 1961, Completed 16th December.

Described as an Hotel Class ship with fares ranging from ordinary berths to deluxe a total of eleven in all. She made her maiden voyage on the 18th of January 1962 and was not to prove popular as either the Pendennis or Windsor Castle. With the blessing of the N.U.S. waitresses were introduced into the restaurant a first for Union Castle under the supervision of the Head Waiter. On the 1st of January 1966 she transferred to SAF Marine becoming SA Vaal, same service, British flag, Union Castle crew and management, a month later she was joined by Pretoria Castle who was renamed SA Oranje.

Both ships transferred to the South African registry in February of 1969 and SA Vaal remained on the service until the 10th of October 1977 when she was withdrawn from the service. Eventually she was sold to Festivale Maritime Inc of Carnival Cruise Lines, Miami and underwent an extensive re-build at the yard of Kawasaki, Japan. On completion she had extra decks, accommodation for 1, 400 passengers a crew of 570 and her gross tonnage had increased to 38, 175. She entered onto the Caribbean cruise trade initially based at San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978 but in 1982 she moved to Miami concentrating on 7 day cruises to Nassau, San Juan and St. Thomas. She underwent further re-build in 1987 and her passenger capacity rose to 1, 750, she was still in service in 1990.

In the November of 1964 Reina Del Mar which was managed by the Company for the Travel Savings Association was painted in Union Castle's colours.

SOUTHAMPTON CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1965 by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend.
Tonnage: 10, 538g, 4, 235n.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 8 Cylinder Sulzers RD 90 by Wallsend, 34, 729 BHP, 22.5 Knots.
Launched 20th October 1964, Completed May 1965.

On trials achieved 25 knots which was well within the speed limits required to maintain the 11.5 day voyage mail contract. She made her maiden voyage to the Cape on the 27th of May 1965. In October of 1967 accommodation for twelve passengers was added at Cammell Lairds so that calls at Ascension and St Helena could be made following the withdrawal of Capetown Castle, the detour added 336 miles to the voyage. ON the 11th of October she made her final mail contract sailing from Cape Town and on arrival at Southampton proceeded to lay up. Sold to Costa Armatori SpA of Genoa in February of 1978 and renamed Paola .C. and in 1989 was still in service.

GOOD HOPE CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1965 by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend.
Tonnage: 10, 538g, 4, 235n;
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 8 Cylinder Sulzers RD90's, 34, 729 BHP, 22.5 Knots.
Crew 60
Launched 16th February 1965, Completed 9th December 1965.

As her sister she far exceeded the speed required for the 11.5 day voyage stipulation, her completion was delayed by over three months but her arrival reduced the mail sailings from eight ships to seven. Like her sister she underwent the addition of passenger accommodation at Cammell Lairds in October of 1967. On the 29th of June 1973 she suffered a major fire in the Engine Room which required the ship to be abandoned, the Liberian Tanker George F. Getty landed her survivors at Ascension. The Tug Albatros towed her to Antwerp arriving on the 18th of August, later she was towed by Heros to Bilbao to the yard of Astilleros Espanoles for repairs. She sailed from Bilbao for Southampton on the 19th of May 1974 and on the 31st of May re-entered service. She was sold along with her sister to Costa Armatori SpA of Genoa, renamed Franca C and was still in service in 1989.

BALMORAL CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1965 by Greenock Dockyard, Greenock.
Tonnage: 7, 952g, 4, 278n.
Engine: Single Screw, 7 Cylinder 2S. SA by J. Kincaid, 10, 350 BHP, 17.5 Knots.
Launched on the 3rd of May, Completed November 1965.

Clan Robertson the first of four Reefers delivered to Clan Line for the South African fruit trade. Out of season all four ships were usually laid up at Southampton. In November of 1976 she was renamed Balmoral Castle and in 1979 became Balmoral Universal. She was sold to National Historrry CIA Naviera S.A. of Piraeus renamed Psara Reefer in the December of 1982. Eighteen months later she arrived at Chittagong for breaking on the 19th of June 1984.

DOVER CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1965 by Greenock Dockyard, Greenock.
Tonnage: 7, 952g, 4, 278n.
Engine: Single Screw, 7 Cylinder 2S. SA by J. Kincaid, 10, 350 BHP, 17.5 Knots.
Launched 21st December 1964, Completed June 1965.

Delivered to Clan Line as Clan Ranald and Clan history when she entered Durban carrying the mail and flying the Royal Mail pennant in October of 1967. Renamed Dover Castle in November of 1976 and Dover Universal for the Reefer Consortium in 1979. Sold in May 1981 to Invergordon Shipping Co, of Piraeus and renamed Golden Sea. Arrived at Gadani Beach for breaking on the 9th of May 1985.

WINCHESTER CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1965 by Greenock Dockyard, Greenock.
Tonnage: 7, 952g, 4, 278n.
Engine: Single Screw, 7 Cylinder 2S. SA by J. Kincaid, 10, 350 BHP, 17.5 Knots.
Launched 28th August 1964, Completed March 1965.

Delivered to Clan Line as Clan Line as Clan Ramsey and renamed Winchester Castle in 1977 she was the last Clan Line ship and the once famous Company passed into history. Became Winchester Universal in 1979 and the following year was sold to Braganza Bay Shipping Company of Piraeus and renamed Lady Madonna in the October. Arrived at Gadani Beach for breaking on the 25th of April 1985.

Good Hope Castle and Southampton Castle enter service in 1965, Athlone Castle goes to the breakers in Taiwan.

KINPURNIE CASTLE


©Iain Lovie

Built: 1966 by Greenock Dockyard, Greenock.
Tonnage: 7, 952g, 4, 278n.
Engine: Single Screw, 7 Cylinder 2S. SA by J. Kincaid, 10, 350 BHP, 17.5 Knots.
Launched 24th September 1965, Completed march 1966. Yard No. 509.

The last ship to be built by Greenock Dockyard was Clan Ross which was owned by Houston Line another Company of the British and Commonwealth Group now managed by Cayzer, Irvine & Co. She was transferred to Union Castle ownership in the November of 1976 renamed Kinpurnie Castle and renamed again in 1979 becoming Kinpurnie Universal. Sold in December 1982 to National History CIA Naviera, Piraeus becoming Syros Reefer and she was finally scrapped in Chittagong arriving on the 31st July 1984.

A new mail contract which called for an eleven and a half day voyage came into force in 1966, this called for a reduction in vessels required consequently Stirling Castle was sold to Nichimen K.K. of Japan for breaking and Kenya Castle was sold to Cahndris Lines becoming Americanis in 1967. Also in 1967 Capetown Castle was scrapped at Spezia and Rhodesia Castle Kaohsiung the two fast cargo ships Good Hope and Southampton Castle begin calling at St. Helena and Ascension because with the reduced voyage time the passenger liners no longer had the time. In 1970 Rochester Castle was sold for scrap and renamed Glenda for her final voyage to Whampoa. Three years later Union Castle acquire Reina Del Mar, she retained her name the only ship in the Fleet not to have the suffix Castle. On the 1st of October the same year British & Commonwealth and the South African Marine Corporation (SAF Marine) combine their ship operations and become International Liner Services Ltd.

The Company sold Rotherwick and Rothsay Castle on for further trading and brought in four Clan Line ships to replace them, Balmoral Castle ex Kinpurnie Castle ex Clan Stewart and Winchester Castle ex Clan Ramsey, Pretoria Castle is scrapped at Koahsiung.

On the 12th of August Windsor Castle makes her final voyage to the Cape before being sold to John Latsis of Piraeus renamed Margarita L, SA Vaal (Transvaal Castle) is also sold to Carnival Cruise Lines becoming Festivale. Costa Lines purchase Good Hope Castle and Southampton Castle in 1è_ renaming them Paola C and Franca C. The Curnow Shipping Co of Cornwall ship St. Helena takes over the run to Las Palmas-Ascension-St. Helena and Cape Town. By 1979 Union Castle operated only four ships Balmoral, Dover, Windsor and Kinpurnie Castles and in this year the suffix Castle was to disappear to be replaced by Universal when the Company became part of the joint UK/South African Universal Reefer Consortium. The Company still had interests in the following companies:

  • Cayzer, Irvine & Co Ltd 100%
  • Common Brothers Ltd 16.2%
  • Clan Line 100%
  • King Line 100%
  • Neptune Shipping 100%
  • Overseas Containers 19.4%
  • Scottish Shire Line 100%
  • Scottish Tankers 100%
  • SAF Marine 11.6%
  • Union Castle Mail Steamship Ltd 100%


  • The last two Union Castle ships were sold in December of 1982, Balmoral and Kinpurnie Universal, Cayzer Irvine took over the running of the remaining eight British and Commonwealth ships until they too were sold on. So ends the story of yet another truly great British Merchant Navy Company always known affectionately as the Lavender Hull Mob.