Capetown Castle

Ian
7th April 2004, 21:54
The CAPETOWN CASTLE, with the Blue Peter at the foremast, prepares to leave Southamapton at 1300 Friday for yet another trip to South Africa. She will stop at Las Palmas on the southward journey and probably Madeira on the home run. Following her initial stay at Capetown she will continue around the coast to Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban. After a short stay in Durban she will head southwards for another longer stay in Capetown before the voyage home to Southampton.

shipmate17
2nd June 2005, 17:38
Beautiful ship,sailed from CapeTown to Southampton in 1955.
cheers.
shipmate17

KenLin39
18th June 2005, 13:56
Hi. All the Lavender Ladies sailed from Southampton on Thursdays at 4pm on the dot, was delayed once, something to do with Winston Churchill but I've forgotten the details now. I did three trips on the Stirling and spent many a happy hour in Del Monicos. Does anyone remember the Ticky Hock bar at Capetown station, hic hic. Cheers to all. Ken.

Ray Woodward
18th September 2005, 19:30
Hi served on Capetown Castle 1960 officer steward boy. Itoo spent many an hour at Del Monicos or at the ticky hock bar at the station 6d a tot then up to Salt River on the train bit the worse for where. Good ship . Ray Woodward

GavH
6th December 2006, 14:38
Hi served on Capetown Castle 1960 officer steward boy. Itoo spent many an hour at Del Monicos or at the ticky hock bar at the station 6d a tot then up to Salt River on the train bit the worse for where. Good ship . Ray Woodward

Just wonder if you remember my grandfather, Robert Newsom - he was medical officer on the Capetown Castle late 1950s/early 1960s?

Derek Roger
6th December 2006, 15:50
Sailed as passenger on Union Castle 3 times . First in 1947 as a little kid Durban to Southhampton then return trip and finally in 1953 Durban to Southhampton when I emigrated to Scotland .

bowatersteamship
17th January 2007, 01:39
ReKenline's sailing time and day, the mail service was 'speeded up' in the late 1960s, changing the sailing day to Friday from Thursday. The speed on the North / South run was increased by 2 or 3 knots which took a day or more off that part of the run, time in port was reduced so they could run the service with one ship less than before. The three passenger ships of the Capetown Castle class were taken off and the two fast (25 knot) motor cargo ships, Sothampton Castle and Goodhope Castle, were put on the run. The total round trip was reduced by seven days. sailing was by the clock because of the mail contract. Even if no cargo and all passengers on board they could not sail early without Post Office approval.

Chris Isaac
17th January 2007, 08:18
I did two voyages on this "extra service" as it was called as a cadet. They were the last two voyages before the seamen's strike in 66.
On the second voyage I was nominated to be one of the bears in the crossing the line ceremony (southbound). My task was to duck the victim once he had been tipped off the chair.
One victim was a very large german bodyguard who was travelling with some rich gentleman. He thought it would be a great idea to put up a fight in the water. He punched me on the left ear that was at the time full of water. It completely took away the ear drum. I was hauled out of the pool, my ear streaming with blood and was confined to the ship's hospital all the rest of the way to Capetown. Whilst my ear healed I was advised not to go out into windy conditions so watchkeeping was out. So all the way home I was virtually a passenger.
No long term bad effects apart from a fear of german bodyguards.

Bob Sanford.
18th March 2007, 18:49
hello Bob here,was a engine room trimmer then a refridgeration technitian.served 1960 -62,and was on the trip where the boat blew up,in madeira port,they were manouvers and put it into reverse and brooke the crank.,boiler went and blew a hole right up through the ship,9 dead if i remember right,one of them was the cheif engineer.it happened at 16:20 ish i had just come out of the showers when it blew having just finished shift.i used to chill the coke bottles and sell them at a profit.
i stayed on board when it was towed back to victoria and albert dock.
anyone still alive that worked engine room at that time?(POP)

Syd young
18th March 2007, 19:40
I sailed on the Capetown 18th April 1961 to 2nd June 1961 then again in February 1963 to April 1963 as 1st class steward,So good I went on her twice.(Thumb)

Derek Roger
18th March 2007, 19:58
I have a picture of my mother and father taken with the Captain which I will post when in Scotland in a couple of weeks . You chaps will no doubt know him .
Derek
I also have an ash tray my father bought on the voyage ; its inscription is ,
R.M.M.V Capetown Castle . " Royal Mail somthing Vessel " ???
Perhaps you can enlighten me .

fred henderson
18th March 2007, 23:38
Seems to be Royal Mail Motor Vessel, Derek. A trifle pretentious perhaps, as the usual deignation was RMS = Royal Mail Ship. The mail contracts were the main subsidy to British passenger liners. It was a fixed payment made to the selected company, just for sailing on particular dates on a designated service.

Fred(Thumb)

Derek Roger
19th March 2007, 00:50
Thanks fred but I think the Capetown Castle was a steam Turbine ??? Perhaps the lads can comment .
Derek

Saltydog
19th March 2007, 02:30
Capetown Castle was a motor ship (diesel) and was the largest motorship afloat when built. Hence she was RMMV (Royal Mail Motor Vessel) Capetown Castle.

Most of the fleet were propelled by steam turbines, and hence were, for example, RMS (Royal Mail Steamship) Edinburgh Castle.

fred henderson
19th March 2007, 18:22
Saltydog

I notice that you have just made your first post to the site and I extend a warm welcome to you. I hope that you will forgive me for expressing slightly different views from those that you set out in your post.

The standard prefix placed before the name of all British merchant ships licensed to carry the Royal Mail was RMS, short for Royal Mail Ship. This was used regardless of the ship’s propulsion system. Other steamships were of course given the prefix SS.

I will stick my neck out and suggest that RMMV seems to be a long forgotten Union - Castle marketing gimmick. Having made that statement, some members will probably come up with other companies that used this prefix. (A)

Capetown Castle was 27,002 grt when she was delivered to Union – Castle by Harland & Wolff in 1938. The same yard delivered the slightly larger Georgic (27,759 grt) to White Star in 1932. Two fine liners built by a shipyard at the height of its form. Both ships were powered by H&W built Burmeister & Wain diesel engines.

I hope that my alternative information has not put you off making further contributions to the site. The main objective is to increase our mutual knowledge of maritime subjects and all members’ views are equally valid.

Best regards

Fred(Thumb)

Derek Roger
19th March 2007, 21:51
Thanks for the info Gents . I will try and scan the ashtray so you can see the RMMV and not think Ive been on the Gin and Tonics too much .
Derek

Rennie Cameron
23rd March 2007, 07:07
I recall the Capetown Castle incident, but not at sea at the time. I had heard she was B&W blast injection and the starting air valve jammed opened with the explosion going back to the starting air bottles? I seem to recall that it was blamed on a piece of weld getting stuck in the valve. I also seem to think it resulted in ssome modification - safety valves on bottles, I simply cannot recall.....anyone?

Rennie Cameron
23rd March 2007, 07:10
oops....baileysan already had answered and clarified the explosion in an earlier thread......satisfies my failing memory

samdar
21st June 2007, 18:48
Hi. All the Lavender Ladies sailed from Southampton on Thursdays at 4pm on the dot, was delayed once, something to do with Winston Churchill but I've forgotten the details now. I did three trips on the Stirling and spent many a happy hour in Del Monicos. Does anyone remember the Ticky Hock bar at Capetown station, hic hic. Cheers to all. Ken.

Hi Ken,When Churchill travelled on the Capetown,he demanded a fresh water bath in his cabin ,which was duly installed. It was still in situ until the old girls demise. You probably know that the baths on the Cape boats were salt water with fresh water rinse. The only thing the salt water soap was good for was doing one's dhoby

Regards samdar

R58484956
22nd June 2007, 11:22
Greetings Saltydog and a warm welcome to the site. Enjoy what you see and
bon voyage.

Ray Woodward
17th July 2008, 15:34
Hi Ken,When Churchill travelled on the Capetown,he demanded a fresh water bath in his cabin ,which was duly installed. It was still in situ until the old girls demise. You probably know that the baths on the Cape boats were salt water with fresh water rinse. The only thing the salt water soap was good for was doing one's dhoby

Regards samdar

It would seem prime ministers like to travel on the Capetown Castle. Harold MacMillan also travelled on her from Capetown to Madeira He stayed most of the time on the officers deck for a rest 1960. Ray Woodward

NoMoss
25th July 2008, 15:08
I recall the Capetown Castle incident, but not at sea at the time. I had heard she was B&W blast injection and the starting air valve jammed opened with the explosion going back to the starting air bottles? I seem to recall that it was blamed on a piece of weld getting stuck in the valve. I also seem to think it resulted in ssome modification - safety valves on bottles, I simply cannot recall.....anyone?

It was a tragic accident. I joined the ship on its first trip after that. It was a very happy ship under Capt 'Billie' Byles. After a couple of trips they 'promoted' me to a 'fruit boat', the Roxborough Castle - not a happy bunny.

onestar
26th July 2008, 14:22
Union Castle were not alone in using the RMMV prefix, White Star did for Brittanic (1930) and Georgic (1931) and kept this when part of Cunard White Star. Shaw Savill also used RMMV for Dominion Monarch.
MV was for motor vessel, S for steam. When RMS was first used, all power driven vessels were steam.
There may have been other motor vessels in this category, I have not done a detailed search.

PJG1412
17th September 2008, 18:20
To add further to this thread I believe the last RMS is the RMS St Helena on which I was a passenger 5 years ago, and meet several ex UC staff (some of the names as mentioned by SHIPBUILDER) including the man who wrote out my papers on joining UC, he could not belive this paperwork was still held by me !! I sailed on the Pendennis and Stirling 63/64 see thread "Stirling Ladies" ship. Great memories.(Thumb)
Pete
PS: I always thought was Royal Mail Ship !!

DARREN MCGORRIN
18th September 2008, 20:48
Hi I Know My Father Served As A Steward On The Cape Town Castle In The 60,s His Name Was Dennis Goldsbrough. Do You Or Do You Know Of Anyone Who New Him
Thanks Darren

DARREN MCGORRIN
18th September 2008, 20:51
Hi Did You Know My Father Dennis Goldsbrough. He Was A Steward In The 60,s On The Capetown Castle.
Many Thanks Darren

olddog96
29th December 2008, 01:13
Hi All ,I did 3 trips on the "Capetown" as a tourist winger great life but could not run 2x14"s or 2x16"s now. From Sept.59 to Feb 60 Went under the name of Vernon Castle.

Dickyboy
21st May 2009, 22:50
Hi. All the Lavender Ladies sailed from Southampton on Thursdays at 4pm on the dot, was delayed once, something to do with Winston Churchill but I've forgotten the details now. I did three trips on the Stirling and spent many a happy hour in Del Monicos. Does anyone remember the Ticky Hock bar at Capetown station, hic hic. Cheers to all. Ken.

I was on the Capetown Castle, did three trips on her from 18 Feb 65 to 23 July 65. She was my second ship & I was a Deck Boy.
I remember Del Monicos and the Ticky Hock bar in the old station.
I also remember that an old boy, who was in charge of the Seapoint Swimming Pool, used to keep it open for an extra hour just so that us boys could get a swim.
I'm trying to think of the drinking hole in P E, it only served medicenal brandy, we might have had to take it in ourselves.
I wasn't keen on Union Castle, they were very tight with the overtime. Good crews though.

john ward
6th June 2009, 00:01
Tikky hock yes! Once I was getting rid of some of it in the nearby gents and gave a friendly nod to a neighbouring "stallholder" who looked very surprised to see me, and on leaving I looked round and found I had just used the non-whites loo and could have ended up in big trouble with the law! The station has moved up Adderley St. now and the whole city has changed.

FANTAIL
27th November 2009, 03:53
Well that was some interesting reading on the Capetown Castle,

I did one trip as a assistant lining keeper 10 june 1965
being I was the last too sign on, it was the only job going,
But I did enjoy that trip,placed a photo on Life on board.

Fantail

Swingle
10th October 2012, 05:23
Hi - I'm a new boy so not sure where this post might end up!
I was a passenger on the Capetown Castle on that fateful voyage that ended on October 17, 1960. I am currently writing a personal memoir and wonder if anyone can help me on two items.
As I remember the captain welcomed us aboard during our first meal with the reassuring words "...welcome aboard the Warwick Castle..." Can anyone substantiate this.
I thought it worth mentioning but don't want to do an injustice. Perhaps Captain Byles had just transferred from the Warwick Castle?
Second. I watched as my new wife and other women and children got into one of the first lifeboats. It seemed that the lifeboat came down to a comfortable boarding level and everyone designated got in. Once fully loaded an officer above gave an order and a seaman in the bow appeared to knock out a pin. The steward (from Malta I recall) in the stern did not seem to understand the command. There was a delay until one of the passengers translated the command into Spanish and then things went ahead smoothly. Naturally we were all a bit shook up so I don't trust my memory.
Thanks to anyone who can help.

Swingle
12th October 2012, 06:57
Capetown Castle. I have a further question concerning the fatal voyage of October 1960. The day before the explosion we passengers noticed that the ship was noticeably listing and asked a ship's officer about it. He told us it was normal half way through a voyage for the freshwater tanks on one side to be used up causing a list. I thought this was odd and that surely there was a of balancing the water pumped from tanks so this wouldn't happen. Can anyone shed any light?

Bleurk
19th November 2013, 13:58
I sailed from Southampton to Cape Town with my family in December 1963 when my Dad was assigned to HMS Afrikander for two years. Dad is convinced we sailed on 30th November 1963 which according to my computer was a Saturday which doesn't fit in with the posts above saying it would have been a Thursday. Does anyone know the actual dates of that run - I believe we stopped off at Las Palmas on the way down.

Thanks

Chris Isaac
20th November 2013, 07:39
I sailed from Southampton to Cape Town with my family in December 1963 when my Dad was assigned to HMS Afrikander for two years. Dad is convinced we sailed on 30th November 1963 which according to my computer was a Saturday which doesn't fit in with the posts above saying it would have been a Thursday. Does anyone know the actual dates of that run - I believe we stopped off at Las Palmas on the way down.

Thanks

According to the Crew List published she sailed from Southampton on Thursday 28th November under the command of Captain Alec Hort.
http://www.bandcstaffregister.co.uk/page1834.html

More about the ship can be found here:
http://www.bandcstaffregister.co.uk/page188.html

Bleurk
20th November 2013, 10:53
Chris, thanks. That is just brilliant. The Movietone video is just so how I remembered it especially the crossing the line ceremony. Brilliant. I have copied to my Dad so he can have a butchers too.

DURANGO
2nd December 2013, 17:06
I was first trip e.d.h on the Rothesay castle when the Capetown castle had the engine room incident I think we laid alongside her for 10 days in Las Palmas assisting with power to her fridges to save her cargo .

Hails for eric pell
8th May 2014, 16:15
My great uncle was Eric Pell from Hartlepool who was a stoker we ebelive and onbard this ship at the time of the expolision. He spent many months in hospital and told my ather (then 10yrs old) of how he helped saved his fellow sailors. His face was pretty messed up my father recalls but healed as i dont recall a scary looking man when i was a child, but a lovely man of many a tale from around the world. He left me a Down bros makers wooden box with red velvet lining full of coins from his travels. Funnily im here today as i found this box again and asked my father about Eric. Any info would be fabulous for me to add to my family tree. He sadly passed away in 1996. Thanks Hayley
hayleyforsyth2000@hotmail.com

Hails for eric pell
8th May 2014, 17:32
Can anyone link the Cape Town Castle to Edinburgh Castle in and around the time of the explosion Oct 1960? We as a family understood my great uncle Eric Pell was aboard the Cape Town but ive just found online on ancestry.com an incoming passenger list Nov 11 th 1960 from Durban South Africa arriving in Southampton, official number 3007/01 (does this number relate to Eric or the ship or register?) on the Edinburgh Castle ship and NOT the cape town ship?
Could he have been transferred after the explosion and re entered UK from the edinburgh? thanks for any help on this mystery. Hayley

R58484956
9th May 2014, 09:24
Not official number of either ship.

ChasH
24th June 2014, 23:52
Hi. All the Lavender Ladies sailed from Southampton on Thursdays at 4pm on the dot, was delayed once, something to do with Winston Churchill but I've forgotten the details now. I did three trips on the Stirling and spent many a happy hour in Del Monicos. Does anyone remember the Ticky Hock bar at Capetown station, hic hic. Cheers to all. Ken.

yes visited many times i think it was adderly st station, and the del monicos first saw cherry wayner playing there good memories all the best chasH