Looking for old Union Castle shipmates

paul jacobs
18th May 2004, 21:09
I have only resently joined and have enjoyed many moments looking back at the past I would like to know if there are any shipmates out there who saled on the Capetown Castle,Durban Castle, Kenya Castle and Rotherwick Castle. I will send a few pictures when i get the knack of the page, Regards
Keep up the good work,
Paul

Ian
18th May 2004, 23:37
Hi Paul,
It's Ian again.
Great that you are asking the question. We are still very much in the early days with the site. Glad you liked the pics. on <mnnostalgia.com>.
The Capetown shot is a particularly good one.
I did my turn on the Stirling and Edinburgh. Both great ships but were, even then in '60/61, getting somewhat long in the tooth. The PA system which was one of my responsabilities I'm sure came out of the ark!
The Pendennis was my favourite as I did some stints as shore staff R/O for a while before being assigned the Stirling. Big difference in the accommodation I can tell you......
Good luck with any contacts that may come along. Never mind the ships, we are also getting pretty 'long in the tooth' these days but there must be quite a few ex U-C lads around.
Regards,
Ian
(Admin).

paul jacobs
20th May 2004, 20:06
Hi Ian, Yes I am afraid that our age counts against us and we will never be allowed to sail as crew members again but we can share and pass on our experiences and memories. I would like to add a few photos of ships I sailed on and a bit of the history how can I pass on the info. I noticed a new addition (where have they gone) do you require info or have you the info.
Thankyou for replying I am enjoying your notes, Sorry Ian did you marry your lady from SA.

Regards ,
Paul

oldbosun
9th July 2004, 00:40
I have only resently joined and have enjoyed many moments looking back at the past I would like to know if there are any shipmates out there who saled on the Capetown Castle,Durban Castle, Kenya Castle and Rotherwick Castle. I will send a few pictures when i get the knack of the page, Regards
Keep up the good work,
Paul

Hi Paul, I sailed on Bloemfontein Castle, Good Hope Castle, Reibeeck Castle, Roxburgh Castle. I sailed AB in those days. (Early 50's) Always enjoyed the run down to the Cape and all the ports up the East Coast. I have many happy memories. I have got photos of these ships if you want them, but I think all Union Castle photos are available on their website. Best wishes....Peter

Ian
9th July 2004, 21:59
Hi Paul and welcome to the site.
You may also wish to take a look at my personal site at <mnnostalgia.com> regarding Union-Castle.
I sailed as R/O in the early sixties.
Both Steve and I look forward to seeing some of your pics.
Hope you check in often.
Regards from Montreal,

Ian Coombe
ex Edinburgh and Stirling Castle..........

R58484956
5th June 2005, 15:22
I sailed Good Hope Castle in 1955 as an engineer, one night on watch we were pumping from deep tank to ready use tank which normally took about 20 minutes, after about an hour it dawned us what we were doing, we had been having a chat. Stopped pumping and went on deck and had a look, could not step on deck too much oil,after masthead light out, covered in oil, (bit of a wind blowing) Better tell chief, we thought he was going to have a heart attack,"my god laddie what about my pension"
Chief I am a stupid engineer and accept full responsabilty and will put it in writting, anyway I wanted to leave Union castle when we arrved back in UK. nothing more was said. The deck and engine crew made a fortune on overtime cleaning the mess up. Incidently they had just finished painting the ship overall.

oldbosun
5th June 2005, 16:36
Hi Ian. You mentioned operating the PA system on the Edinburgh Castle and
Stirling Castle.
Did you play music all day too, like a disc jockey.
On the Bloemfontein Castle there was a bloke and that was his only job. He wasn't the ships sparks and he musta bin a crew member and not an officer because he used to drink in the crew bar.
Anyway, whenever we got within a couple of days from Capetown he used tto be in touch with a radio station there and messages from passengers and their families were exchanged. I thought that was a class touch from Union Castle and that shore station. (Applause)
Was that done on all the Castle boats do you know?

RCHARLTON
5th June 2005, 17:53
Hi Paul,
I sailed on the Kenya Castle as a passenger in 1963 long before I knew I would end up in the merchant navy myself. The trip was for three weeks from Mombasa to Durban and back with stops in Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Beira, and Lorenco Marques. It was a great experience made even more memorable by the fact we had a murder on board.

Ray Charlton

awateah2
6th June 2005, 01:15
Hi Paul, Welcome to the site, there seems to be a lot of old 'Shellbacks' amongst us but its good to remember the good times. I sailed in the 'Pretoria Castle for two trips in 1963 (The year that Britain froze) Captain Smyth and also the 'Rotherwick Castle' the same year, Captain Armstrong. I remember the Mate was Mr Zugg who I believe ended up as pilot in Capetown and the 2nd Mate who's name I forget clambered aboard my ship at the Nab Tower as a Portsmouth pilot and we never stopped chatting until well after F.W.E.
Enjoy the site,

julian anstis
6th June 2005, 10:24
Welcome aboard Paul,

I see you have replies coming in thick and fast......are'nt you glad you joined now........only problem being this site's infectious!....be warned.

Hope you enjoy......Julian

Gordon Rew
29th October 2005, 03:22
Hi everyone, I'm new to this site too. It's very good from what I see so far. I did one voyage on the Riebeeck Castle in Sept: 1957 and did three trips as an AB 'hatchman' on the Kenya Castle from Nov: 1959 till June 1960. The following is a little info I gathered along the way which may be of interest to someone.

'RIEBEECK CASTLE was built in 1946 by Harland & Wolff in Belfast with a tonnage of 8322grt, a length of 474ft 2in, a beam of 63ft 4in and a service speed of 16 knots. She was delivered on 11th March 1945 to carry fruit from South Africa on the northbound voyage and general cargo on the southbound voyage. After a career which lasted 26 years she arrived at Kaohsiung on 2nd September 1971 where she was broken up.'

All the best
Gordon Rew

R58484956
29th October 2005, 11:18
Welcome Gordon to the site, you are now amongst the ex seafaring community, enjoy the site and all it has to offer. (ex UCSS co)

ruud
29th October 2005, 12:59
Ahoy Paul & Gordon,
Welcome aboard, enjoy yourself on this fine ship and her crew, as we do; looking forward to your postings

Gerry Barfoot
15th November 2008, 10:20
Life seems tame now that I am retired,there was always alot going on at sea.But we have booked a trip to Capetown May 2009.Lets see how much it has changed

gdynia
29th May 2009, 23:29
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy the voyage

j p
24th November 2009, 17:54
hi having read with interest all your threads on varies castle boats sadly no one mentioned the only castle boat i sailed on Rowallan castle she was a friut boat loading from cape town up the east coast east london durban etc through the seuz into italy then home my trip was from oct 1958 to feb 1959 good to know if anyone remembers her j p

david l brooks
19th August 2011, 02:31
Hi Paul,
I sailed on the Kenya Castle as a passenger in 1963 long before I knew I would end up in the merchant navy myself. The trip was for three weeks from Mombasa to Durban and back with stops in Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Beira, and Lorenco Marques. It was a great experience made even more memorable by the fact we had a murder on board.

Ray Charlton

david brooks here iwas on that trip as asst steward one of many trips in my 3yrs with the kenya castle,the incident you mentioned,one of the night stewards was having problems with the chief night steward,he killed him with a blow to the head with a port key,when he didnt show for shift they went to his cabin ,it was licked but they saw blood on floor through the slats in the bottom of the door.scotland yard was flown out ,he was in the brig for a while, taken back to london for trial,and sentenced to "queens pleasure" i always wondered if he ever got out?well i could go on and on always look forward to reading stories from the past, all best dave

david l brooks
19th August 2011, 02:37
david brooks here iwas on that trip as asst steward one of many trips in my 3yrs with the kenya castle,the incident you mentioned,one of the night stewards was having problems with the chief night steward,he killed him with a blow to the head with a port key,when he didnt show for shift they went to his cabin ,it was licked but they saw blood on floor through the slats in the bottom of the door.scotland yard was flown out ,he was in the brig for a while, taken back to london for trial,and sentenced to "queens pleasure" i always wondered if he ever got out?well i could go on and on always look forward to reading stories from the past, all best dave also i probably served you.

paddy mcdonnell
19th August 2011, 04:17
There was also a murder on the Durban Castle,not while I was in it,I joined it 3 years later(1952) A stewart murdered a S.A. movie star and pushed her body through the port hole,does anyone remember that? Paddy McDonnell

david l brooks
19th August 2011, 12:02
There was also a murder on the Durban Castle,not while I was in it,I joined it 3 years later(1952) A stewart murdered a S.A. movie star and pushed her body through the port hole,does anyone remember that? Paddy McDonnell

i was told that story but didnt know it was that early thanks for info good luck

R58484956
19th August 2011, 19:21
Gay Gibson was the girl. Camb was the steward.

Chris Isaac
19th August 2011, 20:32
HE was a handsome deck steward with a penchant for female passengers, she a glamorous actress with dreams of making it in London's West End.

Both were sailing aboard the Durban Castle from Capetown in October 1947 but only one would reach their destination.

�It was the hell of a splash when she hit the water,� he supposedly told a witness the next day. �She struggled, I had my hands around her neck and when I was trying to pullthem away she scratched me. I panicked and threw her out of the porthole."
Killer, James Camb

When the ship docked in Southampton it was met by police officers, eager to search cabin 126 where actress Gay Gibson had mysteriously disappeared - and to question steward James Camb, suspected of killing the 21-year-old and pushing her body out of the porthole into the sharkinfested Atlantic Ocean.

Camb, 31, was a sexual predator who had attempted to seduce many female passengers.

Gay Gibson - real name Eileen Isabella Ronnie Gibson - had quickly caught his eye. The daughter of an English businessman, Gibson had always hankered after a life on the stage. She made a name for herself in South Africa playing the lead in The Man With a Load of Mischief opposite former British boxing champion Eric Boon but was keen for fame and fortune on a larger scale.

Missing Camb could not resist her and flaunted ship's regulations by being seen with her near her first class cabin on B deck. Even a ticking off from a senior officer failed to deter him.

On October 18 1947, when the liner was about 150 miles off the west coast of Africa, the striking actress was reported missing. The captain immediately turned the ship about but a desperate search of the water found no trace of the young woman. Gibson was last seen alive at 1am, leaning against a rail and smoking a cigarette, still wearing the black evening dress and shoes she had worn for dinner that sultry night in the tropics.

She told the night watchman it was "too hot down below" and she couldn't sleep. At 3am the same officer, James Murray, answered a call from her cabin and saw two lights on, indicating she had summoned both the steward and stewardess. Thinking this was strange, Murray tried to enter the cabin but his passage was blocked by Camb who opened the door a crack and assured him, "It's all right".

Assuming Camb was answering Gibson's call, Murray left. But his suspicions were aroused the next morning when Gibson failed to appear, and he reported the night's events to the captain.

Camb denied being in Cabin 126 that night but, when examined by the ship's surgeon, was found with scratches on his wrists and shoulders.

He claimed the wounds were self-inflicted, saying he had scratched himself in the night and rubbed himself with a rough towel. But when the ship docked in Southampton, Camb changed his story, claiming he and Gibson had enjoyed consensual sex but that she had suffered a sudden fit and died.

When he could not revive her, he claimed, he panicked and pushed her lifeless body through the porthole. But a second contradictory statement suggests Gibson may not have been dead when Camb threw her overboard.

"It was the hell of a splash when she hit the water," he supposedly told a witness the next day.

"She struggled, I had my hands around her neck and when I was trying to pull them away she scratched me. I panicked and threw her out of the porthole."

Camb was charged with Gibson's murder and on March 10 1948 his trial opened before Mr Justice Hilbury. An array of exhibits lay in front of the jury including a replica of Cabin 126 and - crucially - cabin linen smeared with Gibson's blood and saliva.

Camb confidently took the witness box but throughout his testimony he could never adequately explain why he had not summoned help and why he had disposed of the body. His defence began to unravel further when, under cross examination, he admitted he had changed his story no less than six times as a matter of self preservation.

"Don't you think that was curious conduct from a truthful person?" the barrister suggested.

"I should say it was beastly conduct," Camb admitted.

But it was one final piece of evidence which sealed Camb's fate. Dr Frederick Hocking discovered dried urine on the linen. He explained it was common for the bladder to discharge its contents during strangulation.

Camb was doomed and it took jurors just 45 minutes to find him guilty.

It may have been quicker had they known he had accosted three other women on three different trips, but the evidence had been deemed inadmissible.

Camb was sentenced to hang but cheated the gallows. At the time a no-hanging bill was being discussed by Parliament so his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

In September 1959 Camb was released on licence and got a job as a waiter. He kept out of trouble for several years but was eventually arrested for sexual offences against school girls and was sent back to prison for the remainder of his original sentence.

He was released in 1978, still protesting his innocence, and died a year later from heart failure.

Gay Gibson's body was never discovered.

billyboy
19th August 2011, 22:53
A warm welcome aboard from the Philippines. Please enjoy all this great site has to offer

threebs
29th January 2012, 14:33
Hi Paul, I sailed on Bloemfontein Castle, Good Hope Castle, Reibeeck Castle, Roxburgh Castle. I sailed AB in those days. (Early 50's) Always enjoyed the run down to the Cape and all the ports up the East Coast. I have many happy memories. I have got photos of these ships if you want them, but I think all Union Castle photos are available on their website. Best wishes....Peter

Hello Peter. I served on the Riebeeck Castle 1959-60 and wondered if your offer of a photo is still going. I would like one to use as a desktop background.

Many thanks. Regards from the UK. threebs

threebs7@aol.com

Bosun ken
30th January 2012, 00:24
Can any one of you ( U.C .line) remember or knew Bob Jermy , served in the Durban Castle from Bellboy through to A.B. Between 1939 - 46

Mic Errington
30th January 2012, 13:02
My father was on the Rochester Castle as a RA Gunner some time after she was on operation pedestal I believe. Just a long shot but anyone have any tales about that ship / those times
Sadly it is unlikely that anyone there then is still around but you never know. My father was a sailor, a proper one on Thames Sailing barges, before the war so with previous experience at sea volunteered for armed merchantmen which is how he ended up with the DEMs.

david l brooks
30th January 2012, 13:16
a bit before my time sorry ken

stan mayes
30th January 2012, 13:32
Hi Mic,
I was in sailing barges for four and half years from 1936 and
was with Goldsmith's of Grays...Which company did your Dad
sail in?
Stan

Mic Errington
31st January 2012, 23:00
Hi there,
He was with Everards and sailed on the Cambria with Bob .... Bob ... damit forgot his name, might have been Roberts? but he wrote a good book called Last of the Sailormen all about life on the barges. I have moved to Yorkshire now so never see the few still afloat down on the Medway / Thames but the Cambria has been restored and I hope to go down there one of these days to look her over.

nice to hear from you, there cannot be many sailormen left now so I hope you are well.

stan mayes
1st February 2012, 00:12
Hi Mic,
I knew Bob Roberts many years ago - he had Greenhithe and Martinet
before Cambria.He wrote a few books and made a couple of records of
shanty style music..
Yes,Cambria has been restored and looks wonderful..
She will soon have a permanent mooring here at Gravesend.
Thankyou for your good wishes and as you say there are not many of
us ex sailormen around now.....I am 90..

Mic Errington
1st February 2012, 16:08
A permanent mooring in Gravesend would be good to see, I love to see a forest of masts on old photos of river traffic and these barges were particularly lovely in their own way.
My first ship was with Everards too but a little tanker called Agility. I had been approved to go to the sea school in Gravesend but found myself out of work about 6 months before my appointed day to start. Dad took me down to the office in Greenhythe and we spoke to some chap behind a counter or hatch of some kind. When I said I had been accepted for the sea school he said something like ‘Oh you are probably ok then, we’ll send you a telegram if something comes up’. Expecting nothing I was very surprised a few days later to be told to report to the Agility in Coringham or Coryton, Essex anyway and so my time at sea started.

When I got to the sea school on the first day someone got the class together and went around everyone asking what they had done before coming there. Most were straight from school and some had other jobs. He got to me and I said Merchant Navy, he was quite cross and said it was impossible as I’d only just got there so I explained. ‘Oh’ he said ‘Everards’ as if that explained everything. All the other boys nicknamed me ancient mariner after that. I didn’t mind in the least :)

It’s great chat to a real ancient mariner, keep well. My mother is also 90, she called me a few minutes ago to ask me to get her a new mouse for her computer, so you are not alone in being a senior surfer.

barrie butler
9th February 2012, 16:36
hi paul my first trip to sea was on the rotherwick 1961 as galley boy.wish i could meet that 2nd cook today[he was a pig]i joined with a few hull lads one of whom tony searby also catering.found it to be most exciting sailing the europe east africa to the cape st helena madiera and payed off at king george london.later to serve on athlone castle as saloon stwd. happy days

NOEL MUTCH
25th June 2012, 13:10
Welcome Gordon to the site, you are now amongst the ex seafaring community, enjoy the site and all it has to offer. (ex UCSS co)

Can any one of you ( U.C .line) remember or knew Bob Jermy , served in the Durban Castle from Bellboy through to A.B. Between 1939 - 46

HAVE ONLY RECENTLY JOINED S/N SITE AND CAME ACROSS MESSAGES RELATING TO UNION CASTLE. I RETURNED TO UK FROM INDIA (BOMBAY) IN 1946 HAVING VOLUNTEERED TO JOIN THE ROXBURGH CASTLE IN ORDER TO DISARM HER(MY TRUE INTEREST WAS TO VISIT SOUTH AFRICA) ON THE WAY HOME. WE HAD FINISHED THE DISARMING JOB BEFORE REACHING EAST AFRICA (BEIRA) SO THE VOYAGE THEREAFTER WAS VIRTUALLY A CRUISE AND ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I EVER VOLUNTEERED FOR. NICE SHIP,GOOD ACCOMODATION AND FOOD COMPARED TO WHAT I HAD EXPERIENCED FOR THE PAST 18 MONTHS . MY SEAGOING CAREER FINISHED IN 1954 WITH A SPELL OF SOME 6/7 YEARS WITH HARRISON LINE OF LIVERPOOL DON'T EXPECT TO HEAR FROM ANYONE BUT IT WOULD BE NICE IF I DO.

R58484956
25th June 2012, 17:22
Greetings Noel and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

david l brooks
25th June 2012, 23:41
sorry way before my time, good luck

ben27
28th December 2012, 00:57
hy noel mutch.like you i am a new menber.so firstly greetings and welcome.i was looking at all the castle line messages.all very interesting. but your rang a bell.i went and got my discharge book.and cheked before i sent this message.i was on the roxburgh castle as 2end cook and baker in 1947,on the south african run.she carried about 12 passengers.and mainly cargo,nise ship.nice to meet you ben27

NOEL MUTCH
28th December 2012, 17:32
Hello Ben27 - Just Come Across Your Message, Which Came As A Pleasant Surprise, Concerning Your Time Aboard The Roxbrough Castle In 1947. This Prompted Me To Look At My Naval Record, Which Incidentally I Have Only Recently Obtained From The R.n.
Records Office. I Think I Did Mention In My Original Message Some Months Ago That I Was Royal Navy D.e.m.s. Gunner . I Joined The Roxbrough In Bombay 3.5.1946 Together With ,i Think Six Or So Other Gunners With The Intention Of Disarming The Ship As Ww11 Had Come To An End. You Mentioned Being On Board In 1947 As 2nd Cook Well All I Can Say To That, Assuming You Were Aboard At The Same Time, Is -" Thank You" Because The Food During Our Stay, Compared To What I Had Experienced Over The Previous 18 Months, Was Very Good. I Will Leave It At That For Now- Cheers

ben27
28th December 2012, 23:50
good day noel mutch.re; roxbrough castle.i think i missed you.i only heard about guns from your message.nobody said enything about it to me on my voyage.as i said before it was a good ship.great food of course.ha.ha. glad you enjoyed your stay.come to think of it you may have been fed by my chief.he would have sailed on the roxbrough when you where a passenger.have a good one ben27

ben27
29th December 2012, 00:07
hy again noal mutch.i just noted you were in the r,n. d.e.m.s,i have not worked out how post a message on the board.so i will ask you.have any menbers been in the t124x.i was,so i would like to hear from anybody.maybe there dad or grandad was in it.i was on h.m.s.patroller.and h.m.s reaper.both woolworth carriers.thanks for your help.ben27

NOEL MUTCH
29th December 2012, 19:30
Hello ben27 - In response to your messages dated 28th and 29th Dec: I think we are getting a bit mixed-up . My time on board Roxbrough Castle was as a DEMS gunner not as a passenger there were about 6 of us and our accomodation was on the boatdeck aft. After leaving Bombay in May 1946 we called at Beira,Lorenco Marques,Durban,Port Eliz: ,Capetown and the Canaries for bunkers finally docking at Tilbury on June 26th I think .

ben27
30th December 2012, 00:15
good morning noal mutch.re; your e mail.29-12-2012 you say i or we are getting mixed up about weather you where working on the ship or a passenger.in your message 25 june.2o12 you said when you finished the job the voyage was virtuly a cruise.you write as if you became a passenger.sorry if i missunderstood.alls well as long as you had a good voyage.happy new yeur to you and yours.ben27

rkm
5th January 2014, 05:08
Sailed later on the Rotherwick than some of people here. I was on 1975. Done two trips. Other Cayzer Irvine managed vessels, Clan McNair and Clan Graham.
Was there not a woman stowaway thrown overboard on the Rotherwick at one time?

gasa
17th March 2014, 22:28
I'm looking for engine room plans for rotherwick castle

Vindi Phil
28th March 2014, 16:09
Hi! Paul,
I sailed on Union Castle From London's KGV & Southampton between 1958 & 1962 on deck starting with the Warwick Castle, Rhodesia Castle, Rotherwick Castle , Rothesay Castle & Stirling Castle. I think my happiest "Castle" boats were the Rotherwick & Rothesay as they were small cargo ships with good accommodation.
I noticed reference to the "old" place names on the African coast, can't find them on new maps as they've changed to new names.
Vindi Phil.

Chris Isaac
28th March 2014, 16:20
Have a look on my B&C web site for UC ships and people. You may find people you know. Even if you dont then please register so that your details can be inserted and someone may find you

edcasey
16th October 2014, 11:09
trying to find out timetable for Windsor castle September 1971,sailed Southampton sept 15, I think it would return fri 17th oct, but not sure,trying to find dates for las palmas, capetown ,east London, Durban, capetown, madeira, would appreciate any help ...ed

Mick Spear
16th October 2014, 12:16
HE was a handsome deck steward with a penchant for female passengers, she a glamorous actress with dreams of making it in London's West End.

Both were sailing aboard the Durban Castle from Capetown in October 1947 but only one would reach their destination.

�It was the hell of a splash when she hit the water,� he supposedly told a witness the next day. �She struggled, I had my hands around her neck and when I was trying to pullthem away she scratched me. I panicked and threw her out of the porthole."
Killer, James Camb

When the ship docked in Southampton it was met by police officers, eager to search cabin 126 where actress Gay Gibson had mysteriously disappeared - and to question steward James Camb, suspected of killing the 21-year-old and pushing her body out of the porthole into the sharkinfested Atlantic Ocean.

Camb, 31, was a sexual predator who had attempted to seduce many female passengers.

Gay Gibson - real name Eileen Isabella Ronnie Gibson - had quickly caught his eye. The daughter of an English businessman, Gibson had always hankered after a life on the stage. She made a name for herself in South Africa playing the lead in The Man With a Load of Mischief opposite former British boxing champion Eric Boon but was keen for fame and fortune on a larger scale.

Missing Camb could not resist her and flaunted ship's regulations by being seen with her near her first class cabin on B deck. Even a ticking off from a senior officer failed to deter him.

On October 18 1947, when the liner was about 150 miles off the west coast of Africa, the striking actress was reported missing. The captain immediately turned the ship about but a desperate search of the water found no trace of the young woman. Gibson was last seen alive at 1am, leaning against a rail and smoking a cigarette, still wearing the black evening dress and shoes she had worn for dinner that sultry night in the tropics.

She told the night watchman it was "too hot down below" and she couldn't sleep. At 3am the same officer, James Murray, answered a call from her cabin and saw two lights on, indicating she had summoned both the steward and stewardess. Thinking this was strange, Murray tried to enter the cabin but his passage was blocked by Camb who opened the door a crack and assured him, "It's all right".

Assuming Camb was answering Gibson's call, Murray left. But his suspicions were aroused the next morning when Gibson failed to appear, and he reported the night's events to the captain.

Camb denied being in Cabin 126 that night but, when examined by the ship's surgeon, was found with scratches on his wrists and shoulders.

He claimed the wounds were self-inflicted, saying he had scratched himself in the night and rubbed himself with a rough towel. But when the ship docked in Southampton, Camb changed his story, claiming he and Gibson had enjoyed consensual sex but that she had suffered a sudden fit and died.

When he could not revive her, he claimed, he panicked and pushed her lifeless body through the porthole. But a second contradictory statement suggests Gibson may not have been dead when Camb threw her overboard.

"It was the hell of a splash when she hit the water," he supposedly told a witness the next day.

"She struggled, I had my hands around her neck and when I was trying to pull them away she scratched me. I panicked and threw her out of the porthole."

Camb was charged with Gibson's murder and on March 10 1948 his trial opened before Mr Justice Hilbury. An array of exhibits lay in front of the jury including a replica of Cabin 126 and - crucially - cabin linen smeared with Gibson's blood and saliva.

Camb confidently took the witness box but throughout his testimony he could never adequately explain why he had not summoned help and why he had disposed of the body. His defence began to unravel further when, under cross examination, he admitted he had changed his story no less than six times as a matter of self preservation.

"Don't you think that was curious conduct from a truthful person?" the barrister suggested.

"I should say it was beastly conduct," Camb admitted.

But it was one final piece of evidence which sealed Camb's fate. Dr Frederick Hocking discovered dried urine on the linen. He explained it was common for the bladder to discharge its contents during strangulation.

Camb was doomed and it took jurors just 45 minutes to find him guilty.

It may have been quicker had they known he had accosted three other women on three different trips, but the evidence had been deemed inadmissible.

Camb was sentenced to hang but cheated the gallows. At the time a no-hanging bill was being discussed by Parliament so his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

In September 1959 Camb was released on licence and got a job as a waiter. He kept out of trouble for several years but was eventually arrested for sexual offences against school girls and was sent back to prison for the remainder of his original sentence.

He was released in 1978, still protesting his innocence, and died a year later from heart failure.

Gay Gibson's body was never discovered.

Great read. Thanks for posting Chris.
Mick S

chadburn
16th October 2014, 12:42
The Public were conned when they were told that the replacement for hanging would be WHOLE LIFE sentences. How many have been released from Prison and have Murdered or attempted Murder again. The Aberdeen Axe Man was one.