Seeking name of a ship sailing Bombay to Southhampton 1947

Lindy Gregg
12th August 2009, 00:44
Hullo to all members. What a great web site. I am trying to track down some of my family's history. I left India at the age of 7, with my family. After 4 years in the UK my family emigrated to New Zealand. Now we are trying to write up our family's history.
Does anyone know the name of the first passenger ship leaving Bombay after India gained Independance? My Father and all our family travelled on that ship, returning to the UK, when my Father left the British Indian Army as it became the Indian Army. My Mother (95 years) does not remember the name of the ship. I am really keen to know it's name for our family records. Thank you to anyone who can help

12th August 2009, 01:37
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy the voyage

12th August 2009, 11:27
Greetings Lindy and a warm welcome to SN. I expect someone will come up with an answer to your question. Bon voyage.

Mike Kemble
12th August 2009, 11:35

might be of some help?

12th August 2009, 12:12
Hello Lindy, and from Dunedin, welcome to Ships Nostalgia.

Not sure of the first passenger vessel to leave Bombay after independence, but the first vessel to leave with British Army personnel was the troopship 'Georgic' which sailed on Independence Day from Ballard Pier for Liverpool. Do you know which regiment your father served in? The website may offer some assistance (scroll down page).


12th August 2009, 12:20
Welcome aboard from the Philippines. Enjoy all this great site has to offer

K urgess
12th August 2009, 13:39
Welcome aboard, Lindy.
I see the crew have been their usual helpful selves already.
Find your way around our ship and have an enjoyable voyage.

Mike Kemble
12th August 2009, 13:50

image is the Georgic in 1949

1700 Sahibs leave India with a song headed an article by Sydney Smith about the first troops to withdraw from India, the Royal Norfolks, 48 hours after the transfer of British power. 'On police and rescue duties in Bengal and the Punjab, the arrival of British troops at a trouble spot had stopped every riot. They saved 2000 Sikh lives among the bullets of sniping raiders in the blazing little town of Kahuta. In the middle of it, 20 year old Lt Chris Kirby rescued a Sikh woman and brought her baby boy into the world in the roadway of a flaming street. They are the heirs to the first Norfolks who came to India 112 years ago, the men who left their dead at the storming of the Khyber Pass in the Afghan War which ended in 1842. From 1700 lusty British throats a great wave of spontaneous song swept down from the MV Georgic’s side over a Bombay quay this morning. Ten feet out, as the dozen hawsers slackened and were cast away, they sang 'Bless ‘em all, bless ‘em all'. Then out of the rainy monsoon mist of Bombay harbour they flung back the words of 'Rule Britannia'. Growing fainter across the oily green water, the singing changed and died with 'Auld Lang Syne'. Then the rain squalls curtained off the deckloads of suntanned faces. And they were gone. Down in B Coy hold were George Middleton from Shipdham, Jim Chapman from Great Yarmouth and Ron Graver of Blofield.' 2 years before I was born, to the day!!!

1944, her exterior was completely redone. The first (front) funnel had been removed and the fore mast had been shortened. She resumed service as a troop transport, and the Georgic resumed war duties between Italy, the Middle East and India until 1948, when she was returned to Cunard-White Star and began the immigrant service between Liverpool, Australia (, and New Zealand ( May 1950,

Lindy Gregg
13th August 2009, 12:47
Wow!! You lot are amazing. Thanks for your warm welcomes and suggestions. I never expected such a quick reply from so many quarters. Thank you all. I will follow up some of the web sites and see how i fare. My Father was an instructor in the Royal Garwhal Rifles. We were based in Lansdowne at the base of the Himalayas. Georgic doesn't ring any bells, but I was only seven!!.

13th August 2009, 13:36
Two P & O liners running from Bombay to UK in 1947 were the Canton & Maloja, both of which I sailed in as a child. However, they sailed, as far as I remember, to Tilbury and not Southampton. I sailed in both (Maloja out and Canton home) as my late father served in the Indian Navy for a while after Independence Day.

Lindy Gregg
13th August 2009, 22:44
I somehow seem to have a vague memory that the ship was previously a troop ship that was originally a passenger ship and (maybe this is my fantasy!) but that originally it was one of the "Queens" or another very well known passenger vessel. Does this ring any bells with anyone at all? Thanks for your suggestion Noddy-Billing

Mike Kemble
14th August 2009, 19:32
The Georgic fits that category too and was a Cunard vessel.

14th August 2009, 21:31
Georgic was actually White Star Line and was, I think, the last ship built for White Star before the line was forced into a marriage with Cunard as a way of ensuring the survival of WS, which never really recovered from the Titanic debacle. Georgic was taken over by the government as a troop ship at the beginning of WW2, as so many fine ships were at that time, and she served well until she was bombed in, I think, Alexandria harbour. She ended up catching fire and sinking but the fire was put out. She was salvaged and put to use again.

After the war she made a couple of trips out to Australia carrying British Migrants travelling under the Assisted Passage Scheme. I was a junior shipping clerk in the Melbourne office of the P&O Managing Agents - Macdonald, Hamilton & Co - and went aboard her in Port Philip Bay taking the passenger and crew mail. I well remember looking down her side, when we were alongside at Station Pier, and seeing the fire damage still visable on her flanks....the metal was corrugated with the heat of the fire and had not been replaced or hammered out.

Dulcibella (Ian)

Bernard McIver
15th August 2009, 01:23
I sailed from Bombay on the Arundel Castle. Cannot recall the sailing date but disembarked in Southampton on 25 July 1947. Went out to India on the Georgic and well remember the "wavy walls" caused by the fire.

Lindy Gregg
15th August 2009, 02:37
Well now. Cunard rings a bell but not Georgic - I will ask Mum when I call her tonight. I'm becoming fascinated with the little tid-bits of information that are surfacing, as well people's own stories related to them. Thank you Ian and Mike for your responses. As it transpires, Ian, we emigrated to NZ in 1951 on the Tamaroa, but we were paid passages and on the upper decks - the NZArmy said they would give my Father a temporary post if he paid his own passage out. Not easy with 5 children. I just loved that sea voyage. What people miss by flying they don't know!

Lindy Gregg
29th August 2009, 05:43
Hi folks,
Mike Kemble? I went into as you suggested, and saw that they had all the passenger lists since 1800 and something! but joining up was so expensive that I delayed. Then a relation, who is doing our family tree had to do a search in and she put my families name in and found out that we travelled from Bombay to Southhampton on the Otranto. The Otranto belonged to the Orient Steam Navigation Co. Ltd (Operated by P & ) Unfortunately it didn't show the dates of the sailing. Does anyone know anything about the history of this ship, or the date it sailed from Bombay to Southhampton?

Mike Kemble
29th August 2009, 19:43


ian d.cameron
29th August 2009, 20:36
Hi Lindy, according to the National Archives there are three possible voyages where passengers embarked on the OTRANTO in Bombay. The dates on the right are dates of disembakment. If you find the right one I am sure there are old salts onboard who can give you a pretty good estimate of her voyage time from Bombay to Southampton

Lindy Gregg
12th September 2009, 04:29
Thanks Mike Kemble and Ian Cameron, for the links you posted for me. I have checked out all your links Mike and got some interesting info. but nothing about the Otranto's voyages in 1947. Ian your link came up with a message to say that NAtional Archives could not find the page related to that link, and so it was posted as an error?? Could you check the link for me and see if it has an error in it? Thank you for your help.

Mike Kemble
12th September 2009, 10:05
Decided to have another look, but just using otranto and 1947, and found this discussion:,%202,%203,%20all,%20req&expand=yes&topic=3078


[PDF] Encyclopaedia Peninsular (

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View ( 2Botranto%2B1947%2Bindia%26hl%3Den%26gl%3Duk&ei=v2SrSvL3BqTSjAe28Lj4Bw&sa=X&oi=gview&resnum=7&ct=view&usg=AFQjCNFUijAJZihYlGSXalySifMOXEN9Ag)
present at Salerno before reverting to trooping duties. 11.1945: Repatriated British troops from the Middle East and later from India. 12.01.1947: ...

it may be easier to open this in google as it defaulted to wrong adobe program on my machine. Can be read with Adobe reader (freebie).

ian d.cameron
12th September 2009, 12:00
Hi Lindy, links can be funny at times
hope it works now
regards Ian

Mike Kemble
12th September 2009, 12:03
Got into Archives on that link but it told me it could not find reference

I even tried ref search: 2147155868

edit: typing otranto in top right search box got loads of references to passenger lists - Feb 47? Item details BT 26/1225/130

Inwards passenger lists,1947-1948 -

that appears to be the deepest its letting me go although it says files are 'open'

Lindy Gregg
13th September 2009, 05:13
Hi Ian, Like Mike Kemble I clicked on your corrected link and found the ship and the date it disembarked, ie "BT 26/1230/14 More informationSouthampton: Otranto (Orient Steam Navigation Company Ltd) travelling from Bombay to Southampton.Embarking at Bombay and Port Said.Official Number: 146025.List of passengers disembarking at Southampton. 1947 Sep 19" so got very excited but like Mike eventhough I followed lots of links I couldn't get the actual "passenger lists" to come up - can't work out why?! I'm pretty certain the voyage took about three weeks, so, as per my vague memory, we would have sailed late in August.
Thank you both again for helping me.

Mike Kemble
13th September 2009, 10:56
Lindy, try contacting National Archives directly on their contact button, they will be able to help you find it. May even send it.