Great to see this shot of old style cargo handling - wish there were more on the site. Coptic - built 1928 was the oldesty SSA ship still going when I joined in 1964 - always wanted to sail in her - did she have an old style "counter stern"??
The "Coptic" belonged to a series of four sister ships which were the first motor ships in the Shaw Savill Line. The others were "Karamea", "Taranaki" and the "Zealandic"
All were built in 1928 and at the time they had the distinction of being the highest-powered ships of their type in the world.
The "Karamea" and "Taranaki" came from the Fairfield Shipping Company at Govan while the "Coptic" and "Zealandic" were built at Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson's yard at Newcastle on Tyne. All were identical with a large refrigerated capacity (423,000 c.f.R.) The last built was the "Karamea" in August 1928.
The "Coptic" and the "Taranaki" were the last ships in the Conference Line to have retained the graceful counter sterns.
I have recently started research with a view to making a small model of her, turns out to be more difficult than I expected as nobody appears to have plans. Two books show a profile but neither agrees completely with photographs, of which very few show useful detail such as the width of hatches. However I have paid for some photos that a professional photographer in Wellington has and they have clarified some detail. Coptic also appears briefly in a video on ships to NZ so in due course I hope to have a reasonable idea .
I sailed on her as an apprentice twice in 1959 and again in 1961/2 . I did voyages 1 and 2 of Illyric and a couple on Athenic as well as a couple of weeks relieving on the DM in London. We were lucky to enjoy a way of life that has disappeared
My goodness to have sailed on the DM, even just round the coast, must have really been somethimg - as to to have sailed on Athenic when she still had 100 first class pax. Certainly a very special experience!