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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
When I sailed with China Nav in the 1950s, deck passengers were the norm on all their intra-Asian trades. That would have been the same with all the other companies trading out East. But I am not sure whether the likes of Blue Funnel or Ben Line would have taken any from say Hong Kong to Singapore.
I have now come across a passenger list of the Lycaon that carried deck passengers FROM Liverpool to Hong Kong in 1923.
Would anyone be able to confirm that was common?
Thanks
John
 

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John, if you look up SS Rajula you'll see she was built for carrying deck passengers, and quite a few stories about that. When I sailed on her in 1966-69 she only carried about 1200 on deck, with a total of 1800 passengers and crew. One of several in British India Steam Navigation Company, BI.
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Andrew,
I have just finished reading about the Rajula. Great reading.
I have also just finished reading a history of Alfred Holt & Co.

http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=Awr9J.uM1WtckJUANs8L5gt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByb2lvbXVuBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1550599692/RO=10/RU=http://www.archeosousmarine.net/Pdf/teiresias_alfredholt.pdf/RK=2/RS=iynPHAltCnG5YEgx7q2uxt3qRgU-

Hope the long URL works.

In the list of ships, two sister ships built in 1913 but before the Lycaon were the last to list accommodation for 200 in the tween deck. Later ships only showed 4 or 12 cabin passengers, which was what I had always assumed.
Cheers
John
 

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Deck Passengers on Bank Line ships...

Andrew Weir's Bank Line were very active in the carriage of Deck passengers during the first half of the 20th century. Starting in 1906 after some in-chartering voyages, two new ships were built in Glasgow, at Russell's, the "Tinhow" and the "Mineric" and the second-hand bought-in the "Salamis" in 1911 for the Indian African Line between Calcutta and Durban. The "Salamis" was an ex-Aberdeen Line emigrant carrier. The "Salamis" was first used on a Colombo-Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong connecting service for the Indian-African Line.

All three carried additional cabin passengers as well.

In 1912, the "Salamis" or the "Tinhow" was transferred to Weir's Oriental African Line to cater for Chinese deck passengers to Durban and Cape Town from Hong Kong. (No clear record of which was assigned).

Deck passengers from Calcutta and Hong Kong were indentured labour for the sugar plantations of Natal and northbound: returning labourers and repatriated ship's crews.

In 1913, three ex-Bucknall steamers from their London-South and Mozambique passenger/cargo service were bought, reconditioned, and placed on the Indian African Line as 1st and deck passenger ships and the Oriental African Line steadied around both the "Salamis" and "Tinhow".

Three motorships were ordered and delivered from Harland and Wolff in 1923, the "Luxmi", "Gujarat" and "Kathiawar" for the Indian African Line but when Bullard King's India-Natal Line was purchased from Union Castle in 1935, three excellent white motorships, the "Isipingo", "Inchanga" and "Incomati" had already been built by Workman Clark in Belfast in 1934 to replace the earlier motorships which were transferred to the Oriental African Line to replace the steamships on that service.

The 'White Ships' had accommodation for 500 deck passengers as well as 50 first class and 20 second class (berthed) passengers. They ran until 1964 being finally downgraded to 12 1st. class only. The "Incomati" and "Tinhow" were war casualties and the "Kathiawar" was wrecked on Goa Island Mozambique in 1937.

You can read all about Weir's passenger ship ventures in my new book "The Shipping Wizard of Kirkcaldy" now published in the United States and available through payment in your own currency by PayPal.
 

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RAJULA.

Her original Passenger Certificate was OVER 5,000!!!!!

"Passengers carried: 30 1st, 30 2nd, 92 3rd, 5113 (later 3622) deck."


Stephen
 

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In my time in Blue Flue, 50s and 60s, the only ships that carried deck passengers were the so called "Haj Boats". these were those ships carrying Muslim pilgrims from the Far East to Mecca. Otherwise I never saw or heard of any passengers on deck, although there were always one or two of the deck crowd who could be classed as passengers.(Jester)
 

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In my time in Blue Flue, 50s and 60s, the only ships that carried deck passengers were the so called "Haj Boats". these were those ships carrying Muslim pilgrims from the Far East to Mecca. Otherwise I never saw or heard of any passengers on deck, although there were always one or two of the deck crowd who could be classed as passengers.(Jester)
I would agree with your statement, with the exception that I think the Hajis were actually carried in the holds, with dormitory type accommodation,probably similar to that on troopships.
 

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I would agree with your statement, with the exception that I think the Hajis were actually carried in the holds, with dormitory type accommodation,probably similar to that on troopships.
They did however have well deck facilities on some of the "A" class and I have heard tales of them praying, cooking and washing on the foredeck on the Cyclops, for example.
But I never saw it first hand as there were no Hajis on board when I sailed in the Cyclops.
 

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They did however have well deck facilities on some of the "A" class and I have heard tales of them praying, cooking and washing on the foredeck on the Cyclops, for example.
But I never saw it first hand as there were no Hajis on board when I sailed in the Cyclops.
Quoting from Duncan and Hawes Blue Funnel LIne.
Clytoneus. 1948

The first vessel of the Mark A2 class of six ships which were built with tween deck accommodation The lifeboats were all doubled up for Far East pilgrims to Jeddah. They had a wood clad main deck port holes and extra ventilators in addition to sanitary and kitchen areas.

The lifeboats of this class were all doubled one atop the other.

I have no direct experience of this though I did go aboard the Tyndareus during one of her lay overs in Singapore and saw the set up there.
 

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Did anyone sail in the GUNUNG DJATI? Ex German PRETORIA b. 1936. Later EMPIRE DOON then EMPIRE ORWELL. Bought by Blue Funnel 1958 and later sold 1966.

Must have been Blue Funnel's largest passenger ship, 17,516 grt.

Stephen
 

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Extracted from my book, BACK TO SEA.

We had taken on some Chinese deck passengers in Hong Kong and, after dinner one evening, I was standing with some engineers looking down onto the after well-deck when a Chinamen appeared below us in a frantic state. We had no idea what he was saying until smoke began to appear from the alleyway from which he had emerged. The immediate reaction of the engineers was that it had nothing to do with them! But I ran to inform the Mate. It transpired that our bunkers were again on fire, but it was quickly brought under control.

The ship in question was the 1911-built Atreus (GRPX). This happened in 1948, and I was her 1st radio officer/purser.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks all,
Good to see I have got some discussion going on this.
The China Nav and Dutch RIL ships carried their deck passengers on the shelter deck. There are some clips of life aboard a RIL ship on YouTube, but I haven't got the link at hand just yet.
Pilgrim ships were just like troopships. I sailed on Anking just after she was replaced as a pilgrim ship by the Kuala Lumpur. I vaguely remember seeing coffins stowed aft before eventually being sent ashore.
Steven, you may be interested to read about "Life Aboard a Pilgrim Ship as Second Officer" (on the Kuala Lumpur) by David R Walker in the Images section of WikiSwire.
Would still like to know if deck passengers were carried on ships other than in the Far East and Indian Ocean.
 

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"Would still like to know if deck passengers were carried on ships other than in the Far East and Indian Ocean."

Cunard, NCL, RCI, Costa etc...…… :)
 

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We carried deck passengers on the Bamenda Palm on occasion. Leading up to the Biafran war we carried 300 deck passengers from Lagos to Port Harcourt. they were escaping from the looming troubles. Our mess room peggy was an Ebo and he had his wife and two young children on board to get them away from Lagos. They spent a lot of the time in our messroom being looked after by us deckhands.
 

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The Union Company owned two ships Tofua and Matua which had a regular 3 week voyage from Auckland to the Pacific Islands, they had passenger berths but often carried many islanders as deck passengers during overnight passages between the various Islands. The service was discontinued around 1966.
 

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Did anyone sail in the GUNUNG DJATI? Ex German PRETORIA b. 1936. Later EMPIRE DOON then EMPIRE ORWELL. Bought by Blue Funnel 1958 and later sold 1966.

Must have been Blue Funnel's largest passenger ship, 17,516 grt.

Stephen
I sailed in her as a child then known as Empire Orwell, Southhampton to Singapore.
 

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The Empire Orwell was a troop ship hired by the UK govt for lugging squadies and their families around the world, mainly to the ME and Far East. All finished around the late fifties early sixties.
 

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Gunungdjati/Empire Orwell

Did anyone sail in the GUNUNG DJATI? Ex German PRETORIA b. 1936. Later EMPIRE DOON then EMPIRE ORWELL. Bought by Blue Funnel 1958 and later sold 1966.

Must have been Blue Funnel's largest passenger ship, 17,516 grt.

Stephen
Remember seeing this hadji ship on my first trip onboard s.s. Hector anchored Aden roads April 1961. I was signed on as supernumary midshipman, the only Aussie crew member. There were 3 other middies, Mike the senior guy, Gerry Pengelly and Pat Kennedy. I signed the indentures at one shilling a month in Brisbane, March 1961 with the Master, Richard Hannay!!
 
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