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i was wondering if anybody might have a picture of the union castle ship the King Alfred.I think she would have been sailing sometime in the 60s/70s.
 

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Hi Ryan. I'm pretty sure the ship you are trying to trace doesn't exist. If it does then it isnt or wasnt with the U/C line. The nearest I can even imagine would be the "Winchester Castle". Winchester being where King Alfreds statue stands. Can you come up with any more info???
 

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Chris, the only King Alfred that I know of from that era was the Bulk Carrier owned by British & Commonwealth, launched 02.04.68 and delivered in September 1968 - she was 55,120dwt and built at Eriksbergs at Gothenburg. She traded almost exclusively in the trans-atlantic coal and ore trades.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think you are right,i'm looking for the ship for a mate who sailed on her.he said she was union castle, i will get back to him to look in his discharge book, then get back to you.
chris
 

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The Union Castle and its associated companies (Houston, Scottish Shire, Natal, King, etc.,) merged in 1956 as the British & Commonwealth Shipping Co. Ltd.
 

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Hi Chris,

She does exist, probably like many the Discharge stamp will be Cayzer Irvine, their were quite a lot of Union Castle lads on their bulkers and most of them would say just Union Castle because of the collective companies under their flag. On the pool we always thought of them as Union Castle, however too the purists thats probably wrong. Will keep looking.

Best Regards

Yuge
 

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The King Alfred does exist, I sailed on it in 1970. She traded between Japan and Australia at that time.
Bulk carrier with a large B&W down below.
I think the model used to be in Lowestoft College, least it was when I did the STCW95 Survival Course.

Brian
 

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I stand corrected. As pointed out by Tonga there was a "King Alfred" under the flag of British & Commonwealth. Being a purist as stated by Locking Splice, to me only ships ending in 'castle' are of the U/C line. I do apologise and will mend my ways. By the way I believe B&C were phased out in about 1973 , is that correct?
 

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I left B&C in 1975 and they were still going.
The Scottish Eagle was in the Falklands business in 1983 and I think she was managed by B&C.
So not really sure when they finally finished.
No doubt the information will be available from a SN memeber

Brian
 

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Hi Chris,


Have found a B&W photo of the King Alfred, its not brilliant however sure Mick will be happy with it. Will send it later.
Launched 1968 and had two different names that year Hemsefjell and Angelus prior to going under the King Line Flag (Cayzer Irvine) that same year.
Hi Nobby not having go mate, just really saying that for most seaman we just knew our ships under well known companies names despite having a different name sometimes stamped in your book, an example in mine is Munroes of Liverpool, however the discharge is stamped The St Vincent Shipping Company, another amongest several in my book is the Dart Line the stamp says Tynedale Shipping although Bibby and Bristol City Line as well.

Best Regards

Yuge
 

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The Cayzer family were very shrewd when it came to finance and business.

Some time before 'Black Wednesday' (October 1987) they sold all their interest in B&C, which by than had become more of a finance institution than a shipping company. A few weeks later, the bottom fell out of sterling, there was a massive stock market collapse, and UK left the ERM.

Later on, I'm not sure of the details, a B&C subsidiary called Atlantic Computer Leasing collapsed in spectacular fashion; it was the biggest corporate collapse in UK business history at the time.

It was a sad end for a (formerly) renowned, solid, profitable and well run British shipping company.

I'm sure I will have got some of the details wrong, but the full story will be available somewhere on the web for those that are interested.

Cheers

Andy

PS From Miramar Ship Index : ref 6812857

2 Apr 1968 : Launched as ANGELUS, renamed HEMSEFJELL (Owners : Olsen & Uglestad, Oslo),
1968 : sold to King Line (B&C) London 'KING ALFRED'
1983 : sold renamed LUO FU SHAN

No disposal details recorded.
 

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British & Commonwealth

Andy is entirely correct, the move was impecable in terms of timing, as can be see in some detail from this obituary to Lord Cayzer from The Independent


LORD CAYZER was an aristocratic businessman of the old school, a tall, distinguished sportsman who proved to be immensely shrewd at business, noted for his flair, his excellent timing and taking the long view. As a result he left a fortune certainly well above the official estimate of pounds 285m.Throughout his life he was a notable spokesman for the shipping industry, although he sensibly shifted much of the family money out of shipping in the 1960s and 1970s. Cayzer's grandfather, Charles Cayzer, founded the Clan Line, owners of what became a 100-strong fleet of ships, most of them tramp steamers sailing round the Cape of Good Hope to India and the Far East. Cayzer's father August was created a baronet in 1904. Nicholas Cayzer - or Sir Nicholas Cayzer as he was known from the age of 10 in 1921 until he was given a life peerage in 1982 - naturally went to Eton and Cambridge. Equally naturally he started work for the family shipping line in 1931 when he was only 21, becoming a director seven years later. So far so orthodox. But in the 63 years until he finally retired as chairman of the family holding company - by then called Caledonia Investments - he had successfully weathered the transformation of the family business from shipping to a diversified industrial group. (He remained president of the family business until he died). In the early part of the Second World War Cayzer served in the Army but was soon deploying his managerial talents in organising convoys. After the war his first major coup came in 1955 when, as vice-chairman of the Clan Line, he master-minded Clan's take-over of the Union Castle Line, best known for its fleet of speedy mail liners running between Southampton and Cape Town, thus creating a group, British & Commonwealth Shipping, with 100 vessels. His success was the greater because his unsuccessful rival was Harley Drayton, at the time one of the most feared of City financiers. After taking over the chairmanship of B & C on the death of his uncle Lord Rotherwick in 1958, Cayzer led the family's retreat from shipping, putting the family fleet into a notably successful joint venture, Overseas Containers, and investing in a number of unrelated businesses. These included British United Airways, a successful independent airline, the private Wellington Hospital in St John's Wood and Gartmore, an investment management firm named after a family estate in Perthshire. But Cayzer's biggest coup came with the growth of a series of broking and investment businesses within British & Commonwealth. B & C was run by the entrepreneurial John Gunn whose daring business tactics ran against the caution habitually practised by the Cayzer family. Luckily (or cleverly?) the Cayzers decided to sell out of a group which they no longer controlled and did so, receiving pounds 428m for their stake, which represented four-fifths of the family's assets. Their sale was superbly timed, coming only three days before the stockmarket crash of October 1987 and only a short time before the virtual collapse of B & C. Typically, Cayzer bought back control of Exco, the money brokers which had been the foundation of B & C's financial portfolio, for a mere pounds 20m five years after the collapse. Despite the family's shift away from shipping Cayzer retained an interest in the industry, especially in Liverpool - the home port for the family fleet where he was chairman of the Steamship Owners' Association. He also acted as President of the British Chamber of Shipping and the General Council of British Shipping, and when he was elevated to the peerage by Margaret Thatcher in 1982 he took the title Lord Cayzer of St Mary Axe - the street in the City of London most closely associated with the shipping industry. The elevation was in recognition of his steadfast support for the Tory Party. He had been chairman of the local Conservative Association in Chester, a town where his uncle had been MP before the war. More importantly he was a generous donor to the party and a fund- raiser through a mysterious body called British United Industrialists. William Nicholas Cayzer, ship owner and businessman: born 21 January 1910; Bt 1921; created 1982 Baron Cayzer; married 1935 Elizabeth Williams (died 1995; two daughters); died 16 April 1999.

Copyright 1999 Newspaper Publishing PLC
 

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Cayzer Obituary

Tonga, thanks for this.

I have now printed it and placed it into my copy of "A Victorian Shipowner" with the Daily Telegraph version and the obit of Captain Hart.

I knew they'd sold out soon before Black Monday, but didn't remember it had been that close !

I joined B & C in 1970, and left in 1978, and thought it strange all the copies of 'Clansman', the house magazine, that I saw had few references to shipping, but a lot for the other parts of the empire.

Cheers

Andy
 

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King Charles
In addition to previous posts.
Launched by Eriksbergs M/V A/B, Gothenburg as ANGELUS . sold whilst being fitted out and renamed HEMSEFJELL. Whilst still being fitted out sold again and on 09/01/1968 was completed as KING ALFRED. In 1977 she was transferred to Houston Line Ltd. 29,419gross tons. 713 x 97 x 42 feet

yes it had an 8cyl bang and wallop engine, 12,000bhp

i have a black and white photo in a book if you want i can scan it and send it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
King Charles
In addition to previous posts.
Launched by Eriksbergs M/V A/B, Gothenburg as ANGELUS . sold whilst being fitted out and renamed HEMSEFJELL. Whilst still being fitted out sold again and on 09/01/1968 was completed as KING ALFRED. In 1977 she was transferred to Houston Line Ltd. 29,419gross tons. 713 x 97 x 42 feet

yes it had an 8cyl bang and wallop engine, 12,000bhp

i have a black and white photo in a book if you want i can scan it and send it.
Hi any joy with the pic of the king alfred.
Cheers Chris
 

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Hi all.

I served on the Alfie in 1981.

She was sold about 1983; she'd been laid up in KGV, London with the King Charles. I saw the Charles in Tilbury, November 1983 whilst I was on the Scottish Eagle in the dry dock there.

Cayzers' last Red Ensign ship was the Scottish Eagle; sold to Greeks on 1st May 1986 in Southampton & renamed Seamagic. I was Cayzers' last 3rd Engineer of the UK fleet. Not nice, being handed the dreaded 'brown envelope'.

The final ship owned by Cayzer, Irvine was the Speedster Universal, which was sold in September/October 1986. I was there too. (Was someone trying to tell me something?).

Hope this helps.

Mark Coultas
 

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There are three good photographs of the KING ALFRED in the book CLAN LINE by John Clarkson, Roy Fenton & Archie Munro. Although the book is mainly about Clan Line, other units of the B & C fleet are also mentioned & illustrated. These include Union-Castle, Scottish Shire, King Line. The book only came out a few days ago & is really excellent.
 

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Trever i was in the engine room on the king william murph i also helped manage the bar on her we had some good times on that run murph
 
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