As she was built in 1935 and had an arduous war, she was reaching the end of her life when you served on her Arthur. From 1958 onwards she was heavily dependent upon emigrants to Australia. She was withdrawn from service in May 1963 and was chartered for use as an accommodation ship in Hamburg for the summer before being scrapped in Belgium at the end of the year.
I sailed as Baggage Master on the Orion 1956 to 1957. We carried migrants outward, then from Sydney started the first of the Pacific cruises, covering NZ,Fiji,Honolulu, San Francisco, Vancouver. Back to Sydney the same route.
Then back to Tilbury on the normal route, except for Suez of course.
Good days,good mates and especially good ships.
I was Purser in ORION in 1962 when the Goanese crew from STRATHNAVER (which was about to be scrapped) were transferred to ORION. It was the first time the Orient had Goanese inthe Catering Department. Orient and P&O had recently merged and the Union agreed that some Goanese could serve in the Catering Department of Orient ships. The Deck and Engine crew were to remain European.
ORION was a beautiful ship. He hull remained Orient corn coloured to the end and she never wore the P&O houseflag.
I remember sailing into Sydney Harbour in 1959 to a tumultuous welcome with tugs shooting out water and horns blowing, flags everywhere and the following morning paper saying Centenry Ship Sails in. Apparently it was one hundred years of the Australian Government. On the way home we had to anchor out in the Bay of naples because we were suspected of having small pox on board, it turned out that of all people the ships doctor had chicken Pox. I still have the newspaper cutting. Happy days.
I don't know about ORION having suspected small pox in 1959 but we really did have it in 1962. The patient who had embarked at either Bombay or Aden was landeds at Suez. The Egyptian Doctor who boarded in Suez Bay at 0100 took the patient ashore. At 0400 the "Director of Health" came on board and announced that the ship could not enter the Canal until every soul on board had been vaccinated, despite the fact that everybody, crew and passengers, had a valid small pox vaccination certificate. At 0500 we started. We had two Doctors and two Nursing Sisters. The Egyptians provided the vaccine. By 0700 we had finished. More than a thousand people had been vaccinated and not a single passenger complained!
Naples would not let us enter the harbour. At M****illes everyone was allow ashore!
I was most impressed with the British health authorities. Within 48 hours of my arriving home a Doctor called to check that I was OK. A Quarter Master who lived in the Shetlaneds told me he had a call from his local Doctor. I understand our passengers were contacted at their UK address.
I sail on the Orion as a steward waiter, Dec 1953. A trip I will always remember. A gentleman passenger I had on my table commited suicide by sadly throwing him self over the side of the ship. About a week after that I was summoned to the pursers office, and was asked to sign for a gratuity he had left for me. It all felt very strange at the time.
I joined Orion 1961 as an assistant baker, we sailed via Canary Isles and Cape Town to Australia and Sydney. Whilst in Sydney a 19 year old KP, first tripper, got drunk as we did, and on being late back onboard tried to climb the ropes at the bow of the ship, needless to say he fell in, the water police circled around in a small boat trying to find him, but gave up as we were due to leave then, his body was found 2 days later under water stuck in the mud. Sad. B
Very Interesting story. I was in the Sydney harbour police at the time and vaguely remember the incident. The Orion, as did other passenger ships, berthed at circular quay opposite the Sydney Opera house( not finished in '61). The Water Police berth was only 500 yards away from circular quay. One of our diving team, probably Gordon Fuller, must have found the body if it was stuck in the mud. We recovered quite a lot of bodies from accidental drownings, suicides and shark attacks. I remeber a chinaman who jumped off the Sydney to Manly ferry and when we fished him out his legs were in the same position, crouched, as when he went in. Difficult for us to place him in his last resting place at the nearby morgue. Apart from this we has good times too...
rescuing pleasure craft outside the heads in storms etc.
I've a lot more stories about Sydney
Forgot to mention that I was a £10 stowaway from Tilbury to Sydney on the 'Orion'
Great voyage after the toil on the MV Otaio. Remember an Aussie on board returning down under. He spent his waking hours at the bar near the pool consuming endless quantities of beer. He never seemed to be drunk. His only baggage consisted of a spare shirt and underclothes which he washed at night and changed every other day. Can still see him going ashore in Sydney with all his belongings in a small bag.
G,day Harry, I hope you were not one of those Police that would pounce on some poorly paid POMMY sailor, just trying to sell a transister radio, or two, purchased in Aden are you. We called that free enterprise.
I left school and started work in the Oient Line shore gang, the first ship I worked on was the Orion. I was sent to sea school and did my first of six trips in the Orion.Three as deck boy and later three as AB, In 1963 I was standing on lockside as she sailed for the breakers,close enough to give her a pat as she left, The best ship I sailed on.