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Llangibby Castle (Union Castle)

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Llangibby Castle (Union Castle)

Postby shipstamps » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:28 am

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Llangibby Castle was built by Harland and Wolff, Glasgow and launched on 4th July, 1929. She was delivered on 21st November for the Round Africa service and made her maiden voyage on 5th December, 1929.
In 1940, Italian hostility prevented passengers going ashore at Genoa and all British ships were ordered out of the Mediterranean. She arrived at Falmouth on July 6th and was taken over for trooping duties to South and East Africa. During 1942, en-route Clyde-Singapore she was torpedoed by U-402 north of the Azores while trooping with 1,400 men. The stern and after gun were blown off killing 26 with 4 missing but leaving the screws still working. She arrived at the Azores on 19th January after beating off attacks by Focke-Wulff 200 "Kondor" aircraft. After repairs she set off for Gibraltar escorted by three destroyers and an Admiralty tug, still with troops on board and still minus rudder and stern. On 3rd February a running battle took place with a U-boat pack, one, U-581, being destroyed by HMS Westcott. Finally she reached Gibraltar on February 8th, 1942.Unable to get a rudder she left Gibraltar after 57 days and arrived in the UK on April 13th having used only her engines. Capt Bayer was awarded the CBE. She took part in Operation Torch, the North African landings forming part of the assault force. In 1943 she was converted into a Landing Ship Infantry with 18 landing craft. She spent 6 months as a troop ferry in the Mediterranean, painted in two shades of blue. In 1944 she was camouflage painted and allocated to Force J3 (Juno beach) Later she served Omaha and Utah beach-heads and then Le Havre. In all she made over 70 troop crossings carrying 100,000 men.
After the European War she was allocated to the Far East and, in 1946 she commenced repatriation of West African troops from Burma and India. In 1947 she was released back to the Union Castle Line and resumed her Round Africa service. She suffered a cargo fire in 1949 and was out of service for one voyage.
On June 29th, 1954 she left Tilbury for South Wales and was broken up by Cashmore, Newport at their River Usk berth.
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