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Athlone Castle (Union Castle)

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Athlone Castle (Union Castle)

Postby john sefton » Tue May 05, 2009 9:13 pm

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The Athlone Castle was launched at Harland and Wolff's Belfast yard on November 28, 1935, by Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, for the Union-Castle Line. One of the most beautiful Union-Castle ships ever built, she must have looked anything but beautiful when she arrived home from Capetown after her first homeward bound voyage during the war. The liner was already at sea when war was declared. As soon as he heard the news, Capt. E. S. Vincent, commodore of the Union-Castle Line, decided to camouflage his ship. He ordered the crew to darken the vessel with any suitable paint available. He also gave instructions that sandbags must be made and filled so that the liner's bridge and other vulnerable parts might be protected. The 110 passengers at once volunteered to help the crew, painting wherever required. Even the masts were camouflaged to match the general scheme and when the ship arrived home she was said to be unrecognizable.(The stamp also shows her in false colours). It was Capt. Vincent's last voyage before his retirement was due, after 48 years at sea, having had experience of three wars afloat. He was an officer in the company's old liner Briton, which took mounted infantry of the C.I.V. to the South African War, and served in the Dover Patrol during the 1st World War. Athlone Castle was the sister ship of the Stirling Castle.
Her first arrival at Capetown was on the 14th April 1937.
On the 27th December 1940 she was requisitioned by the Ministry of Transport for use as a troopship, remaining on trooping duties throughout the Second World War. She carried 148,113 persons on military service and was not demobilised until 17th September 1946.
Athlone Castle was sent to her builders for a refit and in May 1947 returned to the mail route. She remained on this route until her final departure from Capetown on 23rd July 1965. She was sold for breaking-up and on the 13th September 1965 she arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
TECHNICAL DETAILS. Powered by Burmeister and Wain 2S DA ten-cylinder oil engines, developing 24,000 brake horsepower, driving twin screws, giving a maximum speed of 19.5 knots. Her length was 696 feet with a gross registered tonnage of 25,564. She carried 784 passengers in two classes.
Sea Breezes June 1969 and web sites.

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john sefton
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Re: Athlone Castle (Union Castle)

Postby aukepalmhof » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:02 pm

The sailing vessel seen in the background of the stamp is the SIRIUS
Posts: 7018
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:28 am

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