Athlone Castle


ATHLONE CASTLE was built in 1936 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 25564grt, a length of 696ft, a beam of 82ft 5in and a service speed of 20 knots.

On 5th November 1937 she was the first mail ship to call at Buffalo Harbour at East London and on 22nd December 1938 inaugurated the 14 days or under 'Accelerated' schedule as stipulated in the 1936 mail contract.

In 1940 she was the commodore ship of a Union-Castle convoy made up of Arundel Castle, Windsor Castle, Winchester Castle, Durban Castle and Capetown Castle to carry South African troops to Suez following the outbreak of fighting in North Africa.

During 1943, together with her sister, she trooped between the USA and UK carrying some 150,000 troops without any serious incident.

In 1946 she underwent a refit and continued in service until 6th August 1965 when she concluded her 141st voyage at Southampton.

Her sale had already been negotiated and ten days later she sailed for Kaohsuing in Taiwan where she arrived on 13th September for breaking up by the China Steel Corporation.

1937, April 14th arrived Cape Town with new outward bound record of 13 days, 00 hrs. 51 minutes

1937, November 5th. first mail ship to berth at East London.

1940, December 27th. requisitioned for war transport.   In six years carried a total of 148,113 troops.

1942, November.  North Africa campaign

1946, two round trip voyages repatriating troops to Australia and one to Singapore.

1946, September 17th. returned to Belfast for refit.

1947, May  returned to Mail Service.

1965, July 23rd.  Last departure from Cape Town.

1965, September 13th. Arrived Kaohsiung for demolition by China Steel Corporation.

(details from Union-Castle Line by Peter Newall)

Issued in 1950s. Instructions on writing to crew members

Athlone Castle at Singapore in 1946

Athlone Castle

Artist - Tony Westmore

Review - October 1965

Getting Ready for War - 1939

Service in WW2

Athlone Castle - Art Gallery

The Final Mail Voyage - 1965

Launch - November 1935

Sister of the Stirling Castle (2), she was launched by the Princess Alice, wife of the Earl of Athlone, a former Governor General of South Africa,

on 28th November 1935.

MCC Tour of South Africa - 1938/9 - The Timeless Test Series

Homeward bound after a series win 1 - 0 for the MCC

Signatures are W.R. Hammond (Captain), L.E.G.Ames, B.H. Valentine, W.J. Edrich, P.A. Gibb, K. Farnes, L. Hutton, R.T.D. Perks, D.V.P. Wright, H. Verity, E. Paynter, L.L. Wilkinson, T.W.J. Goddard, H.T. Bartlett and N.W.D. Yardley.

On her final voyage - Dressed Overall for her call at Mossel Bay

Farewell Athlone Castle - 1965

Athlone Castle

Artist - Colin Verity

Clansman - April 1970

Review - February 1970

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Southampton


28-Sep


Freetown

11-Oct

14-Oct


Lagos

17-Oct

18-Oct


St Helena

22-Oct

22-Oct


Cape Town

28-Oct

3-Nov


Freetown

11-Nov

12-Nov


Southampton

20-Nov

01-Dec


Freetown

09-Dec

09-Dec


Cape Town

17-Dec

18-Dec


Port Elizabeth

19-Dec

19-Dec


East London

20-Dec

20-Dec


Durban

21-Dec

23-Dec


East London

24-Dec

24-Dec


Port Elizabeth

25-Dec

26-Dec


Cape Town

27-Dec

30-Dec


1939

On 23 September 1939 Athlone Castle was taken up for Troop Transport Services

From December 39 until January 1940 she resumed Union-Castle services and from January until July 1940 she was employed on Government Liner Services

1940

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Southampton

13-Jan

26-Jan


Dakar

01-Feb

01-Feb


Cape Town

09-Feb

10-Feb


Port Elizabeth

11-Feb

11-Feb


East London

12-Feb

12-Feb


Durban

13-Feb

15-Feb


East London

16-Feb

16-Feb


Port Elizabeth

17-Feb

17-Feb


Cape Town

19-Feb

27-Feb


Dakar

03-Mar

03-Mar


Southampton

10-Mar

21-Mar


Dakar

28-Mar

28-Mar


Ascension

31-Mar

01-Apr


St Helena

02-Apr

02-Apr


Cape Town

06-Apr

07-Apr


Port Elizabeth

08-Apr

08-Apr


East London

09-Apr

09-Apr


Durban

10-Apr

12-Apr


East London

13-Apr

13-Apr


Port Elizabeth

14-Apr

14-Apr


Mossel Bay

14-Apr

14-Apr


Cape Town

16-Apr

19-Apr


Southampton

03-May

16-May


Dakar

22-May

23-May


Ascension

26-May

26-May


St Helena

28-May

28-May


Cape Town

01-Jun

02-Jun


Port Elizabeth

03-Jun

03-Jun


East London

04-Jun

04-Jun


Durban

05-Jun

07-Jun


East London

08-Jun

09-Jun


Port Elizabeth

09-Jun

09-Jun


Cape Town

10-Jun

14-Jun


Freetown

21-Jun

21-Jun


Southampton

28-Jun

13-Jul


Gibraltar

17-Jul

26-Jul


Liverpool

01-Aug

08-Sep


Suez

22-Oct

22-Oct


Aden

06-Nov

06-Nov


Mombasa

09-Nov

09-Nov


Durban

14-Nov

17-Nov


Port Elizabeth

18-Nov

20-Nov


Table Bay

22-Nov

23-Nov


Liverpool

10-Dec



1941

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Liverpool


12-Jan


Freetown

25-Jan

29-Jan


Cape Town

09-Feb

12-Feb


Suez

03-Mar

18-Mar


Aden

22-Mar

27-Mar


Durban

04-Apr

11-May

Drydocking & voyage repairs

Port Elizabeth

12-May

16-May


Cape Town

18-May

20-May


Cristobal

07-Jun

28-Jun


Freetown

13-Jul

16-Jul


Durban

29-Jul

03-Aug


Bombay

16-Aug

18-Aug


Colombo

20-Aug

21-Aug


Malaya

25-Aug

26-Aug


Sydney

07-Sep

08-Sep


Port Lyttleton

11-Sep

23-Sep


Wellington

23-Sep

24-Sep


Cristobal

13-Oct

13-Oct


Clyde

25-Oct

09-Dec


Freetown

19-Dec

25-Dec


1942

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Durban

08-Jan

13-Jan

Voyage repairs

Bombay

26-Jan

30-Jan


Fremantle

09-Feb

12-Feb


Aukland

20-Feb

02-Mar


Balboa

19-Mar

20-Mar


Cristobal

21-Mar

21-Mar


Liverpool

05-Apr

10-May

Drydocking & voyage repairs

Freetown

22-May

26-May


Cape Town

06-Jun

11-Jun


Bombay

01-Jul

06-Jul


Colombo

09-Jul

13-Jul


Melbourne

08-Aug

10-Aug

Voyage repairs

Port Lyttleton

16-Aug

28-Aug


Balboa

12-Sep

13-Sep


Cristobal

13-Sep

13-Sep


Halifax

20-Sep

29-Sep


Liverpool

07-Oct

29-Oct

Machinery overhaul

Bahia

15-Nov

19-Nov


Durban

04-Dec

06-Dec


Bombay

17-Dec

24-Dec


1943

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Durban

05-Jan

09-Jan


New York

30-Jan

08-Feb

Drydocking

Casablanca

19-Feb

20-Feb


Gibraltar

01-Mar

08-Mar


Liverpool

15-Mar

15-Apr

Voyage repairs

Freetown

28-Apr

05-May


Cape Town

18-May

22-May


Bombay

10-Jun

22-Jun


Cape Town

06-Jul

09-Jul


New York

25-Jul

09-Aug


Liverpool

17-Aug

12-Sep

Voyage repairs & fumigation

Greenock

13-Sep

15-Sep


Algiers

23-Sep

28-Sep


New York

09-Oct

21-Oct


Liverpool

02-Nov

16-Nov

Voyage repairs

Greenock

17-Nov

19-Nov


New York

30-Nov

05-Dec


Greenock

15-Dec


Voyage repairs & repairs to windlass

1944

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Greenock


26-Jan


New York

07-Feb

11-Feb


Liverpool

22-Feb

08-Mar

Voyage repairs

New York

17-Mar

23-Mar


Liverpool

03-Apr

15-Apr

Voyage repairs

New York

25-Apr

04-May


Liverpool

14-May

28-May

General repairs to troop accommodation

New York

06-Jun

16-Jun


Liverpool

27-Jun

09-Jul


Greenock

10-Jul

25-Jul

Voyage repairs

New York

03-Aug

09-Aug


Liverpool

22-Aug

11-Sep

Drydocking & voyage repairs

Greenock

11-Sep

25-Sep


Glasgow

25-Sep

28-Sep


Greenock

28-Sep

30-Sep


Port Said

11-Oct

11-Oct


Suez

11-Oct

15-Oct


Aden

18-Oct

20-Oct


Bombay

25-Oct

02-Nov


Suez

10-Nov

14-Nov


Port Said

14-Nov

16-Nov


Algiers

21-Nov

24-Nov


Liverpool

30-Nov

05-Dec


Greenock

05-Dec

06-Dec


Liverpool

06-Dec

22-Dec

Voyage repairs

Belfast

23-Dec

24-Dec


1945

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Panama

03-Jan

06-Jan


Sydney

26-Jan

06-Feb


Wellington

09-Feb

10-Feb


New York

14-Mar

15-Mar


Ponta Delgada

23-Mar

24-Mar


Liverpool

29-Mar

02-May

Engine & troopdeck repairs & fumigation

Halifax

12-May

19-May


Liverpool

30-May

09-Jun

Voyage repairs

Algiers

13-Jun

14-Jun


Malta

16-Jun

16-Jun


Naples

17-Jun

21-Jun


Southampton

27-Jun

19-Jul

Drydocking to draw tail shaft & voyage repairs

St Helena

29-Jul

29-Jul


Cape Town

03-Aug

09-Aug


Freetown

18-Aug

19-Aug


Southampton

27-Aug

01-Oct

Drydocking & voyage repairs

Malta

08-Oct

08-Oct


Port Said

10-Oct

11-Oct


Suez

11-Oct

12-Oct


Colombo

20-Oct

25-Oct


Suez

02-Nov

03-Nov


Port Said

04-Nov

04-Nov


Southampton

11-Nov

30-Nov

Drydocking to draw tail shaft

Port Said

08-Dec

09-Dec


Bombay

17-Dec

19-Dec


1946

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Wellington

09-Jan

16-Jan


Sydney

20-Jan

23-Jan


Fremantle


29-Jan


Bombay

07-Feb

12-Feb


Suez

19-Feb

19-Feb


Port Said

19-Feb

20-Feb


Southampton

28-Feb

21-Mar

Voyage repairs & engine overhaul

Port Said

29-Mar

30-Mar


Aden

03-Apr

04-Apr


Fremantle

16-Apr

16-Apr


Melbourne

21-Apr

22-Apr


Wellington

25-Apr

08-May


Sydney

10-May

13-May


Fremantle

19-May

21-May


Singapore

27-May

28-May


Aden

07-Jun

07-Jun


Suez

10-Jun

10-Jun


Port Said

11-Jun

12-Jun


Southampton

19-Jun

14-Jul

Voyage repairs & fumigation

Port Said

23-Jul

24-Jul


Bombay

01-Aug

06-Aug


Singapore

13-Aug

16-Aug


Colombo

21-Aug

21-Aug


Suez

31-Aug

31-Aug


Port Said

31-Aug

01-Sep


Southampton

10-Sep

17-Sep


Belfast

19-Sep



Right - US Troops arrive in Liverpool aboard Athlone Castle

Athlone Castle on passge with Dominion Monach

Resumption of Mail Service after WW2 - May 1947

Repatriating troops to Melbourne

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