This is a most comfortable boat, good bath rooms with hot salt water
March 17th 1904 Teneriffe
I send you a picture of the ship I came here in.
Tell Mother she would have been very sick but Olive and I were not.
I will try and bring Papa a root of Cape Asparagus which grows wild here for his greenhouse.
We expect Lili on Monday.
Love to Alicia
Miss Katherine Stapleton
GAIKA was built in 1897 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 6287grt, a length of 430ft, a beam of 52ft 2in and a service speed of 12.5 knots.
She returned to the Intermediate service in 1919.
On 22 April 1922 she briefly ran aground near Green Point Lighthouse, Cape Town.
In 1926, she was laid up in Southampton Water but did a trip to Mauritius in 1927. The vessel was laid up in East India Dock, London in 1928 but sailed to Savona, Italy in 1929 for scrapping.
Union Castle had a practice until 1939, of keeping at least two older vessels "in reserve" usually off Netley, Southampton Water with a skeleton crew and in reasonable readiness, due to a very strict mail contract.
Her career paralleled that of the Gascon with the exception that during the war years she remained defensively armed on the Africa service but under Government control, her accommodation being used mainly by Civil Servants.
30 July 1918 on Single Charter to the Australian Government departed Sydney as part of Convoy 41 with 421 AIF personnel as Army Pay Corps General Reinforcements (part), Medical Corps General Reinforcements, Sea Transport Staff No 5 Section (part), Dental Details plus Staff In Charge of Italian Reservists as 173 'Italian Draft Reservists'
6th August 1918 at Adelaide embarked a further 286 AIF personnel as Army Pay Corps General Reinforcements (part), Two Chaplains embarked Adelaide, Medical Corps General Reinforcements, Dental Details & Four Medical Officers (1 Colonel, 1 Lieutenant-Colonel & 2 Majors) plus 7 'Italian Draft'. All bound for England