Bloemfontein Castle

BLOEMFONTEIN CASTLE was built in 1950 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 18400grt, a length of 594ft 6in, a beam of 76ft 4in and a service speed of 18.5 knots.

It was the company's intention to use her as an emigrant carrier to East Africa,and in particular Rhodesia, for the ill fated 'Ground Nut Scheme'.

However, when in 1948, the South African government of Field Marshall Smuts was ousted by Dr Malan's Nationalist Party the traffic dried up when the new government cancelled the assisted passage scheme.

Consequently, during the construction the plans were amended but she was always considered to be the 'odd man out' as far as the Union-Castle fleet was concerned. However, she entered service as the only one class ship until the Transvaal Castle, and operated from the London-Rotterdam-Cape-Beira route, the only vessel to do so.

In the mid-afternoon of 8th January 1953 she rescued the 234 passengers and crew from the Klipfontein (Vereenigde Nederlands Maats) which had struck a rock and foundered five miles off Cape Barra near Inhambane whilst on route for Beira. Ironically, when the accident occured the Klipfontein was racing the Bloemfontein Castle for the only vacant berth at Beira.

Review - February 1960

From B&C Review  April 1963

Profile of Bloemfontein Castle

Profile of Patris

On 9th November 1959, being the odd man out, she became surplus to requirements and was sold to Chandris (England) Ltd and renamed Patris.

After a refit at North Shields ownership changed to the National Greek Australia Line and she sailed for Australia where, by 1972, she was cruising out of Sydney and then operated on the Sydney-Singapore service.

In February 1974 she became an Australian Federal Government accommodation ship for nine months after typhoon 'Tracy' had virtually destroyed Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Returning to Greece in 1976 she was converted to carry 260 cars though large side-loading doors for the Venice-Ancona-Patras service.

In 1980 she was sold to the Michail A. Karageorgis Group and renamed Mediterranean Island and in 1981 became the Mediterranean Star on the Piraeus-Alexandria run under the same owners but registered as Star Navigation Corp and was later transferred within the group to Consolidated Ocean Transports.

She was sold to St. Vincent owners for breaking up and renamed Terra pro temps.

As Patris

At Sydney

As Mediterranean Star

At Piraeus

Profile of Mediterranean Star

Launch of Bloemfontein Castle - 1949

The Maiden Voyage - 1950

Loss of Klipfontein - 1953

Life after Union-Castle Line

Farewell Bloemfontein Castle - 1959



Left London

8 September

For S & E Africa


D Sowden

Chief Officer

T Allan

Second Officer

C Rae

Ex Second Officer

P Sheridan

Third Officer

P Jackson

Fourth Officer

H Bonsor


D Fairley


P Henderson

Asst Pursers

D Bradman

G Morris

Purser’s Clerks

R Munro

H Sayers

Miss S McGregor

First Radio Officer

D Drover

Second Radio Officer

G Whitford

Third Radio Officer

R Rayner

Nursing Sister

Miss M Morrissey

Children’s Hostess

Miss M Ginnety


W Wardley


W Peckham

Chief Engineer

W Stephen

Second Engineer

R Short

Int Second Engineer

P McDougall

Jnr Second Engineer

J Ree

Snr Third Engineer

M Bailey

Int Third Engineer

D Laming

Jnr Third Engineer

B Coles

Snr Fourth Engineer

N Harrison

Int Fourth Engineer

L Block

Jnr Fourth Engineer

T Seager

Snr Fifth Engineer

G Bowman

Int Fifth Engineer

J Cole

Jnr Fifth Engineer

F Belcher

Sixth Engineer

J Clare

First Electrician

G Eden

Second Electrician

M Butler

ER Storekeeper

J Walton

Chief Steward

J Bradford

Second Steward

G Hopper

Chief Barman

C Bornet


J Boyland

Linen Steward

P Hiller

Head Waiter

C Matthews

First Passenger Steward

A Pritchard


A Fabian


T Evans

Baker and Confectioner

H Smith


J Wylie

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