Carnarvon Castle (2)

CARNARVON CASTLE (2) was built in 1926 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 20122grt, a length of 630ft 8in, a beam of 73ft 5in and a service speed of 16 knots.

She was launched by Lady Suffield the second daughter of Lord Kylsant and commenced her maiden voyage on 16th July 1926.

The company's first motorship she was also the first to exceed 20000grt and had the distinctive Harland & Wolff profile including the dummy forward funnel.

In 1936 the new mail contract required a 19 knot service speed to reduce the passage time to 13.5 days.

Consequently, in 1937 she was modernised and re-engined, resuming service on 8th July 1938, without the forward funnel, and setting a new record to Cape Town of 12 days 13 hours and 36 minutes.

In September 1939 she was commissioned by the navy for conversion at Simonstown, South Africa to an armed merchant cruiser, HMS Carnarvon Castle.

Carnarvon Castle

Artist - Maurice Randall



Years in Service


Carnarvon Castle (2)


September 1939 requisitioned for service in The Royal Navy

October 1939 commissioned as HMS Carnarvon Castle

1949 returned to Union-Castle

1963 scrapped


From B&C Review  June 1962

By Colin Verity

Carnarvon Castle , 1956

back row from left:    B.Bennet 2/O,   S. Cazalet, X/4/O,   Bernard Wallace-Bradley J/4/O,   ???,   John Canner, 3/O

seated:  H. Dryden C/O,    Capt. Billy Byles,   Sam Hagan, 1/O

21st February 1952:  The South African rugby union team on board the liner Carnarvon Castle, on their voyage home following a series of matches in Britain

Captain J F Oakley in the centre

Carnarvon Castle Interior

Springboks Tour of United Kingdom - 1952

Carnarvon Castle Deck Officers - 1956

Farewell Carnarvon Castle - 1962

Carnarvon Castle - Art Gallery

Review  - October 1962

Launch - 14 January 1926

Refitted - 1937

In October 1937 she returned to her builders for a dramatic refit and a far more elegant appearance

Funnels were reduced to one, fitted with a raked and flared bow, new 10 cylinder diesel engines giving an increase in  service speed from 18 to 20 knots

In July 1938 she returned to the mail service and set a new southbound record of 12 days 13 hours 38 minutes

Service in WW2

In September 1939 she was requisition by The Royal Navy and converted at Simon’s Town into and Armed Merchant Cruiser.

She was now HMS Carnarvon Castle

In November 1943 she was decomissioned and sent to New York to be refitted as a troopship

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