Norman (2)

NORMAN (2) was built in 1894 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 7537grt, a length of 507ft, a beam of 53ft 2in and a service speed of 17.5 knots.

She was the first of many ships built by Harland & Wolff for Union-Castle and, at the time, the largest ship on the Cape Town mail run.

In 1895, she grounded near Port Shepstone with slight damage, and the master (Capt W Bainbridge)  was stripped of his command.

She was built to Admiralty troopship specifications and was requisition for use during the Boer War in November 1899.

In 1900 she was transferred to Union-Castle following the merge whilst still on troopship duties.

She was refitted in 1904 and subsequently worked as a mail ship until 1910 when, after being replaced by the Balmoral Castle, she was laid up at Netley in Southampton Water.

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 she was recommissioned as a troopship for a short while before reverting to the mail run. During this time she was part of the first convoy to take men of the British Expeditionary Force to France. 1918 saw her on troopship duties again, this time in the Mediterranean..

In May 1919 she was chartered to P&O for one voyage to Australia before returning to the mail run.

On 10 June 1907 the Eastern Province Herald reported that an unusual mail delivery had been made at sea on 25 April when the RMS Norman overtook the Union Castle SS Galeka in mid-Atlantic and dropped a barrel overboard containing letters for the latter's passengers. The innovation is said to have been appreciated by the passengers of the two boats who interchanged cheers while the Norman's band played "Auld Lang Syne"

She was replaced by the Arundel Castle in 1921 and transferred to the intermediate service and in 1923 she was deployed on the Round Africa service, out via Suez and home via the Cape.

In 1925 she was replaced by the Llandovery Castle on the Round Africa service, laid up in the River Blackwater off Tollesbury and broken up in 1926.

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