Llangibby Castle


LLANGIBBY CASTLE was built in 1929 by Harland & Wolff at Glasgow with a tonnage of 11951grt, a length of 485ft 7in, a beam of 66ft 2in and a service speed of 14.5 knots.

She was delivered for the Round Africa service and was the first motorship to circumnavigate the African continent.

Service in WW2

Llangibby Castle - Interior

Officers’ Menu served on board the “Llangibby Castle” during the English Channel crossing July 29, 1944.

The 58th General Hospital landed on Utah Beach, July 30, 1944.

During the operation she made over seventy crossings and carried over 100,000 men. At the cessation of hostilities in Europe she was transferred to the Far East where she carried out more trooping duties.

In January 1946 she made three voyages repatriating some 6000 West African troops from Burma and India including the total internees of a military prison.

During the 12 month period she sailed 55,732 miles and her longest stay in port was 2 days 20 hrs.

The company recorded the tour of duty as the longest Southampton to Southampton voyage undertaken in peace time.

Leaving Beira on her final voyage in 1954

Canadian troops landing at Juno Beach

Farewell Llangibby Castle - 1954

Very few merchant ships had such adventurous careers, and none led a more charmed life!  

In July 1940, after a voyage from Cape Town to Falmouth, she was requisitioned for trooping duties, as she was the ideal size to carry a battalion, and initially carried troops to South and East Africa.

On December 21/22 1940 she was one of eleven ships, including the Roxburgh Castle, damaged during an air raid in Liverpool.

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Liverpool


30-Jan


Greenock

30-Jan

09-Feb


Freetown

02-Mar

08-Mar


Freetown

08-Mar

09-Apr


Clyde

03-May

03-Jun


Freetown

16-Jun

20-Jun


Cape Town

01-Jul



Durban

04-Jul

08-Jul


Aden

21-Jul

30-Jul


Suez

03-Aug

10-Aug


Port Sudan

13-Aug

19-Aug


Durban

01-Sep

04-Sep


Port Elizabeth

06-Sep

07-Sep


Cape Town

09-Sep

12-Sep


Trinidad

30-Sep

01-Oct


Halifax

09-Oct

10-Oct


Glasgow

22-Oct

12-Nov

Voyage repairs

Clyde

12-Nov

15-Nov


Halifax

24-Nov

25-Nov


New York

27-Nov

05-Dec


Halifax

08-Dec

08-Dec


Clyde

22-Dec



Glasgow

24-Dec


Voyage repairs

1941

1942

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Glasgow


12-Jan

Voyage repairs DEMS

Horta

19-Jan

02-Feb


Gibraltar

08-Feb

06-Apr

Temporary repairs to torpedo damage

Southampton

12-Apr

12-Aug

Permanent repairs to torpedo damage. Drydocked

Clyde

14-Aug

15-Sep

Completion of repairs and fitting

Clyde

23-Oct

26-Oct


Gibraltar

06-Nov

12-Nov


Clyde

19-Nov

21-Nov

Voyage repairs

Drydocked

Glasgow

21-Nov

28-Nov


Gibraltar

05-Dec



During a voyage from the Clyde to Singapore she was, on 16th January, torpedoed north of the Azores by U-402 The stern and after gun were blown off but the propellers remained intact.

Although carrying 1400 troops only 26 lives were lost and she managed to limp to Horta in the Azores at 9 knots, fighting off attacks by Focke-Wulf 200 'Kondor' aircraft on the way.

Only 14 days were allowed for repairs to be carried out so on 2nd February set sailed for Gibraltar escorted by an Admiralty tug and three destroyers.

She still had her troops on board and proceeded without her stern and rudder. On the following day the group of ships encountered and fought off a U-boat pack attack during which HMS Westcott sank U-581.

The tug took the Llangibby Castle in tow to assist with steering and on 8th February arrived at Gibraltar where the troops were disembarked.

Except for meals they had remained on deck for the entire voyage but they had avoided being taken prisoner in Singapore.

On 6th April, after 57 days, she sailed from Gibraltar, still without a rudder but with her escorts in attendance, for the 1445 mile voyage back to the United Kingdom where she arrived safely on 13th April.

In all she had sailed 3400 miles without a stern and rudder, using her engines only for steering, a feat for which her master, Captain Bayer, was awarded the CBE

On 9th November 1942 she was part of assault force KMF which, with force KMS and comprising in total 340 ships escorted by 3 battleships, 5 aircraft carriers, 5 cruiser, 30 destroyers and 44 support ships, undertook Operation Torch, the North African landings. She was hit with an 8" shell from a shore battery which killed one person.

1943

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Gibraltar


02-Jan

Repairs to collision damage, temporary bow and stern structure repairs, drydocked

Ponta Delgada


07-Jan


Liverpool

13-Jan

04-May

Permanent repairs to collision damage. New bow fitted and extensive replating to stern. Drydocked

Clyde

05-May

28-Jun


Malta


11-Jul


Algiers

13-Jul

14-Jul


Oran

15-Jul

15-Jul


Gibraltar

16-Jul

17-Jul


Liverpool

24-Jul

11-Aug

Machinery alterations to improve speed. Drydocked and painted

Greenock

11-Aug

15-Sep

Port Said

28-Sep

29-Sep


Suez

29-Sep

11-Oct


Port Said

11-Oct

12-Oct


Alexandria


18-Oct


Taranto

22-Oct

23-Oct


Augusta

24-Oct

27-Oct


Alexandria

30-Oct

08-Nov


Algiers

15-Nov

21-Nov


Oran

22-Nov

28-Nov


Naples

01-Dec

02-Dec


Bizerta

04-Dec

05-Dec


Taranto

07-Dec

09-Dec


Augusta

09-Dec

10-Dec


Algiers

13-Dec

17-Dec


Port Said

22-Dec



In 1943 she had to return to the United Kingdom for repairs to her bow which had been damaged at Gibraltar during the preparations for the Italian landings and, at the same time, was converted into a Landing Ship Infantry with 18 landing craft.

She rehearsed her landing techniques at Loch Fyne and then spent six months ferrying troops in the Mediterranean painted in two shades of blue.

1944

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Port Said


20-Jan


Taranto

25-Jan

27-Jan


Oran

31-Jan

04-Feb


Philippeville

16-Feb

18-Feb


Naples


21-Feb


Oran

24-Feb

29-Feb


Naples

03-Mar

05-Mar


Greenock

16-Mar



Operation Overlord


In 1944 she was allotted to Force J3 (Juno beach), painted in camouflage paint and embarked Royal Marine Flotilla 557 to man her landing craft for 1590 troops. Based at Southampton she practised her D-Day landings at Bracklesham Bay and on 6th June joined Juno Force and landed the first wave of 750 Canadian troops at Coirseilles.

Returning to the ship ten of her LSI's were swamped with the loss of 12 lives. The second wave of 750 men were taken ashore by the remaining LSI's which made two trips to the beach.

In all she remained at the beach head for nine hours. She later landed troops at the Omaha and Utah beaches and also at Le Havre.

1945

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Operation Overlord


Southampton

28-Mar

16-Oct

Major collision damage

Superstructure damage

Large hole in side

Enginer, Deck and electrical repairs. Drydocked

Port Said

27-Oct

27-Oct


Bombay

06-Nov

20-Nov

Fitting cabin accommodation

Visagapatnam

26-Nov

02-Dec


Madras

05-Dec

06-Dec


Cochin

09-Dec

09-Dec


Suez

19-Dec

19-Dec


Southampton

29-Dec



1946

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Southampton


14-Jan

Voyage repairs

Port Said

24-Jan

25-Jan


Bombay

04-Feb

07-Feb


Cochin

09-Feb

10-Feb


Port Said


20-Feb


Freetown




Takoradi

06-Mar

07-Mar


Lagos

08-Mar

10-Mar


Freetown

13-Mar

14-Mar


Port Said

26-Mar

26-Mar


Aden

31-Mar

31-Mar


Cochin

06-Apr

08-Apr

Minor engine repairs

Rangoon

12-Apr

14-Apr


Colombo

18-Apr

18-Apr


Aden

24-Apr

24-Apr


Suez

28-Apr

28-Apr


Port Said

28-Apr

29-Apr


Takoradi

13-May

15-May


Freetown

20-May

21-May


Freetown

24-May

24-May


Port Said

05-Jun

05-Jun


Cochin

16-Jun

18-Jun


Port Said

29-Jun

30-Jun


Takoradi

14-Jul

15-Jul


Lagos

16-Jul

18-Jul


Takoradi

19-Jul

19-Jul


Freetown

22-Jul

22-Jul


She was returned to Union-Castle in January 1947, after having sailed 300,256 miles and carrying 156,134 troops, and underwent a refit before resuming her Round Africa service.

In 1949 she missed a voyage after suffering a fire in the cargo space and on 29th June 1954 she sailed from Tilbury to Newport in Monmouthshire where she was broken up by J. Cashmore.

1947

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Southampton


05-Jan


Glasgow

06-Jan



Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Southampton

01-Aug

30-Aug

Both tailshafts drawn for survey

Deck, Engine and Accommodation repairs

Drydocked

Port Said

08-Sep

10-Sep


Freetown

21-Sep

22-Sep


Takoradi

25-Sep

25-Sep


Lagos

26-Sep

28-Sep


Freetown

01-Oct

01-Oct


Dakar

03-Oct

03-Oct


Port Said

13-Oct

14-Oct


Aden

18-Oct

19-Oct


Madras

27-Oct

30-Oct


Aden

07-Nov

08-Nov


Suez

13-Nov

13-Nov


Port Said

13-Nov

18-Nov


Freetown

29-Nov

30-Nov


Takoradi

03-Dec

03-Dec


Lagos

04-Dec

06-Dec


Takoradi

07-Dec

08-dec


Freetown

11-Dec

11-Dec


Southampton

20-Dec



1946 - Continued

Resumption of Commercial Service after WW2 - 1947

D Day - The Master’s Story

This article was first published in “The Union-Castle Chronicle”

by Marischal Murray

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