Ship Number
Vessel Type
Passenger Ship
South Yard
Slip Number
Launch Date
21 December 1899
June 9, 1900
Union Steamship Co.
12385 grt
BP Length
570 feet
64 feet
No. of Screws
Speed (approx)
17.5 knots
quadruple expansion engines constructed in Belfast of 11,800 I.H.P. 17.5 knots
Official No.

Two funnels, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 17.5 knots. There was accommodation for 310-1st, 203-2nd, 132-3rd and 154-steerage class passengers. She was launched as the last vessel for the Union Steam Ship Company but delivered to the newly formed Union-Castle Line. Consequently, until she underwent her first re-paint, she operated with a white hull and cream masts but with Union-Castle's red funnel.
She left Southampton in June 1900 on her maiden voyage, so heavily booked that extra 3rd class accommodation had to be temporarily installed.
In August 1902 she arrived at Southampton with three Boer Generals, Botha, de la Ray and de Wet, the Boer War having ended on 31st May with the establishment of three Boer republics within the British Empire.
When the First World War was declared in August 1914 she continued operating the mail run but often carried contingents of troops in third class. By this time London had become the temporary terminal port as Southampton had been designated a military port. In January 1917 she became a full troopship in both directions and then used to ferry troops between Alexandria and Marseilles. She then made one voyage from Alexandria to Basra, anchoring in
In September 1920 she had a minor mishap when she lost her rudder after hitting a barge at Cape Town. On 14th August 1921, shortly after leaving Madeira, a fire was discovered in her bunkers and with it under control she made her way to Freetown in Sierra Leone escorted by British India's Waipara. The Kenilworth Castle then took of the passengers and the mail whilst the Armadale Castle escorted her to Cape Town. She made her final sailing on the Intermediate run on 2nd January 1931 and in the following June was replaced by the Warwick Castle and laid up at Netley as a reserve steamer.
The last remaining Union vessel, she was sold for scrap in 1935, realising £27,500, and was broken up at Blythe, Northumberland by Bolckow & Company
[Steamers of the Past by J.H.Isherwood, Sea Breezes Magazine, Oct.1959]