Capetown Castle
Ship Number
Vessel Type
Passenger Ship
Slip Number
Launch Date
September 23, 1937
Launched By
Mrs J D Low (mayoress Of Capetown)
March 31, 1938
Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co.
27002 grt
BP Length
685-5 feet
82 feet
No. of Screws
Speed (approx)
20 knots
Two Harland and Wolff - B & W Direct Acting (D.A.) Diesel 12,000 s.h.p.
Official No.
 Capetown Castle

This liner was the first Castle line not to be named after a place in the British Isles.  
She was launched by Mrs J.D. Low, the Mayoress of Cape Town, and the name of the city was bestowed as one word to conform with the policy of naming the ships after fictional South African castles. Based on the Stirling Castle specification, but with more enclosed superstructure to provide more outside cabins, she was the longest motorship in the world and joined the fleet to operate a faster eight ship mail service.
When war broke out on 3rd September 1939 she was at Port Elizabeth and continued in commercial service until 1940 when she was requisitioned for use as a troopship. During 1943 she trooped between the USA and the UK as part of Operation Bolero, the build up for D-Day. After carrying some 164,000 troops and sailing 484,000 miles she returned to Union-Castle in 1946 and was refurbished at Belfast where her original fittings had been stored in complete safety.
She was the Union-Castle’s first ship to return to post-war service, sailing from Southampton on 9th January 1947.
On 17th October 1960 a compressor exploded in the engine room, disabling the ship, which was near Las Palmas, and killing seven persons. The passengers were transferred to other ships and she eventually returned to Belfast where she was repaired; the Braemar Castle temporarily replacing her.
 In 1965 £100,000 worth of gold ingots were stolen from the bullion room but were found cemented in a hold during the following voyage. Two members of the crew were subsequently imprisoned for the theft.
On 26th September 1967 she arrived at La Spezia for breaking up by Terrestre Marittima having been replaced by the Southampton Castle and Good Hope Castle.