Rochester Castle
Ship Number
Vessel Type
Refrigerated Cargo Ship
Musgrave Yard
Slip Number
Launch Date
February 11, 1937
April 29, 1937
Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co.
7795 grt
BP Length
450 feet
63 feet
No. of Screws
Speed (approx)
16 knots
Direct Acting (D.A.) Diesel
Official No.
 Rochester Castle

[Harland and Wolff Collection]

Delivered on 29th April 1937 she was the first of a class of four ships which were slightly larger than the earlier 'R' class. She made her maiden voyage to Port Natal on 12th May and was subsequently deployed on the South Africa - UK refrigerated fruit run.
In 1940 she was placed on a war footing  and on 10th August 1942 participated in Operation Pedestal, the most critical of the Malta convoys. Fifteen ships including the tanker Ohio sailed from Gibraltar with vital supplies for Malta escorted by a battlefleet  consisting of two battleships, four aircraft carriers, seven cruisers and thirty destroyers. After three days and after being continually attacked by the Axis forces only the Rochester Castle, Blue Star's Brisbane Star and Melbourne Star, Port Line's Port Chalmers and the badly damaged tanker Ohio reached Valetta on 13th August. On the approach to Malta the Rochester Castle was hit in No.3 hold by two torpedoes launched from German E-boats but she managed to reach port, the first vessel to do so. Because of her damage she was forced to remain in Malta until the following December when temporary repairs enabled her to make the dash for Alexandria and thence to New York via Cape Town where permanent repairs were made.
In June 1942, duly repaired, she arrived back in Liverpool with a cargo of frozen meat from Buenos Aires.
She was sold to Castle Shipping Corp. of Cyprus in 1970 and renamed Glenda for her final voyage to Whampoa where, on 13th November 1970, she was the last of the six 'R's to be broken up.