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Remembered Today:

SS Balmoral Castle


KONDOA
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I have a photograph of the Union Castle Line vessel "Balmoral Castle" off the breakwater somewhere. The date is June 16th 1919.

Can any chum shed light on the possible route.

Roop

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The Picture,

L.O.S ????

Post of Registry was London.

Could LOS? be IOS?

If so then it could be ISLE OF SHEPPEY

Best regards

David S Todd

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Post of Registry was London.

Could LOS? be IOS?

If so then it could be ISLE OF SHEPPEY

Best regards

David S Todd

POST??? Port of Registry,sorry

Union Castle routes were UK to South Africa

Best regards

David S todd

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POST??? Port of Registry,sorry

Union Castle routes were UK to South Africa

Best regards

David S todd

hi kondoa, the balmoral castle was taking Aussie's back in feb 25th 1919 i don't know when her last trip was. i have just had a good search and come up with no more info ,will try to find more. regards tony

isle of Skye ?

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Many thanks for your thoughts. It could possibly be Lee on Solent as the vessel had returned to civilian service around this time. Evidently from the caption someone called Cabie or Gabie was on his way back to South Africa, no doubt a woman was involved!

Roop

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Hi Roop

I had a look in the Shipping Intelligence sections of the Times Online and they report as follows:

From 21/6/19 - Balmoral Castle left Algoa Bay 12th, Sydney for Table Bay + UK

(Algoa Bay is Port Elizabeth)

From 23/6/19 - Balmoral Castle left Table Bay 15th for Plymouth

(Table Bay of course is Capetown)

So it looks like she was headed back to the UK but not sure why the date on the photo is 1 day out.

FindmyPast has passenger lists online for voyages at this time from the UK - but not the reverse unfortunately

Wonder if anyone with SA connections might recognise the breakwater - or might know the L.o.S

Cheers

Sue

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Sue,

That is a cracking information and is still consistent with possible repatriation of lads still in hospital in SA. The time difference may be if there was a pickup in Durban for this purpose or similar.

Many thanks, we do at least know which end of the voyage it was on.

Roop

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The name, I think, is 'Katie' (compare the lower case 't' in 'Castle'), and to judge by the formation of the capitals T, J, K, the first letter of the final abbreviation is an L, but I don't think anyone would refer to 'the' Lee-on-Solent (or capitalise the 'O').

Mick

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I like that one Mick, is this a war time romance? There is some similarity, although no doubt rebuilt, to the entrance breakwater at Durban, needs more thought though.

Roop

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Well a bit more investigation reveals thet the 19th June 1919 was a Thursday.

Union Castle liners left Capetown at 4pm every Thursday as they did with their reciprocal service from Southampton.

(Wikipedia - Mailships of the Union-Castle Line, Fernwood Press, ISBN 1-874950-05-9 )

This sailing in the 15th/16th June was obviously not to their normal schedule.

Roop

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The name, I think, is 'Katie' (compare the lower case 't' in 'Castle'), and to judge by the formation of the capitals T, J, K, the first letter of the final abbreviation is an L, but I don't think anyone would refer to 'the' Lee-on-Solent (or capitalise the 'O').

Mick

Tend to agree with Siege Gunner re "Katie" and "the" before LOS.

Just to add a bit more to the confusion,L o S is also an abbreviation for the term "Line of Sight!"

Best wishes looking for "Katie".

Best Regards

David S Todd

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Tend to agree with Siege Gunner re "Katie"

I don't think there's any doubt that it is 'Katie' — you can clearly see the upper diagonal stroke of the K intersecting with the lower loop of the capital J of June on the line above.

Whatever the L.O.S. is/was, it's evidently something at or near the landward end of the breakwater, so perhaps it can be found in other period accounts mentioning the breakwater, or even be deduced from a period photo taken from the seaward side.

Mick

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Yes, having had it pointed out it is most definitely Katie. Jim, I may be able to confirm in the coming weeks.

Roop

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

My posting is not really directly conected to this thread, however I collect old postcards and today found one which is dated Oct 10 1910 address to 11460 Pte. B>R> Sellwood, RMLI, HMS Balmoral Castle, Portsmouth. It appears to be from his wife, saying goodbye and wishing him a good voyage and a safe return. I am trying to trace him as I would love to return the card to his family.

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  • 2 months later...
Hi Roop

I had a look in the Shipping Intelligence sections of the Times Online and they report as follows:

From 21/6/19 - Balmoral Castle left Algoa Bay 12th, Sydney for Table Bay + UK

(Algoa Bay is Port Elizabeth)

From 23/6/19 - Balmoral Castle left Table Bay 15th for Plymouth

(Table Bay of course is Capetown)

So it looks like she was headed back to the UK but not sure why the date on the photo is 1 day out.

FindmyPast has passenger lists online for voyages at this time from the UK - but not the reverse unfortunately

Wonder if anyone with SA connections might recognise the breakwater - or might know the L.o.S

Cheers

Sue

It is the Bluff Breakwater North Pier Durban South Africa.

Cheers

Tony

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  • 3 months later...
Guest boonieshop

Hello all,

Please could you help!

I noticed that a couple of months ago, you had a thread which related to the above ship, which I am also (desperately) trying to research for my father. My father's father died when he was three years old and was a 'Fireman' in the Merchant Navy, unfortunately my fathers mother then died when he was ten. My father was a lifelong RAMC man (field ambulance) and fought in many campaigns during his long career, and I love him dearly! So for the past three years, I been trying to trace his fathers family tree for him as a special gift for his 75th birthday, well, he's now 78!! Please can you help me with an unbreakable 'brick wall' I have been stuck on for the past 11 months?

I have been tracking down my grandfathers 'crew lists' for all the ships that he served on, in order to get as much info on him as possible, and it is this and this alone that has helped me to trace and build a picture of his life. Here is the problem - I need to find out where the SS Balmoral was between Jan & May 1918.

I have checked with the national archives, the Maritime museum in Newfoundland, passenger lists on Ancestry & Rootsweb and no-one can find it!! So I got to thinking about the date and the fact that it was around WW1. I then managed to do some research and found out that some Merchant ships had been used to take New Zealand and Australian troops back 'home'. Problem is how would I find out if this was the case, and then how to find out where the crew agreements are! I can't understand Why this ship just seems to have 'vanished' from any archives or any form of trackability, not a problem trying to find it after this date! or in 1919! Please, please could anyone help with any advice?

Desperate, dejected and becoming dysfunctional

Debs

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Hello Debs

It looks like the information is out there somewhere. A detailed history / reference book was produced for the centenary of the Union-Castle line in 2000. It’s a bit pricey at £32+, details Here

If none of our resident experts come up with the goods you could try posting your request on the forum at the “Ships Nostalgia’s”website. Here

Cheers, Terry

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Debs.

Looks like your suspicions are correct. The BALMORAL CASTLE was in Australian waters during the years 1918-1919. A search of the National Archives of Australia's RecordSearch returns 23 documents. Unfortunately none have been scanned yet but you can order copies. One that looks particularly promising is:

Title: BALMORAL CASTLE [crew list inwards for Port of Fremantle] 18/3/1918 [1 page; box 37]

Series number: SP83/11 (Inwards crew and passenger lists for Australian ports)

Control symbol: NN

Barcode: 1602203

For the others, to get more information on what they contain, click on the Control symbol, then click on the Series number.

A search via Picture Australia locates several photos of the ship.

regards,

Martin

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Hi Debs

I have recently been researching WW1 convoys departing from Australia as well as NZ. The info I have re Balmoral Castle for 1918 is somewhat conflicting I'm afraid.

SS Balmoral Castle sailed from Sydney on 13/4/1918 as part of Convoy 39. She was accompanied with SS Ulysses (A38), SS Euripides (A14), SS Port Darwin and RMS Osterley. She carried 7 military personnel and 80 civillians. (Source: "Sea Transport of the AIF" by Greville Tregarten.) Where she went, and by what route, I don't know, however, I think it is most likely that the convoy would have sailed via Suez, as Port Darwin embarked military personnel at Albany, WA. As the departure dates from Sydney of the accompanying ships, spreads from 13/4 to 9/5, including them in the 39th convoy may be an admin grouping of that late stage of the war, and the ships may have sailed independantly. (No military escorts were provided after the 1st convoy, which departed Albany on 30/11/1914.)

Conflicting with this info, my NZ source tells me that Balmoral Castle departed NZ (Auckland or Wellington) on 2/5/1918, with 437 military personnel. If this is accurate, it begs the question of what she was doing for 3 weeks between departure Sydney & departure NZ. She could have been loading cargo for the UK for 2 weeks. Also, as Panama was open to shipping by this time, and if she was sailing independanly, she would most probably have sailed to Europe east about.

This was the only occasion during WW1 that Balmoral Castle visited Australia and/or NZ.

This info opens a small can of worms, but I hope it may give you a few leads.

Good luck

Amity

.

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Hello Debs

I can't help with crew lists but here are a couple of options for finding out where the ship was during the period in question. 1. Caird Library, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. On microfilm, arranged by year and alphabetically by vessel, you'll be able to find details of sailing/departures/sightings etc. The microfilm, copied from the original document, is in black and white, which presents a small problem - the original was written in different colours to differentiate between departures/arrivals/sightings - but you could probably work it out. 2. As suggested by Per ardua above, Lloyds Collection at the Guidhall Library. London, is another very useful source. I think - but I'm not certain - they hold the original documents, the copies of which are at the National Maritime Museum, as indicated above. I should think a phone call to each will determine the answer. Then it's a question of visiting these places to carry out the research, or paying someone to do it on your behalf. On the other hand, Forum members can be so helpful - you might be able recruit a volunteer to do it for you. Good luck!

Dave W

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Guest boonieshop

Hello all,

Just wanted to say a huge thanks to Terry, Martin, Amity, Roop and Dave W.

The info that you so kindly researched for me will definitely 'move me forward'. To say that I'm excited about finally having the information to help me break down the 11 month 'brick wall' that I have been stuck with, is one hell of an understatement!

Your generousity in giving your time and expertise to help me, bowls me over.

Thank you.

Debs

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