IN THE EARLY 1950S I served as 2nd officer aboard ss Umtali, Bullard King & Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Union Castle. I was therefore very interested to read Michael Toothill’s letter in the August 2012 issue of Sea Breezes.
Some years ago I was given a very informative book with the history of Union Castle Line. This is called The Cape Run, published in 1987 by Terence Dalton Ltd, of Lavenham in Suffolk and Written by W H Mitchell and L A Sawyer. It is an excellent reference and history of Union Castle Line. We also did the Cape run when it took us 20-21 days from London to Capetown.
Not exactly a flyer but an extremely happy ship with a loyal following of up to 120 passengers. Inevitably, we would pass Union Castle ships and I remember many of them. They were to my mind beautifully designed and graceful whatever the age.
The Stirling Castle and her sister ship, Athlone Castle were both built, (I believe), by Harland and Wolff and both launched in 1935. The book covers the total history of the company and is, therefore, a very good read. Although I did not proceed further with that career, I am so glad to have memories of those golden days of the Merchant Navy.
R J BIZZEY
Somerville House, 6 Somerville Lea
Aldeburgh, Suffolk, IP15 5LH