The Union-Castle Line

I was in two minds about expanding this page, but it may still happen, in the meantime enjoy what I have to offer.

The Union-Castle Mail Steamship Line was formed in 1900 when two rival shipping companies, the Union Line and the Castle line merged to form one company which would carry the mails and passengers between South Africa and the United Kingdom. The company provided this service with professionalism and excellence throughout the years. The regular arrival of these ships would bring new products and merchandise to our country and many immigrants would arrive on them. On the homeward voyage they would carry the fruits of our industry and farms to Europe, taking with them businessmen and holiday maker alike. Only wartime would interrupt the mail service which was so large a part of our lives in South Africa. The emergence of the jet aircraft was the death knell of the lavender hulled mailships so renown for their punctual sailings, and they were withdrawn one by one, until in September 1977 the last mailship sailed from Southampton never to return. It left a huge gap in our lives which has never been filled.

Windsor Castle, Pendennis Castle, Edinburgh Castle, SA Vaal, SA Oranje. (1024×716)

Windsor Castle, Pendennis Castle, Edinburgh Castle, SA Vaal, SA Oranje. (1024×716)

Only one mailship seemed to languish in lay up for so long; RMS Windsor Castle. Once the pride of the fleet, she did not carry a passenger since she was sold after being withdrawn from service.

Margarita L laid up in Greece. Image by Aristo Bilalis

Margarita L laid up in Greece. Image by Aristo Bilalis

In December 2004 it was announced that this last surviving ship of the fleet was to be broken up like all her other fleetmates. Amazingly she was very close to her original condition and there were groups intent on preserving this last remnant of a once glorious fleet. But that plan, like so many others came to nothing. The end of the line had finally arrived.

Last Sailings

Last Sailings

The Sepia Cards

The Sepia Cards

Union-Castle Philately

Union-Castle Philately

The loss of the Galway Castle

The Loss of the Galway Castle

Union-Castle Wartime Losses

Union-Castle Wartime Losses

Modelling the Union-Castle Line

Modelling the Union-Castle Line

© DRW 1999-2017. Last updated 14/01/2008, edited 11/09/2012, moved to blog 13/09/2014

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