MV Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle leaving Southampton, June 1962.
|Name:||RMMV Stirling Castle|
|Operator:||Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co.|
|Port of registry:||London, UK|
|Route:||Southampton, Las Palmas, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban|
|Builder:||Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Launched:||15 August 1935|
|Completed:||29 January 1936|
|Maiden voyage:||7 February 1936|
|Out of service:||30 November 1965|
|Fate:||Broken up at Mihara, Japan, 1966|
|Tonnage:||25,550 gross register tons (GRT) (1946, 25,554 GRT)|
|Length:||725 ft (221 m)|
|Beam:||82 ft (25 m)|
|Draught:||32 ft (9.8 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 Burmeister & Wain 10-cylinder, two-stroke double-acting marine diesels, twin screws.|
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)|
RMMV Stirling Castle was a British ocean liner of the Union-Castle Line built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast for the Southampton to South Africa mail service. She was launched on 15 August 1935 and was the first of two identical sister ships, being joined a few months later by the Athlone Castle. A third, slightly larger, ship of the class, the Capetown Castle, joined them in 1938
Her two Burmeister & Wain engines were built by Harland and Wolff under licence, and were the largest marine oil engines constructed in Britain until then. Each driving a single screw, they were double-acting 10-cylinder marine two-stroke diesels developing 24,000 hp with bore x stroke 26 inches (66 cm) x 59 inches (150 cm). Each engine was 34 feet (10 m) high from the centre of the crankshaft, 72 feet (22 m) long and weighed 900 long tons (1,000 short tons).
Stirling Castle left Southampton on her maiden voyage on 7 February 1936. In August of that year she set a new record for the route, reaching Table Bay in 13 days 9 hours, beating the previous record of 14 days, 18 hours, and 57 minutes set by SS Scot in 1893.
During World War II, Stirling Castle was used as a troopship, coming through the war unscathed after steaming some 505,000 miles and carrying 128,000 personnel. She was released from government service in 1946 and was refitted by her builders, returning to passenger service in 1947. In 1946, she sailed before being refitted from Southampton on 31 August for Australia arriving at Fremantle on 28 September. The mail service was accelerated in 1965 and Stirling Castle and her sisters had insufficient speed to maintain the new schedule. They were replaced by two new fast cargo ships (the new schedule required only seven ships rather than eight) and Stirling Castle was withdrawn from service upon arrival at Southampton on 30 November 1965. A proposed sale to Taiwan breakers (where her sister had gone two months earlier) fell through and she was instead sold for scrapping in Japan. She left Southampton on 1 February 1966 for Mihara where she arrived on 3 March 1966 to be broken up by Nichimen Co.
- McCluskie, Tom (2013). The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff. Stroud: The History Press. p. 144. ISBN 9780752488615.
- Smith, Edgar C. (2013) . A Short History of Naval and Marine Engineering. Cambridge University Press. pp. 335–6. ISBN 9781107672932.
- Mitchell & Sawyer, The Cape Run
- Kludas, Great Passenger Ships of the World Vol.4
- An account of life on board this ship and others of the Union-Castle Line in the 1960s
- Photo of Stirling Castle's engines before installation
- Winchester, Clarence, ed. (1937), "RMMV Stirling Castle", Shipping Wonders of the World, pp. 1306–1310, illustrated description of the ship