SS Antenor (1924)

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 United Kingdom

SS Antenor (1924–39; 1945–53)

HMS Antenor (1939–45)
Owner: China Mutual SN Co
Port of registry:
  • United Kingdom Liverpool (1924–39; 1945–53)
  • United Kingdom (1939–45)
Builder: Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, Jarrow[1]
Yard number: 945
Launched: 30 Sep 1924
Completed: Mar 1925
Acquired: 13 Sep 1939
Commissioned: Jan 1940
Reclassified: Armed merchant cruiser 1939–45
Fate: Scrapped 1953
General characteristics
Type: refrigerated cargo and passenger liner
  • 11,174 GRT
  • tonnage under deck 8,590
  • 6,809 NRT
Length: 497.7 ft (151.7 m)
Beam: 62.2 ft (19.0 m)
Depth: 35 ft (11 m)
Propulsion: 4 × steam turbines; twin screw
Speed: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h)
  • 6 × 6-inch (150 mm) guns
  • 2 × 3-inch (76 mm) guns
Notes: sister ships: Hector, Patroclus and Sarpedon

SS Antenor was a British passenger and refrigerated cargo liner. She was the third of five ships to bear the name. She served as an armed merchant cruiser in the Second World War.

Civilian service[edit]

SS Antenor was built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Ltd at Jarrow, England with a gross register tonnage (GRT) of 11,174, length of 487 ft 8 in, beam of 62 ft 2 in, depth of 35 ft and a service speed of 15.5 knots. She was built for Alfred Holt and Company of Liverpool, who owned Blue Funnel Line and various other shipping lines including China Mutual Steam Navigation Company. She was launched on 30 September 1924 and completed in 1925. She began her maiden voyage on 15 January 1925 from Liverpool to the Far East.

By the 1930s she was running on Blue Funnel's Eastern Service. A timetable for the Eastern Service, issued in September 1937 for the period September 1937 – October 1938, lists the ports of call as: Liverpool, Marseille, Port Said, Colombo, Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Yokohama. Kobe and Aden were additional ports of call on the return voyage. Her sister ships on the service were Hector, Patroclus and Sarpedon.

In November 1938 the Antenor carried five giant pandas, caught in Sichuan Province in China, from Hong Kong to Europe. On the voyage some of the pandas broke out of their cage on her poop deck. The pandas were the first to be brought to Europe in captivity.[2]

World War II service[edit]

On 13 September 1939 the Admiralty requisitioned Antenor and had her converted into an armed merchant cruiser, HMS Antenor, pennant F21. She carried six 6-inch (150 mm) and two 3-inch (76 mm) guns. She served in the Mediterranean Fleet from January 1940 to April 1940, and the East Indies Station from May 1940 until October 1941.

On 31 October 1941 she was returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). She served in the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

She returned to commercial service with the Ocean Steam Ship Company in February 1946 and continued to serve until 1953 when she was sold to Hughes Bolckow (shipbreakers) for demolition. She arrived at the breaker's yard at Blyth, England on 19 July 1953.

A model of Antenor, together with her ship’s wheel, an oak bench and a decorative glass window from the ship are displayed at Maryport Maritime Museum, Maryport, Cumbria. [1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SS Antenor (1924)". Retrieved 27 Mar 2017.
  2. ^ Among the crew were Lewis Owen of Llandwrog, Caernarfon who recalled to his family bringing two of the Pandas to London before the war. articleid=straitstimes19381127.2.109&sessionid=9fb04643596f4181a3eba55881450408&keyword=antenor+panda "Giant Pandas Through Singapore. Rare Animals from the wilds of China. Will be First to Reach Europe in Captivity" Check |url= value (help). The Straits Times. 27 November 1938. Retrieved 2 February 2010.

Further reading[edit]

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