From: Nick O’Nion, by e-mail

I have been reading Norman Middlemiss’s excellent article on Holland America Line. I remember visiting the m.v. Dongedyk built in 1929 / 10,942 grt in the Royal Docks London in the early 1960s. Two of her officers showed us over the ship including her engine room but by this time her twin diesels were playing up, she was sold shortly after and renamed Tung Long. She however was in spotless condition.

In her hay day a Hollywood Film producer had missed the ship on a trip to Europe, so he wrote a song “Oh, Oh where have you gone my Dongedyk”.

I believe these was pre second world war, but this ship visit was 50 years ago or so. At that time she was on the Europe. West Coast USA service.

From: Henry C. Aitken, by e-mail

I refer to the articles on the Union Castle line. Having lived in South Africa for a large part of my life the ships of the line were always of interest to me.

My parents and I emigrated to South Africa from the UK in July 1948. We left Southampton on 8th July 1948 on the Stirling Castle. My father had originally obtained passage on the Winchester Castle but as she was an emigrant ship this was not deemed to be suitable. Luckily he obtained a berth on the Stirling Castle. To a small boy she looked enormous and I can still remember the voyage. We passed the Athlone Castle and Warwick Castle en route. The Warwick Castle, originally Pretoria Castle, was a stand in on the mail run until new tonnage had been built.

I travelled on the Windsor, Pendennis and Transvaal Castles on the South African coast and also the SA VaaL. I also travelled from Durban to Cape Town on the SA Oranje taking my car with me on the ship.

These were great ships to travel on and a way of travel that has now passed.

I am attaching copies of stamp covers that were issued when the Windsor Castle and SA Vaal left on their final voyages.

1703-60stamp cover 1 1703-60stamp cover 2



From: R. Frost, Felixstowe

I am writing to you to see if anyone knows where the River Lady II is nowadays. The last I heard of her was in Devon in the 1970s. She belonged to Western Steamship Company.

Also, where are the Sealink ships and Dutch day-boats that used to run from Parkeston Quay, Harwich. I can remember all these, such as DFDS’s England that used to be at Parkeston Quay in the 1950s and 1960s.



From: J. T. Parnall, by e-mail

Regarding your log for August, I recently visited the new maritime museum in Hamburg covering seven floors in the new district of Hafen City. It is well worth a visit, but you will need to allow most of the day for viewing.



From: Robert Wyatt, by e-mail

Thank you to Commodore Ian Gibb and his letter in the July issue for clearing up a 61 year old mystery, how the S.S. Cycle became the S.S Bicycle. For officers and apprentices (I was one at the time) on board the new E. & A. ship Arafura discharging in Brisbane in 1955, we had a good laugh at the [Bi]Cycle as she passed us in the river. Two other ‘mysterious name alterations’ come to mind. The Blue Funnel ship Gorgon left port as the ‘Gorgonzola’ and the Japanese Yamashita Line ship with the line in large white letters painted on her hull, left port with the letters Y M A & A blacked out, reading something rather uncomplimentary to that line…..



From: Jean Goodwillie, by e-mail

I enjoyed the article in the July 2016 issue of Shipping Today and Yesterday about Sir R. Ropner WWII losses and replacements. My Dad, James S. Gillies, of Lower Largo, Fife, was a member of the crew of the Empire Trent when the ship ran into a 100mph storm. If I remember rightly, Dad said that it was when the ship was on its way back from Texas. He said that the crew were all lying down in the mess waiting for the ship to sink and they were singing Eternal Father, Strong to Save. He said that the ship was definitely named the Empire Trent when this happened. However, your article and another one I read said that the during the incident described she was called the Rockpool. I am wondering if you or any of your readers can shed any light on this. Dad died in 1993.

Editor’s note: I can’t find any reference to the storm encountered by Rockpool/Empire Trent in the article in the July edition. The only mention of any incident involving the vessel is when it ran aground, as Rockpool, in the Clyde on 1st February 1941. She was renamed Empire Trent shortly afterwards.



From: David Nicholson, by e-mail

Recently, I had a brief stop-over in Gibraltar which allowed me to enjoy the considerable volume of shipping which stands off in the Bay of Algeciras and the large numbers of container vessels, both large and small, which use the Port. One particular element which did come to light, however, is the level of pollution which is created by such a mass of shipping, not just in the Bay but also traversing the Straits of Gibraltar. I should add that light winds allowed the plume to spread to Tarifa and thence along the hills behind the city of Algeciras. I would assume that the weather and atmospheric conditions would possibly allow for such conditions to prevail, moreover, the city of Algeciras is quite a heavily industrialised area but it was with relief that I also saw the Mary Maersk, a Triple E class vessel leaving Algeciras at least only partially adding to the ferment!


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