RMS Arundel Castle

RMS Arundel Castle was a British ocean liner and Royal Mail Ship which entered service in 1921 for the Union-Castle Line. A previous vessel of the same name was built in 1864 by Donald Currie & Co. (a predecessor to Union-Castle) and sold in 1883, whereupon it was renamed Chittagong.[1] Originally laid down as the Amroth Castle in 1915, building was delayed by the First World War. She was eventually launched on 11 September 1919.[2]

SS Arundel Castle at Cape Town, South Africa.
United Kingdom
Name: Arundel Castle
Namesake: Arundel Castle
Owner: Union-Castle Line
Port of registry: Southampton
Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Ireland
Yard number: 455
Launched: 11 September 1919
Completed: 8 April 1921
Maiden voyage: 22 April 1921
Fate: Scrapped in 1959
General characteristics
Type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 19,023 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 661 ft (201 m), lengthened to 686 ft (209 m) during 1937 refit.
Beam: 72 ft (22 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbines powering two propellers.
  • 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
  • 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) after 1937 refit.
  • 219 in First Class
  • 167 in Second Class
  • 194 in Tourist Class

Her sister ship was RMS Windsor Castle and they were the only four-funneled liners not built for transatlantic service. She received a refit in 1937, with her four funnels being reconfigured into two, with new Babcock-Johnson boilers,[3] her hull lengthened, and her bow remodelled from a blunt chisel-style into a more modern, angular design. She served in the Second World War as a transport in the Mediterranean.

Arundel Castle made her 211th and final voyage in 1958, leaving Cape Town on 5 December and arriving in Southampton on 19 December.[2] On 30 December she left for Kowloon on her way to Chiap Hua, the ship breakers in Hong Kong.[4] When the ship arrived in Hong Kong harbour, Chiap Hua organised a lavish cocktail party on board the vessel with many of Hong Kong's dignitaries including government officials and bank executives. The ship’s furnishings and accessories—including the chronometers, captain’s armchair, steering wheel, crockery and sterling silver cutlery—were offered as gifts.

In her career she had steamed 2,850,000 miles in peace-time service and 625,565 as a troopship.[2]

Colour film of Arundel Castle in Hong Kong can be seen in the Look At Life film, "Ticket to Tokyo," released in April 1959.[5]


  1. http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/castle.shtml
  2. Miller, William H (1986). The Last Blue Water Liners. London: Conway Maritime Press. pp. 46–63. ISBN 0 85177 400 8.
  3. Smith, Edgar C. (2013) [1937]. A Short History of Naval and Marine Engineering. p. 315. ISBN 1107672937.
  4. http://www.chiaphua.com/
  5. "Look at Life - Ticket to Tokyo 1959," YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p9feJUh_iE , starting at 8:02 in the film .

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