Llanstephan Castle


LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE was built in 1914 by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co at Glasgow with a tonnage of 11348grt, a length of 500ft 5in, a beam of 63ft 3in and a service speed of 15 knots.

Sister of the Llandovery Castle she was given the name because Sir Owen Philipps was Lord of the Manor of Llanstephan.

She was built for the Intermediate Round Africa service.

For the stories of her final voyage see the notes of Graham Jarvis

Service in WW1

Notes by the artist Jim Rae posted on Ships Nostalgia

Some of you may have seen photos of paintings I posted of Operation Dervish.

These were connected with events in Archangel commemorating the 75th anniversary next year, of the arrival of the first Convoy (Operation Dervish) in Archangel.

Through the exhibition of some of my paintings at the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project at Loch Ewe and contacts made through worldnavaships.com

I was asked to do a couple of paintings relating to the event, that might be presented to Russian Officials.

I received this photo this morning.

British Ambassador, Sir Tim Barrow, presenting the painting to the Mayor of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Igor Orlov.

Llanstephan Castle and the Dervish convoy nearing the end of their journey. Two Soviet Pe3 aircraft over fly

The Leaving of Liverpool

L to R Salamander, Llanstephan Castle, Hamlet and two of the other ships of the Dervish Convoy Leaving Liverpool


Operation Dervish was the first of the Arctic Convoys of World War II by which the Western Allies supplied material aid to the Soviet Union in its fight with Nazi Germany. The convoy sailed from Hvalfjörður, Iceland on 21 August 1941 and arrived at Archangelsk on 31 August 1941.

The Convoy Commodore was Captain JCK Dowding RNR.

On board Llanstephan Castle were two journalists, Vernon Bartlett and Charlotte Haldane of the Daily Sketch, also the artist, Felix Topolski.


This convoy consisted of six merchant ships loaded with raw materials and 15 crated Hawker Hurricane fighter planes: Lancastrian Prince, New Westminster City, Esneh, Trehata, the elderly Llanstephan Castle, the fleet oiler RFA Aldersdale, and the Dutch freighter Alchiba.

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers Electra, Active, and Impulsive; the minesweepers Halcyon, Salamander, and Harrier; and the anti-submarine Shakespearian class trawlers Hamlet, Macbeth, and Ophelia.

Distant cover consisted of the heavy cruiser Shropshire and the destroyers Matabele, Punjabi, and Somali.

At the same time the old aircraft carrier Argus, a veteran of World War I, delivered 24 Hurricanes of the Royal Air Force's 151 Fighter Wing, which landed at Vaenga (renamed Severomorsk in 1951) airfield, near Murmansk.

Largely owing to the scarcity of Luftwaffe aerial reconnaissance forces in the region at the time, all of the ships arrived safely.

Russian Destroyer Kuibychev Leads Llanstephan Castle up the River Dvina to Archangel

This was one of the paintings presented to the Russians

Llanstephan Castle at Archangel

In the Dvina river off Archangel

Here is the other 'Dervish' painting that went to Russia, the one in the presentation photo. Same scene from the other end.

Llanstephan Castle - Art Gallery

She was, in 1914, the only company ship to remain in commercial service although under government control.

In April 1915 inbound at Zanzibar she was ordered back to Durban because the German light cruiser Koenigsberg was operating in the area.

In 1917 she was eventually requisitioned for work on the transatlantic service.

Following the end of hostilities in 1918 the Prime Minister of South Africa, General Botha, returned to South Africa on her after signing the Treaty of Versailles.

She reverted to the Round Africa service in 1920 and during that year repatriated passengers from the Saxon when she lost her rudder.

Resumption of Commercial Service after WW2 - 1947

After a refurbishment she resumed commercial operations in 1947 and continued until March 1952 when she was broken up by J. Cashmore at Newport, Monmouthshire for the British Iron & Steel Corporation.

Service in WW2

In August 1940 she evacuated 200 children to South Africa. During the Second World War, in 1941, she was commodore ship for the first Allied convoy to Russia from Liverpool to Archangel after Germany's attack on Russia on 22nd June.

See the Master, Capt W D Roach’s account of her entry into Archangel

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Liverpool


24-Aug


Freetown

07-Sep

09-Sep


Cape Town

20-Sep

21-Sep


Durban

24-Sep

27-Sep


Mombasa

03-Oct

06-Oct


Durban

12-Oct

15-Oct


Mombasa

21-Oct

22-Oct


Durban

29-Oct

04-Nov


Mombasa

11-Nov

12-Nov


Durban

18-Nov

22-Nov


Mombasa

27-Nov

28-Nov


Durban

04-Dec

07-Dec


Beira

13-Dec

14-Dec


Lourenco Marques

16-Dec

17-Dec


Cape Town

20-Dec

23-Dec


1940

1940

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Freetown

05-Jan

07-Jan


Clyde

26-Jan

17-Feb

Engine and deck repairs

Freetown

05-Mar

08-Mar


Durban

26-Mar

31-Mar


Suez

20-Apr

05-May


Durban

20-May

27-May


Cape Town

31-May

04-Jun


Freetown


27-Jun


Greenock

22-Jul

02-Aug


Liverpool

02-Aug

12-Aug

Drydocking

Scapa

15-Aug



Archangel

03-Sep

27-Sep


Scapa

11-Oct

11-Oct


Greenock

13-Oct

15-Oct


Glasgow

15-Oct

19-Nov


Greenock

20-Nov


Voyage repairs

On Operations


1942

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Greenock

16-Feb

25-Feb


Halifax

08-Mar

15-Mar


Greenock

26-Mar

27-Mar


Glasgow

27-Mar

20-Apr

DEMS and voyage repairs

Clyde

20-Apr

24-Apr


Gibraltar

30-Apr

04-May


Clyde

11-May

16-May


Iceland

20-May

26-May


Clyde

29-May

30-May

Voyage repairs

Glasgow

30-May

24-Jun


Iceland

27-Jun

28-Jun


Clyde

01-Jul

05-Jul


Gibraltar

12-Jul

24-Jul


Clyde

30-Jul

19-Aug


Gibraltar

26-Aug

29-Aug


Clyde

08-Sep

16-Sep


Iceland

19-Sep

20-Sep


Clyde

23-Sep

25-Sep


Glasgow

25-Sep

16-Oct

Drydocking and voyage repairs

Clyde

16-Oct

19-Oct


Gibraltar

25-Oct

12-Nov


Clyde

19-Nov

21-Nov


Glasgow

21-Nov

26-Nov

Drydocking

Clyde

26-Nov

28-Nov


Gibraltar

05-Dec

07-Dec


Bone


11-Dec


Algiers


12-Dec


Gibraltar

14-Dec

16-Dec


Clyde

23-Dec



1943

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Clyde


22-Jan


Glasgow

22-Jan

17-Mar

General oevrhaul

Drydocking

Fumigation

Clyde

17-Mar

26-Mar


Freetown

14-Apr

29-Apr


Takoradi

04-May

05-May


Lagos

06-May

07-May


Walvis Bay

14-May

14-May


Cape Town

17-May

22-May


Durban

26-May

30-May


Mombasa

10-Jun

15-jun


Colombo


28-Jun


Bombay

02-Jul


Overhaul and Drydocking carried out while vessel was employed as an Indian Navy Training Ship

She was transferred to the Indian Navy in 1944 for troopship work and in 1945 acted as a Landing Ship Infantry (LS(I)) to the East Indies fleet with 18 landing craft manned by Indian Navy personnel.

For further details see  HMIS Llanstephan Castle

Port

Arrived

Sailed

Comments

Bombay


04-Mar


Colombo

08-Mar

22-Mar


Bombay

25-Mar

28-Mar


Colombo

02-Apr

08-Apr


Bombay

13-Apr

25-Apr

Voyage repairs

Aden

02-May

03-May


Suez

08-May

11-May


Aden

16-May

19-May


Bombay

23-May

20-Jun

Drydock and voyage repairs

Kilindini

29-Jun

11-Jul


Colombo

22-Jul

28-Jul


Bombay

02-Aug

12-Aug


Kilindini

21-Aug

23-Sep


Aden

29-Sep

29-Sep

Minor repairs

Suez

04-Oct

08-Oct


Aden

13-Oct

14-Oct


Kilindini

21-Oct

22-Oct


Dar-es-Salaam

23-Oct

24-Oct


Diego Suarez

27-Oct



Kilindini

30-Oct

31-Oct


Mogadishu




Kilindini

05-Nov

09-Nov


Colombo

19-Nov

24-Nov


Calcutta

30-Nov


Repairs and refitting for

Naval Service

1944

Memories of Llanstephan Castle - Graham Jarvis

The Llanstephan Castle, affectionately known as “The Stephan” was built in 1914 at Glasgow.

To call the “Stephan” a hard work ship would be a masterpiece of understatement – 2 quad. exp. engines, 5 scotch boilers with 3 weir feed water pumps.

At my own request, I had transferred from the Pretoria to the Stephan and Head Office had willingly obliged.

I reported to the Sen. 2nd at Albert Docks in London. Upon hearing I had come from the mail ship, he had one question for me: “What did you do wrong?” he asked. Soon thereafter, I fully understood the question.

My request to transfer was one of my better decisions throughout my engineering career.

As I prepare these notes, my Union Castle Chronicle is open to page 372 and photo #137 headed “Farewell to a Veteran” shows the Stephan en route from London to South Wales. A fond memory indeed!

Continuing my experience with the Stephan, Mr. V. Jones was conspicuous by his absence as the Chief Engineer and was seldom to be seen from start to finish of my less than one year experience as 3rd Engineer with the Senior 2nd. The 4th and 5th Engineers paired off with the Intermediate and Junior Seconds. The electrician completed the group. Two Firemen per watch tended the five scotch boilers with one greaser per watch. The donkey man and the storekeeper completed the engine room crew.

The Stephan was a challenge from day one.

One feed pump failed before we left the locks at Albert Docks and the 3rd pump was required. We were headed for Las Palmas and the second pump failed before leaving the English Channel requiring the remaining feed pump to operate at double speed, a scary sight in itself.

However, when we arrived at Las Palmas the last pump failed resulting in a 2 day stopover for repairs.

The suction side of the pumps could get the water from storage tanks but could not discharge the feed water to the boilers. The pump casings had failed due to age and the water was discharged to the bilges.

Shoreside construction workers built concrete casings around the pumps which remained.

The lowest ebb arrived as we approached Capetown and seawater was required to supplement the boiler feed water.

When the “old girl” finally returned home to the UK she did not tie up to the quayside but leaned against the quay and heaved a sigh of relief. We had made it home on the expected final voyage. Surprise, surprise, we were informed that one final voyage would be made!

In preparation for this final voyage, some repairs were made and we were outward bound once again with passengers, however, the voyage ended at Capetown.

A return home was in order and soon we left with a skeleton crew. In lieu of regular passengers, we had some people from a leper colony requiring return to England.

A return speed of seven knots was the posted speed and we arrived safely at Southampton. We had left Capetown five days ahead of the Carnarvon but the mail ship arrived one week ahead.

We had arrived safely and very soon we returned to London.

Within a couple of days we took the ‘Stephan to the breaker’s yard at Newport and within the hour we were on the train for London with a fond farewell wave to the S.S. Llanstephan Castle.


Union-Castle Home Page
Home Page   Email the Site     The Group Register   Previous Page Next Page Union-Castle Home Page