Pembroke Castle (2)


PEMBROKE CASTLE (2) was built in 1883 by Barrow Shipbuilding Co. at Barrow-in-Furness with a tonnage of 3936grt, a length of 400ft 2in, a beam of 42ft 7in and a service speed of 12 knots.

She was actually purchased on the stocks, the only vessel built away from the Clyde prior to the merger, the first four masted steamship and the largest ship in the fleet at the time.

In service she replaced the Kinfauns Castle and was deployed on the Intermediate run and as a relief mailship.

In June 1901 she was used as a coastal passenger and mailship following the loss of the Tantallon Castle.

On December 18th 1887: Pembroke Castle grounded on Thunderbolt Reef in Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape. She was later repaired and refloated.

A Cruise with The Prime Minister - 1883

On completion in July 1883 she undertook a shakedown cruise carrying dignitaries around Britain but also made a call at Copenhagen where the Tzar and other royalty were received on board.

Her owner, Sir Donald Currie, entertained 29 members of Europe's royal families, as well as Prime Minister Gladstone and Alfred Lord Tennyson, on board.

Gladstone received a royal reprimand from Queen Victoria for his part in the affair, since he had not first sought her permission to absent himself from his office.

Pembroke Castle - Art Gallery

She was sold to the Turkish Government in 1906 and renamed Bezmi-Alem for use as a Black Sea and consular passenger ship to Trabzon.

In August 1915 she was sunk by Russian warships off Samsoun in Turkey

As Bezmi-Alem

Life after Union-Castle Line Line

Fire at Cape Town -  November 1889

From Donald Sparks - September 2021

I am a retired Cape Town fire officer and I am currently researching the history of the Cape Town Fire Brigade. It would appear that there was a fire onboard the Pembroke Castle in Cape Town docks in 1889 which claimed 10 lives.

I don’t have an actual date.

What I gathered is that the vessel sailed from England and called at Flushing, Netherlands, before proceeding to Natal via Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London.

The Pembroke Castle seems to have arrived in Natal on 5 November 1889. I am assuming at this stage that the reported fire occurred in Cape Town when the vessel was on its way back to England but there is no certainty.

Any further information would be gratefully received.

Service in The Boer War - 1899 to 1902

The City of London Imperial Volunteers (CIV) was a British corps of volunteers during the Second Boer War.

After the outbreak of the Second Boer War in October 1899, volunteer corps were established in most counties of the United Kingdom to provide officers and men for service in South Africa.

 In December a proposal was put forward that the City of London should sponsor a volunteer troop of soldiers to take part in the conflict. The Lord Mayor, Alfred James Newton was approached by Colonel Boxall on the subject and within days he had reached agreement with various City livery companies, bankers, merchants and the Court of Common Council to support and fund the venture.

A corps of Imperial volunteers to be raised and equipped by the City of London was authorized by Royal Warrant dated 24 December 1899 with the name City of London Imperial Volunteers - CIV for short. The corps included an infantry division, a mounted infantry division, and a field battery (artillery) division. The infantry and mounted infantry divisions were composed of about 1,400 men recruited mainly from existing volunteer regiments in London and Middlesex, while the artillery division was composed of about 150 men recruited from the Honourable Artillery Company and the City of London Artillery forming a battery of four 12½ pounder quick-firing guns.

Aground Near Port Elizabeth - December 1887





Pembroke Castle (2)


1883 Deployed to The Intermediate Service and relief on The Cape Mail Service

1901 Replaced Tantallon Castle on The Cape Mail Service

1906 Sold to Turkey


Official Number

Ship Builder

Engine Builder

Engine Type




Barrow Shipbuilding

Barrow in Furness

Barrow Shipbuilding

Barrow in Furness

Compound Steam

450 NHP





J B Harrison



W Hay


H Rigby



W Warden



J W Creaghe



A F Marshall



R Walls



W W Verrall



Laid up



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