Leasowe Castle

LEASOWE CASTLE was built in 1917 by Cammell Laird & Co at Birkenhead with a tonnage of 8106grt, a length of 488ft 6in, a beam of 58ft 2in and a service speed of 17 knots.

She was laid down in 1915 as the Vasilissa Sophia for the National Steam Navigation Co. of Greece for management by Embericos Bros. However, work was suspended for some months and during that time she was transferred to the British subsidiary, Byron Steam Ship Co. of London, in anticipation that she could be finished in time to be requisitioned by the Government for trooping duties.

Having been acquired under the Liner Acquisition Scheme she was eventually launched on 5th April 1917, named Leasowe Castle and placed under Union-Castle management but never being owned by them.

She began service trooping between Alexandria and Marseilles.

On 20th April 1918 she was torpedoed by U-35 off Gibraltar while serving as an ambulance transport ship but managed to reach port for repairs.

Five weeks later, on 27th May, 1918 she was torpedoed by UB-51 whilst in a convoy 104 miles north-west of Alexandria and sank within 90 minutes.

Bound for Marseilles she was carrying troops of the Warwickshire Yeomanry and 102 lives were lost including that of her Master Captain E J Holl.

It is said that Lt. Col H Gray-Cheape gave his life jacket to a crew member.

Troops aboard HMT Leasowe Castle

At lifeboat drill aboard Leasowe Castle

After abandoning ship




H B Harvey



J N Culverwell



E J Holl



Torpedoed & sunk

Torpedoed and Sunk in The Mediterranean - 1918

Leasowe Castle was a 9,737 GRT steam passenger/cargo ship completed in 1915 by Cammell, Laird & Co. Ltd.

At the time of her loss she was in the hands of the British Government Shipping Controller and managed by Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co.

She was sunk on 27 May 1918 by torpedo fired by German submarine UB-51 at position 31° 30' N, 27° 56' E - approximately 104 nautical miles West by North of Alexandria.

She was en route from Alexandria to Marseille carrying passengers - she was in use as a troop carrier at the time.




Official No

Ship Builder

Engine Builder

Engine Type



Leasowe Castle




Cammell Laird


Cammell Laird


2 x Quadruple Expansion Steam

6500 IHP


Career Summary

   Crew ListUnion-Castle Home Page
Home PagePrevious PageNext Page
Union-Castle Home Page