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August 2012’s Mystery Ship Answer

The mystery ship is the famous Empire Windrush, built in 1930 by Blohm + Voss as Monte Rosa for Hamburg South America Line. She was 13,882gt with a speed of 14.5 knots. Up to 1945 she was in German hands, and during the war was used as a barrack ship, troopship and a repair ship to Tirpitz. She was given to Britain in August 1945 as a war prize. In 1946 she became a British troopship, being fitted out by Alex Stephen’s on the Clyde and renamed Empire Windrush.

In June 1948 she became famous when she docked at Tilbury with 500 Jamaicans coming to Britain to start a new life. The photo was taken after her 1950 refit. In 1954 she left on what was her final voyage to Southampton from Japan with 1,265 passengers and 222 crew. On the leg from Port Said she caught fire off Cape Caxine. Her passengers and crew were picked up by rescue vessels but she sank the next day, being towed, still on fire, by HMS Saintes.

John Jordan,Cloyne, Co Cork

Ships Montly - January 2024

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