Hello world!

NOTICE OF CLOSURE – 20th October 2010: Comments have been deactivated. Read the latest Comment from Editor for replacement information and CLICK THIS HOTLINK for replacement page now operational. A Password/ID will be required – follow the WordPress prompts.

Copy of a 1954 postcard of SS Vienna kindly contributed by Philip A Evans (RAF) of Wigan

(Editorial 6th December 2006) Welcome to Troopship Memories. There is a growing global interest from “Old Soldiers” who travelled the globe by HMTs and those relatives and friends seeking those Old Soldiers, Blogging and publishing comments and Memoirs offers hope and anticipation that former mates will pick up the thread and respond. Post a comment below and see what happens!

(Editor 19th September 2010) We are approaching our 4th year anniversary for this HMT blog and continue to find a trickle of comments from experiences on Troopships from the past. Given that HMT’s were generally phased out by the early ’60s, we conclude that even the youngest (family member) passenger would be around 50 years old today and in fact most military travellers are well over 70 and beyond. I note that military blog exchanges across the board (from 50s serving servicemen and women) are diminishing generally across ALL sites, which indicates that the survivors are disappearing from this life. Sad but true, but we continue to hold a strong interest in hearing from anyone with HMT experiences, so ignore the quantity and develop the quality – cheps – and dig out those old stories of yesteryear. A few of us are still interested. Thank You!

(Editorial Comment Nov 2010) We have hotlinked this page to our new blogsite:- HMTroopships – so dear reader, if you have some interest in a particular HMTroopship and an editorial contribution to make, just email the Editor (djkl157@gmail.com) with your request, stories and comments and we’ll sail on the noon tide. Remember to include full details about yourself, Full name, dob, rank, service number, regiment, postings, and most of all – any photos. We can restore most old and tattered, bent and torn photos to greater tonal quality and legibility. So GOYA!! and blog!!

Tempus Fugit!


24 Responses to “Hello world!”

  1. Derek Lovemore #22935157 Says:

    A posting obo Bill Callen, RAF, wireless operator, travelled from Liverpool to Port Elizabeth late 1940 – early 1941. Bill has recounted his memoirs of this event on the HMTroopship site, and we’ve also posted a Mention on “Most Wanted”.

    Bill is now 87 – congratulations Bill – well able to email us and report part of his WW2 military history. We hope to encourage Bill to record more of his adventures.

    Bill is searching for “Old Mates” – especially Bert Rooke a fellow shipmate on SS Orbita at that time mentioned above. Bert! – if you’re out there please contact the editor and we’ll get the contact ball rolling.

    Carpe Diem!

  2. Edward M Gorman Says:

    Hi, I stumbled across your website by accident. Speaking of Troopships, I first went on board the Empire Windrush, bound for Singapore, in early 1953, where I served with a mobile Gurkha Unit until Aug 1955 in Malaya. I returned to UK on the Dilwara.

    After a few months in UK I decided to move on and joined the NZ Armed Forces. I then sailed to NZ aboard the Captain Cook. Two years later I was posted to Malaya aboard the Captain Cook again. I then went to Hong Kong to play soccer for the Far East Commonwealth Services aboard the New Australia. I enjoyed every minute of my time aboard these ships.


    ED: I have emailed Ted with an invitation to participate further in HMTroopship Memoirs particularly as we have just yesterday updated comments about the HMT Windrush received from Capt RN (rtd) Michael Page, who was a passenger and a first hand witness to the sinking.

  3. Jim Roberts Says:

    I was SAC Roberts RAF 1952-55 I was posted to Malaya sometime in ’53 on the troopship Georgic. I have faint memories of a troopship that left Southampton a couple of weeks or so before or after we sailed. I am 75 and my memory is getting a bit foggy. This Troopship sank (somewhere around Gibralter, I think).

    The amazing thing was there was no loss of life. Can anyone name this ship? I would love to have someone who can remember to please inform me.

    Jim Roberts.

    ED: Empire Windrush Jim. Browse the related Troopship site to view comments. See also earlier blogs on this site regarding the Windrush.

  4. Michelle Cox Says:

    My dad is Don Ford who served with the Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry in Bermuda 1955. He has enjoyed looking at memories and the photos and stories have prompted his own memorys.

    He would be interested in hearing from anyone in the 3rd Platoon or others, he also has photos that may be of interest

  5. Edward Askew Says:

    Sailed via Suez Canal with the Green Howards to Hong Kong on the Empire Fowey1955. Ended up at Dodswel Ridge and Bees Stables barracks in the New Territories. Returned to the UK 1956 on the Nevasa by way of the Cape of Good Hope. Docked in Durban, SA. Fortunate to have seen Perla Gibson, the Lady in White singing on her dais on the dockside. Hundreds of civilian vehicles lined the wharf, all hoping to take a British serviceman home to tea.

    Alas, shore leave cancelled, Asian flu on board.What a disappointment, this chance would never come again. We were miserable for days after.

  6. Roger Broady Says:

    I was never LI but I did sail on the Oxfordshire in 1988 and 1989 when she was called TSS (Twin Screw Ship) Fairstar of The Sitmar Line, sailing out of Sydney. Around 1989 became P&O, I believe that she is now being used as razor blades. Sitmar were Italian owners and the food excellent. The Fairstar had many other nicknames, (something to do with the goings on at night!).

    ED: Thanks for comment Roger. Received your email too from Labrador, will be replying shortly. JJ Goddard and I both sailed on the Empire Clyde in February 1954

  7. David Nicholls Says:

    While in the process of researching my family tree I came across this information in my Father’s papers.

    In 1954 my Father, Flt Lt Frank (Nick) Nicholls, was stationed at RAF North Front, Gibraltar flying Avro Shackleton MR Mk.2’s on No. 224 Sqn. One of the squadron’s rolls was providing Search & Rescue (S&R) cover for the Western end of the Mediterranean and on the 29th March 1954 my Father & his crew took off from Gib following distress messages from the “Empire Windrush”.

    The Empire Windrush had set off in February 1954 on what proved to be her final voyage, sailing from Yokohama to the United Kingdom with approx 1,500 recovering wounded United Nations veterans of the Korean War, including soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment wounded at the Third Battle of the Hook in May 1953. The voyage was plagued with engine breakdowns and other defects, taking ten weeks to reach Port Said, from where the ship sailed for the last time.

    On locating the Empire Windrush Nick and his crew maintained overhead watch over the stricken vessel and directed the rescue ships to the scene. The first ship on the scene was the Blue Funnel Line, wartime victory ship, S.S. Mentor which rendered assistance and picked up the first survivors. My Father & crew then remained “On Station” guiding the destroyer HMS Saintes to the location. The burned-out hulk of Empire Windrush was taken in tow by the HMS Saintes of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet, 32 miles northwest of Cape Caxine. HMS Saintes attempted to tow the ship to Gibraltar in worsening weather, but Empire Windrush sank before first light the following morning, Monday 30 March 1954. The entry in my father’s log book for that mission shows they were in the air for over 19 hours and I distinctly remember him telling that as they taxied back in after landing two of the engines shut down as the fuel ran out.

    I just thought I would share that with you in case anyone out there was on the receiving end.

    ED: Thank you, David Nicholls for this interesting comment. The Troopship Memoirs (HMT website) have one or two references only to the Windrush sinking, one of whom was a passenger. Another contact is currently in West Australia – but we have had no further comment from anyone – until now. We hope that this article will capture some interest.

  8. Suzy Clarke Says:

    Hello, I am hoping you or someone can help me. My father Robert Clarke was on the Troopship Windrush when she sank. I know that he was an Army Medic and was serving in Egypt, Suez Canal Zone. Unfortunately I do not know which regiment. I do have a group photo however, not sure if that would help. I am also led to believe he may be entitled to a medal from his time in the Suez. How can I go about arranging for this if I don’t have any details of rank, serial number etc.
    Back to the sinking, my father told me stories of how the French Foreign Legion took care of them, even enlisting with them for the day! Would love to hear from anyone who can help me.

    Regards, Suzy.

    ED: Hi Suzy, many thanks for your comment. Let’s hope that some response might rear up from our readers (few and far between unfortunately). Send me a .jpeg pix by all means, identifying your Pa and I’ll publish it straight away with a reference back to your comment. We do not publish email addresses for obvious reasons. As you can read also there are some comments about the Windrush on this site, but little cross conversation seems to flow.

    We are not a research facility, so Military details etc will have to be pursued elsewhere. Good luck. Best Regards.

  9. Sandra Wadhams Says:

    Researching family history I was quite excited to find this site. I have been looking for details on the Windrush. My parents met whilst both serving in the Indian Army. They arrived (Southampton? Liverpool?) in the UK on the Empire Windrush in November 1947 on India gaining independence. As my mother was expecting me at the time I suppose you could say I was a ‘stowaway’! Parents were Sgts. Desmond and Shamrock Wells. If anyone has information or photos from this time I would love to see them on this site.

    I believe the next voyage of the Windrush was the historic one, that there is absolutely loads of information on, via the West Indies.

    Yours Hopefully

  10. RAY VINCER Says:

    Dear Readers,

    I was a cabin steward on the Windrush when she caught fire and eventually sank in the Med. We were carrying 1,276 Service personnel, which included 200 of their families, both women and children. The ship had a crew of 222 personnel.

    There is a book called “Women and children first”, the loss of the troopship, EMPIRE WINDRUSH. The book was compiled by Capt Bill Seybold, but sorry to say, it is now out of print. If anyone pushes hard enough, there may be a copy laying about in a library somewhere.

    RAY VINCER 21-10-2009

    ED: Thank you Ray, there are I’m sure many readers of this blog who will be interested to read your comments. Is there a ‘Windrush Survivors’ group who exchange Memoirs?

  11. Ron Sumner Says:

    Going through my fathers Army shipped out days, one of the many photographs is of the MV “WINDRUSH”. I have noticed all painted in one colour, (grey). I am trying to trace if (he) shipped out on this craft and returned on the “ORBITA” ship, from India.

    Ron (5-11-2009)

    ED: Thanks Ron for this Comment and the earlier one regarding your father (RIP). As mentioned in reply to others on this Blog, we are not a research platform and beyond hoping that someone with knowledge and/or historical detail will read this, we cannot assist.

    Best of luck

  12. Alexander Martin Says:

    Amazing site.
    I am Alex Martin, son of Dennis, Cpl 22432116 Sigs, researching my Dad’s service history and now I know how we got to Kenya in 1959/60, it would have been on the HMT Nevasa, travelled there with my mother Grace and sister Shirley. I was only months old, my brother Tony was born in Nairobi when I was only 11 months old, reckon now my Dad had time on his hands on the trip to Mombassa.

    Putting all this history together has been an uplifting experience for me, following a faint but distinct trail left by my Dad and his mob, I have been able to see his life, and his/my family, in a new light. Stories of life on the HMT Nevasa and the journey to Kenya would help enormously so if anyone has any I’d be very grateful.

    Congrats to you for the site and hi to any Britbrats who come looking for the same enlightenment.


    ED: Thanks Alex, always good to hear about HMT travels and related family stuff. This site is a bit passive, with infrequent traffic, but here’s hoping you’ll attract some response.

  13. Alex Powell Says:

    Seeing the Orbita mentioned lots here I wonder if anyone can say what she was doing during a voyage from Liverpool 24/4/1948 until she reached Columbo on 16/5/1948.

    I have a document stating my grandfather John Powell was discharged from the vessel at Columbo 16/5/1948 and people from the shipping company called to his home address to inform his wife that he had been buried ashore at Columbo. The discharge document does not make it clear if he was “alive” or his body “dead” when put ashore but we believe he died aboard the Orbita and it was indeed his body that was taken ashore. We believe this to be the case as that is how the story is remembered by the older family members.

    Would be most interested to hear of any news as to what and where the orbita was doing at these dates.

    ED: Thanks Alex. As mentioned before to other contributors, this site attracts very little ‘conversational’ comment – usually only anecdotal material from various sources. Hopefully, someone will have the information you require. Good Luck!

  14. Steve Davies Says:

    My father in law was on the Windrush as a soldier returning from Korea. During the sailing his duty was to guard some prisoners below deck, which is what he was doing when the alarm was raised. He has always said that he was one of the last to evacuate but he cannot see how the prisoners got off. The reports always state 4 crew members died, he believes it was actually these prisoners, is anybody able to confirm.


  15. Megan Huggins Says:

    I have been clearing the attic and have found a commemorative teaspoon with RMS Orduna written on a blue enamel background – with PSNO on a white background of a flag. It might have come from my uncle – Dr. John Griffith of Dolgellau/Caernarfon. He may have sailed on the ship to/from Burma in WWII. Can anyone help me with more information? Thank you!

  16. Andy Ward Says:

    Hello there. My great uncle Len served in REME during the war and travelled on the HMT Empire Windrush in May 1952. Sadly he passed away a few years ago but he left us some memorabilia which included 4 small menu cards dated 7th and 8th May 1952. Would you like me to scan them for your archive?

    Best wishes. Andy Ward

    ED: G’Day Andy, many thanks for your Post. Please scan into .jpeg and forward when convenient and will publish appropriately with a caption referring to Len. Do you have his Service Number, Rank etc?

    Email to djkl157@gmail.com

  17. Derek Lovemore, Editor Says:

    SS Vienna

    Philip A Evans (RAF 1954) has kindly contributed a postcard of SS Vienna, now appearing at the Page Header. Philip remarked that his postcard of the Vienna appeared to be a better photo than the image appearing on the HMT website – over which we have lost some editorial access (for the time being). So, hereto Philip’s SS Vienna. Judge for yourselves.

    GO TO: HMT

    Thank you Philip.

  18. George Bodaly ex RAOC Says:

    I sailed to Korea on Empire Halladale some time between August and Oct 1950. I believe that this was the first time she took troops to Pusan Korea. She was not a pleasant ship, I didn’t mind too much because this was a new experiece for me, but most of my oppos were Z reservists, some having been recalled after serving though WW2 even having been in Stalags & Jap prison camps in Burma.

    As I was only 18 at the time, I learned to be a good? soldier from them. This standing me in good stead for the rest of my sevice, 22 years. What I can’t remember is the exact sailing date, or even if it was Portsmouth or Southampton. Still someone might remember before I go upstairs.

    George Bodaly Northampton

  19. Ivor MacSorley Says:

    I served on Empire Clyde and Captain Cook between 1955 and 1960, running between Liverpool, all ports Gib Malta, Cyprus, Suez, Aden, Ceylon, Singapore, Penang and Hong Kong. Also immigrants to Sydney and Wellington and Auckland.

    Remember taking 1 NZ Regt down from Penang and 2 NZ regt back up. Remember the child sea burial in the Red sea. Being on the last convoy through the Suez Canal the day before it was nationalised and the Mig 15s screaming up and down the Canal. I remember the little Maori nurse (Mary McGregor?).

    Great memories. Good Luck and Keep smiling. Ivor

    ED: Thanks Ivor, very detailed comment, as you say – great memories. We recently arranged a Clyde Association 1954 mug. Will email you the contact URL.

  20. Michael Posner Says:

    Greetings, in November 1954 I was one of 28 members of the Royal Corps of Signals who sailed from Liverpool for Mombasa on the MV Georgic. There were also about 1,500 members of the Royal Green Jackets. Would like to hear from anyone who may have been on this ship. Best wishes to all.

  21. Penny Forsyth Says:

    Hello, interested in seeing Ivor MacSorley saying being the last convey through the Suez before it was closed. I was a 12 year girl on board the Asturias sailing for home. Just before Aden it was announced that the canal was closed. Having already being through it we were delighted to go around the Cape. Although it extended our journey from 3 to 6 weeks.

    We stopped at Mombasa, Cape Town and the Canaries. We had none of the amenities of a cruise ship but we loved the boat. We had a morning school on board to keep us out of everyone’s way and it gave our parents a well deserved rest. As 1st class passengers we did have some comforts – the troops did not, it must have been very uncomfortable for them. Anyone else out there who was on the Asturias at this time?

  22. IVOR BODY Says:

    My Mum, Dad, my brother, sister and myself sailed from London Docks in 1937 after leaving Felixstowe pier on the Yarmouth Belle Paddle streamer (Bibby Line) calling at all the piers Clacton, Walton on the Naze etc and lastly Tilbury. Embarked on the HMTV Dorsetshire bound for Port Said and Alexandria and then by RAF transport to RAF Ismailia. Left RAF Ismailia by truck andlLiner home. The SS Orion (our liner home 1939) was coming up the Suez Canal as we travelled along the road. SS Orion was then 3 years old and the first to have air conditioning. It’s main use was a tourist liner and advertised 5 months cruises from Sydney to Europe via Suez Canal and then 5 country tour of Europe via coach and then on to Southampton for the rest of the time to tour England, Wales and Scotland. Hired car was included for this, Hotels, Transport, tips etc where all included. After 5 months you could stay for a further 19 months at your own expense and the return liner ticket would be valued. All for under 300 Australian £’s. Although my brother, my sister and I am still alive guess no one else is. Or perhaps there is?

  23. Gordon Robert Barber Says:

    I sailed on the Dilwara to Cyprus in 1956, on a War Office individual posting to 188 radar & seachlight battery Royal Artillery. I was made RQMS storeman for the journy, issuing items from rifles and ammunition to housey/housey tickets(bingo). The stores were at the bottom of the ship next to the oil tanks, and when muster stations were called I never made it onto deck because the water tight doors beat me to it.

    I returned in 1958 on the Dunera with the Middlesex Regiment when one of them was too sick to travel. I was given three hours to pack, have a release medical and get to Famagusta from Nicosia. My kit was dumped in the hold, leaving me in just KD’S for the whole journey.

  24. Derek Lovemore Says:


    NOTE: Since posting this notice the forwarded blog site is privatised (as at September 2012). A Password/ID is required to access. This is a simple procedure – just follow thw WordPress prompts.

    KINDLY CLICK THE HOTLINK BELOW to travel to the new location, that has effectively combined Troopship Memories & HMTroopships into one new blog site.

    See hotlink CLICK HERE All comments that have been logged on this page will be preserved and transferred with the original date and name reference. I thank all contributors for your past interest and invite your continuance on the new page. The new combined blog site, will offer better cross threading options together with image insertion (by Editor) on receipt of .jpeg attachments by email. Larger photo albums can also be uploaded to a Picasa Album URL with quality photo restoration options.

    Any queries – contact me on djkl157@gmail.com

    The Comment functionality is turned off. Kindly post all fresh comments on the new site – now operational.

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