Book title: Mailships of the Union-Castle Line
Author: C.J. Harris; Brian D. Ingpen; Peter Bilas
Type: Naval History
Imprint: Fernwood Press
2nd edition. Cape Town, South Africa 1996
ISBN 1874950059 / ISBN 1-874950-05-9
ISBN 9781874950059 / ISBN 978-1-874950-05-9
Hardcover, dustjacket, 30x27 cm, 180 pages, 300 photographs, 8 maritime paintings
Spanning the period 1857-1977, Mailships of the Union-Castle Line is the story of the mail service between Britain and South Africa and its concomitant cargo and passenger services. It traces the years of fierce competition between the Union and Castle lines for tenure of the coveted Ocean Mail Contract, their ultimate amalgamation in 1900 to become the legendary Union-Castle Line and the fluctuating fortunes of that company. Much more than a history, though, it is a nostalgic look at an era of magnificent ships and leisurely travel, when names like Scot and Briton, Dunottar Castle, Arundel Castle, Carnarvon Castle, Windsor Castle and, under the South African flag, S.A. Vaal and S.A. Oranje were household words.
It captures the excitement that greeted record passages and the launch of a new flagship, sailing day at Southampton and Cape Town, and the no less memorable final voyages, particularly those of the '70s when the economics of containerization and the jumbo jet brought to a close the great age of sea travel. Woven into the fascinating fabric of the text are accounts of life on board for passengers, officers and crew; tales of heroism and disasters, accidents and war; memories of the coastal passage, Crossing the Line, beef tea, and much more.
To enhance the value of the book as a reference work, four scrupulously researched appendices provide particulars of each mailship, as well as some useful comparative statistics and a chronology of shipping developments in South Africa. Richly illustrated throughout with evocative memorabilia, over 300 photographs - most of them previously unpublished - and eight specially commissioned paintings by acclaimed marine artist Peter Bilas, Mailships of the Union-Castle Line is an essential book for anyone with an interest in ships and the tradition of sea travel. It will also have strong appeal for those with fond memories of the mailship era.
CHAPTER 1: THE OCEAN MAIL CONTRACT 1851- 1883
CHAPTER 2: A DUEL FOR SUPREMACY 1883-1900
CHAPTER 3: COMBINED FORCES 1900-1919
CHAPTER 4: BETWEEN THE WARS 1919-1939
CHAPTER 5: THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-1945
CHAPTER 6: THE NEW ORDER 1945-1955
CHAPTER 7: A CHANGE OF FLAGS 1955-1973
CHAPTER 8: FAREWELL TO THE SUNSHINE ROUTE 1973-1977
APPENDIX ONE: THE MARITIME HISTORY OF SOUTH AFRICA - A CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
APPENDIX TWO: MAILSHIPS OF THE UNION, CASTLE AND UNION-CASTLE LINES
APPENDIX THREE: SOME STATISTICS
APPENDIX FOUR: BADGES OF RANK, FUNNELS AND FLAGS
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