SS Hellenic Prince 1948-1954, ex HMAS Albatross 1928-1946
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This feature contains the story of what was, without a doubt one of the world’s most basic passenger ships ever, yet she was unbelievably majestically given such a princely name the … “Hellenic Prince”, her story is located on Page Two and if you wish to read about this ship first, then click the link as shown or at the one at the bottom of the page. But we will begin with the ship as she was built as an Australian naval vessel the HMAS Albatross!
The Hellenic Prince was known by a good number of names, sadly some were not very complementary, as we will discover on Page Two
Page One – HMAS/HMS Albatross
During the first half of the 1920s the Governor-General of Australia, Lord Stonehaven announced the construction of a new type of naval warship, which would be a Seaplane Carrier, to the surprise of both the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. The decision to acquire a seaplane carrier was prompted mostly due to the need to provide work during the timed of the depression and high unemployment of the 1920s and the realisation that a conventional aircraft carrier was outside the ability of the RAN to finance. The Australian Commonwealth Naval Board requested that the British Admiralty supply a basic design for a seaplane carrier, with the conditions that the ship have a top speed of a minimum of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph), and cost under £400,000 (AU pounds), thus saving a good saving of £1m if built in an Australian shipyard.
Thus, she was ordered to be built for the
Royal Australian Navy at the “Cockatoo Dock & Engineering Co,”
The launching of the HMAS Albatross on February 21, 1928
HMAS Albatross was completed on December 21. She entered service being officially commissioned by the RAN on January 23, 1929.
HMAS Albatross was
Here we see the HMAS Albatross at work, lowering one of her Seagull III seaplanes into the water
Tonnages was listed as being 4,800 NET, and her length was 443.7ft - 135.2m, her width being 61ft - 18.5m, having a draught of 16.11.5ft - 5.169m.
Her propulsion machinery consisted of four “Yarrow” boilers supplying “Parsons” geared turbines, which generated 12,000 shaft horsepower (8,900 kW), which fed two propeller shafts. Although the Albatross was to have a maximum speed of 20 knots, but during her speed trials operating at full power she proved that the ship was capable of good 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph). At that speed, she had a range of 4,280 nautical miles (or 7,930 km; 4,930 mi), although she could cover 7,900 nautical miles (or 14,600 km; 9,100 mi) at a more economical speed.
Albatross' armament consisted of four QF 4.7-inch Mk VIII naval guns, four QF 2-pounder pom-pom guns, four QF 3-pounder Hotchkiss saluting guns, four .303-inch Vickers machine guns, and twenty .303-inch Lewis machine guns (ten singles and five twin mounts).
The ship's company consisted of 29 RAN officers, 375 RAN sailors, 8 RAAF officers, and 38 RAAF enlisted.
January to March 1929:
HMAS Albatross was deployed as guard-ship
HMAS Albatross seen at the
April to August:
She was deployed for further trials
and exercises in
September to December:
The HMAS Albatross was mainly
deployed along the east coast of
1930 to 1932:
Albatross was deployed during the majority of
this time in
January to March 1933:
The HMAS was operated in and around
Finally the Royal Australian Navy & the
Royal Australian Air Force decided that they had no further use for HMAS
Albatross, thus all the seaplanes were removed from the ship, and she was
decommissioned on April 26, 1933, and placed into reserve and laid up in
The Albatross was given a refit which included installing a new crane/catapult. Upon completion, she was re-commissioned in order to carry out trials on the new crane/catapult. When this was completed successfully, she was again paid off and placed in reserve, and again would take on board visiting seaplanes.
At some time during this year, discussions were held with the Royal Navy relating to transfer in part for payment for building of a cruiser for the Royal Australian Navy.
This would prove to be a special year for the Albatross as she encountered many changes and a long voyage.
From January to March she remained
in Reserve, then without notice, the transfer to the Royal Navy had been agreed
and made official. The Albatross was officially re-commissioned for passage to
On July 11, HMAS Albatross departed
She arrived in the
1939 to 1944:
Here we see the HMS Albatross Banner with an image of the vessel below
She was officially commissioned as HMS Albatross
for service. She was sent to “War Station at
Over the next six years the HMS Albatross, did
serve her country with great valour and the Albatross was awarded several
awards of a high honour for the brave 1939 to 1942
Atlantic campaign and her valiant 1944
HMS Albatross operated military service for
the Royal Navy during World War 2. It operated patrol and escort duties in the
southern Atlantic and commencing mid 1942 she also served in the
The HMS Albatross seen in service
Then suddenly, on August 11, 1944 HMS
Albatross was torpedoed with the tragic loss of up to 66 personnel, but
thankfully they were able to tow her to
The Also View Page contains further details of her valiant War duties; the link to this page is located at the bottom of the page.
With the Albatross Having been placed on the disposal list, it was just over a year later that she was sold to a British company who intended to rebuild her into a luxury liner. For the story of the Passenger Ship, which in due course became the S.S. Hellenic Prince go to Page Two via the link below!
HMAS/HMS Albatross & SS Hellenic Prince Page INDEX:
Page One: The
HMAS & HMS Albatross,
Or Copy & Paste: www.ssmaritime.com/Albatross-Hellenic-Prince-Page-One.htm.
Also View: HMS Albatross and her War 2 duties. This is another website, but very interesting!
Page Two: The
S.S. Hellenic Prince the migrant ship to
Or Copy & Paste www.ssmaritime.com/Albatross-Hellenic-Prince-Page-Two.htm.
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