complete history if the 1922 P&O RMS Mongolia and her next four
incarnations as the liners;
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The S.S. Mongolia (3) was a well
built steam turbine-driven twin-screw Passenger Liner, built for the
“Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company” (P&O)
and she was launched in 1922. However, she was the last of the three P&O
liners built with the name of “
It is for this reason that this feature has three pages, although under different names, but listed as Page One, Two & Three in the Index at the bottom of the page.
However, let us first look at the two S,S, Mongolia’s before the one in question, and below are their details, which I will keep as brief as possible.
A fine sepia photograph of the SS Mongolia taken in
This fine triple masts steam-sailing ship was
built by Scott & Co.,
Postcard of the S.S. Mongolia (2) seen in
This time P&O decided to construct a two
funnelled liner and she was built by “J
During a voyage in June 1917 filled with
passengers, and mail bound for
The mine caused an explosion, which saw 3
passengers as well as 3 officers in the engine room and 14 native and 3
European crewmembers were killed by the fiery and wild explosion. All the ships
survivors from the
S.S. Mongolia is seen here in
She was a fine and a reliable ship, but had a tragic ending in Indian waters
P&O ordered the third ship that would
be named “
However, due to post war refits of existing ships her construction was delayed and her first steel plate was laid down in due course in yard No. 964. When ready, she was finally launched on August 24, 1922 and once in the water she was towed to her fit-out berth where she was completed. When this fine new ship was completed she undertook her deep sea trials on April 25, 1923 with great success as she managed a remarkable top speed of 17.6 knots, although she would usually sail at a service speed of 16.5 knots. She was delivered the next day.
Here we see a starboard side-view of the
The R.M.S. Mongolia was completed and
delivered to P&O in
On May 11, 1923 there were great crowds of
people, let alone passengers travelling to various destinations, as well as
migrants who were heading off for a new life in
The R.M.S. Mongolia having departed
The R.M.S. Mongolia is seen in
Credit: The late
The 16,385 GRT R.M.S. Mongolia accommodated 230 First Class and 180 Second Class passengers, and she had and able officers and crew of 353 persons.
However, it should be noted, that the R.M.S.
Mongolia was actually considered as being a “passenger-cargo ship”,
as she had six holds, three forward and three aft, with space for
669,000 cu ft (18,900 m3) of cargo, including 136,000 cu ft
(3,900 m3) of refrigerated space, as she would bring back meat and other
foods, etc from Australia and spices from India, etc. And not to forget her
being a Royal Mail Ship, this she carried mail to various countries, especially
A fine portside view of the R.M.S. Mongolia
Left: Here we see the ships Bridge looking to starboard
Right: A long view along Boat Deck
Left: The elegant and beautifully timbered First Class Main Lounge Located forward of Promenade Deck
Right; Close by is the elegant Card and Writing Room with its domed ceiling in the centre with stained class up on Boat Deck
A wide and long Promenade seen on the starboard side, looking forward
Left: The Smoking Room is located far aft of Promenade Deck and has windows on three sides. It is once again
Beautifully timbered with fine and deep leather lounge chairs and other quality furnishings.
Right: The Dining Room located forward on Shelter Deck and as was typical of P&O’s
in keeping with typical First Class style and tradition of high quality
Promenade Deck starboard looking forward
Here we see a First Class 2 berth cabin (left) and a Second Class 4 berth cabin (right)
As we can see they are very similar, although there is no rug and a few other fineries
A postcard released by P&O of the “S.S. Mongolia”, although a Royal Mail Ship (R.M.S.),
on this postcard they designated her as just being a … S.S. (Steam Ship)
In 1925 another ship was added, thus the Royal
Mail service now became a fortnightly service. The
In 1928 it was decided to convert her to
operate her on oil-burning fuel, which was a great improvement, and she
continued on her successful career. Operating as follows;
R.M.S. Mongolia is seen arriving in
But on December 3, 1936 whilst close to
Marseille the R.M.S. Mongolia collided with the Spanish “
M/S Villa de Madrid
This beautifully balanced looking ship was
built by the German shipyards “Krupp Germania Werft AG”,
The reason for the afore-mentioned notice is that when the final trials and tests were carried out, she did not reach her contracted speeds, and the ship was rejected by the intended owner. Instead of fixing the problem, “Krupp Germania” announced the she would be sold at a public auction. However as there was 0nly a single buyer present who were willing to pay the amount asked for her, which was lower than the one originally agreed with the original owner, but the offer was declared void due to there not being any other bidders. Therefore “Krupp” announced another auction, and this time they received an even lower price then which was agreed to at the earlier auction, and this time she was sold to “Compañía Trasmediterránea” (yes a similar name but “Compañía” for this company is before “Trasmediterránea”, whilst with the original owner it came after), once again they being the only company that actually submitted a proposal, and thankfully the ship having been reregistered she retained her original name; “Villa de Madrid”.
Having received her new livery she was placed
on what was known as; “Linea
Gran Express de Lujo”,
or the “Luxury Grand Express Line”
In July 1936 the M/S Villa de Madrid was ordered home to Barcelona, due to the commencement of the Spanish Civil War and she was confiscated by the authorities and was used temporarily as a prison ship, but then later in that year she was operated as a liaison ship between Barcelona and Marseille. It was during one of these voyages to Marseille that the R.M.S. Mongolia and the M/S Villa de Madrid collided, however, both ships seem to survive without too much damage and were able to continue, The Spanish ship sailed on and from mid 1959 to July 1962 she received an extensive rebuilding program, which gave her a new longer streamline profile, with a more luxurious interior than she already had. She continued sailing and was only broken up in 1979. There is more information of her, as well as exterior and interior photographs online.
A new, modern and a sleek looking M/S Vila de Madrid after it had been completed
The final days for P&O’s R.M.S. Mongolia:
After the incident with the M/S Villa de
Madrid on December 3, 1936, the R.M.S. Mongolia made several more voyages to
After the incident with the M/S Villa de
Madrid on December 3, 1936, the R.M.S. Mongolia made several more voyages to
Just needing a good paint job, the
When R.M.S. Mongolia arrived home to
Specifications R.M.S. Mongolia as completed in 1923:
Owner: Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
Ordered: November 22, 1918.
At a cost of: £1 million Pounds.
Yard Nr: 964.
Launched: August 22, 1922.
Completed: April 26, 1923.
Maiden Voyage: May 11, 1923.
Port of registry:
Tonnage: 16,385 GRT - 10,383 NRT.
1928: 16,504 GRT.
1931: 16,596 GRT.
Length: 573 ft - 175 m.
Beam: 72 ft - 22 m.
Draught: 30 ft - 9.1 m.
Propeller: Twin screws - 13,000 SHP,
Speed 16.5 knots service speed, 17.6 knots maximum.
Accommodations: 230 First Class and 180 Second Class.
1928: Second Class became Third Class.
1931: Accommodations reconfigured to 800 Tourist Class only.
Holds: Six, three forward and three aft.
Capacity: 669,000 cu ft (18,900 m3) of cargo, with 136,000 cu ft (3,900 m3) of refrigerated space.
Out of Service: July 1937.
Later Names:. Rimutaka 1938 to 1950.
. Europa 1950 to 1951.
Later owners: 1938 - Chartered by P&O to the “New Zealand Shipping Company.”
New Zealand Shipping Company House Flags
It would be on May 7, 1938, that P&O
transferred the now prefixed S.S. Mongolia under a long-term charter agreement
to the “New Zealand Shipping Company” (NZSCo) being a P&O
subsidiary, who renamed her
Here we see the
She was in fact the third ship to carry this
proud Maori name for the company, thus she was S.S. Rimutaka number 3, and the
name originated from the beautiful mountain ranges in
, was built by “John Elder &
Look at her, for this is sheer maritime beauty!
. She was built
by “Wm Deny & Bros”,
A painting of the
to carry 840 Tourist Class
passengers and her Public Venues were all upgraded somewhat, upon completion of
her refit she was registered at
However before entering service, she somehow
collided with Corfleet off the Nore causing some damage, thus after repairs were
completed, and the
She suffered a fire in hold No. 3 on March 9, 1939, which was rapidly extinguished and no great damage was done to the ship. Sadly her role as a passenger liner was very short, for in September of 1939, she was requisitioned by the British Government to be converted into an armed merchant cruiser due to the commencement of World War II on September 1.
However, she was released before any actual
conversion took place, and there are doubts what actually happened to her
during this time and her next call as follows. The Brit’s once again
requisitioned the Rimutaka, but this time for their “Liner
Division” to operate from May 15, 1940 to June 14, 1946, thus she
A post war postcard of the
She continued as a very busy ship for a full years, however considering as less inexpensive new and larger motor ships were coming on the scene, the Rimutaka was becoming redundant having been a much loved KIWI ship for 11 years, and thus she was about to be returned to her owners P&O London.
S.S. Rimutaka’s final voyage for the
“New Zealand Shipping Company” departed
INDEX: From S.S. Mongolia 1922 to S.S. Acapulco 1964.
Page One: RMS
Page Two: S.S. Europa, S.S. Nassau & S.S. Acapulco.
Page Three: S.S. Nassau Brochure & Memorabilia Page.
“Blue Water Liners sailing to the
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
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