Yard Number 534 was named CORFU when launched on Wednesday 20/05/1931 by Alexander Stephen & Sons Glasgow for Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company London
Ship Type: Passenger Liner
Ship's Role: London, Bombay and China service
Tonnage: 14293 gross; 7812 net; 8909 dwt
Length: 543ft 0in
Breadth: 71ft 5in
Draught: 29ft 9in
Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company London
Her main engines were built by the shipbuilder , she was powered by Six Parsons steam turbines, 14000shp, single~reduction geared to twin screws, 18 knots. Her last recorded name was CORFU MARU (1961)
CORFU was scrapped on 17/10/1961
09/09/1930: Keel laid.
20/05/1931: Launched by Hon. Patricia Mackay, grand~daughter of P&O Chairman Lord Inchcape. A sister to the later CARTHAGE, it had been proposed to name her CHEFOO, but the name was changed in order to avoid confusion with existing vessels.
24/09/1931: Ran trials, attended by Lord Inchcape in his steam yacht ROVER.
26/09/1931: Delivered to The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. As built she could carry 177 First Class and 214 Second Class passengers.
16/10/1931: Maiden voyage London/Southampton/Port Said/Aden/Bombay/ Colombo/Penang/Singapore/Hong Kong.
20/05/1932: Return voyage UK/Australia.
27/08/1939: Detained at Port Said without explanation. Heard of the declaration of war on arriving at Marseilles.
08/09/1939: Arrived at Liverpool rather than London.
14/09/1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty for service as an armed merchant cruiser.
15/09/1939: Arrived at Belfast for conversion by Harland and Wolff Ltd.. Her after funnel was removed and eight 6~inch and two 12~pounder guns were fitted, but after “completion” of the conversion at Portsmouth she required further work on the Clyde.
02/02/1940: Joined the Northern Patrol. Her service as an AMC was primarily in the North and South Atlantic where her turn of speed enabled her to overhaul any suspicious vessels with some ease; on one particular day no less than eleven suspect ships were detained and boarded.
27/06/1940: Transferred to South Atlantic Command.
10/07/1940: Struck in a rain squall at 3am by the aircraft carrier HMS HERMES when escorting a convoy leaving Freetown, resulting in a 30 foot long hole in her starboard bow. Escorted by the cruiser HMS DEVONSHIRE, she was towed stern~first back into Freetown for emergency repairs. Part of her armament was temporarily landed for coastal defence use.
17/01/1941: Left Freetown via Lagos, Simonstown, Durban, Mombasa, Colombo and Trincomalee to Calcutta for permanent repairs.
07/05/1941: Arrived at Calcutta.
08/09/1941: Repairs completed. Convoy and escort duty in the Indian Ocean.
17/10/1942: Arrived at Southampton for six~month re~armament there and on the Clyde. Nine new 6~inch guns and other refinements including a catapult and three Kingfisher reconnaissance seaplanes.
08/07/1943: Laid up at Freetown.
11/1943: Repairs at Durban.
17/02/1944: Returned to her owners for service as a troopship.
16/03/1944: Arrived at Mobile, Alabama for year~long conversion by Alabama Dry~dock Company, after which made one eastbound Atlantic crossing before sailing for Bombay.
05/09/1945: Entered Singapore in first convoy with troops sent to re~occupy the city.
09/04/1946: 450 troops embarked for service in India walked off the ship complaining of conditions on board. 100 returned aboard, most of the remainder were shipped in another troopship, but 34 were courtmartialled.
31/07/1947: Released to her owners to be reconditioned by her builders. As an armed merchant cruiser she had sailed about 200,000 miles. As a troopship she had sailed 39,161 miles and carried 15,028 troops.
22/01/1949: Re~entered commercial service now with only one funnel and white livery. Capacity 181 First Class, 213 Tourist Class.
05/1960: Management transferred to P&O~Orient Management Ltd, operation to P&O~Orient Lines.
24/03/1961: Sold through Mitsui Bussan Kaisha, Japan for demolition.
20/04/1961: Handed over in London. Renamed CORFU MARU for a cargo~only voyage to Japan and subsequently reported laid up at Osaka.
17/10/1961: Demolition at Osaka commenced by Miyachi Salvage Co. Ltd.
Previous updates by Paul Strathdee, Colin Campbell and Bruce Biddulph.
Photo supplied by John Newth
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