As Far as Aden in the 1960s
David Meare has kindly supplied these 1960s shots which he took from various merchant ships.  Although the trip ends at Aden, the pictures vividly recall passage in Union Castle or BI ships from London down through the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean with Aden as the last port of call before Mombasa.

Let's start with a bit of poetic licence!  Ships for East Africa did not normally visit the Elbe.  The Federal German Navy (Bundes Marine) Lindau Class minesweeper WOLFSBURG in the Elbe.  The Lindau class (like the British Ton Class) had wooden hulls and were all built by Burmester at Bremen between 1957 and 1959. Latvia and Estonia got a few when they were decomissioned and may still have them in service.   PHOTO David Meare

Dungeness Pilot off the Kent coast.   PHOTO David Meare

Seen in the  English Channel, the German liner HANSEATIC  bound for Cuxhaven.  PHOTO David Meare

Clan Line general dry cargo vessel in the English Channel, 1966.  PHOTO David Meare

PENDENNIS CASTLE.  The South African service was operated from Southampton, but the East African service operated from London where, depending on the tide, passengers may have be embarked or disembarked at Tilbury or London's King George V Dock.  PHOTO David Meare

In the Bay of Biscay, a French fishing vessel registered at La Rochelle.  PHOTO David Meare

RHODESIA CASTLE - Bay of Biscay.  PHOTO David Meare




Spanish sardine fishing boat off Vigo.   PHOTO David Meare

P&O liner IBERIA off Lisbon.   PHOTO David Meare

Cape St Vincent.  PHOTO David Meare

The Italian liner FAIRSTAR which at the time may have been operating between Genoa and the UK.   PHOTO David Meare

Former US Attack transport USS NOBLE became the Spanish Navy's ARAGON.  She is seen here off the  coast of southern Spain.  PHOTO David Meare

Tarifa Lighthouse 20 miles west of Gibraltar.  PHOTO David Meare

USNS Card, a US Bogue Class carrier.  It was modified, for service in Vietnam, with the addition of the funnel. The ship's history can be viewed at    PHOTO David Meare


Tanker CAMPANA nearing Gibraltar.  PHOTO David Meare

ALCOA MARINER off Gibraltar  - PHOTO David Meare    ALCOA MARINER was a C2 type freighter.   It was one of the US mass produced freighters such as the Liberty type, the Victory Ship, the the C1 A, C1 B (the 'Flying Enterprise'), C2 (the 'Flying Enterprise 2') and C3 and others built in Canada and the USA - information from S Nielsen

A tramp - i.e. any ship which did not operate a regular schedule - west bound out of Gibraltar. The ship looks likes she was built during World War 2 and is in fact the ENTOPAN - ex Empire Gale PHOTO David Meare

Virtually the same scene 40 years later - Gibraltar viewed  from OCEANA, May 2005.  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Algeciras to Ceuta ferry with the Spanish coast in the background - Strait of Gibraltar.  PHOTO David Meare

ALCOA MARINER in the Strait of Gibraltar.  This is a wartime built Liberty ship sailing in ballast.  PHOTO David Meare

By way of contrast, another photograph taken 40 years on - a container ship in the Strait of Gibraltar.  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Arriving Gibraltar with La Linea and Algeciras in the background.  PHOTO David Meare

A run ashore in Gibraltar in the early 1960s. PHOTO David Meare

Wooden hulled UK Navy minesweeper HMS CROFTON operating out of Valetta Harbour, Malta.  Again this is a bit off track for Union Castle and BI liners which tended to call at Marseilles and/or Genoa and would have passed through the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily.  PHOTO David Meare

Ferry between the cities of Reggio Calabria and Messina crossing the Strait of Messina with one of its famous electricity pylons in the background.  The pylons survive as national monuments - the electricity is now supplied by underground cable.  PHOTO  Malcolm McCrow

Ships assembled at Port Said  PHOTO David Meare

Port Said Lighthouse  (left)  Suez Canal Control at Ismalia (right)  PHOTOs David Meare

The Ballah Loop.  PHOTO David Meare

Port Suez  PHOTO David Meare

The opposition to Union Castle was provided by the British India Steam Navigation Company, usually simply referred to as BI.  Here the UGANDA is at anchor off Steamer Point in Aden.  PHOTO David Meare

The UGANDA's 12 ft higher funnel distinguished her from her older sister the KENYA.  PHOTO David Meare

East Africa 50 Years Ago