View Full Version : Good Hope Castle

12-16-2009, 05:25 AM
I have just finished reading Captain Kong's visit to the "Ascension Island ".
In 1973 was working with the South African Cable Company on one of there Cable Ships on routine maintenance at Ascension.
The Southampton Castle was the last mailship to make the run for the Ocean Service Mail Contract. Her last northbound voyage commencing on 11 October 1977. Her sister ship, Good Hope Castle was involved in a serious fire about 30 miles south of the Ascencion Island in 1973,The Crew and all the passengers spent about 24 hours in lifeboats, they were all picked up by a passiing tanker and landed on Ascension. The Good Hope was salvaged. The two sister's were 180m long with GRT of 10538 tons. Service speed was 22,5 knots and they were designed to complete the mail run in 11,5 days. The sisters were both sold to Costa Crociere in 1978, Good Hope being renamed Paolo C and Southampton Castle renamed Franca C, Both were scrapped in 1984.
Have some Photo's if I can find them?

captain kong
12-16-2009, 09:19 AM
Hi Reg,
I sailed on the old `GOOD HOPE CASTLE`, sometimes known as the Bob Hope Castle or the No Hope Castle. She was built in 1945 as a wartime designed
Empire ship.
We took her to the breakers in Hong Kong in June 1959 after doing three voyages on her.
The new one you refered to was built afterwards with the Southampton Castle. I saw her once or twice but they both had a strange deisgn, then the GHC caught fire and the rest is history. It was a bit of an adventure for the passengers and crew then. Not long after the decline in shipping and the increase in airline services to the Cape brought an end to to Union Castle.

Ascension Island is a fascinating place. It is a volcano, with around 44 other volcanoes on it. The tour of the island is interesting. There is the air port that is one of the longest in the world, it was designed by the Americans for use of the Space Shuttle if it ever overshot the landing strips in the US.
Also a stop over for the military planes bound for the Falklands.
Lots of wild goats there, decendants of the ones left there in the sailing ship days for the shipwrecked sailors.
A friend played golf there, it is all volcanic dust, but they carry a square of turf around with them to place the ball on. The RAF had a good club house up in the hills where their village is. There is a small TESCO Shop there and I bought a litre of good scotch for less than ?4.
No one lives there permanently, Every one who works there has to leave on retirement.

12-16-2009, 11:24 AM
Interesting stuff fellas:handclap:

captain kong
12-16-2009, 01:21 PM
Here are the three ships, GOOD HOPE CASTLE, scrapped in 1959 in Hong Kong. When I sailed on her she was owned by Springbok Line of Cape Town [part of the British and Commonwealth Group. ex Union Castle,] and in their colours, Black hull, and black funnel with orange white and blue bands. and registered in Cape Town under the South African flag, our wages were South African, almost twice the British rate of pay.

Southampton Castle launched on October 20th by H.R.H. Princess Alexandra. .
Good Hope Castle launched - she sailed on her maiden voyage in the mail service on 14th January 1966
29th June - Serious fire broke out aboard Good Hope Castle whilst en route from Ascension Island to St. Helena. Passengers rescued by passing tanker. Good Hope Castle abandoned but did not sink and was subsequently towed to Bilbao for repairs involving over 1000 tons of new steel. Re-entered mail service from Southampton on 31st May 1974.

Photos by `Old Ship Picture Galleries` site, with thanks.
No1. the old Good Hope Castle.

No2. Then the `new ` sisters, GOOD HOPE CASTLE` the one that burned, Union Castle.

No3. then Southampton Castle, same class. Union Castle Line.

12-16-2009, 02:29 PM
Nice one guys.

12-18-2009, 09:49 AM
Re Ascension Island.
Ascension Island around 1670's became known as 'ocean letterbox" Ship's messages for each other out of sight in cracks in the rock's or in bottles droped over the side of ships when close to Comfortless. ( This could be an inprovement on to-day's mail service:) )
Around 1700 William Dampier's ship "Rockbuck" was wrecked near on rocks.
A Duch sailor was castaway on the island for a crime he did in 1725, he survived for five months living on turtles and goats. He left a diary which tells that he was starting to go mad, the diary was found near his skeleton.
1775 Captain James Cook in the hms Resolution put in to collect turtle's for meat.
HMS Endymion picked up the crew of a barg wrecked many months previously.
1815 Napoleon Bonaparte imprisoned on St Helena,England claimed Ascension in the name of King George111 incase France uses the island to try ans rescue the Emperor. Naploeon died at St Helena in 1821 and the Ascension garrison goes from RN to RM.
1863 Union Castle Liners start calling at Ascension.
1967 Cable and Wireless Ltd Satellite Earth Station opened.
The South African Cable Co mpany coaxial terminal building erected.

The Vessel CS Cable Restorer story
See Photo CS Cable Restorer Alongside In Simon's Town

CS Cable Restorer, a cable repair ship, was launched on 26th January 1944 as HMS Bullfrog, one of five sister ships. Employed in the preservation of communications during the Second World War and the laying and maintaining of ASDIC (Anti-Submarine Detection Committee) loops at main ports, she was sold to the Cable & Wireless Company in 1946 and renamed Retriever. After 17 years of service, she was sold in 1961 to the Commercial Cable Company and renamed Cable Restorer.
Eight years later in in March 1969, she was stationed at Cape Town, South Africa and in July 1972 was purchased by the South Atlantic Cable Company. Her registry changed from British to South African. Decommissioned and handed to the Simon's Town Museum in July 1993, she has continued to serve. From 1994 to 1998 she was home to 200 maritime students from the Simon's Town High School and presently is the venue of the unique "Roaring Forties" restaurant.