1950-travel travails by plane and ship

IN 1950 THERE WERE FEW INTERNATIONAL AIR FLIGHTS 

The Asiatic Steam Company,  employed a large percentage of local Officers that included Indian, Anglo-Indian, Burmese and Anglo-Burmese.an apprentice in 1946 EARNED:-In the first year of his apprenticeship he was paid 15 Rupees per month, the second year 30 Rupees a month, third year 45 Rupees rising to 60 Rupees for the fourth year. The deck crew did not come from the Maldives but from the Laccadives, more specifically Minicoy Island which is about 200 miles west of Cochin, the engineroom crew came from the Nhoakali District of East Bengal (now Bangladesh), carpenters were Chinese and the cabin stewards were from Calcutta. The crew did not eat Curry and potatoes for breakfast but enjoyed a balanced diet including Mutton, vegetables and Rice and like all ships crewed by their ilk ‘live’ supplies were also carried for their consumption such as chickens and sheep which were slaughtered as required because the ships had no refrigerators, running water or air conditioning.MAHARANI.



Asiatic Steam Company,
 Formed in 1878,ships were registered in either London or Liverpool its principle port of operation was Calcutta. Like British India’s eastern service ships once they had departed the United Kingdom they were never to return. The new company enjoyed the patronage of Messrs Thomas H. Ismay and William Imrie of Ismay, Imrie & Company, managers of Oceanic Steam Navigation Company known in the shipping world as the
White Star Line. 
NURJAHAN.



Built: 1884 by Harland & Wolff Ltd, of Belfast.
Tonnage: 2,967 grt, 1,936 nt.
Wrecked near Cape Comorin whilst on passage Bombay to Calcutta on the 21st of November 1890.

The company increased its fleet to five in 1880 when Peshwa the company’s first 2,000 tonner was launched and two years later a further two ships were added to its number on the completion of Nurjahan and Kohinur the company’s first all steel ships.

NADIR


Built: 1889 by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast.
Tonnage: 3,142 grt, 2,041 nt.
Engine: Single screw, Triple expansion by builder.
The company decided to increase its sphere of trading and began operating services to Java and was also successful in tendering a contract with the Government to carry mails to the Andaman Islands, however there was a downside, they 

also became responsible for the transportation of convicts to the penal settlement at Port Blair situated on South Andaman.


PRISON CELLS BELOW DECK

By now Ceylon and Malaya had entered onto the company’s trade routes with principle cargoes being made up of teak, coal, sugar, rice and of course its usual carriage of native deck passengers.


DECK PASSENGERS MIDSHIP
©D. BEEDLE.



DECK PASSENGERS TWEEN DECK. ©D. BEEDLE.


DECK PASSENGERS SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS.
 


DECK CARGO OF BUFFALO




D LAST BUT NOT LEAST , LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOUR PASSENGES AWIT.






Vasna Boatdeck


Vasna Chartroom


Vasna First class lounge


Vasna First Class lounge


Vasna Bridge
Australian Mail

"Indus" of 1871 (P&O, National Maritime Museum) 

The first paddle steamer appearing in Australia was the 256-ton "Sophia Jane", sent out from London as a speculative venture, arriving at Sydney in 1831. About regular steamer services to Australia, E.A. Ewart informed: "The subject began to be ventilated in Australia in 1843 (...). This was before the demand for fast clipper ships to the gold diggings in the 1850's brought about those famous passages of 90 to 100 days between England and Australia (...). In the ten years 1840 to 1850, 520 ships had sailed between England and Sydney, and most of them took 121 to 130 days to the passage. Against this it was pointed out that, by any of the three routes proposed, a steam passage should be made with regularity in about 70 days."

For a connection Singapore - Sydney an early contract valid from 1848 with the India and Australia Mail Steam Packet Co. has been reported. Historian J.M. Maber ("North Star to Southern Cross") wrote: Agitation for extension of the mail service to Australia intensified when Anderson (of the P&O) in 1849 offered to take over the Suez-Bombay service form the East India Co. and to extend it to Australia". David Divine ("These Splendid Ships") commented: "The Government had advertised for tenders in five parts (...) The contracts were designed so that, if necessary, five separate companies could operate all five parts (...). The P&O tendered for all five and won them (...). On 5th January, 1852, they dispatched the new "Chusan", iron-built screw steamer (of 690 ts) from Southampton for Singapore to begin the new Australian service (...). May of the next year (...) they asked for a suspension of the contract for twelve months to allow of the building up of coal depots in Australia and the East - and the Government said "No!" The "Chusan" of the P&O left Sydney for the first time on 31st August 1852 via Melbourne, Adelaide, Albany and through the Sunda Strait to Singapore, connecting with India and Suez. A contract for a mail service to Australia on the much longer route via the Cape of Good Hope was awarded to the Australian Royal Mail Steam Navigation Co. On 3rd June 1852 the screw steamship "Australian" departed at Plymouth, where the mails were embarked - and reached Sydney only after 95 days. The contract was withdrawn in 1853 and the company became known as the Australian Steam Navigation Co. In 1854 the Crimean war started to prevent the Tsar from taking parts of the Sultan's empire, a danger for the way England - India. Ships of the Australian Steam Navigation Co. and of the P&O (including the "Himalaya", with her 3,438 tons too big for the service to the east) were taken over by the Admiralty - a sort of rescue. In 1854 the Australia services of the Australian Steam Navigation Co. and also the services of the P&O were disrupted.

In this context it must not be ignored that also other companies were pioneering steam services to India and to Australia, on the longer Cape route however. In 1852 the General Screw Steam Shipping Co. started a Liverpool - Cape Town - Ceylon - Calcutta service, in 1853 extended to Australia. In 1852 Gibbs, Bright & Co. introduced Brunel's rebuilt "Great Britain" on a Liverpool - Cape Town - Australia route, continued under the labels Eagle Line and Liverpool & Australian Navigation Co. In 1853 Millers & Thompson and in 1856 the Australian Auxiliary Steam Clipper Co. opened services to Australia.

After the end of the Crimean war in 1856 the government invited tenders for a new service from Suez to Sydney. The P&O tendered - "and its tender was bluntly rejected. The contract was awarded to the European and Columbian Steam Navigation Company whose tender was 45,000 pound a year above that of the P&O" (D. Divine). The P&O directors "knew enough to sit back sternly and watch their rivals flounder ahead to disaster...." Under the new name European and Australian Royal Mail Co. Ltd. the competitors were to start steamer services Southampton - Malta - Alexandria and Suez - Sydney via Point de Galle, Ceylon, in 1857. "A branch route, connecting with the main line steamer at Malta, was to be worked from Marseilles with the first class mails (...). The "Oneida" left Southampton for Melbourne and Sydney to take up her new station on the 19th October 1856 and was followed at monthly intervals by the "Simla", "European" and "Colombian" (the "Simla" being chartered from the P&O). Two months later it was announced that the European & Australian R.M. Co. had entered into an agreement with Cunard Line whereby the Southampton to Alexandria service was to be subcontracted to the Liverpool concern" (J.M. Maber). E. A. Ewart concluded: "The European and Australian Royal Mail Company, formed in 1856, was practically insolvent within a year, although it struggled for a little with the help of the Royal Mail (West Indies) Company and (...) went bankrupt".

Victory of P&O
In October 1858 the Government advertised for tenders for a new Australian Mail contract. The P&O ".... Offered to undertake the service for 180,000 pound - exactly 40,000 a year more than the tender of 1856. A chastened Government accepted "(D. Divine). From 1859 the P&O provided in connection with their Southampton - Alexandria line the mail service Suez - Mauritius - Adelaide - Melbourne - Sydney under contract, while the Royal Mail S.P.Co interlude ended. The P&O's Australian connection soon was transferred from Mauritius island to Point de Galle and in 1862 to Colombo.

The first P&O steamers which had arrived in Australia were soon replaced by the "Shanghai"(700 tons), then by the "Bombay" and "Madras", of 1,200 tons each, and the "Norna" (1,035 tons). About the further development E.A. Ewart wrote: "In 1859 the Company had a magnificent fleet of steamers, many of them new, and over 2,000 tons and over 400 h.p. Out of a total of 55 liners on regular running, 38 were screw". At Sydney, the P&O and other steamers lay anchor out in the stream instead of coming alongside the existing deep-water wharves until c.1880. Ewart asked: "Is it possible (... ) that any of the large quantities of gold shipped was considered safer aboard a ship in the stream than within reach of thieves ashore?"

"Orotava" of Orient-Pacific Line, ex PSNCo, later RMSP (old card, coll. WS)

"Oroya" of Orient Line, later RMSP, Suez Canal (old card, coll. WS)

Orient Line
The P&O remained not the only official mail carrier for Australia. In 1878 the Orient Steam Navigation Company was founded. Its predecessors had started with sailing vessels shortly after Napoleon's defeat. They used steamers only from 1874 for Australia services via the Cape, from 1877 operated with steamers of the Pacific Steam Navigation Co. Under a contract, granted by the New South Wales Government, that "Orient Line" inaugurated services England - Suez - Australia in 1883. In 1887 the ships moved to the London Tilbury docks and from 1888 they conveyed the Australian Mail every two weeks, alternating with the P&O, via Plymouth, Marseilles, Naples to Fremantle, Adelaide and Sydney. In financial difficulties, the company intensified cooperation with the Pacific S.N. Co, and advertisements appeared in the name of an Orient-Pacific Line, then an Orient-Royal Mail Line. The Royal Mail or RMSP had acquired shares and in 1908 the new "Asturias" (12,002 gt) was transferred to Sydney. After the mail contract had been awarded to the Orient Line, the RMSP withdrew from the Australian Mail, from 1904 taken aboard the Orient liners at Naples, where a branch of the "Malle des Indes" mail train had its terminal.


"Ganges" of 1882, P&O, Sydney services, later Venice - Alexandria (P&O, National Maritime Museum) 

"Rome", 1st class saloon (P&O, National Maritime Museum)

"Rome", Music Room (P&O, National Maritime Museum)

"Oceana" of 1888, P&O, Sydney services (via Flickr Commons) 

Facing the competition by the Orient Line, the P&O introduced from 1880 the iron screw steamers of the 5000-ton "Rome" class, twin-funnelled, carrying only 1st and 2nd class passengers. In 1887 they were followed by the Jubilee class, beginning with the "Victoria" of 6,091 tons. With the 7,900-ton "India" class of 1896 and the 9,500-ton 'M' class of 1903, the speed was risen to 18 knots. So the P&O kept its leading position on the Indian Ocean.

"China" of 1896, P&O, at Port Said (old card, coll. WS)


The P&O Empire
"...For all the soul of our sad East is there, Beneath the house-flag of the P&O"
Rudyard Kipling
The Exiles Line


"Iberia" of P&O, Venice 1967 (HSch) 

The India and Australia services of the P&O had been built up in little more than twenty years by the efforts of the two men, Willcox and Anderson. A new fundamental change occurred in 1865: The telegraph between England and India was ready for operation. Steamers in connection with trains were no longer the fastest means of communication.

Ships however carried also passengers, and the P&O got its yield from mail contracts as well as from passenger traffic. It was the time when Georges Nagelmackers realized his idea of introducing sleeping-cars in Europe. Another anticipation of future was the German participation in building the Gotthard railway crossing the Alps, initiated by Bismarck in early 1870 (completed in 1882). When during the war of 1870/71 German troops besieged Paris, the Post Office had to change the Indian mail route via Ostend - Cologne - Munich - Brindisi. This way has been made possible with completion of the Brenner railway by the Rothschild-owned Suedbahn of Austria in 1867. Already two years later, in 1869, railways proposed a "Separatzug" (a special) for this itinerary Ostend - Brindisi. After the war had ended in January 1871, Nagelmackers was awarded a contract for sleepers Ostend - Brindisi. His first cars 1 to 5 however, completed in Vienna in 1872, were prevented from taking up this service.

There was a shorter route to cross the Alps on the way from the Channel to Italy, envisioned already in the 1840s by the Conte di Cavour, who finally became the liberator of Italy. In 1856 the Societa Vittorio Emanuele, named after the King of Piedmont who was also the Duke of Savoy, built a railway from Aix-les-Bains to Saint Jean-de-Maurienne in Savoy. In 1859 the Duke declared war on the Habsburg occupiers, Napoleon III helped him and the price agreed was the cession of Savoy and Nice to France. Thus the Kingdom of Italy was founded in 1861 under Vittorio Emanuele. French PLM annexed the line from Aix and France took over the half-share in financing construction of the Frejus (or Mont Cenis) tunnel connecting the two countries. Opening of this shorter route was the reason why the proposed "Extraschnellzug" Ostend - Brindisi on the longer way via Austria did not start and also the Gotthard railway got never the Indian Mail. A part of the Indian Mail had been conveyed already from November 1869 onwards by means of a short-lived Fell system railway over the Mont Cenis pass to Brindisi, where Italian steamers provided the connection with Alexandria. On 9th January, 1872, "La Malle des Indes" passed for the first time the Frejus tunnel, using the PLM and in Italy the Ferrovie dell' Alta Italia, south of Bologna the Strade ferrate Meridionali. In 1885 these railways were re-organised as Rete Mediterranea and Rete Adriatica, from 1905 FS. Passengers were admitted to the mail train not before 1879.


Channel steamer "Calais-Dovres", reloading the Indian Mail to train, Calais c.1880 (contemporary press) 

Peninsular-Express in Italy, the only photograph known, probably with locomotive class 180 of Rete Adriatica (coll. Dr. Bruno Bonazzelli)

Brindisi, advertisement (coll. Dr. Fritz Stoeckl)

"Isis" of P&O, Brindisi - Port Said (archives P&O)

Via Calais - Brindisi
At Brindisi the mail was taken over by the Societa Anonima Italiana di Navigazione Adriatico Orientale, founded by the Englishman Charles Hill in 1863. Four tiny steamers of 970 tons were put to work on the service to Alexandria. In 1870 the mail changed to the P&O. In December of that year the "Massilia", "Poonah", "Salsette" and "Delhi" of the P&O arrived at Brindisi.

From 1879 the prestigious train 'La Malle des Indes' conveyed not only mail, but also passengers aboard a little sleeping-car of Nagelmackers' CIWL from Calais to Bologna. There the passengers had to change to a sleeper of the American pioneer Georges Mortimer Pullman. As a result of negotiations in 1874-76, Pullman had achieved contracts with the railways Alta Italia and Meridionali. Rothschild-participated Suedbahn has favoured even a Berlin - Rome Pullman (according to historian George Behrend), prevented obviously by politics. In 1883 Pullman ran a single special train from Calais to Rome, nevertheless Nagelmackers succeeded in acquiring Pullman's Italian contracts in 1886 and immediately he used some of his cars (renumbered 198 to 200) on a direct Calais - Brindisi run.

From 1880 the fast mail for India, being conveyed once-weekly via Brindisi, was combined every two weeks with the Australian Mail. Many passengers however took the P&O steamer at Venice until in 1890 the connecting de-luxe train Peninsular-Express Calais - Brindisi of CIWL started, under contract with the P&O, northbound combined with the mail train. Cook's timetable of 1897 mentioned the "Sutlej" on the Venice - Brindisi - Port Said service. The mail train Calais - Brindisi included from 1904 a branch to Naples for connecting with the Orient Line. In order to accelerate the Brindisi route, P&O introduced in 1898 the fast steamers "Isis" and "Osiris" (1,728 gt), running Brindisi - Port Said at a speed of 22 knots. However, they were not very comfortable, the connecting de-luxe Peninsular-Express sometimes ran empty and with WWI the Brindisi service disappeared for ever.

From 1881 P&O passengers could embark at London, where cargo had been loaded already before, and they appreciated that comfortable way of travelling. Southampton was abandoned in 1885. In order to attract wealthy travelers, the CIWL introduced (without contract) in 1897 a 'Bombay-Express' from Calais to Marseilles Arenc, where the passengers could change at Mole C on a P&O liner London - Bombay and Sydney. In November 1904 also 'La Malle des Indes' mail trains resumed their former Marseilles service, connecting there with the P&O steamers.

At Bombay the passengers disembarked initially by tenders at the Apollo Pier, later at Ballard Pier. There the mail trains had their departure (see www.trains-worldexpresses.com).

Bombay, Apollo Bunder (via flickr.com)

Bombay Ballard Pier (via flickr.com)

Amalgamations
In 1910 the P&O acquired the Blue Anchor Line. It had been founded by famous clipper-ship owner Lund, like so many other companies for years running steamers in the emigrant trade round the Cape to Australia. It became the "P&O Branch Line" on the same route. The much more important British India Line came under chairmanship of Lord Inchcape and in 1914 the historic amalgamation with the P&O took place, though the brands were preserved. As the main task of the British India Line was the connection of ports not served by the mail liners of P&O, its history is dealt with the chapters Branch Lines/ Arabia/ India and Burma, including its early competitor Henderson (for East Africa services see the chapter Branch Lines / Africa). The British India Line had served also Australia by the way of Suez, their steamers on that route being the "Waipara", "Carpentaria", "Limerick" and "Sussex", but during WWI that service ended.

"Tairea", British India Line (old card, coll. WS)

"Ranchi", a secondary P&O liner of 1925 (old card, coll. WS)

Before the outbreak of World War I the P&O, Orient Line and British India Line dominated the traffic to the South East. In 1914, the P&O mail steamer left London Tilbury every Friday either for Bombay or for Fremantle - Adelaide - Melbourne - Sydney. Passengers using the Bombay-Express could leave London 4 days later and those ones taking the Peninsular- Express and the Brindisi - Port Said steamer left London 7 days later. The P&O liners called at Gibraltar, Marseilles, Port Said, Aden and arrived at Bombay on Friday three weeks after departure at Tilbury. There was a connecting P&O line to Penang - Singapore - Hong Kong - Shanghai and an additional service from Tilbury via Malta to Calcutta, alternating with a Yokohama service. Alternating with the P&O, the Orient Line left Tilbury fortnightly on Saturdays via Gibraltar, Toulon, Naples, Taranto, Port Said, Colombo for Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The British India Line connected London with Colombo, Madras, Calcutta as well as East Africa.

Competitors
Also after the P&O had achieved dominance on the Indian Ocean, there were several competitors, in the beginning with auxiliary steamers. Among the unsuccessful enterprises was the White Star Line of Packets, which sold in 1867 name and houseflag to T.H. Ismay, who established a new White Star Line as one of the most famous North Atlantic lines.

The first steamers to undertake the direct passage from England to New Zealand had been sent out in 1858 by Shaw, Savill & Co. In 1882, after a merger, the & Shaw, Savill & Albion Co. was registered and in 1883 that company as well as the New Zealand Shipping Co. got a mail contract for the New Zealand route via the Cape. From 1899 the 12,000-ton "Afric" and sisters of Ismay's White Star Line were the largest vessels on the England - New Zealand route. They were built at Harland & Wolff yards like the fleet of Shaw, Savill & Albion and under these circumstances these enterprises came into the orbit of Morgan's IMM. Shaw, Savill & Albion however was entered in 1910 by the Ellerman group.

Before World War I, apart from P&O, British Indian, Orient Line, Blue Funnel Line, Shaw, Savill & Albion, New Zealand SS Co and White Star, also the Aberdeen Line, Alfred Holt & Co., Bibby Line, Clan Line, Ellerman's City Line, Glen Line, Hall Line, P. Henderson & Co, Queensland, Shire Line, Wilson and of course foreign companies appeared on the Indian Ocean.

World War I 
During WWI many P&O ships were used for military purposes and British India steamers took their place. In 1914 the Marseilles mail route was interrupted and the inefficient Brindisi route was closed down for ever. In December 1915 the P&O steamer "Persia" was sunk in the Mediterranean by an Austrian submarine and the series of tragedies continued. Nevertheless the connecting de-luxe train Bombay-Express Boulogne - Marseilles Arenc did run from November 1915 until 1917. The mail route through France was re-opened on 2nd January 1919. The Australian Mail was conveyed during WWI via Canada and the Pacific.

Expansion
In 1916 the P&O got control of the New Zealand Shipping Co. with the associated Federal SN Co. and in 1917 of the Union Steam Ship Co. of New Zealand (see chapter Pacific). In 1920 the shares of the Khedivial Mail Line of Egypt were bought and in the following year the General Steam Navigation Co., founded in 1824, was joined up. The Australian Commonwealth Line, a government enterprise, then re-organized as the Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line, had come in 1933 under control of the Shaw, Savill & Albion and the P&O.

The Shaw, Savill & Albion Co., initially confined to the New Zealand trade, took up Australian passenger services in 1932. The company had become a part of Lord Kylsant's group when he acquired the shareholding White Star Line. With the collapse of his combine, control passed in 1933 to Furness, Withy & Co. The proudest ship was the "Dominion Monarch", a 27,155-ton 4-screw motor ship, introduced in February 1939 on the Southampton - Cape Town - Sydney - Wellington route. Apart from cargo, she carried only 525 passengers, exclusively in 1st class, thus following the example of the Furness Bermuda Line (after WWII she resumed services, until 1961).

"Dominion Monarch" in 1954 (old card, coll. WS) 

P&O after WWI
From 1919 "La Malle des Indes" and the Bombay-Express connected once again with the P&O steamers at Marseilles. By contract with the P&O, the Wagons-Lits company CIWL introduced in 1922 its first all-steel sleeping-cars (nos. 2641 to 2646) on the Bombay-Express, initially painted brown, only later sporting the famous dark-blue colour scheme. In 1935 the Bombay-Express was replaced by the 'Overland P&O Express', consisting of CIWL's sumptuous LX sleepers (nos. 3509 to 3515).

From 1925 the P&O steamers, after departure at London King George II or Tilbury Docks, called once again at Southampton. In India the most luxurious connecting special train was the 'Imperial Indian Mail' from Bombay to Calcutta, where the British India liners departed for Burma. From 1931 almost all Australian sailings of P&O were routed via Bombay.

The P&O, including the amalgamated British India Line, was considered world's biggest shipping enterprise of the time, at least after the breakdown of Lord Kylsant's combine. P&O's largest vessels with more than 16,000 tons and the first ones with three funnels were the "Naldera" and "Nurkundu", laid down in 1914, entering the Australia and Bombay service in 1920. The larger "Mooltan" (20,847 gt) of 1923, with an expansion machinery, was ameliorated with an additional exhaust turbo-electric installation. The "Viceroy" (19,648 gt) of 1929 was P&O's first twin-screw turbo-electric steamer. That development gave reason to design the first steamers of a completely new Strath class, built at Vickers Armstrong, the "Strathnaver" (1931/ 22,270 gt) and the "Strathaird" (1932/ 22,568 gt) with turbo-electric propulsion. These newest P&O steamers, capable of 22 knots, shortened traveling time on the Bombay and Australia routes. The "Strathnaver" and the "Strathaird" changed their appearance when two of their three funnels were removed, while the geared-turbine consorts "Strathmore", "Stratheden" and "Strathallan" were delivered with one funnel only. With these ships the new colour scheme white with buff funnels replaced the sad black and white. That class of ships met the requirements of their operation field much better than the prestigious North Atlantic liners would have done. The P&O's chief manager, the Earl of Inchcape, was even offered the crown of Albania. He refused the honour. His company meant to him more than a kingdom.

"Strathaird" of 1932, P&O (old card, coll. WS)

"Strathaird" after removal of two funnels (archives P&O)

Orient Line
Most important for the P&O was the acquisition of an interest in the Orient Line. This partner in Australian services had transferred its port-of-call from Marseilles to Toulon already before WWI. Toulon was the French naval port and between the wars the Australian branch of 'La Malle des Indes' ended at nearby La Seyne railway station. The mail steamers anchored in the bay of Toulon. In 1924 the "Orama" was introduced as the first of five 20,000-ton turbine steamers. After the P&O had built the Strath class, Orient Line's answer became the "Orion" of 23,371 tons, like the Strath class built at Vickers Armstrong, introduced in 1935, followed in 1937 by her sister "Orcades". With these ships, the appearance of Orient liners has changed from two funnels to a single one and the hull was now corn-coloured instead of black. In November 1938 the Orient Line, in association with the P&O, extended the services to New Zealand, with older vessels however.

Orient Line, 20,000-ton class of the 20s, at Sydney (old card, coll. WS)

"Orion" of 1935, Orient Line, Piraeus 1961 (WS)


The Bay of Toulon, seen from La Seyne, and the "Jean Bart" in 1962 (WS) 

World War II
P&O and Orient Line carried the official Indian and Australian mail. Its quantity had tripled since the first years of the century, but in 1934 the "Empire Air Mail Scheme" was announced and in 1938 all the "first class mail" for India and Australia was entrusted to Imperial Airways. In July 1939, the "Strathmore" was the last P&O steamer which took up mails at Marseilles. With WWII the connecting trains to Marseilles and Toulon vanished for ever. Generally the P&O steamers were committed to the navy and civil transport disappeared. The harbour of Toulon, once the Orient liners' port-of-call, became the cemetery of the French naval fleet when on 27 November 1942 the proud ships were scuttled in order to prevent a takeover by the Germans (the "Jean Bart", still at the beginning of the 60s to be admired there as Europe's last battleship, was completed not before 1950). In December 1942 P&O's "Strathallan", like many other ships serving as a trooper, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off Oran. The proudest ship lost by the Orient Line was the "Orcades", torpedoed in the same year. In the East, already in 1941 Singapore was occupied by the Japanese. Thailand was surrendered to Japan by its dictator and Burma was conquered by the Japanese in 1942. After the war, in 1947, India and Pakistan obtained independence.

Emigrant Service
To P&O and Orient Line remained only the conveyance of the heavy mail. Additionally, vessels of the P&O and other companies operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Transport and the International Refugee Organisation, serving the resettlement of displaced persons. Among the vessels listed by J.M. Maber, three ones were of a gross tonnage of more than 20,000 tons: The motor ship "Georgic" (1932/ 27,469 gt) of White Star, the "Asturias" (1925/ 22,445 gt) of the Royal Mail Line and the "New Australia" (1931/ 20,256 gt), built as "Monarch of Bermuda" for Furness, Withy & Co., in 1958 acquired by the Greek Line as "Arkadia".

"New Australia" ex "Monarch of Bermuda", refurbished at Hamburg, 1958 (WS)

"Orsova" of 1954, P&O ex Orient Line, Piraeus 1973 (WS)

End of Mail Steamers
With WWII the connecting trains 'La Malle des Indes', 'Overland P&O Express' and in India the 'Imperial Indian Mail' had disappeared for ever. The four surviving ships of the P&OStrath class returned to the London - Australia service in 1948 and 1949. The "Stratheden" was temporarily chartered out to Cunard for Southampton - New York services. During the first half of the 60s, two were broken up, while the "Strathmore" and the "Stratheden" were sold to Latsis, Greece, renamed "Marianna Latsis" and "Henrietta Latsis". The first newbuild of the P&O was the "Himalaya" (1949/ 27,955 gt), like her sisters "Arcadia" and "Iberia" laid out for a speed of 22 knots.

The pre-war "Orion" was the first ship to be released in 1947 to the Orient Line. The first newbuild was the third "Orcades" (1948/ 28,164 gt, 22 knots), followed by the "Oronsay" and "Orsova". The "Orion", the last reminder of pre-war glory, was withdrawn in 1963 and, after a service as a hotel ship at Hamburg, she was broken up in the same year.

In 1960 P&O Orient Lines became a holding and from 1966, after the last shares had been acquired, the unified companies signed simply P&O. A substantial advance, combined with an increase in tonnage, was visible with the "Oriana" (41,915 gt), commissioned at Vickers Armstrong for the Orient Line, and the "Canberra" (45,733 gt) of the P&O, built at Harland & Wolff, both laid out for a speed of 27.5 knots. The twin-screw steamer "Canberra" was of a completely innovative design with turbo-electric power transmission and two parallel funnels placed in the rear. Her appearance remembered slightly of Shaw, Savill & Albion's avant-garde "Southern Cross", built five years before (see chapter Pacific). With a length of 249.5m the "Canberra" was laid out for 2,188 passengers in two classes. Unique were their "courts", giving even inside cabins some view of the sea. Only her white livery and the buff colour of the funnels kept up P&O tradition. Also the "Oriana" appeared in this white livery.

In 1960 the "Oriana" and in 1961 the "Canberra" took up service on a round-the-world route, like also the competitor's "Southern Cross". Due to their size, their port of departure was Southampton, not London Tilbury, which was abandoned completely in 1969. In January 1963 a voyage of the "Canberra" ended abruptly in the Mediterranean. A fire in an engine room stopped the steamer. The "Stratheden", on return from Sydney, was to assist her, but finally the "Canberra" reached Malta on her own power, escorted by tugs. When some 20 planes were chartered from England, Belgium, Israel and Pakistan for the passengers, they protested vigorously. War closed the Suez Canal in 1967 for eight years and the regular P&O route now was Southampton - Cape Town - Fremantle - Adelaide - Melbourne - Sydney - Auckland. Meanwhile competition by jet airlines got so strong that from 1973 the surviving P&O services of the "Oriana" and the "Canberra" were considered as cruises, but one-way tickets still were offered.



"Oriana", Piraeus 1979 (WS) 


"Canberra", Faliron Bay, 1974 (WS) 

Prior to the steam age, the extreme fare of 584 pounds for a cabin on an East India sailing-vessel in the year 1779 has been reported. Around 1840 the fares for a voyage by steamer and the Egyptian overland route went down to 140 pounds. In 1914, the passage London - Bombay did cost 32 pounds in 2nd and 46 pounds in 1st class, when using the Peninsular or the Bombay-Express 51 pounds. Imperial Airways in 1938 asked for 85 pounds. Around 1973 the voyage from Southampton to Colombo on a P&O liner did cost 422 dollar (plus the usual 10 percent tips), while Air India offered flights from Amsterdam to India at 250 dollar!

For the Pacific services, also of other companies, see the chapter Pacific/ Panama-Australia. The ABC Shipping Guide published P&O Cruises, e.g. in winter 1978/79 Southampton - Cristobal - San Francisco - Sydney - Hong Kong - Cape Town - Rio de Janeiro - Southampton at a price of 2,000 pounds on the "Canberra" and additional voyages Southampton - Nassau - Vancouver - Sydney and back on the "Oriana". Cook Overseas Timetable of 1983 mentioned such services by Cunard's QE2 and by the "Oriana". In that year the QE2 and the "Canberra" were converted into troopers during the Falklands conflict. Restored to cruise-ship conditions, the "Canberra" rescued in 1987 a world-circumnavigator and his family from a life-saving raft after the loss of their yacht near the Mexican coast. The "Oriana" was sold in 1986, the "Canberra" in 1997. The pride of the P&O was scrapped, but the glorious label survived - see chapter Cruises/ P&O.

For the history of Indian and Australian mail shipping see Boyd Cable (Ernest A. Ewart): A Hundred Year History of the P&O; David Divine (Arthur Durham Divine): These Splendid Ships; Thomas K. Fitchett: The Long Haul; H.L. Hoskins: British Routes to India (New York 1928, London 1966); John M. Maber: North Star to Southern Cross; Howard Robinson: Carrying British Mails Overseas. The postal history of the Indian Mail became the subject of the India Study Circle, UK, were the author had membership.

For the history of the Indian Mail in connection with railways see Vauquesal-Papin (M.D. Lengelle), several reports in the magazine La Vie du Rail, Paris; Jean Paul Caracalla, Jean des Cars: L'aventure de la Malle des Indes, Paris 1996; Werner Soelch: Jules Verne's Express, Duesseldorf 1980. This book is kept in several libraries, e.g. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Muenchen, British Museum London, Deutsches Museum, Munich, National Railway Museum, York, UK.

For the Suez Canal see also chapter Travels/ Suez-Italy.
See also www.trains-worldexpresses.com
A collection of historic photographs has been donated to the British Museum, London. 



"Henrietta Latsis", ex "Stratheden" of P&O (in dry dock), to the left (in the water) "Marianna Latsis" (II), ex "Strathmore" of P&O after they were bought by Latsis. (Elefsina Shipyard?) 

The past (old P&O ad)

"Canberra" before departure for Sydney, 1979 (WS)




The Sikorsky S-42 was one of Pan Am's earlier flying boats and was used to survey the San Francisco – China route.1930-1950

LONDON TO INDIA FLIGHT -6 DAYS


 

London - Karachi, March 1929

UK Karachi
The long awaited Imperial Airways London to Karachi service started on 30 March 1929. The journey took 7 days.
initial route
The route from London was by air to Basle and then by rail to Genoa. The flight from Genoa to Alexandria was by Short Calcutta flying boat. The route from London to Egypt changed several times in the first few years: the initial route with the intermediate stops is in red.
The route from Alexandria to Karachi followed the existing route to Basra and was then via Persia. It is shown below.
The plane was a DH 66 Hercules.
The delay in setting up the service was due to problems in negotiating flying rights over Persia. 

1930






  • Imperial Airways at Croydon Aerodrome in 1924. Film 8358

    Imperial Airways. Croydon airport in 1924. Lovely shots of ground crew preparing passenger bi-planes for take off. Amusing air ...

    LARGE SCALE RC IMPERIAL AIRWAYS HP42 "HELENA" LMA RC MODEL AIRSHOW AT RAF COSFORD - 2013

    FILMED AT AN RC MODEL AIRCRAFT SHOW RUN BY THE LMA ( LARGE MODEL ASSOCIATION ) AT RAF COSFORD ...
    • HD

  • Bombay donated war planes to ruling British 1940-1945 2nd world war

    -Spitfire VB BM 252 “Bombay City” while serving with No 132 Bombay Gift Squadron RAF in 1942
    The presentation of aircraft as a means of supplementing public monies with private funds became commonplace in the first world war when hundreds were “presented”. In fact it was a purely public relations exercise, for the money went into the general funding of aircraft and a random production aircraft was chosen to bear the name of the donor. It was only in the second war when England stood alone and the gallant defense of the RAF inspired the world to give tangible aid. The Spitfire by its very name had caught the imagination of many during the second half of 1940 and hundreds of Spitfire funds were set up by public bodies, firms and clubs to raise money for more. There were door to door collections, boxes at displays of captured and shot down German aircraft. As public fervor rose, the PRO of the Ministry of Aircraft production (MAP) was made responsible for arranging public recognition for the donors. Undivided India was by far, the greatest supporter of aircraft and subsequently whole squadrons of the RAF during both the great wars, after all it was the “jewel in the crown” (the American ‘lend-lease’ system of the second war was off course the main contributor to the British war effort as a whole).
    There was a precedent to follow of the earlier war in which by Aug 1917, funds for 437 aircraft had been presented. In that war a guide scale had been drawn up; £1,500 for a BE2c (70hp Renault), £2,250 for a Vickers Gunbus and £3,500 for a Short Floatplane. 



     


    UH_AC_Bristol_Bombay_1935-thm.jpgBristol Bombay
    This night bomber entered service in 1935. Source: The Heyford Observer, May 13, 1967.









    Caractéristiques du Bristol BombayMk.I


    Mission :Transport









    Équipage :4 hommes





    Motorisation :2 Bristol Pegasus XXII à 9 cylindres en étoile refroidis par air de 1 010 CV





    Dimensions :Envergure :
    29.00 m



    Longueur :
    21.00 m



    Hauteur :
    5.00 m



    Surface alaire :






    Masse :À vide :
    kg



    En charge :
    9060 kg






    Performance :Vitesse de pointe :
    309 km/h



    Plafond :
    7600 m



    Taux de monté :
    m/min



    Rayon d'action :
    1415 km






    Armement ou charges utiles :
    2 mitrailleuses de 7,7 mm
    910 kg de bombes
    24 passagers ou du fret













    The above picture is of the Royal Ulster Rifles unloading from a Bombay on Salisbury Plain in August 1939.

    216 Squadron RAF Bristol Bombay at Crete 1941 IWM CM 172.jpg

    From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

    1940-1945
    That pre-1940 period had four main Indian airlines: apart from Tata there was Indian Trans-Continental Airways,Indian National Airways (both linked to Imperial Airways) and Air Services of India.After 1940 several shortlived services came up Deccan,Himalaya,Ambica,Mistri.As these flew into problems,the government got involved in trying to keep them going,and slowly got closer into the aviation business.JRD watched this with foreboding,regularly pointing out the folly of its involvement in a business that required both quick decisions and a service focus.On both these counts,State enterprise,with its rigid and slow moving administration and its inevitable red tape and conservatism,cannot possibly compare with private enterprise, he said to the Times in 1946.












    On October 15, 1932, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata got airborne from Drigh Road near Karachi in a de Havilland Puss Moth, bound for the Juhu mud flats near Bombay. The 28-year-old Tata scion probably had no inkling that his uneventful flight via Ahmedabad with a small consignment of mail marked the launch of Indian commercial aviation. In later life, Tata was called the father of Indian civil aviation. The title was well-deserved for another reason – in 1929, he became the first Indian to obtain a pilot’s licence within India. From Juhu, Nevill Vintcent, a former Royal Air Force pilot, took over the controls of the small three-seat plane for the journey to Madras, via Bellary, arriving on October 16.





    Karachi was the natural starting point of India’s first airmail run because the Imperial Airways flight carrying mail from England landed there. Tata Aviation Service began with just one DH.80A Puss Moth and one DH.85 Leopard Moth.  Tata finally launched a Bombay-Delhi service it went by the rather circuitous route of Gwalior,Indore and Bhopal thanks to the facilities provided by the rulers in these states.These rulers also gave the fledgling airlines lucrative consignments.A Times article from 1935 notes the interesting cargoes carried by those first flights.Pearls from the Gulf,not oil,were the most valuable regular consignments,but the maharajas of Kashmir and Baroda were also sending mangoes of the best quality.An unnamed maharaja had used the service to send papads to London,and betel nuts were another promising cargo.
    In the understandably bitter speech JRD delivered in 1953 on the eve of nationalisation of the Indian aviation industry,he recalled this phase,from 1932-40 as the hard but satisfying era of pioneering.The challenges were high,yet everyone involved was enthusiastic,opportunities were plenty and,best of all,the government was hardly involved.It was in the post-1940 period when the government started taking more interest that things went awry.The policy put in place then got two things wrong: it loaded the whole industry with a high tax on fuel,and also undermined existing players by indiscriminately giving out licences so that many new airlines started,but with no real viability.The airline’s staff comprised a whole-time pilot assisted by Tata and Vintcent, an engineer and two mechanics. Renamed Tata Air Lines in 1938, it was heavily dependent on its government contract for carriage of surcharged mail. Passenger planes were introduced only after revenues from travellers overtook those from mail. A few other private airlines like Deccan Airways, Indian Transcontinental Airlines and Indian National Airways also commenced operations within the country.
    INDEPENDENT BUT NATIONALISED
    JRD Tata became the fourth chairman of the entire Tata Group in 1939. But aviation remained his dream and the airline he started his obsession. He gradually transformed it into one of the world’s most respected carriers. In July 1946, it was renamed Air-India and became a public limited company. The airline operated its first flight to London on June 8, 1948, and became the national flag carrier, Air-India International.
    In the heady days following Independence, the domestic market was crowded with no less than eight carriers of varying size. Under the Air Corporations Act, 1953, Deccan Airways, Airways India, Bharat Airways, Himalayan Aviation, Kalinga Air Lines, Indian National Airways, Air-India and Air Services of India were merged to form a single domestic carrier called Indian Airlines Corporation (IAC). IAC inherited a fleet of 99 aircraft including 74 Douglas DC-3 Dakotas, 12 Vickers VC.1 Vikings, three Douglas DC-4 Skymasters and sundry smaller aircraft. It started operations on August 1, 1953, focusing primarily on domestic routes and international services to neighbouring countries. The jet age dawned for IAC with the introduction of the Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle in 1964.
    Air-India International was also nationalised and concentrated on international routes. JRD Tata was reappointed its chairman and he remained in the post till February 1978. The carrier entered the jet age in 1960 with the Boeing 707-420. In June 1962, its name reverted to Air-India and it became the world’s first all-jet airline.
    In January 1981, a regional airline, Vayudoot, was established as a joint-venture between Indian Airlines and Air India in order to serve remote airports especially in the North East. However, it never attained financial viability. It became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian Airlines in 1993 and merged with it in 1997.

    WAVES OF PRIVATISATION
    The three state-owned airlines monopolised Indian commercial aviation between 1953 and 1993. But consequent to India’s 1991 economic crisis, privatisation received fresh impetus through an ‘open skies’ policy. Within a couple of years, Continental Aviation,
     East-West Airlines, Damania Airways, Jagson Airlines, ModiLuft, Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines began as ‘air taxis’ before launching scheduled services. By 1995, private airlines accounted for around 10 per cent of domestic traffic and Indian Airlines began to face tough competition.
     However, with the government determined to protect the interests of the state-owned carriers, most of the newcomers began to buckle under fiscal and other restrictions. By 1997, only Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines were still functional.
    The current wave of private airlines commenced in 2003 when Air Deccan pioneered the Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) concept in India. LCC GoAir commenced operations in 2004. ModiLuft which had ceased operations in 1996 remerged under new management as LCC SpiceJet in 2004. While Full-Service Carriers (FSC) Kingfisher Airlines and Paramount Airways were launched in 2005, LCC IndiGo took off in 2006.
    Then three major mergers happened: Jet Airways with Sahara (JetLite), Kingfisher with Air Deccan (Kingfisher Red), and Air India with Indian Airlines. Subsequently, Paramount, Kingfisher and Kingfisher Red suspended operations due to heavy losses. JetLite was merged with Jet Airways’ in-house LCC JetKonnect in March 2012, allowing JetKonnect to become a separate airline.
    According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), “In the five years to FY2008 annual traffic tripled, surging by an incremental 29.1 million, eight times greater than in any equivalent period before.” India’s third wave of private airlines finally clicked. Private carriers now rule the roost having cornered about 80 per cent of domestic air traffic. However, neither infrastructure nor policy has kept pace with this rapid expansion.

    In this  FILM FROM 1954 -AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT(SUPER FORTRESS PLANE-NON JET)  LANDING IN JUHU CAN BE SEEN
    THE RUIN OF AIR INDIADouglas C-47 im Nachkriegs-Einsatz bei Air-India
    In 2004, Air India still enjoyed over 40 per cent market share. Then the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) decided to augment the carrier’s fleet by 68, at a crippling cost of over Rs 50,000 crore. It also elected to merge Air India and Indian Airlines, in the hope that this large carrier would compete better and also utilise the new aircraft. As part of the merger, a company called National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) was established in 2007. NACIL again became Air India in October 2010. But Air India rapidly went downhill. Today, it is a pale shadow of its former self, racked by massive debts, huge losses and severe HR problems, from which there’s still no sign of recovery. It remains afloat only with massive equity infusion by the government.Ab April 1947 unterstützten Vickers-Armstrong Viking die DC-3
    RAMPING UP REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY
    According to the Route Dispersal Guidelines formulated in 1994 scheduled airlines were obliged to deploy a specified percentage of their capacity on the lucrative mainline routes to connect more remote and unattractive destinations. However, while the policy forced the carriers to sustain heavy losses on unviable routes, regional connectivity did not greatly improve.
    In August 2007, the MoCA introduced a comprehensive policy to promote regional airlines under which licences were given for operation of airlines within a particular region.
    Only MDLR Airlines, Air Mantra and Air Costa actually got off the ground. While the first two collapsed in quick time, Air Costa seems stable enough, although it has only been in operation for a few months and it’s too early to say if it will succeed or not.
    A TIME OF RECKONING
    India currently has seven scheduled airlines and they carried 61.42 million domestic passengers last year. IndiGo led the pack with the highest market share, followed by Air India, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, GoAir, JetKonnect and Air Costa, in that order. IndiGo is the only convincingly profitable airline, while GoAir makes money in some quarters. Plagued by huge debts, overcapacity and mindless competition, the airline industry’s health is uncertain. According to CAPA, the industry posted a combined loss of $1.65 billion in 2012-13 and its performance in 2013-14 may not be much better. While operating costs—especially fuel and airport charges—are among the highest in the world, any attempt to raise fares scares away parsimonious passengers in droves. Yet, new airlines are queuing up to enter the market.
    Following the government’s September 2012 decision to permit Foreign Direct Investment in domestic airlines, three major deals have emerged—Jet-Etihad, AirAsia India and Tata-Singapore Airlines.
    While Etihad’s purchase of a minority stake in Jet Airways is expected to considerably expand both carriers’ global networks, AirAsia and Singapore Airlines are likely to shake up the domestic market. AirAsia India, a joint venture between AirAsia Bhd, Tata Sons and Telstra Tradeplace, plans to skip the busier inter-metro routes and connect smaller cities. It will strive to keep costs low and offer rock-bottom fares. LCCs like IndiGo and GoAir are expected to respond aggressively with their own cuts. Meanwhile, Tata-SIA, featuring Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, will target the premium segment. Both new Tata carriers should become operational this year. Bangalore-based Air Pegasus also plans to commence operations in March, linking southern cities. And Air One, a charter airline, has applied for a licence to start scheduled services.
    More change is in the air because a rule that mandates Indian carriers to complete five years of domestic flying and own a fleet of 20 planes to commence highly lucrative international operations is likely to be scrapped. Few will shed tears over its passing. India’s airlines need all the support they can get because generous awards of bilateral quotas have already helped foreign carriers grab market share from them. The government is also likely to allow the Airbus A380, the biggest plane in the world, to operate from Indian airports. These measures will generate fresh challenges for India’s beleaguered carriers.
    India is the world’s ninth largest aviation market and projected to become the third largest by 2020. Its enormous pool of potential passengers, with growing aspirations and purchasing power, are ultimately bound to script a success story. But in the near term the pain will continue. By 2016, India’s commercial fleet may number over 1,200 aircraft and new airlines like AirAsia India, Tata-SIA and others would be firmly established. With so many carriers crowding the skies, experts believe there will be survival challenges for at least one or two outfits. How many airlines will emerge triumphant from the bruising battles of the next two or three years? If Tata-SIA or AirAsia India are among the winners it will mark a step towards the refulfilment of JRD Tata’s dream.



    Pan Am Boeing 377 StratocruiserClipper Seven Seas at London Heathrow in 1954
    Pan Am round-the-world flights included at least one change of plane until Boeing 707s took over in 1960.