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Shipping Wonders of the World

Part 36


Part 36 of Shipping Wonders of the World was published on Tuesday 13th October 1936.


It included a centre photogravure supplement featuring the RMS Orion, which formed part of an article on this vessel.







The Cover

“The cover of this week’s part is particularly attractive. It shows a Brixham trawler, its reddish sails showing up against the sea and the sky.”

The "Valhalla"


Contents of Part 36


Epic of the MLs

The Restless North Sea

Fisherfolk of the Faeroes

RMS Orion

RMS Orion (photogravure supplement)

His Majesty’s Customs Service

The Invincible Armada



Epic of the MLs


Concluding section of this article from part 35. You can read more about the MLs by following the link to Gordon Maxwell’s book The Motor Launch Patrol (published 1920).

(Pages 1125-1127)

The Entrance to the River Tyne

THE ENTRANCE TO THE RIVER TYNE is marked by a powerful light in a tower 85 feet high. The light is visible for distance of 15 miles. The vessel in the photograph is the Wanstead, 5,423 tons gross, belonging to the British Steamship Co Ltd. She was built at Dundee in 1928, and is registered in London. Her length is 405 ft 10 in between perpendiculars, her beam is 54 ft 3 in and her depth is 27 ft 11 in.

(Page 1129)





Fisherfolk of the Faeroes


From the Danish islands known as the Faeroes, nearly 200 miles north-west of the Shetlands, a large fleet of auxiliary fishing vessels sails very year to catch cod in North Atlantic waters. The fishing community in these islands is descended from the Vikings of olden times and the Viking tradition persists. This chapter is by D Wilson MacArthur and gives a vivid account of the life of the fisherfolk.

(Pages 1134-1137)


ML 55

THE MOTOR LAUNCH FLAGSHIP OF THE DOVER PATROL was ML 55 flying the broad pendant of Commander Sir Ion Hamilton Benn RNVR. Commander Benn was in command of the MLs during the raids on Ostend. In ML 532, when blinded by smoke, he crashed into the bows of the blockship Brilliant. Both engines of ML 532 were put out of action, but one was later set going, and the little vessel managed to escape to sea, where she was taken in tow by another ML.

(Page 1125)





The Restless North Sea


A remarkable feature of the North Sea is its shallowness, due to the submergence of dry land in prehistoric times. Some of Europe’s most important rivers flow into the North Sea, and for centuries its dangerous shoals and currents have been a challenge to seamanship. This chapter is by F A Bex and describes the shoals, ridges, deeps and coasts of this important waterway.

(Pages 1128-1133)


The Orion at Sea

A SPEED OF 21 KNOTS is given by the two sets of turbines in the Orion. The turbines develop a total shaft horse-power of 24,000, and are designed to run at 1,715 revolutions a minute. Twins crews are driven through single reduction gearing. Either propeller has four blades of manganese bronze weighing 3½ ton, and has a diameter of 19 feet. Steam is supplied by four large and two small boilers burning oil fuel under the forced-draught closed-air duct system with open stokeholds. The Orion has an overall length of 665 feet, a moulded breadth of 82 feet and a moulded depth of 47 ft 6 in. She has a displacement of 28,400 tons and a draught of 30 feet.

(Pages 1140-1141)


His Majesty’s Customs Service


The origin and growth of the unobtrusive but efficient Customs Service make a story full of romance. To-day the activities of the Customs officers are widespread and include much more than the prevention of smuggling. This chapter is by Frank Bowen.

 (Pages 1147-1152)


Customs and Excise Cutter Enterprise

HM CUSTOMS AND EXCISE CUTTER, Enterprise, one of the large modern fleet, is stationed at Gravesend on the River Thames. These vessels carry parties, known as rummage crews, which board incoming vessels and search for contraband. In an amazingly brief time they can detect contraband snuggled in the most ingenious hiding-places. Behind the Enterprise are two of the Gravesend United Company’s “Ring” tugs.

(Page 1148)





The Invincible Armada


The defeat of the great Spanish Armada in 1588 probably did more than anything to impress upon England the need for a permanent fleet of fighting ships, and caused a complete revolution in naval strategy and tactics. One of the most glorious pages in English history is the defeat of the “Invincible Armada” by the English fleet under Sir Francis Drake and Lord Howard of Effingham. Every schoolboy knows the story of the famous game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe, and there are many whose knowledge of the battle goes little farther than this. Lieut. Com. E. Keble Chatterton begins a chapter on the Armada which gives a comprehensive account of the whole engagement, and will also please those reders who enjoy descriptions of life at sea in the olden days. This is the third article in the series on Decisive Naval Actions. The article is concluded in part 37.

(Pages 1153-1156)


The Orion

Photogravure Supplement


THE AFTER END OF THE SUPERSTRUCTURE viewed from the main deck. This impressive photograph shows to good effect the straight-forward shipshape character of the Orion. On the main deck - C Deck - is an open-air swimming-pool, with dressing-rooms, shower-baths and the tavern adjacent. There are eight decks in the Orion.


(Page 1139)


The Orion at Anchor


THE MAJESTY OF A GREAT LINER is well portrayed by this photograph of the Orion at anchor. The Orion is a notable addition to the fleet of the Orient Line, and she sailed on her maiden voyage from London on September 28, 1935. Her passage to Australia includes calls at Gibraltar, Palma, Toulon, Naples and Port Said. After she has passed through the Suez Canal, she calls at Aden and at Columbo, Ceylon. She accommodates 486 first-class and 653 tourist-class passengers, in addition to a crew of 466.


(Page 1142)


RMS “Orion”


Many unique features characterize the Orient Line’s largest liner and make her one of the most interesting and important of the large passenger vessels built in recent years. In December 1934 a new departure was made in the ceremony of launching a ship. This was when the Duke of Gloucester pressed a button in Brisbane, Queensland, and launched by wireless the Orion, which was at that time on the other side of the world, at Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. This unusual method of launching alone was sufficient to put the Orion “in the news”. But she is notable for a variety of other reasons. Her design sets her apart from the usual run of luxury liners. With the progressive policy which is characteristic of the Orient Line, it had been decided to break fresh ground in the building of the new liner, and this decision is more than justified by the finished product. The Orion, while giving the passenger the maximum of comfort and convenience, never for one moment deprives him of that feeling of being in a ship, and not in a “floating hotel”. Peter Duff describes the Orion in the ninth article in the series on The World’s Largest Ships.


(Page 1138-1146)





Sailing Ships and Tugs


For many years the chief function of the steam tug was to tow sailing vessels in and out of port at the end of their long voyages. Competition was keen and the tug skipper had many devices for obtaining business desired by his rivals. This chapter is by Frank Bowen and includes four pages of photogravure. It gives a full account of this interesting though little-known aspect of the Sailing Ship era.

(Pages 1071-1080)


The Orion

THE CORN-COLOURED HULL of the Orion, with her raked stem and cruiser stern, presents a smart appearance. She differs a good deal from her predecessors in the Australian service, and one of the greatest innovations is the extension of C Deck right to the stern. This affords a fine games deck for the use of tourist-class passengers, and here a special swimming-pool has been built in. The tourist-class accommodation in the Orion is of a high standard, and D Deck has the widest promenade in the ship.

(Page 1146)

ML 55The "Wanstead"


An Auxiliary Ketch


AN AUXILIARY KETCH in Thorshavn Harbour. There are more than 160 vessels of this type in the Faeroes cod-fishing fleet. They average about 80 tons and are fitted with powerful Danish auxiliaries. Outstanding characteristics are the long bowsprit, straight stems and square transoms.


(Page 1136)

RMS "Orion"After end of the superstructure of the "Orion"The "Orion" at seaThe "Orion" at seaThe "Orion" at anchorCustoms and Excise cutter "Enterprise"The "Ark Royal"



The Ark Royal


BUILT FOR SIR WALTER RALEIGH in 1587, the Anne Royal was bought while still on the stocks by Queen Elizabeth for £5,000. The vessel was renamed

Ark Royal, and was the flagship of Lord Howard of Effingham during the Spanish Armada. She was one of the largest ships in the English Fleet and was of 800 tons burden.


(Page 1154)