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SS Circassia



The motor vessel Circassia, the third Anchor liner with that name, was launched at Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering, Glasgow, in June 1937. Her maiden voyage, in October of that year, was from Glasgow to Bombay, the route Circassia served for her entire commercial career.

During World War II, she was converted into an armed merchant cruiser in 1940, then into a troopship in 1942, and finally into an infantry landing ship in 1943.

Circassia returned to Anchor's Bombay service in August 1947, and on 13 January 1966 made Anchor's last passenger sailing on that route. She was broken up later that year.

Circassia was the sister of Cilicia and Caledonia.



A friend of my parents was a French STO worker during WW2.
He was near Vienna in Austria when the Russians came in 1945: he was forced by them to go to Odessa, stayed there some weeks and was then put onto a ship named "Circassia" bounded for Marseille.

I suppose it is the same ship as in this thread.

It would be great to know more about the ship: how many journeys between Odessa and Marseille, which sort of passengers onboard, which nationality, who paid the trip, etc.

Thanks a lot for your help :wave:


Welcome to the family :)

There is not alot about the ship and if she took part in the evacuations tween Odessa and Marseille, however another ship of note is mentioned as doing this job on April 22, 1945. The Monowai Sailed from the UK to Odessa and transported 1600 Soviet ex POW's to Marseille. This first trip was followed by many others from Odessa to Marseille & Bombay. It doesn't mention other ship's names, but it could be a starting point for you to research.

Merchant Navy timeline - the Merchant Navy | NZHistory.net.nz, New Zealand history online




Thank you for your help and for the link.
I will ask the old man if he knows about other ships/names.
He told me it was a British one. He seems to remember quite a lot
about his "trip".



Hopefully he will be able to remember some of the ships and you'll be able to research it deeper, do let us know how your hunting goes & good luck with it....it will be nice to trace the events back, I'm sure and if we here can assist you further, please don't hesitate to ask :)


I can remember one of the Anchor line ships was sometimes in Bombay when we called on the various P & O ships.

I think they had three ships on the service in the late 1950's / early 1960's.

They would be berthed in the inner docks but we would go alongside at Ballard Pier.


Regarding Suedo's request, which is now 4 years old. Not sure if this will help now.

I have just finished reading a book "Landfall at Sunset" by David Bone. The author was Sir David Bone, latterly Commodore of the Anchor Line. He commanded "CIRCASSIA", built 1937, during her wartime service, including the landing of French troops embarked at Taranto in the Gulf of St. Tropez in late 1944. After this activity, the ship was busily employed in the migration of people displaced by the war in Europe. CIRCASSIA hurried back to Glasgow and embarked a large body of Russian ex-prisoners who had been liberated by the British, and they sailed for Odessa. There the ship embarked British ex-prisoners of war, similarly released by the Russians, though the author mentions that civilian refugees were transported temporarily to Egypt. CIRCASSIA thereafter went on out to the Far East for service there, and returned to the UK in the Spring of 1946.
For Commodore Bone, this was his final voyage before retirement, but the ship herself, along with two similar ships, continued in the Anchor Line Bombay service, until she made the final sailing on that service in 1966 and then went for scrap.
It would appear that CIRCASSIA only paid one visit to Odessa.