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The SS Ranchi was part of the P&O fleet. She was launched in 1925 and scrapped in 1953. Very little information is available about her other than she served in WW2. She weighed in at 16738 tons.


Hi David

I have managed to dig out the photos below.

ss Ranchi lost one of her funnels when she was refitted in 1948 after war service.

There is also a picture of one of her dining rooms

SS Ranchi

My gran went on this ship and was one of 960 odd passengers on the first voyage after the war on 17th june 1948.Thanks for these pictures , would you know any other helpful websites like these that have pictures of the ranchi ? cheers davie


Hi Davie

I doubt if there will be too many photos of Ranchi about now.

Those posted were from my own collection.

If I should come across any on another website I will post them here for you.

June Fenton

June Fenton

I came to Australia from England on board the ss ranchi in 1950. I had my 6th birthday on the ship. I am lookng for the passenger records for my self and my family. Can someone help me as to where to start looking. Please:rolleyes:


Hi June

Welcome to cruisingtalk. :wave:

I am presuming you are still in Australia so it could also be worth while checking at the Australian state libraries as some of those hold records for some of the emigrant ship voyages to Australia.

On the P & O passenger ships there was a printed list of all the passengers on board placed in the passengers cabins when the ship sailed from the UK.

I am not sure if these lists were done for the emigrant voyages to Australia as the ships were then under charter to the Australian government for these voyages.

It might also be worth while keeping a watch on the Australian Ebay website as shipping items do come up for sale.

Happy hunting !

SS Ranchi

Hi neil where can you find these passenger ships and the printed list of all the passengers on board placed in the passengers cabins when the ship sailed from the UK.?

it may be some help for me , thanks very much


Hi Davie

Not sure where you are living, as you have not listed it in your profile, but the older shipping items do come up for sale on the Ebay websites.

As this is now over 50 years ago I doubt if many of these passenger lists are still about unless someone has got them from a relative who sailed on the ship at that time.

The only other source I know may be some of the Australian libraries in the state cities.
Gerry, My dad came out in 1952 on the Ranchi as a 17yr old. He and his mate came out on their big adventure and he has never returned to UK. It would be great to have a reunion of passengers. Did you arr. Port Melbourne?


It would seem that this is an event that would need to be arranged in Australia as I doubt if many people in UK will still remember the ship.


Hello everyone!
First let me introduce myself:
I'm a novelist, this is my website.
I'm writing a new novel which involves a steamship journey from England to Bombay in 1925. I wanted to find an authentic ship to place my fictional characters on, and after some research found the SS Ranchi, which sounds perfect!

I wonder if you can help me further by answering a few questions?

- which English port did the Ranchi set sail from? I assume it was Southhampton, but believe some ships also left from Liverpool and London?
- how many classes did such a ship have? How many passengers in each class?
- how long was the voyage?
- which ports did it stop at? Can you tell me approximately how long it took to get from port to port? How long would it stop at each port, and what did it do there?
- did she employ Asians (lascars)?

That's all for now and if you can help me with those questions I'll be eternally grateful. And without doubt I'll be back with more...


Hi lamaha.

Answer to some of your questions.

In the 1920's most of the P & O ships which includes Ranchi sailed from Tilbury or King George V docks in London.

They often dropped off the passengers at Tilbury on the inward journey and then proceeded up river the the Royal group of docks for the off loading of cargo, bullion and mail.

The loading of new cargo, bullion and mail for the next voyage would take place and then they would often call again at Tilbury Landing Stage for the passengers at the start of the next voyage.

P & O in those days employed Indian Deck crew, Pakistani engine room crew and Goanese on the hotel side of the ship.

The original number of passengers carried by Ranchi was 312 1st class and 275 second class.

The voyage to Bombay would have taken about three weeks depending on the ports of call.

Most ports were only a day visit and the time between ports would have varied depending on the distance to travel !

Ports of call in those day varied but could have included Lisbon, Marseilles, Port Said, Aden and then on to Bombay.

Mail, cargo and bullion was often picked up and dropped off at ports of call on the voyage to Bombay as well as passengers.


Thanks Neil, that's extemely useful. A couple more questions:

So there were only two classes?

Where did the crew sleep -- what were their sleeping quarters called?

How long was the voyage between Aden and Bombay?

Thanks in advance!


Hi Lamaha

Crew quarters in most ships around that time would have been right forward.

You are a bit before my time with P & O but I would think the crew would have been berthed in at least 8 or 10 berth cabins but they may have been bigger with shared toilet and washing facilities.

The earliest built P & O passenger ships I sailed on were the 1931 built Cathage, Corfu, Strathaird and Strathnaver all of which were in use during the 1939 - 1945 world war.

They were refitted after the war and then returned to service.

Most of the public rooms were still as original as possible but a lot of the other areas of accommodation would not have been the same as when they were built.

I sailed on these ships in the 1960's

Aden to Bombay is shown on the nautical mileage website as 1,649 nautical miles. ( That is just over 1 land mile )

The service speed of Ranchi was between 15 and 17 knots so it would have taken 5 to 6 days for the crossing.

As the ships carried Royal Mail parcels and letters, some of which was off loaded or picked up at the ports of call, they were expected to keep to a certain schedule or the company could loose the contract.


SS "Ranchi" birth

I was born on this ship in 1950 on a voyage from Indonesia to the Netherlands. I was one of I was one of 22 born on that trip. The ship had been chartered by the Dutch government to evacuate Dutch citizens back to Holland after President Sukarno came into power. I now live in Australia. I would love to share information with anyone else out there that was also born on that or other similar voyages aboard the Ranchi.


Hi Mea Welcome aboard CruisingTalk. :biggrinbounce2:
Just wondering if you were born at sea what country of birth goes on your Birth certificate.?