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Winchester Castle


Winchester Castle.

In addition to peacetime voyaging on the South Africa service, the Union-Castle liner, Winchester Castle served during the Second World War as an assault training ship and troopship, and for a time was code-named Radio Diego Suarez.

This part of her career happened after the ship took part in the Madagascar landings and entered the bay of Diego Suarez where a powerful radio transmitter was installed on her decks to broadcast propaganda.

Earlier Winchester Castle had spent a year in Scottish waters as a training ship for assault troops. Many thousands of men stormed ashore from this ship during this period.

The vessel also took part in the North Africa, southern France, Sicily and Anzio landings and altogether during the war she steamed 270,000 miles.

Built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, the Winchester Castle began operating from Southampton to the Cape of Good Hope in 1930.

Originally she had two squat funnels but just before the outbreak of war she was re-engined and emerged from refit with only one funnel.

The liner made the last commercial sailing from Southampton to South Africa before the war started.

In the immediate post-war period she made several voyages carrying settlers to South Africa before rejoining the mail service, operating with much success throughout the 1950s.

She was withdrawn in 1960 and was sold to the Japanese for scrap.
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