SS Strathaird was built by Vickers-Armstrong Ltd, in Barrow-in-Furness, England. She was launched by Lady Shaw on July 18th 1931 and completed in February 1932, leaving London bound for Sydney, Australia on February 12th 1932. Strathaird's twin propellers were powered by turbo electric steam turbine motors, which although very efficient were not as economical to operate as  first hoped. With a length of 666 ft, 80 ft beam and draught of 29 ft, SS Strathaird weighed 22,568 tons gross and cruised at 20 knots, carried a crew of 480 and in later years carried 1242 one class passengers. She saw service during WW 2 as a troop ship, after which during her refit, the forward and aft funnels were removed. On returning to service with P & O in January 1948, Strathaird set sail for Australia once more. Her typical ports of call were as I recall in September 1957 were Port Said, Aden, Bombay, Colombo, Freemantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

 

SS Strathaird

        SS Strathaird was built by Vickers-Armstrong Ltd, in Barrow-in-Furness, England. She was launched by Lady Shaw on July 18th 1931 and completed in February 1932, leaving London bound for Sydney, Australia on February 12th 1932. Strathaird's twin propellers were powered by turbo electric steam turbine motors, which although very efficient were not as economical to operate as  first hoped. With a length of 666 ft, 80 ft beam and draught of 29 ft, SS Strathaird weighed 22,568 tons gross and cruised at 20 knots, carried a crew of 480 and in later years carried 1242 one class passengers. She saw service during WW 2 as a troop ship, after which during her refit, the forward and aft funnels were removed. On returning to service with P & O in January 1948, Strathaird set sail for Australia once more. Her typical ports of call were as I recall in September 1957 were Port Said, Aden, Bombay, Colombo, Freemantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

      Strathaird commenced her final voyage from London to Australia on March 28th 1961. The Officers were Capt. A. E. Clay,  Staff Capt. G. J. Savage,  Chief Officer P. W. Love,   Chief Engineer  I. H. Stewart,  Surgeon J. C. Waugh,  Purser   B. R. Tonks. On May 9th she departed Sydney for the last time, arriving in Adelaide on May 15th 1961.  I managed to convince my Dad and Mum to take me to Outer Harbour, Adelaide to say my farewells and we were fortunate enough to be allowed on board where we sat in the laundry with some of the crew, one of whom gave us the P & O glass along with a few other mementos. The Adelaide evening News on that date showed Strathaird flying her huge paying off pennant in a half page photograph. I was led to believe it was 10 feet for every year of service, making it 290 feet in length but this conflicts with other reports so don't quote me on that one. The autographs in the site were given to me on that final stopover in Adelaide. She left Fremantle and Australia finally on May 19th.   Somewhere near Port Said, Strathaird passed the brand new P & O Canberra on her maiden voyage. 

           Strathaird arrived back in Tilbury June 17th 1961.  Sadly, one week later on the 24th June she leftTilbury Dock  for the last time, bound for Hong Kong arriving on July 24th 1961, and was handed over to the breakers on July 27th 1961, the first of the famous "Straths" to be broken up. Her sister ships were SS Strathnaver, SS Strathmore, SS Stratheden and SS Strathallan which still lies on the bed of the Mediterranean 12 miles from Oran off the coast of North Africa, having been struck by two German torpedoes during WW 2.