A family web page of Stephen Shaw. Main index to my web pages.

Peninsular and Oriental ship S S Corfu

Built in Glasgow and launched 1931, Corfu was 543 feet long. An aft funnel was removed for service in WW2 and not replaced. She was scrapped in Japan in 1961.

At the end of World War 2, The SS Corfu was first ship home from Asia, she docked in Southampton on October 7, 1945, with 1,500 prisoners of war (POW) on board from the Asian prisoner of war camps.

This web page is a record of the P&O ship S S Corfu and our voyage on her to Singapore in 1959.

1959 image of SS Corfu at sea

Little of event on the journey- I do remember the stops at Port Said, Bombay and Penang. The ice cream made with powdered milk was memorable. I especially enjoyed the "Pussyfoot Cocktails" served in the bars, and even signed my own chits for them.

We travelled first class, which means better than steerage, but it wasn't that grand. We used communal salt water baths.

Heard of cabin trunks? The cabins were much too small for those- the trunks were kept on Deck E, in a baggage room, with cockroaches. You had to go down with the steward if you needed anything. Our cabins were on deck C, 86/87 (June and Mum)- long corridor to the porthole! grade D cabin on the port side. And cabin 173/4 a smaller Grade C cabin on the starboard (right) side for Dad and myself

One family travelling on the same boat was the Hatcher family (I have a note of cabin 107). Jennifer Hatcher was in my class at school and three years on came to see us off on our journey home in 1962. The two families visited each other from time to time throughout the period. Jennifer's father filmed our farewell in 1962 on the Glenorchy- is a copy still in existance?

Due to leave Southampton on 18th September 1959, the Corfu actually sailed from London. This was because there was a strike at Southampton, and although it had been settled by 18th, that was too late to return the departure to that port. We have a nice letter of apology from the company chairman.

News on board was by means of specially duplicated sheets headed "P&O Wireless News" containing news items from The Wireless Press Ltd.

Click the image for a larger one.

Childrens lunch was 11.30am, with Dinner at 5.15pm. For adults the meal times were 12.30pm and 7pm.
On the first menu below- Pomfret is a fish. Pomfret au four is made up- no mention anywhere on the Internet. And P&O put that on a menu for children. Potage chantilly is a French soup of pureed lentils blended with whipped or beaten cream and garnished with chicken quenelles - now look up quenelles!

26th September 1959- Port Said and Suez Canal transit.

29th September 1959- Childrens Fancy Dress. I was dressed up strangely and won some insignificant prize. I have never really enjoyed winning or coming first at anything.

1st October 1959- Aden. Too dangerous for anyone to go ashore.

6th October 1959- Bombay (Ballard pier).

8th October 1959- Colombo. Considered too dangerous for anyone to go ashore. The prime minister Solomon Bandaranaike had been assassinated less than two weeks earlier.

9th October 1959- ship news sheet- Mr Gaitskill accepted defeat in the General Election of 8th. Macmillan takes the reins.

12th October 1959- arrived in and departed from Penang, Malaya. We just managed a quick trip up the hill in the funicular railway rising 2500 feet (gradient about 51%) changing carriages at the half way point.

13th October 1959- arrived in Singapore about 7am,

Our experiences in Singapore 1959-1962

Click on the small plans for a larger version.

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