The Ship Society of South Africa is selling its 2018 calendar, featuring Jeremy Day’s painting of the Arundel Castle’s final departure from Cape Town on December 5 1958. The acrylic on canvas was painted specifically for the calendar, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of that occasion.
A caption accompanying the picture, says: “The Cape Doctor had been blowing for most of the day on 5th December 1958, and by 4pm, the famous ‘table cloth’ had bedecked the top of Table Mountain, a fitting background for the final sailing of the Arundel Castle from Cape Town.
“Originally laid down in 1915, her building had been delayed due to the Great War. She was launched in September 1919 at Harland & Wolff, the largest liner to be launched in Belfast since December 1914.
“She was the thirteenth four-funnel liner to be built, with her younger sister the Windsor Castle being the last.
“Both were fitted with complicated life boat arrangements abaft of the 4th funnel (similar to the HMHS Britannic), with giant davits that many thought would be cumbersome to operate in an emergency.
“The arrival in South African ports of a four-funnel liner created much interest, so it was understandable that she would be fully booked in both directions for a few years after her first appearance, joined by her sister RMS Windsor Castle from 1922.
“Both were withdrawn in 1937 to be extensively modernised, their four funnels replaced by two; new boilers fitted; converted from coal to oil-fired, and an elegant raked bow extending her length by 30 feet. Many will agree that the upgrades gave these sisters a far more balanced and pleasant appearance.
“Both were requisitioned as troop ships during World War II, with the Windsor succumbing to a German torpedo bombing and sinking on 23 March 1943.
“When the Cunarder RMS Aquitania went to the breakers in the late 1940’s, the Arundel became the last surviving and longest serving of the original 4-funnellers.
“Her departure from Cape Town not only marked the swansong of an elegant liner, but the finale of the era of the ‘Four-Stackers’.”
The 42cm x 124cm calendar costs R35. Contact 021 434 5528 or email@example.com if you would like to buy one.
* The society has rooms in Duncan Road, opposite F Berth at the habour’s new cruise terminal, and meets on Thursdays at 7.30pm when there are guest speakers and films on shipping. The rooms are also open on Saturdays from 4pm.