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Article: " The Varied & Interesting Life of A Ship ,1936-1973. m.v.ROYAL ULSTERMAN "

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    " The Varied & Interesting Life of A Ship ,1936-1973. m.v.ROYAL ULSTERMAN "

    5 Comments by Graham Shaw Published on 17th July 2021 08:14 PM
    m.v.ROYAL ULSTERMAN (O.N. 163225 ) a twin screw motor passenger ferry of 3,244 grt,17 knots built as Yard No,963 at Harland & Wolff ,Belfast for Burns & Laird Lines for their Glasgow-Belfast ferry service.



    War Service

    Commissioned 1940 as HMS, Royal Ulsterman landed elements of the British Expeditionary Force for operations in Norway in 1940. Subsequently, the ship delivered armaments to Harstad, high above the Arctic circle.
    Evacuation of the BEF from France
    On 18 June, Royal Ulsterman embarked some 2,800 troops and three civilian women at St. Nazaire, transporting them to Falmouth in Cornwall. By the end of August, she had also moved French personnel to Casablanca, carried civilian refugees from the Mediterranean region to Glasgow, and landed some 700 troops at Iceland. Over the next year, Ulsterman would make regular trips between the British Isles and Iceland. During one of these runs, Ulsterman, under the command of Captain Harry Houghton, carried the three survivors of HMS Hood (the British battlecruiser sunk by the German battleship Bismarck), back to the UK.
    On 29 August 1941, off the west coast of Scotland, Ulsterman was holed in a collision with the destroyer HMS St. Mary's, requiring repairs on the Mersey until late September.
    Operation Ironclad
    Ulsterman took part in Operation Ironclad (the battle of Madagascar), landing elements at Diego Suarez on 5 May 1942.
    Operation Torch
    Ulsterman took part in Operation Torch (the Allied invasion of North Africa), landing United States Army Rangers of the 1st Battalion on the Algerian coast on 8 November 1942. On 14 November, while ferrying troops from Oran to Algiers, the ship was attacked, unsuccessfully, by five Luftwaffe aircraft.
    Operations Husky and Avalanche On 10 July 1943, Royal Ulsterman disembarked troops of the British 8th Army in Sicily for Operation Husky. She subsequently took part in Operation Avalanche, landing troops on 9 September 1943 at Salerno on the Italian mainland.
    Operation Neptune
    After a two-month-long refit at Southampton in March and April 1944, Royal Ulsterman took part in Operation Neptune, the amphibious operation that launched Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944. The ship disembarked troops of the 9th brigade of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on Juno Beach.
    Liberation of the Channel Islands Seized by the Germans in 1940, the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the enemy during the Second World War. Not until after Germany's surrender were the islands liberated. Royal Ulsterman landed British troops on Jersey on 11 May 1945 and provided additional reinforcements on 18 May.
    Postwar history

    Royal Ulsterman returned to Belfast in November 1945 and was paid off on 20 December. After reconditioning, she resumed work on the Glasgow-Belfast run for Burns and Laird. She served in this capacity until 1967
    In 1968 she was sold and became an accommodation vessel for Cammell Laird & Co SB and Eng.Co;Ltd.Renamed m.v.CAMMELL LAIRD, Reg’d Liverpool.
    In 1970 she was converted to a cruise liner and sold to Med-Link Lines,Famagusta,Cyprus.
    On 3/3/73 she was limpet mined in Beirut harbour whilst on a round cruise Cyprus-Beirut-Haifa-Cyprus. In 9/73 she was broken up in Perama,Greece.
    [According to Lloyds;
    'An explosion in the boiler room of the 37 year old Cyprus registered motor passenger vessel Sounion tore a large hole in her stern at about 11pm on March 3rd,1973 an hour before she was due to sail from Beirut to Haifa,Israel on a round cruise trip from Cyprus.
    All 254 passengers on board were evacuated without injury.The stern then sank in 30 ft.of water.After being refloated on April 17th human remains were found at the bottom of the Sounion . According to judicial sources some weeks later,the remains were identified as being from two bodies with skin-diving outfits suggesting that two frogmen were attempting to sabotage the vessel
    After being declared a constructive total loss she was towed to Piraeus and scrapped.]
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    By comparison her twin sister Royal Scotsman (164080) had a less distinguished though different sort of life.
    Yard Number 964 of H & W .Completed 5/36.
    1936-1967 Operated on Burns & Laird ferry service from Glasgow to Belfast.
    1968 Withdrawn and sold being renamed APOLLO for Hubbard Exploration Co.Ltd Freetown, and registered there in Sierra Leone.
    1970 Converted to a Yacht,renamed ZANZIBAR in 1971 for Zanzibar Inc;Panama
    1984 Renamed ARCTIC STAR before being scrapped in Brownsville TX 5/84.
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: " The Varied & Interesting Life of A Ship ,1936-1973. m.v.ROYAL ULSTERMAN "

    Thanks for that Graham, Some service history there. I am sure I will have been on her when she was still o the Belfast /Glasgow service. I do know I was definitely on her sister Royal Scotsman as we used to go to Scotland with the Boys Brigade for summer camp.
    Another one that ran seasonally to Ardrossan was the Irish Coast.R.jpg
    Many happy memories from those days.
    Last edited by Lewis McColl; 18th July 2021 at 12:22 AM.

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    Default Re: " The Varied & Interesting Life of A Ship ,1936-1973. m.v.ROYAL ULSTERMAN "

    Thanks for that Graham,

    Very interesting.

    Keith.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: " The Varied & Interesting Life of A Ship ,1936-1973. m.v.ROYAL ULSTERMAN "

    Thanks for the info I was AB in her and paid of in Glasgow hours before her final run as i was offered and excepted a Flight to Sydney. The 2nd mate kindly paid me off ENG2. My shipmate was JOE Skivington. All in All I was happy while onboard even though I was in Cattle **** up to the elbows cleaning blocked skupers . Thanks for the post would love to Know how Joe got on I suspect he may have done his Tickets.

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    Default Re: " The Varied & Interesting Life of A Ship ,1936-1973. m.v.ROYAL ULSTERMAN "

    The Royal Scotsman was my first ship straight after the “Vindi”. I joined her 01.09.1962 (Glasgow to Belfast) which was two weeks before my 16th birthday, and stayed on her until 24.01.1963. The last time I saw her, I was on the wheel going through one of the lakes within the Suez Canal. I heard the pilot talking to my captain, when he pointed to the old ship I was looking at, which I thought I recognised as the Royal Scotsman, he confirmed it had been named the Royal Scotsman, by telling my captain it now runs around the gulf carrying sheep and other cattle, which it did when I sailed on her. Sorry, I can’t remember the ship I was on at that time, but I’m sure it was in the mid 1970’s.

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    Default Re: " The Varied & Interesting Life of A Ship ,1936-1973. m.v.ROYAL ULSTERMAN "

    Thanks for this post very interesting

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