The name Aldington Court was used by Court Line for two ships:
- A cargo ship launched in 1929 described HERE
- A cargo ship launched in 1944 and described on this page
Aldington Court (1944) was in service from 1944 until she was abandoned as a total loss in 1970 so had a working life of 26 years. I will simply refer to her as Aldington Court on the rest of this page.
|Registered owners, managers and operators||Built for Ministry of War Transport
Managers Runciman and Co. Ltd.
|Builders||William Doxford &|
|Classification society||Lloyd’s Register|
|Engines||2-stroke cycle single action (2S.C.SA) 3 cylinder oil engine with bore 23 5/8" and stroke 91 5/16"|
|Engine builders||William Doxford & Sons Ltd.|
|Cargo capacity||Grain 567,000cu ft; bale 514,000cuft|
The 1945 Lloyds Register entry for Aldington Court has the following additional information about her:
- Two decks and a cruiser stern
- Fitted with Wireless direction finding apparatus
- Fitted with an oil engine
|11 Oct 1943||Launched as Empire Lord|
|12 Jul 1945||Maiden voyage (See notes below table)|
|1946||Acquired by the United British Steam Ship Co. Ltd. (Haldin and Philips Ltd. Managers) and renamed Aldington Court|
|1947||Owners restyled Court Line Ltd. (Haldin and Co Ltd. Managers) London|
|1959||Sold to Cosmar Shipping Corp. - M.C. Fred Hunter, London Managers Piraeus, Greece and renamed Anacreon|
|1966||Sold to Zirda Cia.Nav S.A. Genoa Italy and renamed White Daisy|
|1967||Sold to Garden City Shipping Inc. Panama.|
|1968||Sold to Cia. Nav. Rivabella S.A. - World Shipping and Oil Transport Co. Ltd. London Managers), Panama and renamed Robertina|
|15 Jun 1970||Abandoned as a total loss after being beached 2 miles west of Cape Garraway|
Notes on Career Highlights
I am grateful to Roger Jordan for the following comments:
The maiden voyage of this vessel was in March 1944, but presumably your annotation of July 1945 relates to maiden voyage for Court Line.
With regard to change of management from Runciman to Haldin, this occurred prior to departure on the 21-month voyage of 1945-47. As far as I can determine, Runciman was manager up to at least May 1945 and Haldin took over soon after that. It would appear that she renamed from Empire Lord to Aldington Court after her arrival at Durban on 22.4.46, having lost an anchor and chain. After replacement of the hardware, she went to Buenos Aires and as far as I can make out she arrived at BA as Aldington Court.
There is no record of Aldington Court taking part in WW2 convoys to be found in the Arnold Hague database - see External Reference #5
However, according to Middlemiss - External Reference #4, she sailed as Empire Lord from Swansea on 12 Jul 1945 on a 21 month voyage during which she was purchased by Court Line and renamed Aldington Court.
Middlemiss gives her itinerary as:
Swansea, Cornerbrook, Montreal (Manz Line charter), Panama, Auckland, Wellington,, Auckland (grain), Colombo, Bompay, Port Louis (sugar), Durban to Plate with coal returning with grain on repeated basis, Plate (grain), Durban (bunkers), Madras, Colombo (dry-dock), Adelaide, Port Pirie (grain), Port Lincoln (grain), Port Lincoln (grain), Calicut and Vizagapatnam (Manganese ore), Calcutta (general), Colombo, Port Said, Azores (engine repairs), St John, Baltimore, Newport News, Norfolk Virginia, New York (Cunard charter), London, Tyne - arrived 3 April 1947 for dry dock.
Not much information is currently to hand about the post-war service of Aldington Court other than related to her multiple changes in ownership and name and her eventual loss.
I am indebted to Dave Bonner who served on Aldington Court in from January to August 1958 and has provided the following information:
I signed on the Aldington Court in Bremen and headed for atlantic "awaiting orders" in trampship tradition. Had much engine trouble mid-atlantic and broke down again and drifted off the Bahamas. We called for assistance but missed a rescue tug in darkness; having restarted the engine we headed for Port Everglades but grounded on a reef about 500 yards East of the Sea Ranch Hotel in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea - the dry dock in Jacksonville. In truth the grounding was a navigational error, but not publicly announced to our knowledge! The red lights on a water tower along the coast were mistaken for the entrance to Port Everglades harbour.
The grounding caused damage to No.1 and 2 holds but thankfully the double bottom saved a complete disaster. We were towed to drydock in Jacksonville FLA. and spent 2 months there having a new bottom fitted. A Lloyds official flew out to inspect the work and condemmed most of it - American shipyards were skilled at welding ships but riveting was initially a struggle for the yard at Jacksonville.
Once repaired we loaded maize meal at Galveston and sailed for Gibralter (repairs and bunkers) then through the Suez Canal to Karachi (more repairs). We were all surprised to learn that the ship, rather than spending 2 years in the far east, was routed back to Europe via Cape Town and then to Hamburg, where the crew paid off and returned to England. I've wondered since whether negotiations were going on with regard to selling the vessel.
Note: Cable was a 1,530 GRT US Navy salvage vessel completed in 1944 by Basalt Rock of Napa. She had two screws driven by a diesel engine and electric drive and was capable of 14.5 knots. She was herself 'stricken' in 1977 - according to the Miramar Ship Index.
Nothing is currently known of her loss other than that she sprang a leak off Las Palmas and was abandoned as a total loss after being beached 2 miles west of Cape Garraway. It is not known whether there were any casualties.
- From The Allen Collection - External Reference #1
- By courtesy of Stuart Smith
- By courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Daily News
- By courtesy of the Daily News
- By courtesy of Dave Bonner