Rossington Court

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Introduction

Court Line used the name Rossington Court for just one ship.

Rossington Court was launched in 1928 and continued in operation until she sank as a result of a collision with another British ship in 1940 whilst sailing in a convoy from Canada to England. Her service life was just 12 years.

Rossington Court
Rossington Court - date and location are not known. [1]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo ship
Registered owners, managers and operators United British Steamship Co. Ltd.
Managers Haldin & Philipps Ltd. London
Builders Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd.
Yard Glasgow
Country UK
Yard number 631
Registry N/K
Official number 160585
Signal letters N/K
Call sign GSQP
Classification society N/K
Gross tonnage 6,922
Net tonnage 4,334
Deadweight N/K
Length 420 ft
Breadth 56.5 ft
Depth 32.8 ft
Draught N/K
Engines Triple expansion steam engine with cylinders of bore 27", 45" and 75" and stroke 80".
Engine builders J.G.Kincaid & Co. Ltd.
Works Greenock
Country UK
Power 574 NHP
Boilers Three single-ended boilers operating at 180psi.
Propulsion Single screw
Speed 10 knots
Cargo capacity N/K
Crew "Fleet in 1942" gives complement as 45
Rossington Court
Rossington Court believed to have been taken in Vancouver on 18 January 1934. Photo by Walter E. Frost, Ref. AM1506-S3-2-: CVA 447-2642 [2]

Additional Construction Information

The 1930-31 Lloyds Register entry for Rossington Court has the following additional information about her:

  • She had two steel decks
  • Fitted with electric light
  • She was fitted with wireless
  • Fitted with radio direction-finding equipment (new entry in 1939-40 Register)

Career Highlights

Date Event
1928 Launched
Oct 1928 Completed
1936 Owners restyled Court Line Ltd. - same managers
13 Mar 1940 Sunk after collision

Service Pre WW2

I have not found any information about the service history of Rossington Court before the war other than that she was one of the few Court Line ships that were NOT laid up during the depression of the 1930s.

Service in WW2

Rossington Court took part in 4 convoys during WW2 as well as a number of independent voyages according to information shown in the table below which is provided courtesy of Convoyweb - External Reference #5.

Departure Convoy/Independent Arrival
Cristobal, Sep 14, 1939 Independent Kingston, Sep 17, 1939
Kingston, Sep 19, 1939 KJ.1 (Kingston,jamaica - UK Ports) Southend, Oct 12, 1939
Southend, Oct 16, 1939 FN.22 (Southend - Methil) Immingham, Oct 17, 1939
Immingham, Nov 9, 1939 Independent Dunkirk, Nov 15, 1939
Dunkirk, Nov 18, 1939 Independent Portsmouth, Nov 19, 1939
Portsmouth, Nov 19, 1939 OA.37 (Southend - Dispersed)
Independent Cristobal, Dec 13, 1939
Balboa, Dec 13, 1939 Independent Vancouver, Dec 31, 1939
Independent Victoria Bc, Jan 13, 1940
New Westminster, Jan 13, 1940 Independent
Victoria Bc, Jan 16, 1940 Independent Balboa, Feb 4, 1940
Cristobal, Feb 5, 1940 Independent Kingston, Feb 9, 1940
Kingston, Feb 9, 1940 Independent Halifax, Mar 4, 1940
Halifax, Mar 9, 1940 HX.26 (Halifax - Liverpool)

Loss of Rossington Court

According to Middlemiss - External Reference #4, Rossington Court sank following a collision 400 miles east of Halifax Nova Scotia en route from New Westminster to the Tyne carrying lumber and metal. Convoyweb - External Reference #5, adds that the collision took place during convoy HX26 and the other ship involved was Athelviking.

In an article added to the BBC's "WW2 People's War" - External Reference #33, Pamela Jacqueline Saville records information about her father James Saville:

My father was a Merchant Navy captain, in command of Rossington Court. His ship was sunk when the convoy he was in left Newfoundland.

Just before the convoy left, all the captains had a briefing meeting. My father’s was the largest ship, with medical supplies and food. The convoy had a non-Merchant Navy vessel — a full navy ship — as escort as it ploughed across the Atlantic. Another ship’s steering got jammed and it cut into my father’s ship. The Chief Engineer saw the bows cut into the engine room.

At the briefing, another captain had said that he’d come back if my father’s ship were in trouble. When dawn broke, he realised that my father’s ship was missing. He broke away from the convoy. The Atlantic was very rough — this was wintertime — but by a miracle he found the lifeboat. One lifeboat had been crushed, but all the crew and officers had managed to squeeze into the other boat, so everyone was saved. They had very little food, but managed to get back — I think to Falmouth.

My mother had been told that the ship had been sunk, but no other news. My father telephoned from Falmouth when he got back. In those days everything was so secret.

My father continued in the RNR. The war changed. He went over with the bridgeheads in France and supervised things there for the Normandy landings. Eventually he was posted to Sri Lanka.

Image Credits

  1. By courtesy of Clive Ketley.
  2. By courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archive