Near disaster for the Rangitane in 1961

Postcard view of the Rangitane

Postcard view of the RMMV ‘Rangitane’. Built 1949 by John Brown & Co. Weight 21,868 tons. Service speed, 17 knots. Length 609ft, breadth 81ft. Passengers, 399 in one class.

Passenger Aileen Mckay described part of her eventful journey on the Rangitane in October 1961 on our Facebook page.

“Nearly sank in terrible force 11 gale in Bay of Biscay. The ship rocked side to side and fore to aft all night and few went to breakfast. While there there was an almighty lurch and the ship didn’t aright itself – lots of heavy bolted down furniture broke loose and fractured legs a couple of skulls, arms etc then after what seemed many minutes and groans of agony from the ship it came back. We had no plates or anything as lots had smashed in the night. Only enamel mugs to serve porridge – that was all on the menu. The ship’s doc was so busy. The purser was sitting on the floor surrounded by money when I looked in. Most aboard were very seasick but not me.”

The gallery below shows a set of black and white postcard views of various parts of the Rangitane. The decor is very much of the period, and by today’s standards, looks rather dated and, in the case of the cinema, rather cheap and cheerful. One can well imagine the chaos in some of these rooms after the stormy sea described by Aileen.


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