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ss Chusan

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Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

CHUSAN Passenger Liner (1950-1973) 

Official No. 183248 

Speed: 23 knots. 

Tonnages 24,215 gross, 13,445 net, 7,703 deadweight 

Dimensions Length: 646.5 ft, Beam: 85.2 ft, Depth: 36.2 ft 

Shipowner: Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. 

Machinery: Six steam turbines manufactured by the shipbuilder, driving twin screws. 42,500 s.h.p. 

Shipbuilder: Vickers-Armstrong Ltd., Barrow (Yard No. 964). 

History: 

29/03/1945: Ordered. 

28/06/1949: Launched. 

31/05/1950: Ran trials. 

14/06/1950: Delivered. 

1959: Refitted. 

04/07/1973: Sold through Mitsui and Co. Ltd., London, to Chou's Iron and steel Co. Ltd., Taiwan, for demolition. 

01/07/1973: Arrived at Kaohsiung. 

19/09/1973: Demolition work commenced.

 

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Courtesy of Alan MacKenzie

Chusan postcard, circa. 1960s

 

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Courtesy of Alan MacKenzie

Ditto

 

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Courtesy of Mike Maskell

Chusan at Circular Quay 1968 

 

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Courtesy of Mike Maskell

Chusan at Berth 106 Southampton 1970? 

 

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Courtesy of Mike Maskell

Chusan at North Cape Norway (Midnight Sun) 

 

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Courtesy of Mike Maskell

Same as above 

 

Courtesy of Mike Maskell

Chusan at Pago Pago Aussie Cruising 1969 

 

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Courtesy of Mike Maskell

Same as above

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

Chusan Tourist Class Deck Plan

 

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Two Birth Cabin

 

Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Single Berth Cabin

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Verandah Cafe

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Dining Saloon

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

Luncheon Menu April 1960

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Dance Space

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st class Lounge

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Nursery

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Swimming Pool

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Sports Deck

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

1st Class Library & Writing Room

 

Courtesy of Mike Williams

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

Chusan looking tired.

 

Courtesy of Mike Williams

Chusan in the Panama Canal Locks

 

Courtesy of Mike Williams

Chusan under tow by 3 tugs.

 

Courtesy of Mike Williams

Nice Funnel!

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

Mike recalls;

This is my old Panni-Wallah from Goa, India probably passed on now, not a very clear picture, but a good memory for me. He invited me 3 times for dinner, aft end of Chusan, 10 Panni-Wallahs and me around a 2' 6" diameter plate, all hands in and push the food down your throat with your thumb. Yeah ... real experience, nice food, but didn't dare ask what was in it, I just ate it. Diplomacy ...

 

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Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

The above Entertainments programme is in two halves, click on each to view.  

 

Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

Ian Johnson was 3rd RO on Chusan in 1967. This picture was taken at 01:00 as Ian worked hard on the daily newspaper 'Wireless News'

 

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Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

Here is the finished product - a copy of Wireless News, the ship's newspaper from Tuesday 6th June 1967. Sadly, it carries no better news than the papers published today, 40 years later.

 

The finished newspaper ran to 4 sides of foolscap paper, and each night it was the job of the Radio Officers to produce the content which, in the days of 'steam radio' was a real chore; the only relief coming from the cups of strong tea and slices of cheese on toast supplied by the Night-watchman.

 

The news was transmitted from the UK to ships by a radio station located on a hill top site at Portishead not far from Bristol, and received onboard ship as the dots and dashes of Morse code, sent at speeds of up to 25 words per minute. While this does not sound particularly fast, in Morse code a single numeral occupies 5 Morse symbols, and a single letter up to 4 symbols which, when transmitted at speed by a machine (paper-tape reader) it becomes difficult to discern separate dots and dashes. In Morse code a 'word' is defined as 5 letters, numerals or symbols so, at 25 wpm the dots and dashes are received at up to 625 per minute. Skilled radio operators do not listen to individual 'dots and dashes' but to the rhythm of each character, and with practice it becomes very easy - providing the reception conditions are good. However, on nights when propagation conditions are poor and the signal is weak, fading and subject to strong interference from static and other radio transmissions it becomes difficult to read.

 

There were nights when reception conditions were so bad it was virtually impossible to receive anything that could be regarded as accurate. When this happened it was usual to try and contact any other P & O passenger ship to ask if they could transmit (by hand) a more reliable copy, or to help fill in the gaps. If this was not possible it was sometimes necessary to literally make it up - hence the truth behind the saying, never believe anything that you might read in the press !

 

The transcribed news was then re-typed on to a wax coated stencil prior to duplication - and that process produced its own difficulties. By the time the stencil was due to be cut, the duty Radio Officer had been stunned by around 40,000 dots and dashes and at least an equal number of deafening snap crackles and pops from static. In the small hours of a dark morning, and with a numbed brain it was easy to make mistakes with the typewriter as the letters were picked out by fingers typing like a demented wood-pecker's beak. The mistakes which were spotted were corrected using pink correcting fluid, akin to nail varnish, making the stencil appear to have measles - those which were not spotted were sometimes catastrophic. Who would have thought that the accidental transposition of an 'a' for an 'i' could turn a news item that read "Today Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed over Sydney Harbour bridge on her way to…" into one that brought me such a bollocking and the possibility of being sent to the Tower of London for the rest of my life? (I'll give you a clue - it was the fourth 'a').

 

The wax stencils were collected at dawn by a bleary eyed bell-boy who took them down to the Bureau where either a Writer or JAP would feed them into an inky Gestetner duplicating machine, producing copies that were delivered to the passenger cabins along with the morning tea tray.

 

 

Roger recalls;

Below is one those wretched 'Log of my Voyage' brochures that were given to the punters each time the ship made it back to Southampton.

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Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

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Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

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Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

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Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

Hong Kong circa 1960

 

Courtesy of Mike Williams

Japan with Mt Fuji in the background.

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

Yokahama.

 

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Courtesy of Mike Williams

Funchal. 

 

Courtesy of James O'Sullivan

James writes;

Chusan, an opportunity shot taken through my Arcadia cabin porthole in Southampton circa 1966.

 

Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

Chusan 'A' deck looking aft.

 

Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

Chusan looking aft from bridge circa 1967.
 

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Courtesy of Tom Overrill

This is a 1950's passenger information booklet for Chusan. 

(click on the individual pages to read them)

  

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Courtesy of Tom Overrill

Picture postcard from the late 50's

 

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Courtesy of Tom Overrill

This is a Chusan passengers' guide to Hong Kong from 1958.

 

Courtesy of Roger Lownsborough

Chusan sneaking out of Southampton for another (if it's Tuesday it must be 
Lisbon) trip round the Mediterranean.

   

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