Carnarvon Castle was built by Harland and Wolff, Belfast and launched on 14 January 1926. She was completed on 26 June 1926 and entered service for the Union-Castle Line. She was named after Caernarfon Castle and was the first of the Union-Castle mail ships to exceed 20,000 tons, and was the first motor ship to be used on the sailings between Britain and the Cape of Good Hope. Carnarvon Castle was at Cape Town at the outbreak of the Second World War, and was requisitioned by the Royal Navy on 8 September 1939. She sailed to the naval base at Simonstown and was converted to an armed merchant cruiser.
Carnarvon Castle's career as an armed merchant cruiser came to an end when she was decommissioned in December 1943. There were plans to convert her into an aircraft carrier, but these were abandoned and she underwent a conversion to a troopship at New York City in 1944. She remained on trooping duties after the war, and was finally released from naval service in March 1947. Returned to her original owners, she was back on the route to South Africa by June 1947. She carried a flood of post war emigrants from Britain on low cost assisted passages to East and South Africa. She was again refitted, to more luxurious standards, by Harland and Wolff in early 1949. Resuming service on 15 June 1950, she served until her retirement and sale. She was taken to Japan in 1963 and was scrapped.
This lovely little souvenir ashtray has a hand painted depiction of the vessel on a base of butterfly wings and measures 3 3/4" across the handle tips. Metal exterior chromed.
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At Molloy's MEGA ANTIQUES CENTRE, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
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