The Union-Castle Line
Sailing Like Clockwork

by Mike Roussel and Sam Warwick

foreword by Captain Reg Kelso, MBE, FNI

Sailing Like Clockwork

The Union-Castle Line's heritage spans over a century. It provided the mail service to South Africa for 120 years and established an unrivalled reputation for punctual schedules. From the middle of the nineteenth century it ran 'like clockwork' until its demise in 1977, a victim of emerging competition from jet aircraft, increasing fuel costs and the containerisation of cargo. As a company, the Union-Castle Line used the latest technical innovations of the day, constantly striving to improve speed, reliability, customer comfort and safety. Its lavender-hulled ships were some of the most impressive vessels of the time. Yet the story of the Union-Castle Line is also one of people - the passengers and crew ensured that the line survived for so long. This book tells some of their fascinating stories, including tales of shipwrecks, war service, missing gold bullion, escaped wild animals and even the occasional murder on board. Utilising previously unpublished diaries, letters and photographs, this illustrated volume chronicles the shipping line from its glorious beginning to its tragic end. It is a multifaceted history of the Union-Castle Line, which examines some of the company's shipwrecks as well as the fond legacy of the line today.

A book from the authors of Shipwrecks of the Cunard Line (2012) and Shipwrecks of the P&O Line (2017).

Published by The History Press, November 2015

The authors of Sailing Like Clockwork are to be commended for presenting the 'modus operandi' of the Union-Castle Line - ashore and afloat - in such detail. Their comprehensive interviews with a wide range of personalities afford the reader a clear understanding of how the ships were managed, manned and operated - and why, undoubtedly, they were happy ships run by responsible and caring owners.

- Captain Reg Kelso

I would whole heartedly recommend this splendidly written and illustrated volume. It has so much of interest to those of us who manned these wonderful vessels but also to the passengers that, hopefully, enjoyed the efforts we all made to make their voyages memorable.

- Chris Isaac, Read the full review here.

Well written, this book has many unusual illustrations including 24 pages of colour. It is highly recommended and a well-deserved recipient of the magazine's Book of the Month accolade.

- Peter Newall, Ships Monthly, March 2016. Read the full review here.

Book of the Month. This is an essential addition to anyone's maritime collection.

- Sea Breezes, March 2016. Read the full review here.

Book of the Month. This is a truly outstanding book backed up with high-quality photos. I would very highly recommend it to our readers.

- Shipping Today and Yesterday, April 2016. Read the full review here.

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