Orient Steam Navigation Company - RMS/SS Orion - 1935 to 1963

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author


Orient Line

RMS Orion the Troopship

Jack Abbott - a Soldiers Tale & the “Orion Oracle” No 20

On August 17, 2005 I received an interesting email from Mr. Ron Abbott who lives in Boston UK. His father was a soldier who sailed home on the Orion at the end of the way from India. Whilst Mr. Abbot was researching some material for a VE/VJ Day exhibition in Hungerford in the UK, he came across a number of interesting items.

Ron Abbot wrote about his father;

“My father, Jack Abbott (1921 - 1992), joined the Royal Artillery at the start of the Second World War. His first posting was to the anti-aircraft batteries in Essex, in the Shoeburyness and Canvey Islandareas. Whilst serving there he met my mother, Olive Cox, and they were married in July 1944. Not long after this he was sent overseas to Burma. Luckily for him, the end of the war came before he was involved in any action out there. The principle of 'last in, last out' must have been in operation, since he was not repatriated until April 1946. Among his war souvenirs is a book entitled 'Westward Bound' (printed by Sree Saraswaty Press Ltd, 32 Upper Circular Road, Calcutta on the 18th January 1946), which gives details of the repatriation process and includes information, with maps, on Deolali Camp where soldiers were billeted before moving to Mumbai (then Bombay) for the voyage home. The ship that brought him home was the Orion. He also preserved two copies of the ship's 'newspaper' - issue 20 (Wednesday 27th March 1946) and issue 29 (Saturday 6th April 1946), the 'Final and Souvenir Number', printed rather than copied. The voyage lasted from March 21st to April 6th. Jack arrived home with the rank of sergeant; he is pictured on his return home to Ipswich, Suffolk, happy and with his arms turned outward to display his three stripes!”

A photograph of Sergeant Jack Abbot--

This page contains Orion Oracle No 20. On our next page is Orion Oracle No 29, which was written by Captain Charles Fox C.B.E., Master of RMS Orion, and Lieut-Col C.A.R. McRae., Officer Commanding Troops. This final Oracle was printed on superior paper and was meant to be a special souvenir edition.

I am sure that all ex soldiers who sailed on the Orion and those interested in troop ships will enjoy reading these Oracles.

Special request; should anyone have a photograph of the Orion during the days she was as a trooper, I would much appreciate a copy.

Reuben Goossens.

Maritime Historian.




“Orion Oracle” No 29 is located on the next page!


This fine ship served her country well! 


RMS/SS Orion Index


RMS Orion                                   Orion - History Page.

Photo Album                             Orion - Interior and exterior photographs.

Passenger Contribution - 1        Ben Zuber heads for Australia in 1961.

Passenger Contribution - 2        Jack Abbott - a Soldiers Tale - “Orion Oracle” No 20.

Passenger Contribution - 3       Jack Abbott - a Soldiers Tale - “Orion Oracle” No 29.

Passenger Contribution - 4        William Rishton sails for Australia in 1956.

Passenger Contribution - 5        Anne Lee UK to Sydney Australia in 1958.



Also Visit our Features on the following Orient Lines/P&O Ships 

Orient Lines: RMS OrcadesSS Oronsay - SS Oriana - RMS Orion

P&O: RMS Strathaird - SS Himalaya - SS Iberia - RMS Kaisar-i-Hind - SS Canberra



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