Orient Steam Navigation Company - RMS/SS Orion - 1935 to 1963
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wonderful story as told by Anne Lee who sailed …
A wonderful story as told by Anne Lee who sailed …
with her family from Tilbury to
Lee aged 13, and her family sailed from Tilbury to
Our family, Mum and
Dad, My sister (Yvonne) and myself (Anne) boarded the
S.S. Orion at Tilbury on March 19th, 1958 and arrived in
At the time we sailed I was 13yrs 9 months old, and I was embarking on the most amazingly wonderful few weeks of my young life.
Our Ports of call
We had a 4 berth cabin on F deck…our berths were F 21-24. The cabin was quite small, but not uncomfortable, well not for me anyway as I didn’t spend much time in apart from sleeping, as there was too much to do and see on deck.
The bathrooms and toilets were not far from our cabin and there was a laundry at the end of the passage.
From what I can remember there were two bottom bunks and two top bunks, a chest of drawers wardrobes, a mirror and wash-basin. My sister and I had the top bunks and our parents the bottom ones.
The pair at the end of the cabin faced the portholes and the other 2 were at right angles to them. Mine was the one with my feet pointing towards a porthole.
Yvonne sewing on promenade deck
My first impression of the ship was how big it was, I thought I would get lost for sure, but within a couple of days I knew my way around very well…certainly better than my parents who never knew where to go looking for me.
Although we were berthed in tourist class, there didn’t seem any problem with us having the “run of the ship”. We spent a lot of time in the first class area and no one ever told us to leave.
Our steward in the dinning room was a lovely man who did everything to make our meals enjoyable. I developed a taste for radishes, and our steward would have a bowl of thinly sliced radishes just for me at each meal. And I still have a few of the menus from the voyage.
Friends enjoying the sun on deck
I recall playing bingo in the first class lounge, and the church service was held there also on Sundays.
I thought the ship was wonderful, there was so much to do and see, and so much food, and everyone was so friendly.
I loved the morning wake up calls, "Wakey, Wakey Rise and Shine, its breakfast time on the Orient Line” or something like that.
There always seemed to be a crew member around when you needed one and they were all very nice.
I was a bit queasy for the first day, but then I was fine…but my mother was sick almost the entire voyage, my sister (12 at the time) was sick for a few days, and my father was fine.
I enjoyed all the activities. I loved being in the swimming pool, but preferred to watch the more adventurous pool games. I recall people straddling a log which had been placed across the pool and trying to knock each other off with some kind of weapon (harmless of course).
I was allowed to go to the early evening movies. I remember seeing Boy on a Dolphin with Sophia Loren. There were many others, but I can’t recall them, I think one was Witness for the Prosecution.
My sister Yvonne in fancy dress
My parents thought I was a bit young for the dances (I didn’t think so) but I was allowed to go for a short while. I remember one time one of the officers came over and asked me to dance. In later years I thought what a nice man he must have been to have taken the trouble to make a young teenager’s night so special.
Yvonne and Elizabeth on deck
There were a lot of people our own age, so we made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun. A ship is a wonderful playground and we made the most of it.
There were two
families I particularly remember the Steels and the Gemmells,
We enjoyed the deck games and playing bingo.
Boys out on Promenade deck on a cool day
I recall spending countless hours just standing on deck watching the ocean, and the dolphins, watching for land when we were due to call into a port.
We didn’t have to go to school on board thanks goodness, and so had the most wonderful few weeks holiday.
A ceremony took place as we crossed the equator with King Neptune arriving decide whether to let us cross and ceremoniously tossing some (willing??) pssengers/crew into the pool.
Janet and Elizabeth
Ports of call:
Naples: Again we had a few hours ashore this time no barge as we were tied up at the dock ….it was raining…I had gone ashore with another family as I made friends with the girls of the family. We went into some shops, I recall I purchased a scarf, and in the record department of one store we thought it was strange to hear familiar songs sung in Italian.
exposure was taken in
It was exciting to look down on all that frenzied activity, but I was worried that some of them would bump into the ship and capsize their canoes.
We travelled through
I remember being very
surprised at how narrow the
I remember being shocked by the beggars and the poverty, the scrawny animals wandering around, and the dirt. If nothing else it was an education.
Fremantle: We went ashore and took a bus into
Great Australian Bight: Sailing through the
My family did some sightseeing in the city, but I preferred to spend time with friends at the Milk Bar at the end of the wharf, where there was a jukebox, milkshakes, food and boys, and I made friends with some local people too.
As we saw
The voyage was one of the best and most exciting times of my life, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience it.
Some of the sunrises and sunsets I witnessed were sheer magic. I would have been happy to stay on board the Orion forever!
RMS/SS Orion Index
RMS Orion … Orion - History Page.
Photo Album … Orion - Interior and exterior photographs.
Contribution - 1 …
Passenger Contribution - 2 … Jack Abbott - a Soldiers Tale - “Orion Oracle” No 20.
Passenger Contribution - 3 … Jack Abbott - a Soldiers Tale - “Orion Oracle” No 29.
Contribution - 4
… William Rishton sails for
Passenger Contribution -
5 … Anne Lee
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