|Career (United Kingdom)|
|Owner:||Orient Steamship Co., London|
|Builder:||R. Napier & Sons Ltd shipyard, Glasgow|
|Laid down:||11 April 1891|
|Reclassified:||1915-1918 Requisitioned by the Admiralty for conversion to Armed Merchant Cruiser|
|Fate:||Scrapped in 1922, at Troon|
|Class & type:||cargo/passenger liner fitted with refrigeration equipment|
|Length:||465 ft (142 m)|
|Beam:||53 ft (16 m)|
|Draught:||24 ft 6 in (7.47 m)|
|Depth:||37 ft (11 m)|
|Installed power:||10,000 ihp|
|Propulsion:||5 coal-fired boilers.
Two four-cylinder triple-expansion engines driving twin propellers
The SS Ophir was a British steel twin-screw ocean liner owned by the Orient Steamship Co. of London, which was employed on the company's London/Aden/Colombo/Australia service from the 1890s until 1915 when she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and saw three years' service as an armed merchant cruiser. She was returned to the owners in 1918 but was never refitted, being broken up in 1922.
One appreciative passenger was "the Welsh Swagman" Joseph Jenkins who embarked at Melbourne on 24 November, 1894, bound for Tilbury Docks in a second-class cabin at the fare of £26 15s 6d. When he first saw the vessel, it appeared so huge that he wrote "it is a wonder to me that it would move".:p.370 Jenkins, a noted diarist, proceeded to record in detail the 103-day voyage passing through the new Suez Canal.:pp.371-382
In 1901, the restyled HMS Ophir conveyed the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (the future King George V and Queen Mary) on their tour of the British Empire. The visit was scheduled to open the new Federal Parliament in Melbourne, Australia, but the royal party also visited Gibraltar, Malta, Ceylon, the Straits Settlements, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. The Admiralty provided crew for the tour, while the engine-room staff came from the Orient Company´s own engineers.
A petty officer named Harry Price was with the tour from February to November 1901, and made a careful record, later published as The Royal Tour 1901, or the Cruise of H.M.S. Ophir; Being a Lower Deck Account of their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York's Voyage Around the British Empire. The 1901 cruise was also filmed by CPO McGregor working for AJ West's 'Our Navy' company and cinematograph film and lantern slides of the cruise were shown to the British Royal Family and staff at Sandringham on November 9th 1901
- Evans W (ed) Diary of a Welsh Swagman 1869-1894 Macmillan, Melbourne 1975, p.214
- Phillips B Pity the Swagman (Cymdeithas Lifrau Ceredigion Gyf., Aberystwyth 2002)
- Jenkins's original diary and shipboard log are held at the State Library of Victoria. Dr Phillips's biography includes an informative summary with excerpts of the sea voyage.
- New York Times report, 9 Jun 1901
- Shipping News monograph with photo
- Interior gallery and saloon at English Heritage Images
- Cinematographic presentation of the Ophir voyage at Sandringham
- 'Our Navy' film of the Ophir Cruise shown by Alfred J West by Royal Command at Sandringham
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