Mersea Island Museum - Blackwater Ships

Ship:      ORONTES
Arrived:cAugust 1919
Departed:cSeptember 1919
Career:Passenger ship, requisitioned for use as a troop ship in 1916. June 1919 left Brisbane for last time as troop ship. After refit, she returned to the Australian mail run, leaving Tilbury 25 October 1919.
June 1921 returned to London at end of final voyage. Laid up off Southend. Feb 1922 British World Trade Exhibition Company took out an option to purchase ORONTES and she left the Thames for Hull where she was to be converted. But the project failed and she reverted to Orient Line. After some time in Hull, she was moved to Gareloch and then 1925/26 sold for breaking.

A photograph on is said to be Bradwell 1910. She appears to be in poor condition, but with a grey hull. As it was likely she was repainted before going back to passenger service in October 1919, perhaps this photograph was taken in the Summer of 1919 after her return from trooping.

However, the Guildhall Library have been very helpful in researching this and have come back with the following:
"There seem to have been two periods during that year when the Orontes was in the London area; April-May and September-October.
"She arrived in Gravesend from Sydney on April 16, bound for Tilbury Dock and was cleared out from that Dock on May 12, bound for Port Natal, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. She sailed from Gravesend on May 13, with Sydney given as her destination.
"On September 9 she arrived in Gravesend from Brisbane, bound for Tilbury Dock. She was cleared out of that Dock on October 24, bound for Brisbane via Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. She sailed from Gravesend on October 25, with Brisbane given as her destination.
There is no mention of the River Blackwater !

If the photograph is earlier, it could also be the slightly smaller OMRAH, which became a troopship in 1917 and was sunk in 1918. But, there are detail differences which suggest she is ORONTES.

When the ORONTES was scrapped, the Dining Room ceiling was salvaged, and is now in the Woodside Hotel in Aberdour.

Tonnage:9,023 gross
Type:Passenger ship
Owner:Orient Line
Official No:115707

Copyright Mersea Island Museum Trust 2019