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SS Kildon Castle was built in 1899 by Fairfield S.B. and E. Co. Glasgow, tonnage 9,692, launched the 22nd August and completed in October. She was rushed into service with much of her accommodation incomplete and made her maiden voyage to the cape carrying 3,000 troops to fight in the Boer War. In 1901 she returned to Fairfields for the accommodation to be finished and emerged with significant passenger number differences, First Class 250, Second Class 200 and Third Class 136. In the October of 1914 she carried arms and ammunition to South Africa for the Union's Army fight against Secessionists in the Rand which had started in the Rand in 1913 and now threatened Johannesburg. On the 6th of October 1915 she was commissioned as a Hospital ship with 603 beds and was decommissioned six months later. She was converted for use as an Armed Merchant Cruiser in the July and was commissioned into the Royal Navy on the 21st of August and joined the 10th Cruiser Squadron based at Glasgow. She took Viscount Milner to Murmansk on the 17th of January 1917 who headed the British Military Mission which attempted to stop Russia signing a non-aggression pact with Germany. The Brest - Litovsk Treaty was signed on the 2nd of March the same day that the mission arrived back at Scapa Flow. In April she returned once more to convey work in the North Atlantic and in December of 1918 paid off and commenced repatriation duties. In 1919 the Allies became involved in the Russian Revolution on the side of the White Russians and Kildonan Castle was the last ship to sail from Russia carrying troops after the Communists were victorious. After refurbishment she returned once more to the mail run and remained as such until being replaced by Carnarvon Castle in 1926. She was then laid up in reserve and except for a brief spell from January to May of 1930 remained so. She spent her remaining days at Netley before being sold for scrap and was broken at Stavanger in Norway in 1931.

[Source: www.merchantnavyofficers - UNION, CASTLE AND UNION CASTLE LINES]

Last updated 14 November, 2008

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