P&O LINE’S SS HIMALAYA

Wonderful historical youTube video of P&O Line’s S.S. HIMALAYA.

SS Himalaya was a passenger liner of 27,955 grt built for the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company by Vickers Armstrong’s Barrow Yard and delivered to them in 1949. She was initially employed solely on the Company’s service from the UK to Australia but was latterly also employed on crusing duties as well. She served the Company well until 1974 when she was sold for scrapping in Taiwan. This shot is taken from an early 1960s PLA Handbook and shows “Himalaya” sailing from Tilbury Landing Stage


In 1946 P&O Lines had ordered its first new passenger liner of the postwar period. The Himalaya finally emerged in 1949 and was a splendid ship and the fastest and largest ship P&O had ever owned until that time. She had a top speed of 25 knots.

The Himalaya was a contemporary of Orient Line’s Orcades and these ships marked a gradual coming together of the new liners of each company in the postwar era.

She was a record breaker and cut the UK to Bombay passage by 5 days and reduced the overall voyage to Australia from 38 days to just 28 days.

Indeed the six ships worked closely together on their Australian service with their sailing schedules organized so that sailings alternated between P&O and Orient. Thus they formed a Southern Dominions “Big Six” fleet.

In January 1958 P&O and Orient services to Australia were extended across the Pacific in a joint service marketed as Orient & Pacific Line.

The Himalaya inaugurated the operation and sailings continued from Sydney to Auckland, Suva, Honolulu, Vancouver and San Francisco. In 1974 the venerable Himalaya was finally retired from service.

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5 comments

  1. martin whenmouth

    I wonder if it was the same voyage that our family came out to New Zealand on?? If I remember rightly, the saving of the crewman happened at Bombay. Cheers

  2. Myself mum,dad and brother emigrated as a family to Wellington and sailed from tilbury docks on the 18th June 1964 on the himalaya my uncle Harry was 1st electrician, a magical experience for someone from the east end of London. I often wonder what happened to the people we knew and met on that journey. I remember our steward who helped save a crew member when he jump on to the ship, when the himalaya was docking out the crew member was late coming on board and nearly missed the boat.
    But all was well, and our steward got rewarded with a watch. What we see in different places in the world then is priceless.

  3. We travelled as a family from Singapore to Vancouver in June 1962 on the Himalaya. We were on our way home from a three year military posting in Malaya and instead of returning via Suez,we went via Hong Kong,Kobe,Yokohama and Honolulu and disembarked in Vancouver to travel across America for three months. An amazing trip and fond memories of a beautiful ship.

  4. We sailed as a family of 5 with the S.S Himalaya from Tilbury Docks 18 June 1964 to Wellington. I remember we had cabins A50 and A52. A memorable journey for a 12 year old boy. Seeing the video gave rise to many fond memories. Thank you!

    Returning permanently to Denmark in 1971 by air was just transportation travelleing with Himalaya was an experience for life!

  5. Susan Campbell

    My family sailed on the S.S. Himalaya in the mid 60′s from Vancouver, Canada to Sydney, Australia. It is so nice to see the video of the ship on your website. Brings back many fond memories of the long voyage. 3 years later, we returned to Canada on the S.S. Oriana. A few years ago while cruising in the Caribbean on a Princess ship, we met a former Captain of the Himalaya which confirmed how somtimes it really is a small world.

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