Roslin Castle at Mauritius with the Tantallon Castle ~ Main text

"Roslin Castle at Mauritius with the Tantallon Castle"Roslin Castle and the Tantallon Castle at Mauritius“, Union Castle Line; how and why I collected this Roslin Castle info…

My client recently wrote to me about his / my painting of Roslin Castle and has kindly allowed the following to be quoted:

“I send you the following note on my connection with the vessel which you might care to add to the page as interesting reading for browsers”.

Roslin Castle (3) 7,016 grt, 1935-1967 (those beautiful lilac coloured liners…)


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(Sometimes spelt Rosslyn) is a partially ruined castle near the village of Roslin in Midlothian, Scotland.

Incidentally, the first castle at Roslin was built in the 1330’s.
What you find today is a remarkable, ruined, almost fairy-tale, castle occupying the high ground of the promontory in what would have been a wonderful defensive site until the invention of cannons.

Our “Roslin Castle” was the first of a new 7000 GRT ‘R’ boat class of 16 knot refrigerated motor vessels designed by the Union Castle shipping company specifically for the South African citrus fruit trade to Europe.

She may have been the latest maritime thinking in 1934 but by the time I joined her in 1957 as a first trip junior engineer, she was the oldest cargo vessel in the fleet and a workhouse.
But I have fond memories of those times; the old seagoing saying about a hard working ship being a happy ship certainly applied during my six months on Roslin Castle.

My first voyage took us to Mauritius on one of the occasional non refrigerated voyages between the Cape fruit seasons.

Roslin Castle is depicted during the two weeks we lay at the buoys in Port Louis roads loading bagged raw sugar“.


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The vessel in the background is the Tantallon Castle, the black hull designating her as a non-refrigerated member of the company fleet.

It is great to be able to show my children and grandchildren your painting of the first vessel I sailed on during my former seagoing career even to being able to point out my cabin porthole“.


The following web link might be of interest for fellow surfers, marine engineers in particular.
It is the MAN/B&W museum which houses a working version of a virtually identical 8 cylinder direct drive diesel engine to that installed as the main engine in Roslin Castle.




The Union-Castle Mail Steamship Line was formed on 08 03 1900 when two rival shipping companies, the Union Line and the Castle line merged to form one company which would carry the mails and passengers between South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Union-Castle named all their ships with the suffix “Castle” in their names.
They were well known for their elegant lavender hulled liners with black and red funnels.

The artist Gordon Frickers has a long experience of working with professional sea people.

He still gives a full money back guarantee.
Some 30 + years as a marine artist, he is probably the most experienced painter of commercial shipping work alive today.


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Gordon Frickers © 02.03.12, updated 05.07.15


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