The Arandora Star

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Features, Issue 3 (May/Jun 2008), The Emergency, Volume 16

The Star Line’s Arandora Star at Spithead, May 1937. (National Maritime Musuem, Greenwich)

The Star Line’s Arandora Star at Spithead, May 1937. (National Maritime Musuem, Greenwich)

The 535ft-long, 15,000-ton Blue Star Line luxury liner was built in 1927 by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead. She was one of the best-known cruise liners of the 1930s, taking 354 first-class passengers in palatial style to destinations in the Mediterranean, the West Indies, the fjords of Norway and the Arctic Ocean. With her white hull and scarlet ribbon, she was nicknamed the ‘wedding cake’ or the ‘chocolate box’. After the outbreak of World War II, the Arandora Star saw active service during the British evacuation from Norway and the evacuation of refugees from France. After that she was ordered to Liverpool to embark a large contingent of Italian and German internees and thus begin her final voyage.

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