Photographs I've gleaned from flea markets, junk shops and sometimes ebay. The cheaper the better. Anything with a story that can be extracted from hand written notes, location research, local histories, census records......anything. A small band of fellow enthusiasts worldwide have helped me with many of these. Of course there are always mysteries that defy research, but there's even a story inside these. All images can be viewed at super-size on Flickr.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Port Said, Egypt. Sept 1946.

Orient Liner RMS Otranto, en route to Colombo. Port Said, 1946.

A set of six, carefully annotated photos taken within a week period in 1946 in Port Said, at the entrance to the Suez canal. A transit point for world shipping and, a year after the end of the war with Japan, still funnelling the demobbed, sick and injured from the east back to the UK. (Above) The Orient liner RMS 'Otranto' which was built in 1929 for the UK to Australia service, carrying thousands of emigrants there in her lifetime. There is an apartment building named after her in Brisbane. At the time this photo was taken she was being used as a troop ship. She was scrapped in 1957.

See more below....

SS Denbighshire in Sherif Basin, Port Said, 1946.
The merchant ship 'Denbighshire' built in 1938 for Glen Line, transferred to Blue Funnel line in 1967 and renamed 'Sarpedon', and scrapped in 1969.

Bibby Liner SS Oxfordshire (army hospital ship), Port Said, 1946.
The Bibby Liner 'Oxfordshire', built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast in 1912, the last ship they produced with the distinctive Titanic-style counter stern. She had a hugely eventful working life as a hospital ship in both world wars. At the time this photo was taken she was still transporting sick and injured servicemen back home from the far east. She was scrapped in Karachi in 1958.

Ahmed & Mirsaal in a navy launch. Port Said, 1946.
Ahmed & Mirsaal in a navy launch. Who were they?

Suez Canal Authority building, Port Said, 1946.
Above and below. The distinctive HQ building of the Suez Canal Authority.

Suez Canal Authority building, Port Said, 1946.


  1. I wouldn't mind betting that Ahmed and Mirsaal were ship's agents, chandlers or in some way connected with servicing the many naval ships using the Canal. We'll never know for sure. A great find of pics though.

  2. I've submitted these to a Flickr group administered by an old Suez Canal employee. I'm hopeful that he'll find someone who remembers who those chaps were. We'll see!