P&O Liners in Tilbury Dock

Possibly 50/60's

Oriana and Orsova
from Mark Nunnery

From the original caption I believe they are Oriana and Orsova

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  • I would also agree with David Umfreville, that they are Oronsay and Orion. The ship on the left could only be Orcades, Oronsay or Orsova. Well if you look to the left of the funnel there is a distinct mast. The Orcades mast was a thin tripod and would not show up much on this picture. The Orsova had no mast at all. Also the structure which the funnel sits on is flat for Oronsay but sloped down for Orcades. After looking at it really close, I think you CAN see the Welsh hat on the Oronsay. I would guess at the picture being taken in 1960 or 61 after the merger with P&O, which would explain why they are berthed at 31, 32, 33.

    By David Howlett (29/03/2020)
  • Just to add to the previous comments, I believe the ships are Oronsay on the left and Orion to the right. Oronsay didn’t have open ports towards aft on E deck, and B deck didn’t extend a little more aft as on Orcades. .
    I think the time scale is between 1951 and 1954, before Oronsay was fitted with a welsh bonnet. A little unusual to see them berthed at 31 & 32 sheds, as this is before the full merger with P&O in 1960.

    By David Umfreville (18/03/2018)
  • They’re both Orient Line Ships and are probably the Orion on the right and the Orsova on the left.Of the two only the Orion normally berthed at 15 and 16 Shed.All of the post war 11 built ships used what were normally P&O berths 31,32 and 33 sheds

    By Duncan Grant (11/10/2014)
  • Photo taken from knuckle of the lock entrance at north end of #34 shed, vessels berthed at #’s 31,32, and 33 sheds, (Southern) this was before all the extensions to the inner dock including #1 shed were built, I might add that Orient Line vessels always berthed at 13,14,15 and 16 sheds  (Central) during1950’s – middle 1960. Of course those of you who can remember that era will also remember the Black P & O’s, (Cargo) and the Straith boats (both part of the P&O company) which berthed at the Southern. In those far off days there at least 2000 people employed overall within the docks, around 7.45-am each morning it was a mass of dockers, carrying their bikes on their shoulders  together with people who were  hurrying to catch the trains towards London over the footbridge which was approached either from the alleyway alongside Skinners paper shop or passing Haines and Launders the tobacconists, at the exit of the Railway station on the down side.

    By tony duligal (12/05/2014)
  • The Oronsay did birth at Tilbury as I sailed to Aus on her

    By ALAN EX CREW 1961-1963(BUTCHER) (10/05/2014)
  • Sorry to go on about this picture but it has been bothering me because I thought I could remember all the big liners that came to Tilbury in my time.

    I brought my brother on board from his home in Germany and between us we believe that we have solved the picture. Those of you that can remember these liners would recall Orient liners and P&O liners were painted different when they were two separate companies with P&O being all white and Orient beige coloured with white around top. My investigations lead me to believe that the Orient boats were not painted all white under 1964 although the two companies merged in 1960.  Earlier I thought that the poor quality of photo depicted Orcades and Orsova because I was unable to see Welsh Hat funnels but although the Orsova was launched with a Welsh hat funnel the Orcades and Oronsay were not. The Oronsay was launched in 51 and got the funnel top in 54. The Orcades got her funnel top in 59. If the photo had been coloured it would have been possible to see the corn coloured hulls of the two Orient liners and it would have shown the picture to have been before 64 because of the hull colouring and if one on the ships is either Oronsay or Orcades then the photo was prior to 59 however it was the Orion and Oronsay it had to be between 51 and 54 . Studying the photo in greater detail it shows a lighter top on the hull therefore the rest must be orient line colours. Again searching the web here in UK and my brother Bernard doing same in Germany we solved it. On a website about Merchant Navy Nostalgia we found this photo and under it is Orion on Left and Oronsay on Right and from above information it had to be between 51&54. The Orion was never painted all white because she came out of commission in May63 went to Hamburg as a floating hotel at an exhibition and then later that year to Antwerp to the breakers.

    Problem solved Orion on left Oronsay on right early 1950’s.


    By William (Billy) Gill (13/02/2014)
  • How our memories play havoc with the facts. I have looked at the photo of the two orient boats and think this picture is older than we may think. Firstly the Oriana never came into Tilbury Docks ( memory permitting) and the post war Orcades had a welsh hat funnel. Neither of the two vessels in the photo had welsh hat funnels so it could well be the Orion and old Orcades that would put it pre war or possibly the Orion and Ormonde that it could be 5O’s .I worked on the Orion prior to it going to Germany to the breakers yard and that must have been around 1964 it was berthed on No 1 quay. The picture looks very much like the Southern Quay where Orient Line had their offices. Next suggestion please.

    By william(billy)gill (02/02/2014)
  • Previous comment I think needs changing . I believe Ormonde had two funnels. I had an uncle who sailed on her for many years but he passed away prior to Xmas so cant ask him but I am sure there are plenty still out there that worked and sailed on these great liners taking Tilbury folks around the world long before ordinary people could afford to travel. WHERE ARE THEY

    By william(billy)gill (02/02/2014)
  • Sorry thought again been onto various other sites now feel poor quality photo does not show welsh hat funnel clearly but looking at other sites and comparing photos looks like Orcades on left and Orsova on right of picture. I I made my assumption by studying the winch derricks on the fore of the boats -  but I am sure somebody else has another idea.

    By william(billy)gill (02/02/2014)
  • Sorry for the delay Terry I’ve just seen your comments. Looking on the P&O website you’re correct about the Oriana, for another thing she had two funnels, plus looking nothing like either of the above. I still think the second one could be Orsova, or even Oronsay come to that. P&O had another Orcades built by Vickers Armstrong in 1948, so it could be her also. Lastly I look at the original photo again and it doesn’t have that ’30’s’ look about it.. much more like 50’s or even 60’s. Probably some more investigation required.


    By Mark Nunnery (01/02/2014)
  • I don’t think that one of the liners is the Oriana. She was too big to get up river as far as Tilbury landing stage. One is the Orion and the other one looks like her sister ship, the Orcades which was sunk in 1942. If that’s the case, it would place the picture in the late ’30’s.

    By terry wakeling (21/09/2013)

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