Ephemera OTRANTO


RMS Otranto was a passenger liner built for the Orient Steam Navigation Company during the 1920s, the second ship of that name to serve with the company. She often carried mail during her career, hence the RMS prefix for Royal Mail Ship.

The ship was built by Vickers Armstrong in their Barrow-in-Furness shipyard and was launched on 9 July 1925. The following year she was lightly damaged when she struck a rock at Cape Grosso, Greece during a heavy rainstorm. Otranto accidentally collided with the Japanese steamer SS Kitano Maru in August 1928, heavily damaging her. In May 1932 she played a small part in the rescue of the passengers and crew of the French ocean liner MS Georges Philippar in the Gulf of Aden.


OTRANTO in Sydney Harbour.


When World War II began in 1939, Otranto was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted for use as a troop ship. In 1942 she was modified to carry landing craft and was used as a troop ship and a Landing ship, infantry when she supported the invasions of French North Africa (Operation Torch), Sicily (Operation Husky) and Italy (Operation Avalanche). The ship was subsequently reconverted back into a troop transport and continued in that task until released from government service in 1948.

Otranto then resumed her prewar role as a passenger liner, now capable of carrying 1,412 tourist-class passengers. She made her last voyage, from the UK to Sydney, Australia via Cape Town, South Africa, in February 1957 and was sold for scrap in June.


Items of ephemera include menus from  October 1928 and January 1951 (crossing the Equator); an 11 page brochure on the services provided on board the Otranto.