RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE                                                                                                                                                                                                     RMMV HIGHLAND MONARCH 1928

Nelson Line era (1928 - 1932):


Nelson Line since 1913 had become part of the Royal Mail Lines Group. By the 1920s Blue Star Line was becoming a major competitor for the service to South America and were planning five large new passenger liners for their service from London. As a result Nelson Line had to respond. They started negotiations with Harland & Wolff Ltd in Belfast for the construction of five new fast motorships for their South American service. Construction started in Belfast as soon as the labour troubles of 1926 were settled and the first of the Highland sisters, Highland Monarch, was introduced in October 1928.

While not particularly attractive ships, the Highland ships became popular with passengers with their solid comfort and Tudor style oak panelled public rooms. Their external characteristics included a long forecastle, island navigation bridge, two very squat low funnels placed close together, two pole masts and a cruiser stern.

The Highland Monarch was launched in Belfast on the 3rd May 1928 and sailed on her maiden voyage from London to Buenos Aires on the 18th October 1928. The quintet of sister ships soon became successful on their regular service to South America.

Royal Mail Lines era (1932 - 1960):


In 1932 Nelson Line lost its separate identity following the collapse of the Royal Mail Lines Group and and was merged with the new Royal Mail Lines. Thus the Highland ships were transferred to Royal Mail but continued on their well established service. The Highland Monarch sailed on her last voyage under Nelson Line on the 30th August 1932 before being transferred to Royal Mail Lines. The Highland ships gave sterling service in the Second World War. The Highland Monarch was requisitioned for troopship duties in 1939 and was returned to her owners to resume commercial service in 1946. She returned to service on the South America service in 1948. But by 1960 the Highland Monarch was the last survivor of the sisters that was still in service. She was retired and sold for scrap and scrapped at W.H. Arnott Young at Dalmuir in Scotland. 

(c) The AJN Transport Britain Collection 2010                                                                                                                                                                                 A Edward Elliott