Another ship that Captain Frederick Vibert was captain of for many years. Details below :-


SS India was a steam passenger liner operated by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) between 1896 and 1915.

India was the first of five sister ships built for P&O, the others being the Persia, China, Egypt and Arabia. India was the largest ship built for P&O at the time.

Built by Caird & Company of Greenock, Scotland, she was launched on 15 April 1896 and entered service later that year, operating on P&O’s route between Britain, India and Australia. In 1900 she became the first ship to use P&O’s new harbour facilities at Fremantle. She initially remained in service with P&O after the outbreak of the First World War, and carried Admiral Doveton Sturdee from Gibraltar back to England after the Battle of the Falkland Islands.

She was hired by the Admiralty on 13 March 1915 and was used as an armed merchant cruiser, serving in the 10th Cruiser Squadron. On 8 August that year she stopped off Helligvær, near Bodø, Norway, to investigate a suspected blockade runner, and was torpedoed by SM U-22. India’s sinking caused the deaths of her 160 men. The surviving 22 officers and 119 men were taken to Narvik. Below is a picture of the U-Boat that sank her. According to the records the U-Boat sank 43 ships and damaged 4 other during the war.


Technical Details

built by Caird & Company Greenock,

Yard No 281
Engines by the shipbuilder
Port of Registry: Greenock
Propulsion: Three cylinder triple expansion steam engine, 11000ihp, single screw, 18 knots
Launched: Wednesday, 15/04/1896
Built: 1896
Ship Type: Passenger Liner
Ship’s Role: UK/India and Australia services
Tonnage: 7911 gross; 4185 net; 5515 dwt
Length: 499ft 11in
Breadth: 54ft 4in
Draught: 26ft 9in
Owner History:
Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company
Status: Torpedoed & Sunk – 08/08/1915

15/04/1896: Launched by Miss Mary Anne Kendall, daughter of a director of her owners, The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, London.

The first of five sisters, (followed by PERSIA, CHINA, EGYPT and ARABIA), she was the largest P&O vessel to date. The class were the last single~screw mail steamers built for the Company. Her equipment included a new type of insulated speaking tube 408ft long.

03/09/1896: Registered.
12/09/1896: Trials, delivered. She could carry 317 First Class and 152 Second Class passengers, or 2500 troops.
20/08/1900: First P&O ship to use the new harbour at Fremantle, replacing Albany.
1903: Beat Norddeutscher Lloyd’s FREIDRICH DER GROSSE from the Red Sea to Australia by no less than 24 hours.
1912: Insulated cargo capacity removed.
1914: Left in P&O service at the outbreak of war. Carried Admiral Sturdee home from Gibraltar after the Battle of the Falklands.
13/03/1915: Hired by the Admiralty for service as an armed merchant cruiser, and served in the 10th Cruiser Squadron.
08/08/1915: Torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U22 off the island of Helligvaer, near Bodo, Norway, with the loss of 10 officers and 150 ratings. INDIA had stopped to investigate a suspected blockade~runner. The surviving 22 officers and 119 men were taken to Narvik by the steamer GOTALAND and HM armed trawler SAXON.