Why The Name Asturias?
We are a new business in Southampton and are adjoined to the Alcantara Guest House which offers excellent 4 star Bed & Breakfast. The Alcantara and Asturias were sister ships that sailed out of Southampton so it is appropriate that we are called Asturias House.
Asturias' Claim To Stardom:
In 1957 the Asturias was sold for breaking but before her final voyage she was to play her starring role. The breaker, Thomas W. Ward lent her to the Rank Organisation to use her as the Titanic in the film “A Night to Remember”. This was filmed at Faslane. Her port side was used to depict the lifeboat-lowering scenes whilst the shipbreakers were at work on the starboard side and when the film was completed so was the demolition.
The Asturias was built in 1925 by Harland & Wollf, Belfast and when she was launched she was the largest motor ship in the world. The Asturias was the first Royal Mail passenger ship with a cruiser stern her forward funnel being a dummy. She made her maiden voyage to Argentina (River Plate) on 26 February 1926 with Commodore E.W.E.Morrison in command.
It was reported that she suffered severe vibration as well as being slow so her diesel engines were replaced with two Parsons Single Reduction Geared Turbines, she was also fitted with new propellers and had her bow reshaped. Her increased horsepower was 20,000 SHP and she had the height of her funnels increased due to problems with soot as well as aesthetic purposes. The Asturias represented the Royal Mail at the Silver Jubilee Spithead Review in 1935 for George V and Queen Mary.
At the outbreak of war Asturias was converted to an Armed Merchant Cruiser for South Atlantic patrols with her fore funnel and mainmast removed to improve capabilities of anti-aircraft guns. She was torpedoed by an Italian submarine in 1943, whilst serving in the South Atlantic, and towed to Freetown by the Zwarte Zee. She lay in Freetown for two years with her engine room flooded and was eventually towed to Gibralter, again by the Zwarte Zee, for temporary repairs. She was then towed to Belfast for an extensive refit when she became a Government Emigrant ship, mainly to Australia, and in 1953 she took the Essex Regiment to Korea. After further refurbishment in 1954 she emerged in full trooping colours.