Sea Stories

The Curse of the Monte Rosa

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The less charitable might be forgiven for suggesting that the Reich cruise ship, MV Monte Rosa, might better have been renamed MV Karma. This beautiful 13,882 ton twin-funneled German passenger liner was one of pre-war Germany’s fleet of super liners. Built in 1930 by Hamburg shipbuilders Bohm and Voss, MV Monte Rosa was one of five sister-ships.

Under the Kraft Durche Freude (Strength through Joy) initiative, the Monte Rosa provided workers of the Reich and their families an opportunity to take cruises that were previously the preserve of the elite. This fine example of German shipbuilding was set to spend its working life cruising the sun drenched Mediterranean; Aegean, Ionian, and Adriatic Seas. However, that was until Winston Churchill’s war cabal rejected Adolf Hitler’s stop-the-war and keep-your empire generous peace terms in 1940.

It must have been a strange but exhilarating experience for workers who, before Hitler’s rejection of the class system, were loftily dismissed as working class. Up until then, taking sea cruises was the preserve of the super-rich; the industrial, political and banking elite. To further enrich ostentatious lifestyles, Hollywood stars enjoyed ocean liner travel and cruises. These parasites now found they were sharing their berths with German factory workers, farmers, medical staff and office personnel. Calm down, by berths one means port facilities, not shared cabins.

There was room for them; many British soldiers were now permanently stationed abroad. One would have thought England’s political elite would have the decency to wait a few years. By then, the bodies of British servicemen, who had sacrificed their lives defending England’s way of life, might have cooled in their little clay billets.

The task of flooding England with pseudo-Africans was later left to other ships. No doubt some of the vessels used to flood Britain with colored immigrants had earlier returned to Blighty 338,000 retreating Brits from the shores of France. Hitler was never thanked for ensuring their safe departure. Maybe the fate of the MV Monte Rosa was the führer’s way of saying, ‘f*** you too.’

Setting out from Japan in February 1954, MV Empire Windrush, with 1,276 passengers and crew, had every reason to look forward to a pleasant voyage. Their ocean odyssey would soon be crowned by a homecoming to an England many had not seen for years. Passengers included military families of servicemen based in the Far East. Many were RAF, British Army and Royal Navy survivors of the Korean War. Among the wounded were veterans of the Battle of the Hook. Poignantly, laden stretchers were carefully carried up the gangways. The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, outnumbered in battle five to one, had taken splendid honors but suffered terrible casualties too.

Sailing from Yokohama and Kure the passengers and crew of the Empire Windrush were to endure the voyage from hell. MV Empire Windrush, seemingly reluctant to return to war-ravaged Europe, developed constant engine defects that required constant repairs. The three weeks anticipated passage to Egypt’s Port Said took eight weeks to accomplish. It must have brought great relief to all on board when the ‘Windrush’ limped into simmering Port Said.

Departing Egypt, the ill-fated liner embarked on the last leg of its voyage. Then, with Algiers on the liner’s port beam, an engine room fire resulted in a cataclysmic explosion. Four crew members were killed. The rescue of the remaining 1,272 passengers and crew was successful. However, it was kaput for the May Queen of the Kraft Durche Freude fleet. Whilst being towed to Gibraltar the hulk sank beneath the waves.

MV Monte Rosa aka MV Empire Windrush is now better remembered as the ship that changed the face of Britain from White English to the multi-racial pigment of Absurdistan. Known for his magnanimity I doubt Adolf Hitler would approve. Others less forgiving may take a frisson of pleasure from the saga of the ship that might better have been known as MV Karma.

Related books: The Leaving of Liverpool, UNTOLD SAGAS OF THE SEA Volume I (The USAThe UK), UNTOLD SAGAS OF THE SEA Vol II (The USAThe UK), UNTOLD SAGAS OF THE SEA VOL. III ( The USA and The UK) UNTOLD SAGAS OF THE SEA VOL. IV ( The USA and The UK) and All I Ask is a Tall Ship by Liverpool writer Michael Walsh

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