2012 Canberra Crew Reunion

Welcome aboard, the only website on the Internet devoted solely to the great liner and cruise ship, Canberra.

For almost 40 years Canberra served the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) admirably.

This website is a tribute to a great ship - and to the many men and women who served in her crew over the years.

I hope you enjoy your visit.

Canberra started her illustrious career in 1961, taking emigrants to a new life in Australia, but as global transportation and travel habits evolved, so did Canberra in order to survive

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Canberra Cruise Ship

SS Canberra

SS Canberra Bars

SS Canberra Engineers

Canberra Final World Cruise Crew

Stadium Theatre Co.

In the early 1970's she was almost scrapped as the need for passenger liners diminished. Air travel was becoming ever cheaper and oil prices were increasing dramatically..

A last minute reprieve saw the ship transferred to the growing cruising market. She never looked back.

In 1982 Canberra became an national heroine as she transported British troops into the war zone of the Falkland Islands.

After the conflict, "The Great White Whale" as she had become known, returned home to a fantastic welcome in Southampton.

Following this, her popularity reached new heights and she became the country's favourite ship for another 15 years.

Time and more stringent maritime safety regulations finally took their toll. In 1996, P&O announced the date on which Canberra would be retired from service. In September 1997, following one more rapturous homecoming, her long and illustrious career was over.

Hopefully there is something for everyone amongst these pages, whether you are a passenger, crew member, model-builder or just a casual passer by. Whatever your connection with Canberra, I hope a few memories will be jogged... maybe even a tear or two shed.

If you see anything within these pages that needs correcting, or simply have a comment or suggestion, please don't hesitate to send me an email. I do read all messages, and try, although not always successfully, to reply to every one.

Of course this site wouldn't be anything without your contributions. Your photos, videos and stories are not only welcomed, but imperative to the success of this site.


A Very Strange Way To Go To War - The Canberra In The Falklands

Andrew Vine

This is the astonishing story of how a luxury liner and her civilian crew – as close as family – went from pampering affluent retirees in the Mediterranean to taking thousands of soldiers, who pounded circuits of her creaking decks incessantly to keep fit, and took them down into the bitter winter waters of the South Atlantic.

On the day troops landed to recapture the Falklands Canberra found herself in the thick of action with Argentine bombs raining down around her. Against the odds she survived, performing a crucial role as a hospital ship, then taking a vanquished and bewildered conscript army home to Buenos Aires before returning to Southampton, grubby and rust-streaked, forever to be fondly known as the Great White Whale, to a tumultuous hero’s welcome.

This is the extraordinary story untold until now, of how unlikely combatants like waiters, cooks, nurses and cleaners who never in their dreams imagined they could be caught up in a war, found themselves on the front line at the very end of the world.

A Very Strange Way To Go To War - The Canberra In The Falklands (Aurum History)

Drawing on dozens of new interviews with those who were there, from the Canberra’s crew to the soldiers and war correspondents who sailed with her, as well as previously unpublished archives, A Very Strange Way To Go To War is a candid, revealing and compelling story of bravery, by turns surprising, tender and deeply moving.

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About the Author
Andrew Vine is an award-winning journalist and assistant editor of the Yorkshire Post. He is author of 'Last of the Summer Wine: The Story of the World’s Longest Running Comedy Series', and of 'A Very Strange Way to Go To War: The Canberra in the Falklands'. He lives in Leeds.

In 2012, P&O will celebrate its 175th Anniversary.

The P&O Heritage website is the official online home of P&O's long history.