Summary: full fleet list 1834 to date, illustrated
with profile drawings.
Published by: Shield Publications Newcastle UK, 2004, ISBN: 1 871128
25 0, softcover, English language, portrait format (235 x 155mm) 272
pages. Price: 27 GBP
This book completely revises and updates a 1977 book which was No1
in the "Merchant Fleets" series by Duncan Haws. The profile drawings
in the current volume are still by Mr Haws, but noted maritime author
Norman Middlemiss has edited this book, and taken over the whole series.
The format is a bit different from the earlier volumes in the series
by Duncan Haws.
The first 38 pages comprise a chronological history of the line's
activities, including 10 colour photographs of ships.
There are 20 pages of profile drawings in 1:1800 scale, which are
copies of the drawings that appeared in volume 1.
Next come 30 pages of profile drawings of some of the more recent
ships, done in 1:1200 scale (which is the same scale used by the Conways
Fighting Ships series and by many miniature ship modellers). These
latter profiles are grouped in the same way as the fleet list.
The fleet list takes up the next 180 pages or so, broken up into sections:
A. Passenger and General Cargo ships, B. Bulkers and Oil and Gas Tankers,
C. Container Ships, F. Ferries, P. Cruise ships, X. Miscellaneous
ships (tugs, supply ships etc.). Within each group the ships are listed
chronologically with the following details: Name, date built and builder's
name, tonnage, dimensions, power, hull construction. There is also
a very brief chronological list of the key events in the life of the
At the end is a ten page alphabetical index of ships names giving
the section and number of the entry in the fleet list.
The front and back cover of the book has colour drawings of the various
funnels used by parts of the P&O Group.
This seems to be a very comprehensive survey of P&O ships to date.
The profile drawings will be of particular use to miniature ship modellers,
but are a useful supplement to photographs for anyone interested in
the appearance of the ships. In particular it is a good companion
to the 1988 World Ship Society book on P&O, which has lots of photographs
but no silhouettes or drawings.
It is however a pity that neither the index, nor the fleet list, includes
a reference to the relevant profile drawing. Also, on page 9 Mr Middlemiss
says that dimensions are in feet for ships built before 1971 and metres
for ships built after 1971, but, I doubt that this is always the case.
It is in any event rather confusing to have this mixture of measurements,
sometimes on the same page, which could surely have been indicated
However these are relatively minor annoyances and should not be taken
to significantly detract from a very useful reference to one of the
most famous names in world shipping. The changes that have occurred
in the fleet since 1977 make this edition well worth considering,
even for people who have the old Merchant Fleets Volume 1 by Duncan