Laid down 1943 February 26; as PCE-833 by the Pullman Standard Car Co., Chicago, IL.
Launched 1943 August
Transferred 1943 OctoberTo Great Britain and commissioned HMS Kilham (Z 07); Reclassified BEC-7
Returned 1946 to U.S. custody in December; Struck from the Navy Register in 1947
Sold 1949 to S/A Investment (FylkesbaataneSogne og Fjordane, Mgrs.) of Bergen, Norway.
Converted 1950 renamed M/S Sognefjord passenger ship
Sold 1958 to FylkesbataaneSogne og Fjordane of Bergen; Operated on the Norwegian west coast until 1982
Sold 1982 to Filmeffekt A/S of Oslo,Norway and renamed Orion;
Sold 1984 to K/S Orion Film A/S of Bergen and laid up
Sold 1987 to Matkat OY of Helsingfors, Finland
Sold 1991 to Orion Risteilyt O/Y of Hamina, Finland and renamed Orion II;
Sold 1996 to Jaako Mathias Eriksson of Honduras
Sold 1997 renamed ORIENT EXPLORER


1 Response to “HISTORY”

  1. 1 Barry Cobb May 1, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Greetings from the UK this is my first post on this board. I have been linked to this site via the Captain Voyage web page

    I was amazed to find so much interest in this ship. My own interest is that my 84 year old father spent over 2 years on her in her original form as HMS Kilham in the 2nd WW. As a youngster I heard so many stories that I feel I have a strong affinity with her.
    My father joined the RN in 1942 at the age of 17 & was on her original collection crew as she was one of many ‘lease-lend’ vessels which Britain acquired from the USA at the time.
    It was all very exciting for him as he had never left the UK before. I recall he say’s that he sailed to Chicago to collect her from new and managed to lose the top of a finger whilst hauling her alongside a capstain on what is now Chicago’s Navy Pier.
    He sailed through the Great Lakes, making his way down the East Coast of America, crossing the Line (where he was made Captain for the Day as he was the youngest crew member abroad). After crossing the Atlantic I believe he spent the rest of the war operating out of Freetown in West Africa on convoy duty. Though he never ‘fired a shot in anger’ there were many tragedies aboard her – A crew member was killed by faulty ammo & my fathers best friend drownd whilst swimming off her bows. He also recalled that a ‘tanker’ collided with the Kilham and disabled her steering and she had to return to port for repair.
    Kilham returned to the UK after the war where eventually my father was demobbed & she returned to the US alongside her many sister ships.
    I have a treasured photo of HMS Kilham off West Africa and as a kid I always imaged her to be much larger than she actually was.
    Over the years I have researched her future years which has today lead me to this blog so I hope other interested parties can now share some of the fond memories of her early years.

    Its lovely to see so many pictures of something that for the above reasons means so much to my family & I’ll certainly show them to Dad. I’ve see the Crew Mate picture before & I did show this to Dad to see if he knew him. Its such a long time ago but he did think he remembered him as a crew mate who originated from Scotland but couldn’t recall his name.
    I understand they all knew each other by nicknames at the time… My dad’s was Smokey Stover (He used to continually smoke cigarettes one after another – all par for the course in those days – but he was a 17 year old kid enjoying a whole new experience).

    This shiplooks in remarkable condition for her age I know Dad would love to see her again as it was such a momentous time in his life.

    Kind Regards
    Barry Cobb
    West Midlands UK

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