MS Batory

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The M/S Batory was a large (14,287 BRT) ocean liner of the Polish merchant fleet, named after Stefan Batory, the famous sixteenth-Century king of Poland.

She was built at the Cantieri Riuniti dell' Adriatico Monfalcone Shipyard in Trieste, Italy, under an arrangement where part of her payment was made in shipments of coal from Poland. She was among the most notable tourist attractions of the Polish seaside and among the best-known Polish ships of the time. She was launched on 8 July 1935. The ship was powered by 2 sets of Burmeister and Wain diesel engines driving 2 screws giving a speed of 18 knots. She began regular service in May 1936 on the Gdynia—New York run, and by 1939 she had carried over 30,000 passengers.

Mobilized at the outbreak of World War II, she served as a troop transport and a hospital ship by the Allied Navy for the rest of the war. In June to July, 1940 she secretly transported much of Britain's gold reserves (₤40 million) from Greenock, Scotland to Montreal, Canada for safekeeping. In August to September of that year, she transported 700 British children to Australia for safekeeping. After that journey she was nicknamed the "singing ship". In the same year she, along with M/S Chrobry, transported allied troops to Norway. She participated in the evacuation of Dunkirk, taking aboard 2,500 persons. Later she took as many as 6,000 people in one evacuation.

She was involved in the invasion of Oran in Algeria in 1942, transported troops to India and the invasions of Sicily and southern France, where she was the flagship of General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, Commander-in-Chief of the French Army. She came under attack several times from the ground and the air, but managed to escape serious damage and was dubbed "the lucky ship".

Dubbed the Lucky Ship for her military career during World War II, she was a sister to the less fortunate MS Piłsudski which was sunk in November 1939.

Returned to Poland in 1946, she continued her civilian service, transporting such eminents as Ryszard Kapuscinski. From May 1949 through January 1951, she was the subject of several political incidents in which dockers and shipyard workers in the United States refused to unload cargo from her, or to service the ship by drydocking and painting. After these incidents, she was withdrawn from the North Atlantic route, refurbished at Hepburn for tropic service, and sailed in August 1951 from Gdynia and Southampton to Bombay and Karachi, via Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, and Suez. In 1957, she returned to the Nort Atlantic route. She continued in service until 1971, when she was scrapped in Hong Kong.

She was replaced by TSS Stefan Batory, which began service in April 1969.


  • Length — 160.3 m. (526 ft); 499 ft between perpendiculars
  • Width — 21.6 m. (71 ft).
  • Draft — 7.5 m. (24.6 ft).


  • ts/s Stefan Batory. (1971). Polish Ocean Lines, Gdynia, Poland.
  • Cruising Ships, W.H. Mitchell and L. A. Sawyer, Doubleday, 1967

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