The name Malwa was used by P & O Line for three ships:
- A passenger liner completed in 1873 and broken up in 1900
- A passenger/refrigerated cargo ship completed in 1903 and described on this page
- A tanker completed in 1961 and broken up in 1976.
Malwa was the seventh of 10 'M Class' P & O passenger ships to be built before the start of WW1 and another built at Greenock by Caird & Co. At the time she was the largest P & O vessel to be built at Greenock and was named after a former state in India. In fact P&O wanted to name her Medina but there were objections to this as the name was in use.
Malwa served with P & O as a passenger liner until requisitioned by the Admiralty in WW1 in early 1917 to become HMAT Malwa (His Majesty's Australian Transport). She was returned to the Australia service in 1920 and continued to operate until broken up in 1932.
|Type||Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)|
|Original Owners and Managers||The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation|
|Country First Registered||UK|
|Shipbuilder||Caird & Co Ltd|
|Country where built||UK|
|Call Sign||signal letters HNKL|
|Classification Society||Lloyd's Register|
|Breadth or Beam||61.3 Ft|
|Engine Type||Quadruple-expansion Steam Engine|
|Engine Details||2 engines each with cylinders of bore 30.5", 44", 61", 87" and stroke 54"|
|Engine Builder||Caird & Co Ltd|
|Engine Builder Works||Greenock|
|Engine Builder Country||UK|
|Boiler Details||4 double-ended and 4 single-ended boilers|
|Propulsion Type||Twin Screw|
|Cost of Vessel||£308,455|
|Passengers||400 first class, 200 second class|
|Cargo Capacity||203,041 Cu. Ft. inc 85,964 refrigerated|
- 2 decks and spar deck
- Fitted with electric lighting
- Fitted with submarine signalling system
- Fitted with wireless direction finding equipment
The public rooms were designed by T.E.Colcutt like the other members of 'M Class' and the First Class music saloon had four panel paintings by the artist Professor Gerald Edward Moira representing Eastern and Western dancing and Oriental and Occidental music. The music saloons were made available for both sexes and allowed smoking. Presumably in previous vessels they must have had single-sex timeslots in the music saloons which seems very strange nowadays.
Gerald Moira was professor of mural and decorative painting at Royal College of Art, 1900-22, then principal of Edinburgh College of Art, 1924-32. In addition to teaching he carried out a formidable number of large commissions, including decorations for the old Trocadero Restaurant, in Shaftesbury Avenue; ceiling for the boardroom of Lloyd’s Register; a frieze for the Passmore Edwards Free Library, in Shoreditch; work at the Central Criminal Court; as well as work in private houses, church decorations and many easel pictures. His paintings had a grand manner feel with rich colours. His works are held by many public galleries including The Tate. 
The Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette described the launch on 10 October 1908.
|10 Oct 1908||Launched in a low-key ceremony with naming performed by Miss Constance M.J. Caird|
|20 Dec 1908||Completed|
|29 Jan 1909||Maiden voyage to Australia|
|Early 1917||Requisitioned by the Admiralty and served as HMAT Malwa|
|1920||Refitted and returned to P&O|
|16 Dec 1932||Taken for breaking up|
Below is a selection of postcards showing Malwa. Most postcards seem to be generic pictures and would be used by passengers to write home. I have virtually identical postcards like the first of these with different ship names on.
Malwa is the main subject of this oil painting by William Wylie and shows her at Kronstadt just outside St. Petersburg. She was on a pleasure cruise before the outbreak of war.
Lloyd's List and many newspapers carried notification from P&O of the departure of Malwa on her maiden voyage on 29 January 1909. The chairman and Directors of P&O hosted a luncheon for 300 invited guests two days before the departure. Like Morea before her, the company were confident enough to plan the vessel's maiden voyage to Australia rather than India as with the earlier 'M Class' ships.
On 3 May 1909 the Dublin Daily Express reported that P&O vessels Malwa, Mantua and Morea were being fitted with Marconi radio equipment with Malwa first in line and expected to have the equipment operational by the time of her voyage on 20 May 1909.
On 10 May 1909 the London Evening Standard carried a brief notice that Malwa and other vessels would be providing 'pleasure cruises'.
Details of the cruises were published on 12 May 1909 in many newspapers including the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer.
From September 1909 Malwa was back on the Australia route and in February 1910 became the first P&O liner to visit New Zealand and brought Lord Kitchener back to the UK from Aukland on 17 February 1910.
On 7 July 1910 there was a collision between Malwa and Nairn about 23 miles from Columbo but little damage was reported initially.
A later account published in The Englishman's Overland Mail on 21 July 1910 made it clear that the damage was far more serious with Malwa suffering relatively minor damage above the waterline with temporary repairs being carried out at Columbo. Nairn on the other hand is reported to have had her bows badly stoved in.
For the first years of the war Malwa continued to operate on the UK to Australia route though with fewer sailings.
She was requisitioned by the Admiralty in early 1917 for use as a troopship and become HMAT Malwa (His Majesty's Australian Transport).
On May 12 1917 HMAT Malwa had a lucky escape when a torpedo missed her rudder by just 3 feet.
On 30 Nov 1917, whilst in the Irish Sea, a lookout spotted the conning tower of a submarine. HMAT Malwa reversed and an escort dropped depth charges and shortly afterwards HMAT Malwa struck 'a long dark object' - thought to be a second submarine. The damage to Malwa was slight and she was able to continue her journey.
Towards the end of the war, HMAT Malwa was deployed on convoys in the Mediterranean area and as far as Istanbul (then called Constantinople). She had her third encounter with submarines when on 22 September 1918 a lookout spotted the track of an approaching torpedo. Evasive action was taken and the torpedo glanced the side without exploding - a truly lucky escape.
Malwa was given a major refit and rapidly returned to P&O. She was able to recommence trips to Australia and made the first on 24 September 1920.
Below is a further selection of postcards showing Malwa. The first of these is French.
From 1921 onwards P&O introduced newer vessels and Malwa was used more on the routes to the Far East. Having been sold to breakers on 4 October 1932 for £20,000, she made her last voyage from Tilbury on 21 October 1932 with a full complement of passengers and cargo.
On 16 December 1932 she was delivered to Kishimoto Kisen K K, Japan at Kobe and was later broken up at Osaka