Anchors Away – story of the MS Batory – virgin journey voyage, war, exile

The MS (Motor Ship) Batory is one of the most popular Polish Transatlantic ships and a symbol of Polish exile. It was nicknamed “Lucky Ship”, because it took part in lots of militaryaction during World War II (e.g. it participated in the battles of Narvik) without suffering serious harm. It was destroyed after thirty six years of action.

Ship on the sea

Autor: Mark Michaelis
The MS Batory was launched on 3 July 1935 (it was built in Italy). On its virgin cruise it sailed from Monfalcone to Gdynia on April 1936. This breathtaking liner has on its deck many splendid passangers such as: Wojciech Kossak, Monika Żeromska or Melchior Wańkowicz. This trip was reported by Polish Radio. The MS Batory started frequent job (see (see details)) in May 1936 on the Gdynia – New York run. The ship equipment was new and very impressive. It was powered by two sets of Burmeister and Wain diesel motors (it could reach a speed of 18 knots). The liner was 160 metres long, weight over 14,000 tonnes, had seven desks, guest cabins, dining and dance halls, a reading room, a pool and a gym. It was also decorated with magnificiant taste (including pricey crockery and beautiful furniture). MS Batory was callednamed a floating art showroom.

The news about war met the liner during a cruise from Canada and then The Batory became a battleship and spent 652 days at sea. The most memorable cruise was a evacuation almost 500 children from Europe to Australia. After war the ship came back to Poland in 1946 and carried on civil service (in the 60-ties it even played in a few films). On its board lots of Poles abandoned theirs country looking for a better existence beyond the Atlantic Ocean in the USA. Then, after many years of service, in 1971 The Batory was directed into retirement and go to demolition yard in Honkong. In 1969 it was superseded by a larger liner TSS Stefan Batory. Nothing, apart from photographs, memories and a few memorials had left from the MS Batory and its vessel equipment. That was the end of the history of the Polish Transatlantic Liner known as a “Lucky Ship”.

New ship

Tourists can look up model of MS Batory in the Emigration Museum in Poland in the city of Gdynia. Unfortunately guests can’t marvel interiors of the liner, but they can get know more about its magnificiant tale, brave crew (particularly about its chef – Eustazy Borkowski). In the other rooms of this museum they can also learn more about man who chose emigration, about their life (before and after they left motherland), about their motivation and future choices.