Anchors Away – tale of the MS Batory – first trip voyage, war, migration

The MS (Motor Ship) Batory is one of the most popular Polish Transatlantic Liners and a symbol of Polish exile. It was called “Lucky Ship”, because it took part in large number of martialfight during WWII (e.g. it participated in the battles of Narvik) without taking 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 constructed in Italy). On its first cruise it sailed from Monfalcone to Gdynia on April 1936. This beautiful ship has on its board many prominent gests such as: Wojciech Kossak, Monika Żeromska or Melchior Wańkowicz. This trip was commented by Polish Radio. The MS Batory started frequent duty in May 1936 on the Gdynia – New York run. The ship equipment was modern and very impressive. It was powered by two sets of Burmeister and Wain diesel engines (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 big taste (including valuable porcelain and magnificent furniture). MS Batory was callednamed a floating art showroom.

The information about war met the ship during a cruise from Canada and then The Batory became a warship and spent 652 days at sea. The most meaningful cruise was a evacuation almost 500 children from Europe to Australia. After war the ship came back to Poland in 1946 and continued civil service (in the 60-ties it even played in a few movies). On its board lots of Poles left theirs homeland looking for a better life beyond the Atlantic Ocean in the USA. Then, after many years of service, in 1971 The Batory was directed into pension and go to demolition yard in Honkong. In 1969 it was replaced by a larger liner TSS Stefan Batory. Nothing, apart from pictures, recollections and a few memorials had left from the MS Batory and its liner equipment. That was the end of the tale of the Polish Transatlantic Liner known as a “Lucky Ship”.

New ship

visitors can admire model of MS Batory in the Emigration Museum in Poland in the town of Gdynia. Unfortunately visitors can’t admire interiors of the ship, but they can learn more about its fabulous story, daredevil personnel (especially about its chef – Eustazy Borkowski). In the other rooms of this museum they can also get know more about people who chose emigration, about their existence (before and after they left Poland), about their motivation and future decisions.