The NORMAN was a 7537 gross ton ship, length 507ft x beam 53.2ft, two funnels, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 17.5 knots. Accommodation for 150-1st, 100-2nd and 100-3rd class passengers. Built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, she was launched for the Union Steamship Co on 19th Jul.1894 and was considered to be well ahead of any other ship on the route in terms of facilities and comfort at the time. The first ever cinema show at sea was given by Carl Hertz aboard 'NORMAN' in March 1896.

Used on the mail service from Southampton to South Africa, she consistently made the journey in under 16 days. In 1895, she grounded near Port Shepstone with slight damage, and the master was stripped of his command.

Requisitioned in Nov.1899 for use as a Boer War transport and in 1900 came under the ownership of the newly formed Union-Castle Mail SS Co.and returned to service after the war.

Refitted by Harland & Wolff in 1904 with accommodation for 170-1st, 108-2nd and 120-3rd class plus 300 open birth passengers. and in 1910, with the advent of newer ships, she was laid up at Southampton as a reserve steamer, but making the occasional voyage.

In August 1914 she transported the first of the British Expeditionary Force to France. She returned to regular South Africa voyages and in 1915 her home port was changed to Tilbury. In May 1918 she was again taken over for trooping, mostly to the Mediterranean and in May 1919 made one voyage to Australia under charter to P&O Line.

Again returned to the mail service until 1921 when she transferred to the Intermediate London - East Africa run until 1923 when she switched to the "Round Africa" service, sailing out via Suez and home via West Africa. Laid up in 1925, she was scrapped the following year. [Steamers of the Past by J.H.Isherwood] [Merchant Fleets, vol.18 Union-Castle Line by Duncan Haws]