She was built in Leith at the Henry Robb Shipyards, ordered by The Currie Line, a famous shipping line associated with Leith.
She was of 1286 tons gross and was launched 9th March 1932 with an overall length of 250 feet and a beam of 38 feet; she was used on the Leith to Hamburg trade route in peacetime, a fine looking steamer.
With the outbreak of war every thing changed and The Gothland was taken over by the Ministry of Defence.
She was given a special role as a Convoy rescue ship, being half way between a fighting ship and a merchant vessel.
During the first two years of the war, the Gothland was employed in what was for her, long runs to Italy and North Africa.
Then in October 1941, she was called to higher service as a rescue ship attached to North Atlantic Convoys.
Many a ships master must have felt a bit more reassured as he saw the Gothland take up station at the tail of the many convoys knowing that in case of emergency she could help with every practicable rescue device known at the time and her hospital could cope with any injury or exposure.
Her skipper Captain Hadden and his men knew the huge risk they themselves ran in this most demanding of roles both on men and ship.
She was not designed for the stress of the long Atlantic rollers, nor the bitter weather off Nova Scotia and Labrador, which added tons of snow and ice to her upper structure.
For the next four years the Gothland continued the arduous and responsible duty, fortunately without serious damage from the constant threat of U Boat attack and air attacks which became so frequent that because of her great value and the large numbers of survivors from sinking ships onboard she was provided with a fighting ship escort.
Her experiences, exciting and tragic, would take a small volume in themselves to relate. But one interesting occasion should be recorded.
Near the end of April 1944 a request was made from the corvette HESPELER of the Canadian Navy to take on an appendicitis case from one of her crew. During the transfer the officers of the two crews met and discovered to there great joy that the corvette had only recently been completed at the Victoria Shipyards in Leith and she was making her maiden voyage, it seems that both Commanders were full of praise for there Henry Robb built ships.
HMCS HESPELER (Ship No 344)
Before being demobilised after the end of hostilities she came back to the yard for inspection.
To the satisfaction of the owners and the firm of Henry Robb it was found that after a prolonged period of excessive strain, the hull showed no sign of any structural defects, and the worst that could be found was a few slack rivets, a real testament to the shipbuilders who built her.