Requisitioned Auxiliary – Echunga

Echunga ship 



Official Number:                    125623

Builder:                                   Sir Raylton Dixon & Co, Middlesbrough

Launched:                              29 July 1907

Into Service:                           11 November 1916

Out of service:                        5 September 1917

Fate:                                         1917 torpedoed and sunk


Items of historic interest involving this ship: –


Background Data:  One of an additional group of ships requisitioned by the Admiralty during WW1 to augment the ships of the RFA

Career Data:



29 July 1907 launched by Sir Raylton Dixon & Co, Middlesbrough as Yard Nr: 531 as a cargo ship named ECHUNGA for Adelaide SS Co Ltd, London

October 1907 completed

23 October 1907 at Roath Dock, Cardiff loading rails for Australia

24 October 1907 sailed Cardiff to Avonmouth

7 February 1908 sailed from Brisbane for Sydney, NSW

5 April 1909 while on passage from Cape Town, South Africa to Sydney, NSW, Australia at 35.28°S 150.30°E Donkeyman Christopher Hutley died of malaria. A signal reporting the death was misread upon receipt and it was assumed that the ship’s Captain had died. This was reported to the Captain’s wife who organised a memorial service only to find her husband was fit and well upon the arrival of the ship at Sydney. The service was cancelled

28 April 1909 sailed from Adelaide for South Africa

4 June 1909 arrived at Table Bay, South Africa

1910 owners became Adelaide SS Co Ltd, Adelaide name unchanged

15 June 1910 at No: 6 Wharf, Lyttleton, New Zealand Able Seaman Christopher Matheson discharged dead from injuries sustain from having fallen down No: 4 hold. A inquest held touching on the death of AB Matheson recorded that he had died accidentally

28 June 1911 sailed Barry, South Wales for Fremantle

8 March 1912 at Fremantle, Australia a shore side worker involved in the working of cargo fell into a hold. The man – John Olsen was taken to hospital and detained with a fractured skull

11 May 1912 the Captain, Officers and crew donated £10. 8sh towards the Koombana Relief Fund

16 September 1912 at Fremantle, Australia while loading bunker coal two shore side workers involved in the loading of coal were injured when two baskets of coal fell on them. The two men – Robert Limpus and William Hodgkinson were taken to hospital and detained with fractures

4 October 1913 at Melbourne Donkeyman Michael McDonough discharged dead – heart failure

20 February 1915 at Rangoon Cattleman Reginald Holmes and Trimmer A Strachan both discharged dead – both having drowned

29 May 1915 at sea Captain William John Ellis discharged dead – natural causes

5 October 1915 Lloyds reported from Rosario that the ship, partly loaded, was aground at Villa Constitucion

27 January 1916 berthed at Savannah from Hull

8 May 1916 sailed Sabang for Hong Kong

8 August 1916 berthed at Fremantle, Australia for bunker coal

11 August 1916 sailed Fremantle, Australia to Le Harve, France

5 October 1916 arrived at Las Palmas, Canary Islands from Melbourne

11 November 1916 requisitioned for Admiralty service as an oiler and was converted into a tanker with cylindrical tanks in her holds, name unchanged and placed under management of Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London

18 November 1916 berthed at Middlesborough from Bordeaux

4 June 1917 while on passage from Port Arthur to Stornaway in the North Atlantic stopped by HMS ORVIETO, examined and allowed to proceed; later approached by HMS PATUCE an AMC and again checked and allowed to proceed
5 September 1917 was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-52 in the English Channel 40 miles N x E from Ushant while on passage from Port Arthur, Texas to the UK with a cargo of fuel oil. Nine of the crew were lost and are remembered with pride on the Tower Hill Memorial and also on the Australian Merchant Seaman’s Memorial, Canberra, ACT, Australia