Requisitioned Auxiliary – Gibraltar


RA Gib



Official No:                              132926

Builder:                                    Ramage & Ferguson Ltd., Leith

Launched:                               13 November 1913

Pennant No:                            G.0861

Into Service:                            27 April 1915

Out of service:                         1919

Fate:                                      30 October 1945 scuttled


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:

13 November 1913 launched by Flensburger Schiffsbau Gesselschaft, Flensburg as Yard Nr: 334 named SCHNEFELS for Deutsche Damps. Ges “Hansa”, Bremen

1 January 1914 completed

5 August 1914 seized as a prize off Europa Point, Gibraltar and allocated to the Admiralty under management of Houlder, Middleton & Co Ltd., Gibraltar and renamed GIBRALTAR

27 April 1915 requisitioned for Admiralty service as an Expeditionary Force Transport as a Water Carrier until 31 May 1915

1June 1915 re-deployed as a wheat carrier until 12 August 1916

August 1916 renamed POLESCAR

13 August 1916 re-deployed as an Expeditionary Force Transport carrying stores from Canada

14 March 1917 was chased by a submarine on the surface north west of Ireland but escaped through her speed

25 September 1917 struck by a bomb from a German aircraft while discharging at at Dunkirk Able Seaman Harold Fulton and Able Seaman John Henrit both discharged dead – both shown in the Deaths at Sea Register as ‘killed’. Both are buried in Dunkirk Town Cemetery 

1918 placed under the management of G Heyn & Sons, Belfast – name unchanged

22 April 1918 in a convoy from Halifax to London escorted by HMS NANERIC

5 August 1918 torpedoed by the German submarine UC71 50km (30 miles) south-west of St Catherine’s Point, Isle of Wight, at the end of a voyage from Montreal to Le Havre. She had to be run ashore to prevent her sinking. After refloating, extensive repairs were necessary

1919 owners became British India Steam Navigation Co., London and renamed WAIRUNA for her owners’ Australian service

20 September 1919 sailed Melbourne for San Francisco

1920 purchased by Union Steamship Co of New Zealand Ltd., London – name unchanged for the owners’ West Coast of North America service

20 September 1920 arrived San Francisco from British Columbia

1921 converted to carry oil fuel in her double bottoms from California to the Union Steam Ship Company’s new oil tanks at Balls Head, Sydney NSW and into its oil hulk at Wellington, New Zealand

3 August 1922 berthed at San Francisco from Newcastle, NSW with 2,800 tons of coal and 2,800 tons of Copra

18 October 1922 sailed Sydney, NSW for San Francisco

5 September 1925 ran out of coal 885km (550 miles) north of Auckland, inward bound from San Francisco, but was picked up by her consort, the Waihemo, which had been sent out from Auckland in response to her distress calls

13 February 1932 berthed at Auckland from Vancouver her sailing was subsequently delayed by an industrial dispute between the crew and the ships owners

4 February 1933 lost a propeller blade one day out of Newcastle, NSW but was able to complete her voyage to Auckland on the remaining blades

18 April 1934 berthed at Melbourne

13 September 1935 berthed at Vancouver

26 September 1935 at Vancouver 31 members of the crew arrested on warrants and charged with desertion

2 October 1935 at Vanouver all 31 members of the crew who had been charged with desertion where aquitted in Court and returned to the vessel

20 March 1936 collided with Glasgow Wharf at Napier, when berthing from Auckland, but damage was confined to wharf piles

8 February 1937 suffered an outbreak of fire in the copra cargo at San Francisco which caused extensive damage to it and some buckling of the ship’s plates

12 August 1938 berthed at Sydney, NSW from Vancouver

1940 came under the MoWT and was placed under the management of J & J Denholm & Co Ltd., Glasgow

20 December 1941 berthed at Colombo – Source Admiralty War Diary of 27 December 1941 page 2150

24 December 1941 sailed Colombo for Calcutta due on 30 December 1941 – Source Admiralty War Diary of 27 December 1941 page 2150

2 August 1942 sailed Calcutta in unescorted convoy CJ2 to Colombo arriving 10 August 1942

26 September 1942 sailed Melbourne in escorted convoy OC30 to Sydney, NSW arriving 29 September 1942

24 February 1943 sailed Sydney NSW in escorted convoy OC74 to Melbourne arriving 27 February 1943 and then independently to Adelaide arriving 1 March 1943

1 October 1943 at sea Fireman George Edward Royle discharged dead – lost at sea

11 October 1943 sailed Melbourne in escorted convoy OC133 to Sydney, NSW arriving 14 October 1943

6 November 1943 sailed Sydney, NSW in escorted convoy CO141 to Melbourne arriving 9 November 1943 and then independently to Fremantle arriving 12 November 1943

24 March 1944 sailed Karachi in unescorted convoy PB72 to Bombay arriving 27 March 1944

5 June 1944 sailed Colombo in unescorted convoy JC51 to Vizag arriving 11 June 1944

3 November 1944 sailed Calcutta in escorted convoy CJ42 to Colombo arriving 10 November 1944

5 February 1945 sailed Gibraltar in escorted convoy MKS81G to Liverpool arriving 13 February 1945

12 August 1945 a fire at her berth at Greenock largely destroyed her upperworks, so the opportunity was taken to fill the blackened hull with condemned explosives

30 October 1945 was scuttled off Northern Ireland in position 55.30N 11.00W loaded with 8,342t of obsolescent ammunition