Requisitioned Auxiliary – Volturnus

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Official Number:                      135434

Laid down:

Builder:                                  R Williamson & Son Ltd, Workington

Launched:                              27 November 1912

Into Service:                           1 September 1914

Out of service:                        1 November 1919

Fate:                                     1 November 1919 mined 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:

27 November 1912 launched by R Williamson & Son Ltd, Workington as Yard Nr 215 named  VOLTURNUS for Volana Shipping Co Ltd  (Rogers & Bright Ltd, Managers) Liverpool

January 1913 completed as a coaster.

1 September 1914 requisitioned by the Admiralty for service as a Stores Carrier, name unchanged

14 January 1915 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS FALMOUTH delivering Naval Stores

17 July 1915 at Scapa Flow berthed alongside Requisition Auxiliary Zaria

25 July 1915 at Scapa Flow berthed alongside Requisition Auxiliary Zaria

23 August 1915 at Scapa Flow berthed alongside Requisition Auxiliary Zaria

8 September 1915 at Scapa Flow berthed alongside Requisition Auxiliary Zaria

3 July 1917 at Olna Firth alongside HMS ACHILLES delivering Naval Stores


HMS Achilles



December 1917 owners acquired by Coast Lines Ltd, Liverpool, ship name unchanged

13 August 1918 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS COMMONWEALTH with Naval stores


HMS Commonwealth



27 October 1919 sailed Deptford for Copenhagen while still under charter to the Admiralty with some 700 tons of Naval stores

1 November 1919 in the Kattegat her course, as set by the Captain, took her into a wartime mine field. The ship received light signals from the Skaw Light Vessel warning of the minefield and having struck a mine it exploded and the ship sank 6 miles SE of the Skaw Light Vessel.  There was no loss of life


Press Report Western Daily Mail 3 Nov 1919

Press report from Western Daily Mail of 3 November 1919


10 February 1920 at Liverpool a formal investigation was conducted into the loss of the VOLTURNUS by Stuart Deacon Esq., Stipendary Magistrate assisted by Commander A S Houston RNR and Captain W A Fausset. The investigation found that the loss was occasioned by the ship’s Master – Captain Arthur William Hay for the following reasons: –

1. The Master who had never been to the Kattegat or Baltic before negleted to read ‘The Notice to Mariners for Foreign going ships’, 1 June 1919 to 1 October 1919 before the ship had sailed from Deptford

2. The Master further neglected to preserve the two copies of the said ‘Notice of Mariners’ he had onboard from being spoilt from sea water while crossing the North Sea

3. The Master further neglected when he entered the Kattegat to pay proper attention to signals that were sent to him from the Skaw light vessel, or signal station or pilot vessel and also, under the circumstances, neglected to stop his vessel and make proper enquires into the conditions pertaining in the Kattegat before proceeding on his voyage

The Court found that Captain Arthur William Hay was guilty of a wrongful act and suspended his certificate for three months.

With regard to the Chief Officer, Peter Fearn who had been on watch at the time of the ship sinking, the Court found that he ought, when he received the signals referring to minefields from the lightship or signal station, at once to have stopped the ship and called the Master. As such the Court found this failure amounted to a wrongful act and default on his part and for such wrongful act and default severely censured him.