Requisitioned Auxiliary – War Cypress



Official Number:                      140395

Laid down:

Builder:                                    Cammell Laird & Co Ltd., Birkenhead

Pennant No:                   Y3.1883 / Y8.131

Launched:                               29 September 1917

Into Service:                             November 1917

Out of service:                         3 November 1919

Fate:                                          21 May 1943 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 September 1917 launched by Cammel Laird & Co Ltd., Birkenhead as Yard Nr: 840 named War Cypress for the Shipping Controller, London (R Nicholson & Sons, Liverpool) Managers

November 1917 completed. Requisitioned for Admiralty service as a collier – name unchanged

20 January 1918 arrived at Chalmette, New Orleans

23 January 1918 to 28 January 1918 loaded a cargo of maize in every hold together with flour in sacks. Also loaded 776 tons of FFO in water ballast tanks. Total cargo 6,729 tons

29 January 1918 sailed New Orleans bound for Dublin via Pensacola and New York. Captain Edward J Cawsey was the ship’s Master

30 January 1918 berthed at Pensacola to load bunker coal

17 February 1918 while crossing the Atlantic in heavy weather a defect occurred in the steering – repaired 

24 February 1918 arrived at Dublin – No 1 hold was opened and four steveadores entered all of whom were killed by Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The Chief Officer and an AB were also effected by the same gas and were hospitalised

5 March 1918 sailed Dublin for Liverpool arriving the next day

20, 21, 22 and 24 June, 1918 a Formal Investigation was held at the Magistrates’ Room, Dale Street, Liverpool before Stuart DEACON, Esq., Stipendiary Magistrate, assisted by Capt. J. SPEDDING, Capt. J. GARRIOCK, and Capt. J. D. MOULTON, R.N., into the circumstances attending the casualty which occurred on 25th February, 1918, on board the British Steamship ” WAR CYPRESS,” of London, in Dock at Dublin, whereby loss of life ensued. The result of the Investigation that this case appeared to be almost unique, in the circumstances the Court did not attribute any blame to the Master for the casualty, in as much as he had no reason at all to suspect the presence in his ship of the Carbon Monoxide gas

8 June 1919 berthed at Leith from Montreal

22 June 1919 became a Store Carrier – name unchanged

2 September 1919 arrived at Gravesend from Archangel

3 November 1919 returned to her owners – name unchanged

 1 December 1919 purchased by Louis Dreyfus & Cie, Dunkirk and renamed Leopold L.D.

1 January 1920 sailed from Newport from Buenos Aires

27 January 1920 berthed at Buenos Aires from Newport

20 February 1920 sailed Buenos Aires for Dunkirk

18 March 1920 sailed Maderia for Dunkirk

8 August 1920 arrived at New Orleans from St Nazire

16 November 1920 berthed at Liverpool

16 October 1924 grounded in the river to Rotterdam – managed to get off at high water without any assistance

21 October 1928 grounded at Bermuda – had to jettison part of her cargo and get off with the assistance of two tugs

9 October 1931 while inward bound to the Port of  Antwerp was in collision and suffered minor damage with British Steamer Port Caroline which apparently suffered no damage

1932 purchased by Livanos Maritime Co Ltd., (N G Livanos, Manager) Piraeus and renamed Aliki

June 1940 seized at Dakar by Vichy French Government and renamed Monaco under management of Soc. Anon de Gerance et d’Armanent

1942 transferred to the Italian Government and renamed Bologna

21 May 1943 torpedoed and sunk off Cape Vaticano by HMS/m UNBROKEN in position 38.30N 16.00E while on passage from Naples to Messina