Requisitioned Auxiliary – White Head


 White head


Official Number:                      81957

Laid down:

Builder:                                  Cammell Laird & Co Ltd., Birkenhead

Pennant No:                    Y8.1

Launched:                               5 May 1880

Into Service:                            August 1914

Out of service:                         15 October 1917

Fate:                                      15 October 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:

5 May 1880 launched by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast as Yard Nr: 135 named White Head for Ulster Steamship Co Ltd., (G Heyn & Sons Ltd., Managers) Belfast

1880 completed

23 July 1880 arrived at Cronstadt from Barrow

21 August 1880 arrived at Riga from Barrow

18 September 1880 arrived at Cronstadt from Barrow

25 October 1880 arrived at Cronstadt from Barrow

19 November 1880 arrived at Belfast from Riga

22 December 1880 arrived Glasgow from Belfast

8 January 1881 sailed Bristol for Bremerhaven

11 November 1881 sailed Swansea to Alexandria

17 March 1882 shortly after sailing from Cardiff she encountered thick fog and ran into and sank the steamer Alert which was anchored off Lavernock Point with the loss of 1 of the latter’s crew who was afterwards discovered still in his bunk

27 May 1882 sailed Belfast to Cronstadt

24 January 1883 sailed Cardiff to Port Said

17 July 1883 passed St Catherines Point when on passage to Bergen

6 May 1884 arrived at Cronstadt from the River Tyne

31 May 1885 sailed Riga to Belfast

13 February 1887 passed Malta when on passage from Port Said to Smyrna

14 March 1887 whilst entering Copenhagen with a cargo of coal she struck the Knippels Bridge and holed 2 stem plates as well as causing serious damage to the bridge itself

16 August 1887 while on passage from Riga to Belfast Able Seaman Francis Lindsay discharged dead – natural causes

5 January 1888 Lloyds telegram reported she was ashore at Ronchamin. Assistance was being sent

8 November 1889 berthed at Liverpool from Riga

22 January 1892 sailed Greenock for Copenhagen

29 May 1896 arrived Greenock from Belfast

24 April 1900 arrived at Revel with her propeller blade broken

4 December 1900 while sailing from Belfast for Revel via Ardrossan was in collision with the steamer M J Craig which sustained some damage – source Lloyds Casualty Lists

m j craig 

Steamer M J Craig

About 3 January 1902 near Riga in collision with the German steamer Daesternbook

17 September 1902 while on passage from Glasgow to Cronstadt ran aground near Tobermory on the Isle of Mull and flooded her forehold. Was refloated with salvage assistance from Belfast. Captain John Brennan was the ship’s Master

30 May 1914 sailed Liverpool for St Petersburg

August 1914 requisitioned for Admiralty service in various roles – name unchanged

31 August 1914 served as Government Store Carrier No 1

27 October 1914 to 15 July 1915 served as an Expeditionary Force Transport Vessel

16 July 1915 became a Commissioned Miscellaneous Vessel on charter to the Government of Montenegro

20 May 1916 at Port Mudros

13 May 1917 arrived at Port Mudros

11 August 1917 sailed Port Mudros

15 October 1917 torpedoed and sunk 16 miles NNE of Suda Bay, Crete by German submarine UC74 (Kptlt. Wilhelm Marschall) with the loss of 23 lives in position 36.13N 24.33E. Her owners received £30,000 compensation for her loss