RFA Wonganella

RFA Wonganella

RFA Wonganella


Previous name:                       Wonga Fell
Subsequent name:                  Magda

Official Number:                      120464


Pennant No:

Laid down: 
Builder:                                   Laing, Deptford Yard
Launched:                              18 August 1904
Into Service:
Out of service:                       
Fate:                                      Ran aground


Items of historic interest involving this ship: –


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


18 April 1904 launched by Sir James Laing & Sons, Deptford Yard, Sunderland as Yard Nr 605 named WONGAFELL for their own account

October 1904 completed and chartered to W.S. Fell & Co Ltd, Sydney, NSW, Australia

10 November 1904 sailed from Bristol to London

28 November 1904 sailed London to Freemantle, Australia – due to arrive 16 January 1905

7 April 1907 in collision with the steamship Vermont at Port Pirie on arrival fron Newcastle NSW

4 May 1907 arrived at Port Augusta having sailed from Sydney, NSW

21 August 1908 arrived at Sydney, NSW from Wellington, New Zealand

28 July 1909 sailed Capetown for Sydney, NSW arriving on 23 August 1909

26 October 1909 sailed Melbourne to Sydney Captain D N Campbell in command

1910 purchased by W. Crosby & Co, Melbourne and renamed WONGANELLA

20 February 1914 berthed at Adelaide from Ocean Island

25 February 1915 berthed at Auckland, New Zealand from the Ocean, Nauva and Makatea Islands

WW1 requisitioned by the Admiralty under the command of Lieut.-Commander B. J. D. Guy, Royal Navy. Used the following false names – Thornhill, Margit, Werribee, and Wellholme

3 February 1916 sailed Port Said to Malta as a ‘Q’ ship

9 February 1916 60 miles from Crete was attacked by a submarine. The guns on the Wonganella opened fire and after about eight rounds the submarine submerged.

1 March 1916 sailed London to Gibraltar

9 March 1916 anchored off Gibraltar

10 March 1916 at Gibraltar discharging cargo

21 March 1916 sailed Gibraltar, on clearing the breakwater had to stop for engine repairs, then continued to Malta  

26 March 1916 engine stopped due to defects – repaired

27 March 1916 entered Grand Harbour, Malta and moored at Marsa – discharged cargo

13 April 1916 sailed Malta to Gibraltar arriving 19 April 1916

20 April 1916 sailed Gibraltar to Malta arriving 2 May 1916 – moored in Bighi Bay as a ‘Q’ ship

30  May 1916 sailed Malta to Gibraltar arrriving 2 June 1916 – anchored in Gibraltar Bay as a ‘Q’ ship

13 June 1916 sailed Gibraltar to Malta arriving 27 June 1916 as a ‘Q’ ship

14 July 1916 entered No 2 dry dock in Grand Harbour, Malta

18 July 1916 exited No 2 dry dock in Grand Harbour, Malta anchored in Sliema Creek

3 August 1916 sailed Malta to Gibraltar but returned to Malta on 11 August 1916 as a ‘Q’ ship

12 August 1916 sailed Malta to Marseille but altered course back to Malta on 16 August 1916 and arriving on 21 August 1916 as a ‘Q’ ship

26 August 1916 sailed Malta to Marseille and Gibraltar as a ‘Q’ ship arriving on 5 September 1916

12 September 1916 sailed Gibraltar to Malta – stopped twice on 12 September 1916 due to engine defects – repaired.

16 September 1916 steering gear carried away at shaft – steering by hand gear – arrived at Malta 17 September 1916

27 September 1916 sailed Malta to Mudros arriving 30 September 1916

4 October 1916 sailed Mudros to Port Iero and then Alexandria returning to Mudros

18 October 1916 logged a suspicious steam ship, painted dark grey, cruiser stern, two masts, one funnel suspiciously steering west for ¾ of an hour then altered course NNW continuously crossing her bow 

30 October 1916 arrived at Suda Bay, Crete

31 October 1916 sailed Suda Bay, Crete to Malta

1 November 1916 while on passage to Malta sighted mine and sunk it with gun fire at 35º 58’N, 20º 2’E

4 November 1916 at 35.917.6E took in tow ss Statesman which had been torpedoed by UB43 on 3 November 1916

5 November 1916 ss Statesman at 35.47N 17.17E sank. HMS LOBELIA took WONGANELLA in tow to Malta

6 November 1916 berthed at Malta to discharge and load cargo

21 November 1916 sailed Malta to Taranto

23 November 1916 moored at Taranto – made fast to No 6 buoy

27 November 1916 sailed Taranto to Brindisi

28 November 1916 berthed at Brindisi on No 10 buoy

2 December 1916 sailed Brindisi to Malta

4 December 1916 berthed at Malta on No 13 buoy

11 December 1916 sailed Malta to patrol (as a Q ship) near the island of Pantelleria until 16 December 1916

16 December 1916 berthed at Malta on No 13 buoy

17 December 1916 sailed Malta – patrolled east of Malta (as a Q ship) until 19 December 1916

19 december 1916 berthed at Malta on No 13 buoy

26 December 1916 sailed Malta to Taranto

28 December 1916 berthed at Taranto alongside HMS PRINCE OF WALES to deliver stores. Then moved and berthed alongside HMS QUEEN delivering stores

29 December 1916 at Taranto moved berth to alongside HMS BRITTANIA to deliver stores

30 December 1916 at Taranto moved berth to alongside HMS TOPAZE to deliver stores. Then moved berth to No 6 buoy

1 January 1917 at Taranto on No 6 buoy with a lighter alongside No 4 hold. A working party from HMS QUEEN assisted in discharging stores into the lighter for HMS AFRICA and HMS DAMETIAN (?) 

5 January 1917 and 6 January 1917 ratings ashore to HMS PRINCE OF WALES (shown in ships log as PoW for both days) for gunnery instruction

9 January 1917 sailed Taranto to Brindisi arriving 10 January 1917

10 January 1917 at Brindisi berthed alongside HMS LIVERPOOL

11 January 1917 at Brindisi, Italy discharged stores from No 1 & 3 holds. Then moved and berthed alongside HMS GLOUCESTER delivering stores from No 1 & 4 holds

12 January 1917 at Brindisi, Italy moved to a berth between 10 and 10A buoys

17 January 1917 at Brindisi, Italy – sailed to Malta

20 January 1917 arrived at Malta and berthed at Marsa

21 January 1917 and 22 January 1917 at Malta loading bunker coal

23 January 1917 at Malta Stoker Carroll sent to detention

26 January 1917 at Malta loaded ammunition

2 February 1917 sailed Malta for Spezia

6 February 1917 anchored at Spezia and commencing preparing ammunition for unloading

7 February 1917 to 13 February 1917 discharged ammunition into lighters

14 February 1917 sailed Spezia to Taranto 

18 February 1917 berthed at Taranto alongside HMS QUEEN

19 February 1917 at Taranto discharging cargo

20 February 1917 at Taranto moved berth to No 8 buoy

22 February 1917 sailed Taranto to Malta

24 February 1917 berthed at Marsa, Malta 2 anchors and stern to. received 2 tons of drinking water and 98 tons of boiler water

3 March 1917 at Malta received 95 tons of boiler water and 11 tons of drinking water

5 March 1917 sailed Malta for Gibraltar

11 March 1917 while on passage from Malta to Gibraltar at 36 38N 0.13E attacked by a submarine with gunfire and a torpedo – opened fire on the submarine which dived  – seven of the crew seriously wounded – Seriously wounded: Mr. Meade, SPO Grills, PO Foot, Leading Steward Bird, Stoker P. Kurwd(?), Stoker Bridges, Leading Seaman White. Slightly wounded: OS Holman and OS Renouf

13 March 1917 berthed at Gibraltar – detached mole from Malta – woulded transfered ashore

26 March 1917 sailed Gibraltar for Portsmouth

2 April 1917 berthed at Portsmouth from Gibraltar

28 April 1917 sailed Portsmouth for Halifax NS

11 May 1917 berthed at Halifax NS from Portsmouth

7 June 1917 at No 8 pier at Halifax NS loaded 45 tons of water and sailed to Queenstown

11 June 1917 stopped mid Atlantic with engine defects – defects repaired in 3.5  hours

13 June 1917 stopped mid Atlantic with engine defects – defects repaired in 12 hours

18 June 1917 while on passage from Halifax NS to Queenstown – a torpedo passed under the ship – submarine submerged – found and picked up 30 survivors from the ss Elele

21 June 1917 arrived at Queenstown from Halifax, N.S.

22 June 1917 sailed Queenstown

23 June 1917 berthed at Plymouth from Queenstown

August 1917 ceased to be a commissioned Royal Navy Ship and was Merchant Navy manned

1922 registered at Cape Town

24 June 1925 at 30.00S 153.35E Chief Steward Dudley Cohen discharged dead from natural causes

30 October 1925 dispute over rates to be paid to labourers to discharge the ship at Lyttleton, New Zealand 

17 May 1926 radioed Brisbane, Australia that her tail shaft was broken and that her position was 120 miles east of Cape Morton – reported in The Times of this day

18 May 1926 rescue tug St. Giles standing by – information from Sydney, NSW to The Evening Post, New Zealand.

24 May 1926 arrived in tow at Brisbane today

3 November 1926 at Naru Island Gil Dayap discharged dead – cause not shown 

18 February 1928 visited Auckland New Zealand

1930 purchased by Afrikanska Angf. Aktiebolaget ( G.E. Sandstrom, Manager) Gothenburg and renamed MAGDA

31 March 1933 while on passage from Callao to Buenos Aires was stranded on Veil Island in the Smyth Channel, a principal Patagonia Channel in South America. Reports stated she was breaking up and should be considered a total loss. Her crew were rescued and taken off by the steamer Don Ricardo.