RFA Berbice
 
 

 

 

Previous name:
Subsequent name:              Suntemple,  Baltara

Official Number:                  124676

Class:                                Hospital Ship

Pennant No:                       YA18

Laid down:
Builder:                               Harland & Wollf, Belfast

Launched:                           6 May 1909
Into Service:                        December 1915
Out of service:                    1922 sold to Mitchell Cotts & Company
Fate:                                  11 January 1929 wrecked at the mouth of the Vistula.

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

6 May 1909  launched by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast as Yard Nr 405  named BERBICE for  Royal Mail Steam Packet Co Ltd, London

8 July 1909 completed as a luxury liner and replaced the earlier SOLENT which was scrapped

10 July 1909 sailed Belfast Lough to Southampton arriving 11 July 1909

BERBICE pax linerBERBICE on her maiden voyage to Southampton

2 August 1909 sailed Southampton for Barbados

2 September 1909 at Castries Harbour, St Lucia passenger Mrs E Joseph discharged dead - heart failure

14 November 1909 off Trinidad passenger L Curtis discharged dead - malaria

29 January 1910 sailed Havana, Cuba

11 Ferbruary 1910 at Dominica Fireman J Jackman discharged dead - drowned

26 February 1910 sailed Havana, Cuba

5 March 1910 sailed Santiago de Cuba

19 September 1912 at Trinidad passenger Gerald Garvey discharged dead - natural causes

23 March 1913 aground on the coast of Margarita reported that she could not be refloated without assistance

17 April 1913 dry docked and surveyed at Port of Spain, Trinidad - vessel found to be undamaged

27 February 1914 arrived at Montserrat from Dominica

12 March 1914 arrived at Demerara

30 January 1915 arrived at Trinidad from Grenada

1 June 1915 Commander John L Gall RD RNR appointed as Master

14 June 1915 arrived at Trinidad from Demerara

8 November 1915 arrived at Plymouth from Trinidad and Antigua and onwards to the Port of London with 214 passengers of which 209 were members of the Army

4 December 1915 requisitioned by the Admiralty for service as a hospital ship - name unchanged

18 August 1916 Boy 1st Class Edwin Daniel Saunders of HMS ACHILLES discharged dead

30 November 1916 in the North Sea patient T/Engineer Sub Lieutenant Bruce Fleming RNR from HMS TEUTONIC discharged dead - natural causes. He is buried in Voe Old Churchyard, Shetland

4 January 1917 at Busta Voe, Shetland received one rating from HMS PATIA for medical treatment

9 January 1917 at Busta Voe, Shetland two sick cases from HMS VICTORIAN admitted onboard for medical treatment

12 January 1917 at Busta Voe, Shetland one Corporal RMLI injured onboard HMS CHANGUINOLA and admitted onboard for medical treatment

13 January 1917 at Busta Voe, Shetland one Petty Officer, one AB and one Fireman from HMS CHANGUINOLA all admitted onboard for treatment

21 January 1917 at Busta Voe, Shetland  one AB and one Private RMLI refered from HMS ANDES for medical treatment

18 February 1917 one Private RMLI transfered to HMS ANDES at Liverpool after treatment

9 March 1917 arrived and anchored at Olna Firth

17 March 1917 at Busta Voe, Shetland Midshipman J Howell RNR from HMS CHANGUINOLA admitted onboard for medical treatment

18 June 1917 at Scapa Flow from HMS COMMONWEALTH received onboard for medical treatment one ERA (1) and one painter (2)

30 June 1917 at Scapa Flow together with HMHS's AGADIR, GARTH CASTLE, PLASSY and MAGPIE II

5 August 1917 Deck Hand John Robert Sinclair from HM Drifter Thirtytwo a patient discharged dead

John Robert Sinclair

Deck Hand John Robert Sinclair

9 October 1917 Able Seaman Peter John Sinclair RNR from HMS ELVY died onboard and was buried at sea. He is remembered with pride on the Shetland War Memorial overlooking Papa Stour and on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial

18 May 1918 3rd Engineer Charles Henry Partridge, aged 31, discharged dead. He died on Hospital Ship Agadir from typhoid fever and is buried in Royal Naval Cemetery, Lyness, Scapa Flow. Grave Plot C Grave 2.

Partridge RFA Berbice

 

30 June 1918 at Invergordon

22 October 1918 at Granton received seven ratings from HMS TALBOT for medical examination

25 October 1918 at Rosyth received one officer and thirteen ratings from HMS TALBOT for medical examination

26 October 1918 at Rosyth received one rating from HMS TALBOT for medical examination

31 October 1918 patient Lieutenant Frank C Peet Royal Navy from HMS ROCKET discharged dead from natural causes. He is buried in Dalmeny & Queensferry Cemetery in plot 442

6 November 1918 in the Firth of Forth a patient Able Seaman George Clarence Robinson J/22827 from HMS IRON DUKE discharged dead onboard HMHS Berbice - pneumonia. He is buried in Hull Western Cemetery in grave 482.46490 

 Gunner George Robinson

Able Seaman George C Robinson

on the same day patient Able Seaman Frederick William McGillivray  J/74723(Dev) from HMS REVENGE discharged dead from pneumonia

McGillivray

Able Seaman Frederick W McGillivray

AB McGillivray is buried in Boldon Cemetery, Durham in grave A C 251

19 November 1918 Able Seaman William John Halcrow MMR discharged dead - died from pneumonia. He is buried in Dunfermline Cemetery in grave ED 2636

Halcrow

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

19 December 1918 Officer's Cook 2nd Class Carmelo Brincat discharged dead. He is buried in the Corfu British Cemetery

15 March 1919 secured to No: 16 buoy at Devonport

19 May 1919 Boy 1st Class John T Legg J/78784(Dev) discharged dead having been involved in an accident on HMS RAMILLIES. He is buried is Portland Naval Cemetery in grave 591

16 June 1919 alongside in No: 3 Basin at Devonport

15 August 1919 sailed Invergordon for Leith

4 September 1919 arrived at Biorko Sound, Baltic

19 September 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic received Lieutenant Payne Royal Navy and Lieutenant Warne RAF from HMS VINDICTIVE as patients

4 October 1919 Sick Berth Attendant Thomas H Handel M 7794 discharged dead and buried in Koivisto Cemetery

15 October 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic received one rating from HMS DAUNTLESS for medical treatment

18 October 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic received one rating from HMS DAUNTLESS for medical treatment

19 October 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic received four ratings from HMS DAUNTLESS for medical treatment

21 October 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic discharged one rating to HMS DAUNTLESS after medical treatment

23 October 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic discharged two ratings to HMS DAUNTLESS and received one rating from the same ship for medical treatment

1 November 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic discharged one rating to HMS DAUNTLESS after medical treatment

4 November 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic discharged two ratings to HMS DAUNTLESS after medical treatment

11 November 1919 at Libau, Latvia discharged four ratings to HMS DAUNTLESS after medical treatment

24 November 1919 anchored at Biorko Sound in the Baltic 

5 December 1919 sailed Biorko Sound, Baltic

10 December 1919 berthed at Revel (now Tallin - capital of Estonia) - six ratings from HMS VINDICTIVE admitted on board for treatment

 

  Berbice Xmas Card 1919

HMHS Berbice Christmas Card 1919

 

14 January 1920 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

15 January 1920 Surgeon Commander R Kennedy Royal Navy and Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Hugh F Briggs MB, ChB Ed Royal Navy appointed to the ship. Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Briggs Royal Navy promoted Surgeon Commander 14 May 1921. He left the ship for a new appointment on 19 January 1922

Briggs 1909

Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Hugh F Briggs MB, ChB Ed Royal Navy

from the Historic Collections of the Institute of Naval Medicine,
by kind permission of the Medical Officer in Charge

16 February 1920 arrived at Malta

14 August 1920 at Valletta, Malta

20 August 1920 purchased by the Admiralty for further hospital ship duties, re-crewed as an RFA and was renamed RFA BERBICE

 

Berbice crew

Some of RFA Berbice's medical crew 

1 January 1921 sailed Malta for Gibraltar

4 January 1921 Mr J A Brown RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer and Paymaster Commander R T Johnson Royal Navy also appointed to the ship

5 January 1921 berthed at Gibraltar from Malta

6 January 1921 sailed Gibraltar for Portsmouth

10 January 1921 Captain Alexander H Hardy RFA appointed as Master

 

Capt._Hardie_2

Captain Hardy before his promotion
Courtesy Nancy Hardy with thanks 

10 January 1921 Surgeon Commander Robert B Scribner MID Royal Navy appointed to the medical team on the ship

Scribner new entry 1900

Surgeon Commander Robert B Scribner MID Royal Navy

from the Historic Collections of the Institute of Naval Medicine,
by kind permission of the Medical Officer in Charge

21 January 1921 at Malta

1 February 1921 sailed Gibraltar for Malta

9 March 1921 at Constantinople received one Petty Officer from HMS APHIS for medical treatment

18 May 1921 Captain William Clinton RFA appointed as Master - previously Master of RFA SLAVOL

13 June 1921 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

21 June 1921 sailed Portsmouth for Malta arriving on 30 June 1921

4 July 1921 sailed Malta for Constantinople with requisitioned collier Agnes Duncan

Agnes Duncan

Collier Agnes Duncan

31 July 1921 at Buyukdere, Turkey patient Able Seaman Charles Edward Osman received from HMS Blenheim discharged dead following an appendix operation

5 November 1921 sailed Malta

9 November 1921 berthed at Gibraltar from Malta

10 November 1921 at Gibraltar patient Bosun Richard Smale from HMS KING GEORGE V discharged dead - heart failure. He was buried in North Front Cemetery, Gibraltar

9 December 1921 sailed Devonport for Gibraltar

14 December 1921 berthed at Gibraltar

6 February 1922 sailed Malta for Pollensa Bay

15 February 1922 Yeoman of Signals Herbert Arthur Allen a patient from HMS IRON DUKE discharged dead - acute meningitis

23 February 1922 sailed Pollensa Bay for Malta

March 1922 ordered home from Constantinople to be relieved by the new RFA MAINE (3)

27 March 1922 arrived at Malta

6 April 1922 berthed at Gibraltar

11 April 1922 arrived at Devonport

19 April 1922 sailed Devonport for Portsmouth anchoring at Spithead the same evening

20 April 1922 arrived Portsmouth for the final time for disposal. Sold as part of defence cuts

Portsmouth News Cutting 20 Apr 1922

Press Cutting from Portsmouth Evening News 20 April 1922

1922 purchased by Sun Shipping Co Ltd (Mitchell, Cotts & Co, Managers) London and renamed  SUNTEMPLE

23 September 1922 sailed Portsmouth Harbour

1924 sold to United Baltic Corp. renamed Baltara

1925 converted to oil fuel burning

12 January 1926 in the River Thames when steaming up river was in collision with D P & L Steamer Dundee. Both ships were damaged

11 January 1929 grounded off the Eastern Entrance to the Weichsee River while on passage from Libau (Latvia) to Gdynia and in tremendous seas became a total loss. Her 43  passengers and  40 crew were all landed safely

22 February 1929 the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported -

Press Image Berbice

WRECK IN A FROZEN SEA - the wrecked steamer Baltara which stranded off Danzig Harbour over a month ago has been frozen in

 28 September 1929 the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported -

Sheffield Daily Telegraph Press Report Berbice

 

 

See 'Non RFA Awards' for medals to Nursing Sisters who served on this ship.

 

Ships of the same name

 

Berbice. A Schooner of 121 bm purchased in 1780 and condemned on the 12 September 1788.

 

Berbice. A Schooner of 120 bm, 73 x 25 ft armed with 2 x 12 pdr Carronade, 6 x 3pdr.  An ex Prize purchased in 1793, she was wrecked in November 1796 off Dominica.

 

Berbice. A Schooner of 78 bm, purchased in 1804, the ship foundered in 1806 near Demerera.

 

Additional information

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