Above ss Canning before Admiralty service

RFA Canning



Previous name:
Subsequent name:                   OKEANOS,  Arenzo

Official Number:                       106802

Class:                                       Kite Balloon Ship / Depot Ship

Pennant No:                             Y4, 46, N16

Laid down:                               1896
Builder:                                     D & W Henderson & Co., Meadowside

Launched:                               13 July 1896
Into Service:                            1916
Out of service:                         1918
Fate:                                        1919 Returned to owners


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   Some official lists, marked as  “Lists of RFA’s” show vessels which spent some time as RFA’s during the First World War. These records are extremely sketchy and some of these vessels were “Yard Craft”, partially or wholly Dockyard manned, partly by RNR or Reserve Fleet personnel. Some of the Depot Ships staffed by skilled civilian Dockyard workers were for a time White Ensign. The Director of Stores was understood to be concerned with their manning and operationally they remained under Admiralty control


13 July 1896 launched by D & W Henderson & Co Ltd, Partick as Yard Nr: 393 named CANNING for Liverpool, Brazil & River Plate Steam Navigation Co Ltd (Lamport  &  Holt Ltd, Managers) Liverpool

August 1896 completed

21 September 1896 sailed Liverpool on her maiden voyage to Rio de Janeiro and Valparaiso

20 January 1897 sailed from an unknown port (believed Bombay) to bring home the familes of the troopships ship's company (believed the Transport 'Warren Hastings' which had been lost) from India

19 February 1897 at 27.30S 40.20W Fireman Martin Doody discharged dead - natural causes

30 January 1898 sailed Rio de Janeiro to New York

22 February 1898 arrived at Santos

4 March 1898 sailed New York for Liverpool

20 March 1898 arrived at Liverpool from New York

17 July 1898 arrived at Gravesend from Montevideo

15 August 1898 sailed Liverpool for Valparaiso

28 Novemeber 1898 sailed Greenock for Liverpool

28 December 1898 sailed Lota for Liverpool

11 February 1899 sailed Liverpool to West Coast of South America via Glasgow

12 November 1899 at the Royal Albert Dock, London loaded 1 Troop of 2nd Dragoons, 65th Battery Royal Field Artillery (Howitzers) and an ammunition column & No 4 General Hospital

13 November 1899 sailed the Royal Albert Dock, London for South Africa

16 November 1899 at sea at 37.09N 13.36W Able Seaman J H Fitzgerald discharged dead - jumped over the side - suicide

18 November 1899 arrived at Las Palmas

4 December 1899 arrived at Cape Town

28 December 1899 sailed St. Vincent while on passage from Cape Town to London

8 January 1900 while on passage from Cape Town to London passed the Lloyds Signal Station on St Catherines Point

9 January 1900 anchored at Gravesend before berthing at the Royal Albert Dock

28 January 1900 sailed Royal Albert Dock, London for Cape Town, South Africa having loaded 259 men, 220 horses and 6 guns of the 87th Battery, 12th Division Howiter Brigade from Woolwich and 5th Stationary Hospital with 100 tons of equipment

5 February 1900 arrived at Las Palmas

28 May 1900 sailed Fiume for Cape Town with 727 horses

17 August 1900 sailed Shanghai, China

31 May 1901 at 7.06S 34.24W Donkeyman James Copeland discharged dead - drowned

31 December 1901 sailed Santos to New York

23 January 1902 arrived at Barbados while on passage from Santos to New York

4 February 1902 arrived at New York

19 February 1902 sailed New York for Manchester

3 March 1902 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Old Head of Kinsail while on passage from New York to Manchester

4 March 1902 arrived in the Mersey to-day

9 April 1902 sailed the Mersey for Bahia

30 December 1902 sailed Bombay for Obbia with onboard No 1 Company Bombay Sappers and Miners with consisted of four British Officers, two non-commissioned officers, four native officers and 169 men. The force was accompanied by 71 public and 18 private followers with 8 chargers and 169 mules.

27 June 1903 sailed for Somaliland with the 27th Junejab Infantry

18 October 1903 3rd Engineer Officer F S Shirley discharged dead - meningitis

November 1903 the Master and other officers were awarded the Sea Transport Medal. The Master - Captain Hammond's medal was presented to him by HM King Edward VII. The other officers received their medals on various dates during 1904

 Sea Transport Medal


Those awarded the medal were - 

Captain ? Hammond

Chief Officer B H Hall

2nd Officer R O Lewis

3rd Officer S Taylor

Chief Engineer Officer T Hood

2nd Engineer Officer A Murray

2nd Engineer Officer W Caldwell

3rd Engineer Officer W E Goodwin

3rd Engineer Officer W Caldwell

each medal was issued with the South Africa 1899 - 1902 bar


1 January 1904 sailed Barbados to New York

9 January 1904 sailed New York for Santos

24 December 1905 when sailing from Montevideo for Buenos Aires was in collision with the ss Bellanoch. Suffered damage to the bows. The Bellanoch suffered damage to the port side which was stove in by No 4 hold to below the waterline. Holds 3 and 4 filled with water and the Bellanoch sank

12 June 1906 arrived at Barbados

20 July 1907 sailed Liverpool to Rio De Janerio

15 March 1907 before the Court of Appeal before the Lord Chief Justice from the Admiralty Division of the High Court with Nautical Assessors in proceedings stemming from the collision (see above) with the ss Bellanoch

16 November 1907 sailed Liverpool to Buenos Aires

1 August 1908 sailed Liverpool to Bahia

13 October 1908 arrived at Santos

18 December 1908 sailed Liverpool for Buenos Aires

19 July 1909 sailed River Plate to Liverpool with 4 passengers

7 August 1909 sailed Liverpool to Buenos Aires

3 October 1909 sailed Monte Video

30 October 1909 sailed Buenos Aires to Liverpool with 12 passengers. Captain J Russell was the Master

4 December 1909 sailed Liverpool for Buenos Aires

24 March 1910 sailed Liverpool for Rio de Janerio

14 April 1910 arrived Rio de Janerio from Liverpool

7 July 1910 sailed Liverpool to Rio de Janerio

8 October 1910 arrived at Manchester from New York

22 October 1910 sailed Liverpool to Santos

29 October 1910 sailed Las Palmas for Rio de Janerio

12 November 1910 arrived at Rio de Janerio from Las Palmas

11 March 1911 sailed Liverpool to Buenos Aires

29 March 1911 off Bahia Cook Henry Evermond discharged dead - broken neck

13 January 1912 sailed Buenos Aires for Manchester Docks with 6 passengers

3 February 1912 sailed Liverpool to Rio de Janerio

3 November 1912 sailed New York for Manchester Docks with 3 passengers

28 November 1912 sailed Liverpool to Rio de Janerio

3 March 1913 arrived at Barbados

4 April 1913 sailed New York for Manchester Docks with 6 passengers

25 July 1913 sailed River Plate for Liverpool with 2 passengers

24 November 1913 sailed New York for Manchester Docks with 6 passengers

9 May 1914 arrived at Liverpool

5 June 1914 arrived at Manchester

17 June 1914 radioed she was 600 nmiles east of Sandy Nook

28 July 1914 radioed she was 700 nmiles east of Sandy Nook

8 October 1914 sailed Manchester to New York

19 November 1914 at Manchester with Captain Harry B Russell as Master

20 November 1914 1st Engineer Officer John G Penman appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

John G Penman

1st Engineer Officer John G Penman

30 November 1914 at Liverpool

22 January 1915 1st Engineer Officer J Biggason appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 February 1915 at Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, New York Fireman & Trimmer Walter Atherton discharged dead from pneumonia. He had entered the hospital from the ship on 15 February 1915

15 March 1915 1st Engineer Officer Henry E Williams appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 March 1915 2 June 1915 Seaman V Bartel logged as deserting at Liverpool - he had signed on on 17 March 1915

8 April 1915 Sailor John Kelly, Fireman & Trimmer Jmes McGinn, Fireman & Trimmer James McCory, Fireman & Trimmer M McDermott each logged as deserting at New York - each had signed on on 20 February 1915 at Liverpool

9 May 1915 hired by the Admiralty as a Expeditionary Force Transport under the Red Ensign until 28 June 1915

1 June 1915 Fireman & Trimmer Hugh R Tarr (?) logged as deserting at Marseilles - he had signed on on 17 May 1915

2 June 1915 Fireman & Trimmer F Merrett logged as deserting at Marseilles - he had signed on on 11 May 1915

7 June 1915 Fireman & Trimmer James Burke and Fireman & Trimmer James Devlin both logged as deserting at Marseilles they had each signed on on 17 May 1915

28 June 1915 purchased by the Admiralty - name unchanged

29 June 1915 at Birkenhead commissioned as a Kite Balloon Ship and served in the  Mediterranean

24 September 1915 Lieutenant Harry Bright Russell RNR - the ships Master - discharged dead - cerebral haemorrhage. Remembered with pride on the Plymouth Naval Memorial

 Captain Harry Bright Russell

Lieutenant Harry Bright Russell RNR

2 October 1915 arrived Gallipoli to relieve HMS (later RFA) MANICA and was subsequently awarded the "Dardanelles 1915" Battle Honour

Kite Baloon aloft from RFA Canning

Kite Balloon aloft from RFA Canning at the Dardenelles in 1915
© IWM SP528

RFA Canning

RFA Canning off Salonika in November 1915
© IWM SP515

12 December 1915 sailed Kephalo

13 December 1915 sailed Kephalo returning to the anchorage later the same day

14 December 1915 sailed Kephalo returning to the anchorage later the same day

17 December 1915 returned to Kephalo anchorage

18 December 1915 sailed Kephalo

21 December 1915 returned to Kephalo anchorage escorted by HMS WOLVERINE

22 December 1915 sailed Kephalo

31 December 1915 Merchant Navy Seamen E O'Connor, A Kelly and T Flahery remained ashore at the end of their leave and when they returned to the ship were drunk

1 January 1916 anchored at Salonika 

3 January 1916 Seamen O'Connor, Kelly and Flahery all forfeitted 2 days pay and also sentenced to ten days cells each

17 April 1916 sailed Salonika to Porto Lagos - Ballon up spotting for HMS EARL OF PETERBOROUGH

Earl of Peterborough 01


18 April 1916 sailed Porto Lagos to Salonika and anchored

20 April 1916 Royal Naval Defaulter Fegan and Gibson absent over leave by 24 hours sentenced to forfeit 8 days pay

28 May 1916 at Port Mudros berthed alongside HMS ARK ROYAL. Ratings from HMS ARK ROYAL employed on moving cargo from RFA CANNING and loading into Lighter K7

27 June 1916 service as a Kit Balloon Ship at Mudros ended

1916 on return to the UK brought the wreckage of German Army Zeppelin LZ85, which had been shot down on 5 May 1916 over Salonika by HMS AGAMEMNON, back to Barrow in Furness

1 January 1917 the Pink List details CANNING as a Kite Balloon ship being at Scapa Flow and other Home Ports

30 June 1917 the Pink List details CANNING as a Kite Balloon ship being at Scapa Flow and other Home Ports

1917 became a Depot Ship at Scapa Flow

December 1917 Warrant Engineer Edgar Ashworth RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

2 January 1918 the Pink List details CANNING being at Scapa Flow

24 May 1918 Acting Lieutenant Commander Vivian L Wiles RNR appointed in command

1 July 1918 at Scapa Flow on buoys unloading empty gas cylinders to RFA RUTHENIA

15 July 1918 sailed from Scapa Flow to Longhope berthing alongside HMS ASSISTANCE

18 July 1918 cast off from HMS ASSISTANCE and secured to buoys at Longhope

11 November 1918 the Pink List of this day details CANNING as attached to the Grand Fleets Flying Squadron along with HMS's FURIOUS, ARGUS, VINDICTIVE, NAIRANA and PEGASUS

3 March 1919 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

6 March 1919 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

13 March 1919 berthed at  Portsmouth Harbour

1919 returned to previous owners

21 January 1920 purchased for £100,000 by Madame G. Visalia (J. Vassilou, Manager) Piraeus and renamed OKEANOS

December 1924 purchased by Ditta Luigi Pittaluga Vapori, Genoa and renamed ARENZANO

2nd Quater 1925 broken up at Genoa, Italy


Notes: -

1. Was awarded the Battle Honour - Dardanelles 1915



Ships of the same name


Canning. (ex Golconda) A Troopship of the Royal Indian Marine, 2,246 tons, 370 x 36 feet built by Inglis and launched on the 15 November 1882.



Additional information

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