CAPE SABLE 831

Cape_Sable-02

 

 

Previous name:                  to be named Knight Batchelor. HMS Cape Sable

Subsequent name:              Eastern Venture     Gema    

Official Number:                 167641                                                           

Class:                               Special Service Freighter - Q ship    

Pennant No:                      X44   F112 

Laid down:                        1929    
Builder:                             Lithgows   
Launched:                         12 February 1936                 
Into Service:                     19 September 1939     
Out of service:                   May 1942
Fate:                                Broken up 1968

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:   In 1939 Winston Churchill gave authority for a number of merchantmen to be requisitioned for service as Q-ships, although for security purposes they were referred to as Special service Freighters. A fleet of 9 small mainly coal-burning vessels were acquired , 6 for deep-sea work and 3 for coastal work. All were commissioned as HM ships under their original names but were given RFA cover names and on entering harbour and while in harbour they wore the Blue Ensign, behaved as RFA’s and adopted the RFA commercial practices. None of them was really suitable for their intended roles and met with a complete lack of success. Their Q-ship service officially ended on 2 March 1941

 

 

1929 ordered by Newport Line (Pardoe-Thomas & Co Ltd, Managers) Newport as KNIGHT BACHELOR but construction was halted on the stocks as the owners found themselves to be over-committed due to the onset of the Depression

12 February 1936 launched by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow as Yard Nr 831 named CAPE SABLE for Lyle Shipping Co Ltd, Glasgow

25 March 1936 completed at a cost of £63,040

13 June 1937 berthed at Liverpool

27 July 1937 arrived at Bahia, Brazil

13 January 1938 berthed at Liverpool

22 January 1938 sailed Liverpool

8 February 1938 arrived at Maranham, Brazil

23 March 1938 berthed at Liverpool

30 March 1938 sailed Liverpool

1 April 1939 at St Georges Hospital, Bombay Fireman Mohamed Ahmed discharged dead from Apoplexy

2 August 1939 arrived at Suez

16 August 1939 reported to Niton Radio she was on passage to Finland

2 September 1939 sailed Copenhagen independently to the Tyne arriving on 4 September 1939

September 1939 taken over by the Admiralty as a Q ship for conversion into a Special Service Freighter at Portsmouth Dockyard

19 September 1939 commissioned as HMS CAPE SABLE

21 September 1939 Act. Commander R S Barry Royal Navy appointed in command

3 December 1939 conversion completed. Cover name RFA CYPRUS.Complement 90. Armed with 7 x single 4-inch guns, 4 x Lewis machine guns, 4 x single 21-inch torpedo tubes, 100 x depth charges and was fitted with Asdic

4 March 1940 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

14 March 1940 sailed for Gibraltar after work-up in the Solent area

29 March 1940 arrived Gibraltar then ranged around as far as Bermuda, Sierra Leone, Simonstown, Durban and finally Colombo

29 December 1940 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard

30 December 1940 docked in Selborne Graving Dock in Simonstown Dockyard

4 January 1941 undocked from Selborne Graving Dock in Simonstown Dockyard

16 January 1941 sailed from Simonstown Dockyard

5 March 1941 commissioned as an Armed Merchant Cruiser at Colombo

16 March 1941 First Radio Officer James Badcock, Naval Auxiliary, discharged dead. He is remembered with pride on the Liverpool Naval Memorial

17 May 1941 arrived at Cape Town from Aden

22 May 1941 sailed Cape Town to Freetown

17 January 1942 at Sullom Voe with HMS CALPE and AMC CITY OF DURHAM

29 January 1942 sailed from Sullom Voe with AMC CITY OF DURHAM and HMS CALPE in operation EM. The ships were signed by German aircraft on 30 January 1942 and on 1 February 1942. The operation was cancelled

9 March 1942 arrived Tyne to be reconditioned for return to commercial service

11 March 1942 transferred to MoWT control

20 June 1942 sailed the Tyne in convoy FN 747 to Methil arriving on 1 July 1942

1 July 1942 sailed Methil in convoy EN 105 to Loch Ewe arriving on 3 July 1942

6 July 1942 joined escorted convoy ON 110 which had sailed Liverpool on 6 July 1942 to St Johns Newfoundland arriving 27 July 1942 and arrived at New York City on the 29 July 1942

29 July 1942 sailed New York City independently to Hampton Roads arriving on the 31 July 1942

19 August 1942 sailed Hampton Roads in convoy KS 532 to Key West arriving on the 25 August 1942

26 August 1942 sailed Key West in convoy WAT 17 to Guantanamo arriving on 31 August 1942

31 August 1942 sailed Guantanamo in convoy GAT 1 to Trinidad arriving on 7 September 1942

10 September 1942 sailed Trinidad independently to Cape Town arriving on 8 October 1942

10 October 1942 sailed Cape Town independently to Durban arriving on 15 October 1942

3 November 1942 sailed Durban independently to Bombay arriving on 19 November 1942

23 November 1942 sailed Bombay independently to Karachi arriving on 26 November 1942

24 December 1942 sailed Karachi independently to Bombay 

30 December 1942 sailed Bombay independently to Durban arriving on 21 January 1943

23 January 1943 sailed Durban in convoy DN 12 - the convoy dispersed on 25 January 1943

25 January 1943 arrived at Lourenco Marques

26 January 1943 sailed Lourenco Marques independently to Durban arriving on 29 January 1943 joining convoy DC 3 to Cape Town arriving on 2 February 1943

9 February 1943 sailed Cape Town in convoy CN 6 which dispersed on 11 February 1943 then sailing independetly to Freetown arriving on 26 February 1943

12 March 1943 sailed Freetown in convoy SL 126 to Liverpool and then on to Loch Ewe arriving on 4 April 1943. RFA FORTOL was the escort tanker in this convoy. Three of this convoy were sunk from enemy attack and one was damaged

6 April 1943 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy WN 412 to Methil arriving on 8 April 1943

9 April 1943 sailed Methil in convoy FS 1095 to Hull arriving the next day. RFA SCOTTISH AMERICAN was in the same convoy

24 April 1943 sailed hull and joined convoy FN 1003 to Methil arriving on 26 April 1943

27 April 1943 sailed Methil in convoy EN 221A to Loch Ewe arriving on 30 April 1943

8 May 1943 sailed Oban and joined convoy ONS7 to Halifax arriving on 25 May 1943 - one ship in this convoy was sunk by enemy U-Boat attack

16 June 1943 sailed Halifax in convoy SC134 to Liverpool arriving on 1 July 1943 

28 July 1943 sailed Liverpool in convoy KMS 22G to Gibraltar arriving on the 9 August 1943 and continued onto Algiers in the renumbered convoy KMS 22 arriving on 12 August 1943

21 August 1943 sailed Algiers joining convoy KMS 23 to Tunis arriving on 23 August 1943 - RFA EMPIRE SALVAGE sailed from Algiers and joined this same convoy but continued onto Birzerta

26 August 1943 at the oil jetty, La Coulette, Tunisia 4th Engineer J B R Forbes discharged dead - drowned

5 September 1943 sailed Tunis independently to Birzerta arriving the same day

20 September 1943 sailed Bizerta and joined convoy MKS 25 to Gibraltar arriving on 25 September 1943. RFA PRESTOL was part of this convoy from Bone to Philipeville

27 September 1943 sailed Gibraltar in convoy OS 55 to Casablanca arriving the next day - RFA SCOTTISH AMERICAN was the escort oiler and joined this convoy at Casablanca

17 October 1943 sailed Casablanca in convoy OS 56 to Freetown arriving on 28 October 1943

31 October 1943 sailed Freetown in convoy STL 5 to Takoradi arriving on 5 November 1943

10 November 1943 sailed Takoradi independently to Freetown arriving on 15 November 1943

22 November 1943 sailed Freetown in convoy SL141 to Loch Ewe arriving on 16 December 1943.  RFA SCOTTISH AMERICAN was the escort oiler for this convoy

16 December 1943 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy WN 519 to Methil arriving on 18 December 1943

3 January 1944 sailed Methil in convoy FS 1320 to the River Tyne arriving the next day 

23 January 1944 sailed the River Tyne joing convoy FN 1244 to Methil arriving the next day

25 January 1943 sailed Methil in convoy EN 338 to Loch Ewe

12 February 1944 sailed Loch Ewe and joined convoy ONS 29 but broke down and returned to the River Clyde arriving  on 17 February 1944

27 February 1944 after repairs sailed the River Clyde and joined convoy ONS 30 to Halifax and the convoy XB 100 from Halifax to Boston arriving at the Cape Cod Canal on 15 March 1944

15 March 1944 sailed the Cape Cod Canal independently to New York City arriving the next day

22 March 1944 sailed New York City in the unescorted convoy NG 424 to Guantanamo arriving 29 March 1944

29 March 1944 sailed Guantanamo independently to Cape Trujillo arriving on 1 April 1944

2 April 1944 sailed Cape Trujillo independently to La Romana arriving the next day

12 April 1944 sailed Macoris independently to Guantanamo arriving on 14 April 1944

18 April 1944 sailed Guantanamo in convoy GN127 to New York arriving on 24 April 1944

27 April 1944 sailed New York in convoy HX 289 to the River Clyde arriving on 14 May 1944

22 June 1944 sailed Methil in convoy FS 1491 to Southend arriving 24 June 1944

12 July 1944 sailed Southend in convoy ETM 34 to Seine Bay arriving the next day

28 July 1944 sailed Seine Bay in convoy FTM 51 to Southend arriving the next day

30 July 1944 sailed Southend in convoy FN 1434 to Methil

15 August 1944 arrived at Southend in convoy FS 1543 from Methil

17 August 1944 sailed Southend in convoy ETM 62 to Seine Bay arriving the next day

29 August 1944 sailed Seine Bay in convoy FTM 76 to Southend arriving the next day

5 September 1944 sailed Southend in convoy FN 1471 to Methil arriving 7 September 1944

8 September 1944 sailed Methil in convoy EN 432 to Loch Ewe arriving 10 September 1944

14 September 1944 arrived at the River Clyde having sailed independently from Loch Ewe

15 October 1944 joined convoy OS 92KM / KMS 66g passing Gibraltar on 26 October 1944 and onward to Augusta arriving on 1 November 1944

5 November 1944 sailed Augusta in convoy VN 75 to Naples arriving the next day

7 November 1944 at Naples Fireman & Trimmer Joseph McInally discharged dead - shock. He is buried in Naples War Cemetery Plot 4 Row A Grave 11

 

McInally J

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

25 November 1944 sailed Naples independently to Augusta arriving the next day

27 November 1944 sailed Augusta independently to Phillippeville arriving on 29 November 1944

1 December 1944 sailed Phillippeville independently to Gibraltar arriving on 4 December 1944

9 December 1944 sailed Gibraltar independently to Rio De Janeiro arriving on 28 December 1944

9 January 1945 sailed Rio de Janeiro independently to Freetown

24 January 1944 sailed Freetown independently to Casablanca arriving on 3 February 1945

4 February 1945 sailed Casablanca independently to Gibraltar arriving the next day 

5 February 1945 sailed Gibraltar in convoy MKS81G to Southend arriving 13 February 1945

14 February 1945 sailed Southend in convoy FN 1633 to Middlesborough arriving the next day 

7 March 1945 sailed Middlesborough and joined convoy FN 1653 to Methil arriving the next day

8 March 1945 sailed Methil in convoy EN 479 to Belfast arriving 12 March 1945. RFA SCOTTISH AMERICAN was in the same convoy

12 March 1945 sailed Belfast Lough in convoy ONS 44 to St John, Newfoundland. RFA SCOTTISH AMERICAN was the escort oiler

30 March 1945 sailed St Johns, Newfoundland in convoy JH 119 to Halifax arriving on 2 April 1945

28 April 1945 sailed Halifax in convoy SC 174 to Milford Haven arriving 15 May 1945

15 May 1945 sailed Milford Haven in convoy BTC 159 to Southend arriving on 18 May 1945

2 June 1945 sailed London independently to Montreal arriving on 25 June 1945

12 July 1945 sailed Montreal independetly to Hamburg arriving 2 August 1945

3 August 1945 sailed Hamburg independently to Barry arriving 7 August 1945

10 August 1945 sailed Barry independently to Quebec arriving 24 August 1945

30 August 1945 sailed Quebec independently to Antwerp arriving 15 September 1945

9 October 1945 sailed Antwerp independently to the River Tyne arriving 11 October 1945

12 October 1945 sailed the River Tyne independently to Bergen, Norway arriving 16 October 1945

27 October 1945 sailed Bergen, Norway independently to Methil arriving 30 October 1945

1 November 1945 sailed Methil independently to Montreal arriving 15 November 1945

21 November 1945 sailed Montreal independetly to Ipswich arriving 8 December 1945

19 December 1945 sailed Ipswich independently to Hull arriving on 21 December 1945

29 April 1946 handed back to the original owners - Lyle Shipping Co

14 November 1947 at Recife, Brazil Bosun Manuel Dopico discharged dead - drowned through an accident

7 January 1948 at sea Assistant Steward Frederick T Nolan discharged dead - enteric fever

1950 converted from coal to oil fired

27 May 1956 at Vancouver

 

Cape Sable at Vancouver

Photograph by Walter E Frost

 

1958 sold to Pan Norse SS Co, Panama for £56,500 and renamed Eastern Venture

15 August 1959 in the Outer Roads at Singapore

2 February 1960 to 9 February 1960 in the Outer Roads at Singapore

9 August 1960 in the Outer Roads at Singapore

29 March 1961 in the Outer Roads at Singapore

17 January 1963 in the Outer Roads at Singapore

1966 managers became Wah Kwong & Co (Hong Kong) Ltd, Hong Kong

1967 purchased by P.T. Gesuri Lloyd, Djakarta and renamed GEMA

16 March 1968 arrived Hirao for demolition

Notes:

  1. This ship was a Q ship - a commissioned Naval vessel which would assume its RFA name on entering harbour to hide its genuine identity. She never served as an RFA.

 

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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