RFA Polgowan




Previous name:                      Macedonia
Subsequent name:                 Meropi, Triaina  

Official Number:                     139057                                                        

Class:                                   Distilling Ship /  Fleet Messenger / Collier

Pennant No:                           Y4.22 / Y3.1499

Laid down:
Builder:                                  Swan Hunter, Wallsend
Launched:                              15 June 1900
Into Service:                           1915
Out of service:                        1922

Fate:                                        Broken up

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



15 June 1900 launched by  C.S. Swan & Hunter Ltd, Wallsend as Yard Nr: 253 named MACEDONIA for Messrs A.C. de Freitas & Co, Hamburg

26 July 1900 completed and taken over as one of the fourteen ships in the de Freitas Fleet by Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt, Hamburg name unchanged

15 December 1900 sailed Sunderland for Lisbon

21 February 1901 sailed Montevideo for Hamburg

18 November 1901 arrived at Gefle from Swinemunde

20 December 1901 sailed Sunderland for Bordeaux

19 January 1902 on passage from Bilbao to Middlesborough

25 January 1902 arrived at Blyth from Middlesborough

27 January 1902 sailed Blyth for Bordeaux

22 September 1902 arrived at Maderia while on passage from Bueno Ayries to Hamburg

22 January 1903 arrived at Dunkirk while on passage from Bahia Blanca to Cuxhaven

30 January 1903 arrivd at Cuxhaven

14 January 1904 arrived at the River Plate from Hamburg

24 February 1904 arrived at Port Said while on passage from London to Bombay

29 February 1904 sailed Aden while on passage from London to Bombay

6 May 1904 sailed Marseilles while on passage from London to Sydney, NSW

5 June 1904 arrived at Adelaide

30 June 1904 sailed Melbourne while on passage from Sydney to London

4 July 1904 sailed Fremantle while on passage from Sydney to London

15 July 1904 sailed Colombo while on passage from Sydney to London

26 July 1904 arrived at Suez while on passage from Sydney to London

28 March 1915 captured off Las Palmas by HMS GLOUCESTER, acquired by the Admiralty and renamed POLGOWAN

HMS Gloucester 1909


June 1915 to February 1917 served as a Fleet Messenger

28 October 1915 anchored at Kephalo Bay, Imbros with a working party from HMS ARK ROYAL onboard drawing naval stores

1 January 1916 pink list location shows her to be a Water Carrier under the orders of the Vice Admiral, Eastern Mediterrean

23 February 1917 became collier Y3.1499 under management of A.W. Pickard & Co, London

3 March 1918 sighted by HMS PERTH while the later was on the Perim Patrol

27 December 1918 stopped and boarded by the 2nd Class Cruiser HMS JUNO off Aden - allowed to proceed

21 February 1919 sailed Port Pirie to Colombo

1919 ceded to Great Britain; owners became Shipping Controller under management of  Union Castle Mail Steamship Co Ltd, London name unchanged

11 March 1919 arrived at Colombo from Fremantle

1 May 1919 sailed Aden for Fremantle, Australia

27 May 1919 whilst lying at Fremantle and carrying explosives, she caught fire aft and was only saved by the efforts of some of her crew to get the fire under control

1 June 1919 sailed Freemantle, Australia for Colombo

26 June 1919 arrived at Columbo, Ceylon

6 September 1919 arrived at Plymouth from Freemantle

25 February 1920 at an Investiture at Buckingham Palace H.M. the King invested 3rd Officer Ralph James the silver medal of the Board of Trade medal for gallantry in saving life at sea and 2nd Officer Charles Fielding the bronze medal of the Board of Trade medal for gallantry in saving life at sea for their actions on 27 May 1919 when the ship caught fire.



3rd Officer Ralph H James SGM

26 February 1920 the Times newspaper reported ...

Times Press Report 26 2 1920

26 March 1920 sailed Barry, Wales for Port Said

10 April 1920 arrived at Port Said

17 April 1920 sailed from Port Said

3 June 1920 sailed West Hartlepool for Hampton Roads

21 June 1920 arrived at Norfolk Virginia

22 August 1920 arrived at Trieste from New York

12 October 1920 sailed the River Tyne for Port Said

14 November 1920 arrived at Port Said

28 November 1920 arrived at Aden from Port Said

17 December 1920 arrived Colombo from Port Said

7 March 1921 arrived at Suez from Batavia for Port Said

24 May 1921 arrived at Quebec, Canada from Rotterdam

15 August 1921 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

10 September 1921 arrived at Montreal from Antwerp

30 October 1921 arrived at Methil from Hamburg

3 November 1921 offered for sale in the Times this day 'as she lies' at Methil

28 December 1921 sold to the European Shipping Co. Ltd. (Arcadius Rappoport, manager), London

1922 bought by Const.D.Calafatis and renamed MEROPI under Greek registry

16 August 1922 sailed Sunderland for Santos

21 September 1922 berthed at Montreal, Canada with 800 tons of Welsh coal as cargo

29 June 1923 berthed at Boston with 5480 tons of Welsh coal

20 November 1925 berthed at Boston from Swansea with a cargo of coal

1928 sold to Geo.Christos Lemos & Michael.A.Georgilis and renamed TRIAINA under Greek registry

23 September 1933 ran aground at Cape Papas when bound for Theodosia to Patras with a cargo of wheat

26 September 1933 refloated after lightening her load by some 300 tons and sailed to Patras

December 1936 sold for scrap

1937 broken up at Dalmuir by W.H.Arnott Young & Co Ltd. Douglas and Ramsey bought TRIAINA in order to scrap her to qualify for finance towards their new ship DARLENY (5,205/37) under the British Shipping (Assistance) Act of 1935, the ‘Scrap and Build Scheme’.


Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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