RFA Ruthenia
RFA_Ruthenia2
 

 

Previous name:                    Lake Champlain HMS King George V (dummy battleship)

Subsequent name:               Regina, Choran Maru    

Official Number:                   110650                                                     

Class:                                  Stores Ship / Water Carrier / Oiler

Pennant No:                         X06 / X60

Laid down:
Builder:                                Barclay Curle & Company, Glasgow
Launched:                            31 March 1900
Into Service:                         1915
Out of service:                      1942 (but see below)
Fate:                                    Scuttled at Singapore during Japanese invasion. Salvaged, repaired and used as Japanese troopship

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:

 

She was originally built as a passenger ship for commercial owners and had the distinction of being the first British liner to leave on a North Atlantic crossing with a permanently-installed W/T set up. On the outbreak of WW1 she was initially requisitioned then later purchased by the Admiralty whom she served in a variety of roles before ending her days as an oil fuel jetty and pumping station at Singapore, where she was deliberately scuttled on the Japanese invasion

 

31 March 1900  launched by Barclay Curle & Co Ltd, Whiteinch as Yard Nr: 422 named LAKE CHAMPLAIN for the Beaver Line Service to Canada of Elder Dempster & Co Ltd, Liverpool. The nominal owners were the British & African Steam Navigation Co Ltd.

4 May 1900 completed. Carried 100 x 1st, 80 x 2nd and 500 x Steerage Class passengers

15 May 1900 sailed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal

12 June 1900 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal and Quebec

19 June 1900 sailed from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal

27 June 1900 passed Cape Race

24 July 1900 sailed from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal. Captain William Stewart was Master

25 July 1900 passed Malin Head

7 August 1900 at Montreal Trimmer Michael Clarke discharged dead - drowned

28 August 1900 sailed  from Liverpool for Quebec and Montreal

14 September 1900 sailed Montreal for Liverpool

2 October 1900 sailed from Liverpool for Quebec and Montreal

11 October 1900 at 50.00N 59.30W passenger Anna Olsen discharged dead - appendicitus

6 November 1900 sailed from Liverpool for Quebec and Montreal

20 November 1900 at 52.32N 18.03W Able Seaman William J Scott discharged dead - fell down the hold

12 December 1900 The Royal Canadian Regiment embarked at Liverpool and sailed for Canada via Queenstown, Ireland

8 January 1901 arrived at Queenstown from Halifax and St. Johns

22 January 1901 sailed  from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal

19 February 1901 when on passage from St John, NB to Liverpool passed Brow Head

16 April 1901 sailed from Liverpool to Quebec

21 May 1901 she made history by leaving Liverpool as the first British liner to leave on a North Atlantic crossing with a permanently-installed wireless telegraphy setup. Among the passengers were a number of Mennonite immigrants. 

2 June 1901 berthed at Quebec, PQ

7 June 1901 sailed Montreal for Liverpool

14 June 1901 when on passage from Montreal for Queenstown and Liverpool passed Brow Head

17 June 1901 arrived at Liverpool

18 June 1901 the Times newspaper reported ...

Times Press report 1901 Ruthenia

25 June 1901 sailed from Liverpool for Quebec and Montreal

26 June 1901 when on passage from Liverpool for Quebec and Montreal passed Brow Head

 

LakeChamplain-02x

 

30 July 1901 sailed from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal

11 September 1901 when on passage from Liverpool for Montreal passed Fame Point

14 September 1901 at Montreal General Hospital Steward Herbert Preston discharged dead - natural causes

26 October 1901 at Montreal Steward Alfred Eccles discharged dead - fractured skull

6 May 1902 sailed from Liverpool to Quebec

17 May 1902 berthed at Montreal from Liverpool

17 June 1902 passed Cape Race while on passage from Liverpool for Monteal

20 July 1902 at 54.35N 44.52W passenger Leiser Friedman (infant) discharged dead - natural causes

19 August 1902 sailed Liverpool

25 August 1902 passed Cape Magdelen while on passage from Liverpool for Monteal

23 September 1902 sailed Liverpool to Quebec arriving 2 October 1902. Among the passengers were a number of Mennonite immigrants.

3 October 1902 sailed Monteal to Liverpool

7 November 1902 at Quebec passenger Julianne Damer (child) discharged dead - natural causes

28 December 1902 at 44.00N 54.19W passenger H W Russell discharged dead - pneumonia

1902 she was taken up for Boer War Transport duties to South Africa

5 January 1903 at Liverpool Able Seaman Edward Newman discharged dead - drowned

6 April 1903 ownership passed to Canadian Pacific Railway Co, Liverpool - name unchanged

14 April 1903 made her first Canadian Pacific sailing

25 April 1903 due to heavy ice preventing her berthing at Montreal put into Halifax. The Captain reported that he had made several attempts to force a passage through the Gulf, but was driven back by ice; after two days of vain efforts trying to get through he decided to make for Halifax

25 April 1903 at Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbour passenger Martha Lutowska (child) discharged dead - natural causes

29 May 1903 at 47.30N 59.15W passenger Fanny Woodcock discharged dead - natural causes

24 June 1903 passed Rathlin Island while on passage from Liverpool to Montreal

28 July 1903 sailed Liverpool for Canada

10 November 1903 sailed Liverpool for Canada

8 December 1903 berthed at Liverpool from St. John, New Brunswick, Canada

22 December 1903 sailed Liverpool for Canada

18 March 1904 at 54.05N 20.30W passenger William Summerfield discharged dead - he fell or jumped overboard - drowned

13 April 1904 berthed at Liverpool from St John, New Brunswick, Canada

13 May 1904 at Montreal Trimmer Jaz Kelly discharged dead - drowned

19 June 1904 berthed at Liverpool from Quebec, Canada

2 October 1904 berthed at Liverpool from Canada

7 February 1905 sailed from Liverpool for St John's NB

17 August 1905 at 48.50N 63.30W passenger Alberta Ball (infant) discharged dead - natural causes

20 September 1905 at 46.41N 52.39W Assistant Steward George Skillicorn discharged dead - pneumonia

9 October 1905 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal and Quebec

13 November 1905 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal and Quebec

13 December 1905 at 44.15N 53.40W passenger Peter Teies discharged dead - pneumonia

1906 converted to carry 150 x 2nd and 1000 x 3rd Class passengers

 

LakeChamplain

 

27 January 1906 at 50.50N 24.04W passenger William Walbourne discharged dead - natural causes

30 January 1906 berthed at Liverpool from St John New Brunswick with 83 passengers

13 February 1906 sailed Liverpool for Canada

19 February 1906 at 50.30N 32.00W passenger Edward John Drew (infant) discharged dead - natural causes

5 March 1906 sailed Haliafx to Liverpool arriving 15 March 1906

8 May 1906 sailed Liverpool for Canada

19 May 1906 berthed at Quebec from Liverpool

21 November 1906 sailed Liverpool with 77 immigrants organised by the Salvation Army

20 Deccember 1906 at 52.08N 6.18W passenger Thomas H Morton discharged dead - tuberculosis

21 January 1907 at 42.18N 60.00W passenger Nils Anderson dischared dead - missing at sea presumed drowned

13 February 1907 sailed Liverpool for Canada with a party of immigrants organised by the Salvation Army

27 March 1907 sailed Liverpool for Belfast

28 March 1907 sailed Belfast for St John's NB

30 March 1907 at 54.49N 17.26W passenger William Cheeseman discharged dead - jumped overboard and was drowned

8 May 1907 sailed Liverpool to Canada

19 June 1907 sailed Liverpool for Quebec and Montreal

30 June 1907 arrived at Montreal

31 July 1907 sailed Liverpool to Canada with a party of 176 immigrants from Woolwich

23 October 1907 sailed Liverpool to Canada

10 November 1907 off Richeleau River, St Lawrence passenger William Sherman discharged dead - found hanged

26 February 1908 sailed Liverpool to Canada

1 March 1908 at 54.22N 20.10W passenger Alice Curwen discharged dead - cardiac failure

8 April 1908 sailed Liverpool to Canada

1 June 1908 berthed at Quebec from Liverpool

28 November 1908 at 51.15N 30.40W passenger James Jenkins discharged dead - natural causes

7 May 1909 damaged by ice and put into St John's, Newfoundland

21 July 1909 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal and Quebec

31 August 1909 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal & Quebec, Canada with 142 passengers

16 March 1910 sailed Liverpool for St Johns, NB

11 April 1910 at 54.58N 14.44W passenger Mary Green (child) discharged dead - natural causes

19 June 1910 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal and Quebec

5 September 1910 at 54o38'N 44o36'W passenger Elizabeth Jane Glynn (infant) discharged dead - natural causes

April 1911 in collision with an iceberg which caused little damage and she proceeded to St  John’s, Nova Scotia

27 April 1911 sailed Liverpool for Canadian ports

25 May 1911 sailed Liverpool for Canadian ports

23 June 1911 sailed Liverpool for Quebec, Canada

18 July 1911 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal, Canada with 311 passengers. Captain G Webster was the Master

20 July 1911 sailed Liverpool for Canadian ports

17 August 1911 sailed Liverpool for Canadian ports

14 September 1911 sailed Liverpool for Canadian ports

12 October 1911 sailed Liverpool for Canadian ports

9 November 1911 sailed Liverpool for Canadian ports

25 April 1912 sailed Liverpool to Belfast, Quebec and Montreal, Canada with 337 passengers. Captain H G Kendall was Master

26 April 1912 sailed Belfast

25 May 1912 sailed Liverpool to Belfast, Quebec and Montreal, Canada with 710 passengers. Captain H G Kendall was Master

17 June 1912 at 50.41N 40.17W passenger Elizabeth McCallum discharged dead - heart failure

26 June 1912 sailed Liverpool to Belfast, Quebec and Montreal, Canada with 583 passengers. Captain H G Kendall was Master

3 July 1912 when on passage to Montreal from Liverpool signalled Cape Race when 70 nmiles to the east

25 July 1912 sailed Liverpool to Belfast, Quebec and Montreal, Canada with 440 passengers. Captain H G Kendall was Master

3 September 1912 grounded opposite Dominion Park, Montreal

15 October 1912 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal

19 November 1912 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal, Canada with 599 passengers with Captain H G Kendall as Master

7 March 1913 renamed RUTHENIA after an Austrian Province as her owners had negotiated an agreement with the Austrian State Railways for a passenger and cargo service from Trieste to St John, N.B. and she was transferred to this new run

23 March 1913 at Naples when on passage from Trieste to St Johns

26 March 1913 during an Atlantic crossing saw a very large iceberg at 44o23'N 43o43'W

3 May 1913 sailed Naples for St John N.B.

1 June 1913 at 32o16'N 30o00'W passenger George Paruearas discharged dead - pneumonia

4 June 1913 arrived Quebec, Canada from Trieste

10 July 1913 sailed Trieste for Montreal, Canada

18 July 1913 at 36o20'N 3o21'W passenger George P Peslemesoglon discharged dead from heart failure

24 October 1913 at Naples

24 November 1913 sailed Trieste, Palermo and Naples to Montreal and Quebec

29 November 1913 sailed Montreal

7 December 1913 at 44o48'N 37o27'W pasenger Stefan Naviotsky discharged dead - endocarditis

12 January 1914 sailed Naples for St John NB

7 April 1914 berthed at Liverpool from St Johns, NB., Quebec and Montreal, Canada

16 April 1914 sailed Liverpool to Belfast, Quebec and Montral, Canada with 276 passengers. Captain Henry G Kendall was Master

17 April 1914 sailed Belfast to Quebec and Montral, Canada with 276 passengers. Captain Henry G Kendall was Master

30 April 1914 at Montreal, Canada

7 May 1914 sailed Montreal

19 May 1914 passed the Old Head of Kinsail

20 May 1914 berthed at Liverpool from Quebec and Montreal, Canada with 59 passengers

1 July 1914 arrived at Montreal from Antwerp

August 1914 was hired by the Admiralty for service as a British Expeditionary Force transport and was renamed REGINA for a short while

22 August 1914 while sea at 38.50N 9.06E Labourer Alonzi Allessandro discharged dead - jumped over the side and drowned

13 September 1914 sailed Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal, Canada with 117 passengers. Captain J Gillies was Master

29 September 1914 17th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) embarked with a compliment of 39 officers and 717 other ranks, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel S.G. Robertson and sailed on 3 October 1914

5 October 1914 at 46.05N 53.48W Private James Nichols, Royal Warwickshire Regiment discharged dead - suffering from Ludwig's Angina

14 October 1914 arrived at Plymouth and the Canadian troops disembarked at Devonport on 21 October 1914

4 November 1914 she arrived Belfast for conversion into the Dummy Battleship HMS KING GEORGE V and on completion of conversion was based at Loch Ewe.

6 July 1915 she paid off at Govan on disbandment of the DBS Squadron, was converted into a Stores Ship and Water Carrier and served at Scapa Flow under her previous name RUTHENIA.

20 October 1915 Engineer Lieutenant Commander William Gibb RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 January 1916 at Govan fitting our for service in the Mediterrean

5 January 1916 Lieutenant Alexander C Birch RNR appointed in command

Captain Alexander Cecil BIRCH

Lieutenant Alexander C Birch RNR

29 January 1916 she was purchased outright by the Admiralty

13 December 1916 at Scapa Flow sailors from HMS RENOWN onboard drawing Naval Stores

2 April 1918 Stoker John Laverick and Stoker Alexander Moore both circulated in the Police Gazette of this day on page 6 for desertion on 17 March 1918

6 June 1918 at Scapa Flow with a working party from HMS COMMONWEALTH drawing Naval Stores

HMS Commonwealth

HMS COMMONWEALTH

1918 was fitted with cylindrical tanks to carry 5,000 tons of oil

24 March 1919 at anchor at Longhope, Scapa Flow with NAV ISLEFORD alongside

15 September 1919 alongside on No: 1 Jetty at Devonport

15 December 1919 secured to No: 2 buoy at Devonport

1919 as an oiler and was sent to the China Station where she spent the winters at Hong Kong and the summers at Wei-Hai-Wei.

28 June 1920 Mr Thomas Perrett RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 July 1920 Captain Percival Skone-Rees RFA appointed as Master

 

PSR

Captain Percival Skone-Rees RFA

 

8 April 1921 at Hong Kong berthed alongside HMS CURLEW to replenish her

HMS CURLEW

HMS CURLEW

18 April 1921 at Hong Kong berthed alongside HMS HAWKINS to replenish her

 

HMS HAWKINS 1920

HMS HAWKINS
kindly donated by Alan Clarke

6 October 1921 at Woosung berthed alongside HMS CURLEW to replenish her

16 October 1921 at Vine Point with HMS MANTIS alongside

3 November 1921 at Woosung Roads

6 April 1922 at Hong Kong alongside HMS DURBAN to replenish her

26 April 1922 at Hong Kong with HMS HAWKINS alongside

11 May 1922 arrived at Wei-Hai-Wei - details of her arrival in the log book of HMS AMBROSE

12 May 1922 at Wei-Hai-Wei alongside HMS CURLEW to refuel her

17 May 1922 at Wei-Hai-Wei alongside HMS HAWKINS and oiled her

5 July 1922 at Wei-Hai-Wei alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

19 July 1922 alongside HMS CURLEW to refuel her

11 July 1922 sailed from Wei-Hai-Wei

29 August 1922 at Hong Kong entered dry dock

28 September 1922 at Hong Kong with HMS HOLLYHOCK alongside

1 February 1923 at Hong Kong HMS TARANTULA came alongside to be refuelled

14 February 1923 at Hong Kong HMS TARANTULA came alongside to be refuelled

17 April 1923 at Hong Kong HMS TARANTULA came alongside to be refuelled

7 June 1923 at Wei-Hai-Wei Naval Hospital Fitter To Far discharged dead having suffered from smallpox. He had signed on at Hong Kong on 17 May 1923

27 June 1923 at Wei-Hai-Wei received stores party onboard from HMS DURBAN then moved alongside HMS DESPATCH causing damage to the cruiser

13 and 14 August 1923 at Wei-Hai-Wei received stores party onboard from HMS DURBAN and a stores party from HMS AMBROSE returned 'empties'

20 August 1923 sailed Wei-Hai-Wei 

5 September 1923 at Hong Kong HMS TARANTULA came alongside to be refuelled

16 June 1924 Captain Richard D Williams RFA appointed as Master

Captain Richard D Williams

Captain Richard D Williams RFA

5 December 1924 Hong Kong Police searched the ship resulting in a large quantity of opium valued at $4,000 being seized. Two members of the crew - a sailor and a fireman were taken into custody to be charged before the local Magistrate in due course

1927 she was laid up at Singapore with worn out boilers and converted for service as an oil fuel jetty and pumping station at the Woodlands Naval Tank Storage facility near the Johore Causeway

11 February 1929 Captain Eric Parker RFA appointed as Master until 28 March 1929

Captain Eric Parker

Captain Eric Parker RFA

16 January 1940 at Singapore with RFA PEARLEAF (1) alongside her and with HMS FALMOUTH alongside being refuelled by Pearleaf

21 October 1940 at Singapore with HMAS VOYAGER alongside to refuel

6 December 1941 at Singapore with the tanker British Judge alongside and HMAS MANOORA outboard being refuelled

10 December 1941 at Singapore with HMAS MARYBOROUGH alongside to refuel

16 February 1942 was deliberately scuttled on the Japanese invasion but was raised by them and she was named CHORAN MARU

2 March 1943 at Seletar Naval Base her tanks were removed, primitive accommodation was added

10 June 1943 change in accomodation complete. Registered in the Kure Naval District as a specially installed transport ship (oil supply)

26 June 1943 sailed Singapore

28 June 1943 arrived Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

1 July 1943 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

5 July 1943 berthed at Singapore to discharge

16 July 1943 sailed Singapore

17 July 1943 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

22 July 1943 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

24 July 1943 berthed at Singapore to discharge

5 August 1943 sailed Singapore

6 August 1943 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

8 August 1943 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

10 August 1943 berthed at Singapore to discharge

18 August 1943 sailed Singapore

19 August 1943 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

19 January 1944 berthed at Singapore to discharge

27 January 1944 sailed Singapore

28 January 1944 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

30 January 1944 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

1 February 1944 berthed at Singapore to discharge

6 February 1944 sailed Singapore

7 February 1944 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

9 February 1944 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

11 February 1944 berthed at Singapore to discharge

15 February 1944 sailed Singapore

16 February 1944 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

19 February 1944 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

20 February 1944 arrives at Kepuluan Lingga

24 February 1944 sailed Linggua

25 February 1944 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

27 February 1944 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

1 March 1944 arrives at Lingga anchorage

3 March 1944 sailed Linggua

4 March 1944 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

7 March 1944 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

9 March 1944 berthed at Singapore to discharge

12 March 1944 sailed Singapore

13 March 1944 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

15 March 1944 sailed Palembang, Sumatra 

17 March 1944 arrives at Lingga anchorage

19 March 1944 sailed Linggua

20 March 1944 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

22 March 1944 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

24 March 1944 arrives at Lingga anchorage

26 March 1944 sailed Linggua

28 March 1944 arrived at Palembang, Sumatra to load fuel oil

31 March 1944 sailed Palembang, Sumatra

1 April 1944 underwent modifications at Singapore

1945 was recovered by the Royal Navy at Singapopre and was used to transport POW's and her name reverted to RUTHENIA

30 October 1946 she ran aground off Pladjoe in the Moesi River and 3 attempts were made by the tugs EMPIRE COURIER and GRIPER to pull her off

12 November 1946 she was finally refloated with the united efforts of 3 tugs, an Indonesian dredger and much heavy ground tackle and repairs were effected

22 May 1947 sailed Singapore to Kure with 5,000 Japanese Prisoners of War as passengers

6 August 1947 loaded a further 5,500 Japanese Prisoners of War at Singapore for the third repatriation trip of prisoners of war to Japan

12 March 1949 after serving at Vladivostock, she returned to Singapore and was sold to BISCO for scrap.

3 April 1949  sailed Singapore in tow of the tug ENGLISHMAN  

18 June 1949 arrived at Dalmuir for partial breaking up by W.H. Arnott Young & Co Ltd.

18 July 1949 was towed to Troon for final demolition

 

Notes:

When Elder Dempster sold their Canadian interests (Beaver Line) to the Canadian Pacific Railway Co for the sum of £1,417,500, a total of 14 ships plus 3 tugs were involved in the deal and these were as follows: LAKE CHAMPLAIN (RUTHENIA), LAKE ERIE (SAXOL), LAKE MANITOBA, LAKE MICHIGAN, MILWAUKEE, MONTCALM (CRENELLA), MONTEAGLE, MONTEREY, MONTEZUMA (ABADOL), MONTORT, MONTREAL, MOUNT ROYAL (RANGOL), MOUNT TEMPLE & MONTROSE and the 3 Liverpool tugs AFRICAN, BEAVER & OTTER

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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