Previous name:
Subsequent name:               Tablada    

Official Number:                    111177                                                        

Class:                                     Submarine Depot Ship

Pennant No:

Laid down:
Builder:                                   Vickers Maxim, Barrow
Launched:                               25 February 1899

Into Service:                            October 1914
Out of service:                         August 1919
Fate:                                        Sold to mercantile interests


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


25 February 1899 launched by Vickers Son & Maxim, Barrow as Yard Nr: 270 named SOKOTO for British and African Steamship Co (Elder, Dempster & Co Ltd, Managers) Liverpool. Named after a province and its chief township in SW Nigeria

April 1899 Completed .71 x 1st Class and  36 x 2nd Class passengers

22 April 1899 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports on her maiden voyage with 42 passengers, 

5 May 1899 grounded while leaving port - refloated after roughly 60 tons of cargo had been jettisoned.

11 May 1899 off Cape Coast Castle F. Taylor a trimmer, when mad with drink, jumped overboard into shark infested waters. Captain C J Mellis and Sailors Andrew Price, Charles Horn, and A J Langley all jumped in and, with their united efforts, managed to rescue the man. All four were awarded the Royal Humane Societies Bronze Medal

rhs medal

Royal Humane Society's Bronze Medal

4 June 1899 off Foroados River Trimmer C Cooke discharged dead - malaria

22 July 1899 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports

14 October 1899 sailed Liverpool to Teneriffe, Sierra Leone and Lagos Nigeria

10 January 1900 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports with 34 passengers

3 March 1900 at 7.32N 13.43W passenger Brother Martin M Kurtz discharged dead from black water fever

4 April 1900 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports

7 June 1900 sailed Plymouth for Liverpool

27 June 1900 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports

12 August 1900 sailed Lagos

19 September 1900 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports

20 November 1900 at 33.21N 13.36W Pilot Brereton P Evans discharged dead from pneumonia

25 November 1900 sailed Plymouth for Liverpool

12 December 1900 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports

4 February 1901 sailed Sierra Leone while on passage from Lagos to Liverpool

17 February 1901 berthed at Liverpool from Lagos

6 March 1901 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports

5 May 1901 sailed Grand Canary

30 May 1901 sailed Liverpool to Grand Canary and West African ports. Captain J Morgan was the Master

10 July 1901 sailed Hull

31 July 1901 at 47.53N 5.09W Cook and Baker John Carr discharged dead - natural causes

21 August 1901 sailed Liverpool to West African ports with 68 passengers

20 October 1901 at 32.00N 13.56W R H Harrison discharged dead from malaria

16 November 1901 sailed Liverpool to West African ports with 75 passengers. Captain J A Windham was the Master

4 January 1902 sailed Lagos for Liverpool

18 January 1902 arrived at Plymouth from Lagos sailing again for Liverpool

23 May 1902 arrived Tacoma from Koba

9 August 1902 sailed Liverpool for Sierra Leone

15 November 1902 sailed Liverpool for Forcados

24 January 1903 sailed Liverpool for Maderia and Accra, Ghana

20 April 1903 arrived at Sekondi from Liverpool

25 May 1903 arrived at Plymouth from West African ports sailing again for Liverpool

12 September 1903 sailed Liverpool for Cameroon

11 November 1903 sailed Lagos for Liverpool

21 November 1903 from Lagos sailed Grand Canaria for Liverpool

2 December 1903 arrived at Liverpool

19 December 1903 sailed Liverpool for Cape Coast, Ghana

4 January 1904 arrived at Sekondi from Liverpool

15 February 1904 sailed Lagos for Liverpool

26 March 1904 sailed Liverpool for Lagos, Nigeria

17 September 1904 arrived at Liverpool

14 January 1905 sailed Liverpool for Calabar, Nigeria

26 April 1905 sailed Liverpool for Cape Coast

9 July 1905 berthed at Liverpool

29 July 1905 sailed Liverpool for West African ports

14 October 1905 arrived at Liverpool from West African ports

1 November 1905 sailed Liverpool

9 November 1905 arrived at Grand Canaria from Liverpool

7 February 1906 sailed from Liverpool for Gran Canaria

3 May 1906 berthed at Liverpool from Sapele, Conakry and Teneriffe with forty eight passengers

21 August 1906 berthed at Liverpool from Sapele and Teneriffe with three passengers

2 September 1906 sailed Liverpool for Montreal

20 September 1906 sailed Montreal, Canada on the owners Canada, Cuba and Mexico service

11 December 1906 berthed at Havana, Cuba with seventeen members of the crew of the Norwegian schooner Wellington which she had picked up at 34.29N 65.40W. The Master, his wife and other crew members had been holding onto the slowly sinking schooner's poop for five days without food or water

3 March 1907 arrived at Halifax from Vera Crux

9 March 1907 ran aground off Louisberg CB  in heavy weather after dragging her anchor. Pulled clear by two tugs

15 March 1908 sailed Port Talbot for Iquique

8 May 1908 sailed Montreal, Canada with cargo for Mexico ports

29 August 1908 sailed Montreal, Canada for Nassau, Bahamas; Havana, Cuba; Tampico, Vera Cruz and Progreso, Mexico

1 December 1908 sailed Iquique for a UK port

15 February 1909 berthed at Newport News with a fire in the hold

17 February 1909 fire extinguished. Ship moved to receive bunkers and then to sail to St. John's, New Brunswick

6 March 1909 at 36.20N 07.29W Able Seaman Louis Davis discharged dead - suicide

7 June 1909 sailed Quebec

19 June 1909 sailed Montreal

18 July 1909 sailed Vigo

24 January 1910 sailed Puerto Mexico

15 March 1910 sailed Newport News after loading bunkers and discharging two passengers

15 June 1911 berthed at Montreal, Canada having sailed from Mexico

5 November 1911 berthed at Montreal, Canada

11 May 1912 the ships Master - Captain J Pierce appeared before a Court in Norfolk, Virginia this day and pleaded Not Guilty to a charge brought by a Grand Jury alledging that the Sokoto had sailed without 'proper wireless equipment'. The case was adjourned for legal review of matters raised by the defence

12 July 1912 berthed at Quebec, Canada

30 May 1913 berthed at Liverpool after passage from Sydney, Cape Breton

12 December 1913 sailed Duala for Liverpool

22 December 1913 sailed Sierra Leone for Liverpool

6 January 1914 berthed at Liverpool from Libreville with one passanger. Captain J Johnson was the ships Master

5 April 1914 sailed Sierra Leone

20 April 1914 arrived at Liverpool from a West AFrican port with three passengers. Captain J Johnson was the ships Master

21 April 1914 arrived at Port Talbot

2 September 1914 berthed at Liverpool from Libreville, Teneriffe, Las Palmas and Sierra Leone with 11 passengers. Captain A J Day was the ships Master

6 January 1915 sailed Southampton for Scapa Flow arriving on 14 January 1915

26 October 1915 purchased by the Admiralty along with SOBO for conversion into a Submarine Depot  Ship for service at Scapa Flow

5 August 1916 Engineer Commander Thomas W Cleave RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

16 August 1916 Lieutenant Commander John Howson RD RNR appointed in command

18 December 1916 Engineer Captain George K Edwards Royal Navy (Retired) discharged dead. He is buried in Torquay Cemetery in Grave D 4 14410



Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project


14 June 1917 Commander Samuel W Ryder RD RNR appointed in command

Comm Samuel Ryder

Commander Samuel W Ryder RD RNR

28 June 1917 Able Seaman John Lawrence MMR 641968 discharged dead - accidentally drowned and buried in the Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Scapa Flow




15 September 1917 Commander Thomas C Heaven RNR appointed in Command

28 April 1918 Acting Commander Norman D Lillia RNR appointed in Command

9 November 1918 T/Sub-Lieutenant James Andrew RNR aged 41 years discharged dead - buried in Great Yarmouth (Caister) Cemetery




9 August 1919 purchased for £95,000 by Cia Naviera Sevillana S.A, Seville and renamed TABLEDA

January 1925 sold to Spanish ship breakers




1.  The Admiralty paid a total of £55,000 for ARO, SOBO and SOKOTO

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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