View Full Version : SS Cameronia
Does anyone have a photo of TSS Cameronia that I could use in a book I am working on. Full credit will be given.
The book is about an RAF Squadron and they were transported from the Middle East to Glasgow in 1944 abourd TSS Cameronia.
Hi andy - welcome to the forum.
I have a beautiful 1922 postcard of her - which I reproduce for you here, along with a b/w picture of her when employed as a troopship during the 1950`s...
I hope these are of some use to you...
Just what I was looking for.
I had been informed that one of my ancestors died in 1943.
She was called Doreen Lewis.
I was told that she died in a motorcycle accident in Germany.
However, I was always very scepticle about this, as this was in the middle of the War.
I have searched Consular deaths, but she doesn't seem to be there.
However, in the Marine deaths section there is a D. Lewis who died in 1943 on board the Cameronia.
I think the Cameronia carried on service after 1943, so it doesn't look like the ship was torpedoed.
Can anybody find out if this D. Lewis is Doreen, and what might have happened to her?
It is possible that the D.Lewis for whom you have found on Cameronia may not be your Doreen. Cameronia was in fact torpedoed in 1942. I hope you don't mind, but I have moved this thread to this section and will leave it about Cameronia. Here is some information about this ship and her tremendous service history.
SS Cameronia was built in 1919 by Wm Beardmore & Co Ltd, Port Glasgow, yard No.584.
With a length of 552 feet 4 inches, beam of 70 feet 4 inches, she displaced 16,365 gross tons. She had a single funnel, two masts, and had accommodation for 265 1st class, 370 2nd class and 1,100 3rd class passengers.
She was propelled by six Beardmore-built steam turbines, double reduction geared, driving twin screw propellors, giving her a top desing speed of 16 knots.
Cameronia was built for the Cunard Line owned Anchor Line, and was a sister ship to Lancastria. She was launched on the 23rd of December1919, but the installation of the final parts of her passenger accommodation were delayed due to a strike, and in April 1921 she had to be towed to Cherbourg for completion.
She began her maiden voyage from Glasgow on the 11th of May 1921, first to Liverpool and then on to New York. Between 1921 and 1924 she made several similar Cunard-Anchor Line voyages.
In October 1925 she rescued the crew of the burning U.S. Coastguard cutter CG-128 off New York and in November of the same year collided with the Norwegian steamship Hauk1 in the Clyde.
In January 1926, one voyage had to be abandoned off Ireland due to steering gear failure and she was forced to put back to Glasgow for repair. In August of that year she missed collision with the Cunard liner Samaria by only six feet in dense fog.
In 1928 Cameronia underwent a refit to correct her tendency to pitch heavily, and in 1929 her accommodation wasrefitted to cabin/tourist class, giving her capacity for 290 cabin class, 431 tourist class and 698 3rd class passengers.
In December 1932 the ship suffered an influenza epidemic and 400 passengers were confined to their beds. It is reported that the ship's doctor made 500 visits a day to his patients. Between December 1934 and October 1935 the ship was laid up at Glasgow, and from then until April 1936 she entered service as a troop ship carrying a total of over 16,000 personnel to the Far East.
In 1936 she was refitted and returned to service as an ocean liner on the 10th of July, resuming the Glasgow-New York service. In 1937 she attended the Spithead Naval Review for the coronation of King George VI, where she was used a floating grandstand.
On the 5th of September, 1939 Cameronia left Glasgow and became the first British ship to enter New York after the outbreak of war. During the voyage to New York, she rescued some of the survivors from Athenia. In total, she made 11 unescorted transatlantic voyages until she was requisitioned as a troopship in December 1940.
In January 1941 she trooped 3,000 men to Suez via the Cape and then shuttled between Alexandria and Greece, mainly with New Zealanders. On the 29th of January 1941, Cameronia joined Convoy WS 5B at Freetown, Sierra Leone, sailing with the convoy to the Suez Canal, where she arrived on 3 March. Cameronia was a member of Convoy GA 10, which arrived at Alexandria, Egypt on the 6th of April 1941
On the 23rd of March 1942, Cameronia departed the United Kingdom as a member of Convoy WS17 bound for Freetown where she made runs to Capetown, Mombassa and Bombay. On the 29th/ 30th of May 1941, in company with the Glen Line's Glengyle, 6,000 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were evacuated from Sphakia at the end of the Battle of Crete.
For the rest of the war Cameronia served in the Mediterranean as an Infantry Landing Ship , taking part in the British-American invasion of French North Africa (Operation Torch)between the 8th and 12th of November 1942.
On the 22nd of December 1942 Cameronia was hit by an aerial torpedo dropped by a Junkers Ju88 of III Gruppe, KG 26 off Algiers, Algeria. A 288 square feet hole was blown in her side and seventeen people were killed. The German U-boat U-565 also claimed to have damaged her. Cameronia managed to reach the port of Bougie, Algeria, from where she was escorted, at 5 knots, to Algiers. She then sailed to Gibraltar where temporary repairs were carried out before then sailing to Glasgow for permanent repairs.
In June 1943 Cameronia resumed service and participated in carrying the Canadian Tank Division from Malta to Sicily. On the 29th of August 1943, she departed Gibraltar as part of Convoy MKF 22, which had departed from Port Said, Egypt on the 19th of August and arrived at the Clyde on the 9th of September. On the 6th of December 1943, Cameronia departed Oran, Algeria, with members of the 21st General Hospital. They were landed at Naples, Italy on the 21st of December. Cameronia was the largest troopship that took part in the Normandy landings (Operation Overlord).
In August 1945 she was derequisitioned after carrying a total of 163,789 troops over a total distance of 321,323 miles. Laid up as 'worn out' at 25 years of age, she was brought out of retirement in July 1948 and refitted by Barclay Curle at Elderslie for use as an Australian emigration ship, with capacity for 1,266 passengers. On the 1st of November 1948 she commenced the first of 11 UK - Australia voyages. On the 21st of January 1953 she was sold to the Ministry of Transport and renamed Empire Clyde and in March 1958 was scrapped at Newport, Monmouth.
Cameronia_1 to Cameronia_3: As an ocean liner. No dates, but likely to be in the 1920’s
Cameronia_3 to Cameronia_6: As HMT Empire Clyde. No dates, but likely to be in the 1950’s
Original sources of photographs not determined. No copyright restrictions evident.
Hi Thank you for the information.
The D. Lewis may not be my Doreen.
Is there any way of finding out the names of the 17 people who were killed in 1942?
As it was December 1942, maybe the deaths weren't registered until 1943, or maybe some died later of their wounds.
I have tried supeficially to get a casualty list but so far without success. It will of course be available through the National Archives, but I haven't gone that deep. Yes, it may of course be possible that the death wasn't registered until the New Year, and often there are errors in some siources anyway. So I wouldn't yet rule out that it is not your Doreen. I will be most interested if you get to the bottom of it, and I will continue to see what I can find.
Extract from the personal memoir of George Chadwick, describing the attack on Cameronia.
Contributed to the BBC WW2 People's War: Article A4105334 23rd May 2005. Submitted by one of his sons.
At the time George was a Steward with the Anchor Line and engaged in wartime service on the Cameronia
Voyage 59 HMT "Cameronia" 12 December 1942 to 06 February 1943
21 Dec. We call at Algiers. Leave at about 9.30 pm. Are warned to keep our guns manned as we may expect a torpedo attack from the air. 10.30 pm “Action Stations” sounded. We put up a terrific barrage from the ship.
22nd. Dec. The “All Clear” is sounded at 1.30 am. We get a thankful rest until 4.00 am when we have to go to “Action Stations” again. The planes seem very determined to get us as all their attacks are concentrated solely on us. An aerial torpedo hits the ship on the starboard quarter. We proceed to our boats. I myself was amazed at the calmness displayed by troops and it was a masterpiece of organisation considering there was over 4000 souls on board. With relief we are told that the ship is in no immediate danger and with a powerful escort we limp back to a place called Boojie. So much for our short trip through what is k known as “Suicide Alley”. We have a few casualties, a few fatal. The catering dept. has to commence to salvage stores while the pumps keep the water at bay. We are successful on the above. The ship rapidly assumes normality even though there is a gaping hole in her side about 18’ by 16’.
Memoranda Continued Dec 30th onwards
Dec. 30th. We leave Boujie at 7 pm. This is one of the most perilous voyages I have ever made. We still have a gaping hole in the ship’s side and it’s amazing the bulkhead on the opposite side does not give way with the pressure of water being hurled against it.
31st. This morning we bury at sea the last one of the soldiers who lost his life when the torpedo hit the ship. Ironically the remnants of the “tin fish” lie on the after deck for all to see. We have a very strong escort including fighter protection as we make our critical journey at just over 5 knots per hour. Our arrival in Algiers at 1 am. New Year’s Day coincided with an air-raid warning but fortunately there was no activity. We had very dirty weather for the above short trip, which made it very dangerous to the ship.
Full version of George's memoir (12th December 1942 to 6th February 1943) HERE (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/24/a4105324.shtml)
Extract reproduced here under the Fair Dealing Terms
WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar
I have done a bit more digging - hate mysteries, and have come up with the following ...
Searching births marriages and deaths in England and Wales, shows 6 deaths for Doreen Lewis, none in 1943. There is an unnamed female Lewis recorded as dying in 1943 in Glamorganshire,
There is one overseas death recorded (as you know) for D. Lewis (no age in record), and this is indeed on board the Cameronia, recorded in 1943 – as we said, probably not registered until after the New Year. I attach the record for your interest – Top left, 7th line down.
Do you know the supposed details of the motorcycle death in Germany, or any reason why she might have been on board Cameronia?
There are 16 entries in the 1911 census for Doreen Lewis, do you know where and when she was born?
Hi again Clive,
I'm not sure of any of the details regarding the motorcycle story.
Doreen was born in 1924, so was only 19 when she died.
Good news and bad news. I have found out who D.Lewis was on Cameronia. Bad news, it wasn't Doreen, so the mystery of her death persists.
D. Lewis was Pte 7644454 Douglas Percival Lewis from the REME. He died of wounds on board Cameronia on the 22nd December.
I woukld like to thank Andre Chissel for this infomation. Andre's Father was on board Cameronia when she was torpedoed, and has carried out extensive research about Convoy KMF-5 and the attacks on the ship. He is in the process of launching a new website on this suubject, and I shall post the link when he has done so.
Hi again Clive,
Thank you very much for clearing that up.
That has saved me a job.
I am new to this site (please see my post in introductions) but would also like to post details of my website here as it seems appropriate.
Andre's introductory thread can be found HERE (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11080&highlight=cameronia)
His website is an excellent comprehensive piece of work with some great images, also includes a casualty list.
As a point of interest my father served aboard this very ship 1944 - 1945 as a Royal Navy gunner (DEMS)
This was taken at Nova Scotia in July 1945
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