History of the Merchant Navy
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HAWKES BAY (1) was built in 1891 by Wm. Doxford & Sons at Sunderland with a tonnage of 4583grt, a length of 383ft 1in, a beam of 48ft and a service speed of 13 knots. When she entered service in 1891 she was Tyser’s first steam ship, deployed to take up the company’s share of the Australian Conference and was one of the finest looking vessels operating in Australian waters. In 1912 she was sold to Chasehill SS Co. of London, later to be restyled Essex Chase S.S. Co., and renamed Chasehill. On 22nd February 1915 she was captured by the German Auxilliary Cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm (Norddeutscher Lloyd). She was released on 9th May carrying prisoners who were taken from ships sunk by the cruiser and who could no longer be fed by the German vessel. The cruiser went on to sink a further 14 ships before she ran out of coal and water and sailed into Newport News to be interned. On 18th January 1916 the Hawkes Bay foundered in position 40N 63W during a voyage from New York to Le Havre.

TOMOANO was built in 1899 by Sir James Laing & Sons at Sunderland with a tonnage of 5987grt, a length of 440ft, a beam of 54ft 4in and a service sped of 12 knots. Although delivered to Tyser & Co. she was owned by the Tomoana S.S. Co. as was the practice in those days. She was the first of a class of seven vessels, the last five being equipped with twin screws. She was transferred to Tyser Line Ltd in 1903 and in 1912 was sold to Brodvale S.S. Co. with Blue Star as managers and renamed Brodvale. By 1920 she was being managed by Blue Star (1920) Ltd for the Union Cold Storage Co. Ltd with the name Tudorstar. On 19th December 1922 her bridge was carried away during an Atlantic storm and there was a degree of flooding as the ship lay heaved to. She managed to reach Greenock on 28th December. When the Blue Star fleet was divided in 1929 she was renamed Tudor Star. Laid up in late 1933 she did return to service and was broken up at Savona by S.A. Ricuperi Metallici at the end of 1934.

MIMIRO was built in 1900 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 6225grt, a length of 440ft, a beam of 55ft 1in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Tomoana she was delivered to the Tyser Line in March 1900. On the formation of the Commonwealth & Dominion Line in 1914 she was transferred and renamed Port Hacking in April 1916. In 1927 she was sold to A. Zanchi of Genoa for their South American meat run and was broken up in Genoa in 1933.

NIWARU was built in 1902 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 6444grt, a length of 440ft, a beam of 55ft 1in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Tomoana she was delivered to the Tyser Line in March 1902. On the formation of the Commonwealth & Dominion Line in 1914 she was transferred and renamed Port Lyttelton in April 1916. On 23rd January 1924 she ran aground on Tamar Heads, Tasmania, was salvaged and sold for scrap as, at the time, there was a worldwide surplus of tonnage. She arrived in Italy in the September and was broken up there.

MARERE was built in 1902 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 6443grt, a length of 440ft, a beam of 55ft 1in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Niwaru she was transferred to the Commonwealth & Dominion Line in 1914 but before the change of name was approved by the Shipping Controller she was, on 18th January 1916, captured by U-35 and sunk by gunfire 236 miles east of Malta. She was enroute from Fremantle to Mudros where she was to discharge war supplies and 150 troops before proceedong to the UK via Gibraltar.

WHAKARUA was built in 1907 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 6534grt, a length of 450ft 3in, a beam of 55ft 1in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Niwaru she was transferred to the Commonwealth & Dominion Line in 1914 and renamed Port Chalmers in May 1916. On 12th March 1917 she was chased by a U-boat off south west Ireland but managed to deter the enemy with accurate return of fire. She was sold to A. Zanchi of Genoa in 1926 and renamed Norge. On 21st December 1940 she was sunk during an attack by Allied aircraft east of Kerkena Island, Tunisia whlie trying to run the blockade to supply the Italian Tenth Army. Under Marshal Rodolfo Graziani the Tenth Army was being driven back by Lt. General Richard O’Connor’s Western Desert forces during which 90,000 Italian troops were captured. (Photo as Port Chalmers: Dick Henshaw)

NEREHANA was built in 1907 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 6534grt, a length of 450ft 4in, a beam of 55ft 1in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Niwaru she was transferred to the Commonwealth & Dominion Line in 1914 and renamed Port Hardy in April 1916. On 6th July 1918 she was torpedoed by U-91 78 miles off Cape Spartel in Morocco, with the loss of seven lives, during a voyage from Buenos Aires to Genoa with a cargo of frozen meat.

MURITAI was built in 1910 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 6440grt, a length of 470ft, a beam of 58ft 2in and a service speed of 12 knots. Originally ordered to the specification of the Niwaru she was lengthened during construction and her engine power increased. She was transferred to the Commonwealth & Dominion Line on 23rd January 1914 and renamed Port Victor in April 1916. On 26th September 1917 she was torpedoed 30 miles south of St. Catharine’s Point but managed to reach Southampton and was repaired by her builder. She re-entered service and was finally scrapped at Barrow-in-Furness in 1935.

MAKARINI was built in 1912 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 8491grt, a length of 490ft 2in, a beam of 61ft 5in and a service speed of 13 knots. Equipped with accommodation for 1000 emigrants in the ‘tween decks she was immediately deployed on the Victoria Government’s emigrant service following delivery in April 1912. She was transferred to the Commonwealth & Dominion Line on 23rd January 1914 and renamed Port Nicholson in April 1916. In 1914 she was taken over for troopship duties and on 15th January 1917, during a voyage from Sydney to London via Dunkirk with a general cargo and meat, she was sunk by a mine which had been laid by UC-1 15 miles west by north of Dunkirk with the loss of two lives.

HAWKES BAY (2) was built in 1912 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 8418grt, a length of 490ft 2in, a beam of 61ft 5in and a service speed of 13 knots. Sister of the Makarini she was also equipped with accommodation for 1000 emigrants in the ‘tween decks she was immediately deployed on the Victoria Government’s emigrant service following delivery. She was transferred to the Commonwealth & Dominion Line on 23rd January 1914, taken over for troopship duties later that year and was renamed Port Napier in April 1916. In 1932 she was laid up at Tollesbury on the River Blackwater where she remained until 1936 when she was transferred to the Cunard Group’s Thos & Jno Brocklebank fleet and renamed Martand. She was sold to A. Zanchi of Genoa in 1938 initially becoming the Martano before being renamed Mar Blanco. On 8th September 1943 she was taken over by the Germans at Ancona when the Italians capitulated and later in the year, on 7th December 1943 was bombed and sunk by Allied aircraft off Zara. Under German control she was being used as a supply ship to the German Army in Yugoslavia.