Berrima under construction in 1913
|Owner:||P & O|
|Builder:||Caird & Company, Greenock|
|Launched:||13 September 1913|
|Acquired:||1914 by RAN|
|Commissioned:||17 August 1914|
|Decommissioned:||20 October 1914|
|Fate:||converted to troop ship, later damaged|
|Career (United Kingdom)|
|Operator:||P & O|
|In service:||24 March 1920|
|Fate:||sold for breaking up September 1939|
|Tonnage:||11,137 gross tons|
|Length:||500 ft (150 m)|
|Beam:||62 ft (19 m)|
|Draught:||38 ft (12 m)|
|Speed:||14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)|
|Armament:||4 x 4 inch guns|
The P&O passenger liner SS Berrima was built by Caird & Company, Greenock, and launched on 13 September 1913. In 1914 she was requisitioned for naval use, refitted and armed at Cockatoo Island Dockyard and commissioned into the RAN as the auxiliary cruiser HMAS Berrima on 17 August 1914.
Berrima left Sydney on 19 August 1914 carrying men of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, consisting of a battalion of 1,000 infantry and a small battalion of 500 Naval Reservists and time-expired Royal Navy seamen, for operations against the German New Guinea colonies. Troops were landed at Herbertshöhe and Rabaul on 11 and 12 September respectively, and on the New Guinea mainland on 24 September. The ship was retroactively awarded the battle honour "Rabaul 1914" in March 2010 to recognise these landings. Berrima subsequently returned to Sydney and, despite plans to employ her as an armed merchant cruiser, was paid off on 20 October 1914 and converted to a troop transport.
In her new role, HMATT (His Majesty's Australian Troop Transport) Berrima sailed for the Middle East in December 1914 as part of the second troop convoy, carrying Australian and New Zealand troops and towing the submarine AE2. Berrima continued to work under the liner requisition scheme until 18 February 1917, when she struck a mine in the English Channel off Portland and was beached and later repaired.
Berrima was returned to commercial service 24 March 1920, and was sold to Japanese shipbreakers in September 1939.
References[edit | edit source]
- "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20110613184920/http://www.navy.gov.au/Navy_Marks_109th_Birthday_With_Historic_Changes_To_Battle_Honours. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20110614064156/http://www.navy.gov.au/w/images/Units_entitlement_list.pdf. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- Porter, A. "Bob Quinn – A Legend who Stuck by his Mates". The Independent Weekly, 28 April 2008, p. 3.
- British Warships 1914–1919 by Dittmar, F.J. and Colledge, J.J. Ian Allan, London; (1972), ISBN 0-7110-0380-7
- Australia's Ships of War by John Bastock. Angus and Robertson, Sydney; (1975), ISBN 0-207-12927-4
- Naval Reservists in WWI – first to fight, first to fall by LCDR Glenn Kerr, RAN in Navy Reserve News Volume 9 Number 5, 27 May 2002 retrieved 1 Jan 2007.
- Jeremy, John, Cockatoo Island: Sydney's Historic Dockyard, p. 115. UNSW Press, Kensington (2005). ISBN 0868408174
[edit | edit source]
- Australian Light Horse Studies Centre His Majesty's Australian Transports HMAT Ships, Transporting the 1st AIF.
- Australian War Museum page on HMAS Berrima
- Clydebuilt info page on HMAS Berrima
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