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14th August 2007, 10:15
Discussion thread for AMRA (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/guides/AMRA). If you would like to add a comment, click the New Reply button
14th August 2007, 10:20
Was the ships name, on the bow, ever in a Indian language?
tom e kelso
14th August 2007, 11:07
Never to the best of my knowledge. (Some BI ships on the Far Easter run had the name and nationality in Mandarin or Cantones (I know not which) painted in large characters on each side of the hull amidships during the 1950's)
14th August 2007, 13:13
Sangola, Santhia and Sirdhana had name and nationality painted in Chinese during the 50s, something to do with the Taiwan/Formosa confrontation. I sailed in Sangola 59to61 but they had been painted out by then and the Chinese had withdrawn from the Straits being replaced by the Americans. It was quite common to be called up on the Aldis several times during a watch by US warships always at the most inconvenient moments
tom e kelso
14th August 2007, 17:28
Sometime about 1952, when I was 3/O , SIRDHANA on the 8 to 12 watch one evening, bound northward through the Formosa Strait, I had an unlit stationery target on the radar which we were passing about 0.5 mile off, and which I assumed was one of the many fishing craft, lit or otherwise, common to the area , despite the "cold war" situation. Shortly after this target fell abaft the starboard beam, there was an almighty clattering sound from the after end of the combined wheelhouse/charroom/ master's accommodation.
It was enough to bring the captain rushing from his slumbers!!As we continued our course, inspection revealed damage to a couple of thermotank fan intakes sited abaft the captain's accommodation. Several very large "bullet" holes were found in the associated trunking! Shortly after the purser arrived up on the bridge holding a small solid shell similar to that of a 20mm oerlikon shell. It would seem that this had dropped through the internal wire mesh and out of the punkah louvre outlets in a passenger cabin two decks below , the occupant, sitting up in his berth reading , having been frightened out of his wits!
To this day I don't know whether it was the said radar target which was responsible, or whether its source was mainland Chinese or Taiwanese
During this period, our Chinese characters, and large painted union flag on the hull was illuminated by a couple of cargo clusters hung overside, when on passage from HK to Moji and vice versa
14th August 2007, 18:45
The reason i asked was i have an identical picture of AMRA and there seems to be five letters to the name and not of the english type. Or, it could be my eyes failing me!
14th August 2007, 20:40
Are you sure it was the Amra and not her sister ship Aronda but that would be six or have I lost count like my time on Aronda Karachi to Chittagong for ever more
I remember being told by Captain Popplewell that one of the S's had been hit by gun fire in the vicinity of Amoy and Quemoy Islands by trigger happy Nationalists. We had the Union Flag painted on weighted canvas and hung over the side, illuminated at night with cargo clusters for the Formosa/Taiwan Strait transit HK to Kobe 1959
tom e kelso
21st August 2007, 07:44
This photograph certainly shows what appears to be five characters in the name....puzzling with 4 letters in AMRA and 6 in ARONDA! (Maybe it is a daub of rust!)
However this particular photograph shows quite clearly the varnished wooden bridge front and side "bulwarks" abreat the captain's accommodation. Never having been aboard ARONDA, I do not know whether the same parts of the structure were wood or steel plating, BUT, in my time, both in the previous black hull livery and in the later white hull, these parts of the bridge were painted white, and were regarded as the distinguishing signs. (AMRA, for a considerable time, also 10" signalling projectors mounted on each bridge wing rail, which ARONDA, did not.
21st August 2007, 13:18
I've down loaded a picture of Aronda and the difference with Amra is considerable.
tom e kelso
21st August 2007, 15:49
I've looked at your download of Aronda in the gallery. Unfortunately for some reason the image I get is somewhat distorted. However, it appears to me that some of the upper tier of boats on the boat deck are swung out and bowsed in at boat deck level. Perhaps an emergency drill was in progress?
Your comment that there were appreciable differences between the two ships encouraged me to return check with Laxon & Perry's "B.I.".
Side by side on page 174 there are photographs of the two ships taken from broad enough on the port beam to make good comparisons.
Both have been taken in white hull days, and I have been unable to spot other than painting differences. Apart from those on the navigating bridge which I have already mentioned.,the ventilators on the funnel deck in Amra are all shown as white, whereas, with those in Aronda, those clustered around the funnel are painted back , with the after batch (around the engine room skylight) painted white. In this respect, Aronda conforms to the contemporary livery instructions, Amra does not!
There is a slight disparity in the "tonnage openings" in the shelter deck , below No.2 boat, but this to me, has no significance, as the various sections, were opened or closed depending on the weather......by this I mean rain, rather than "heavy weather" when they would be closed and properly secured and an entry made in the appropriate section of the OLB
Lastly Amra has her prom deck canvas rail screens rigged while Aronda has not, again giving rather a different appearance
Seriously, it is just possible that there is a colour photograph around of the Amra showing a green line above the taffrail on each side of the Captain's deck i.e.abaft the bridge. When I was in the ship in 1948/49, a previous "John Chinaman" (china mistri) had fitted a shelve along the inboard side about 18" below the taffrail. On these shelves were wooden"planters" in which were hedging plants....privet, or box or whatever! Whether this was set up at the instigation the Commander, Freddy Robinson, or a predecessor, I do not know, but it was kept tidily trimmed and set off this deck spece very nicely.
In Amra, the binnacle/wheel/telemotor were situated close up abaft the midship bridge front windows. This bridge front was in effect just a (permenant) screen.
The captain's accommodation house with the charthouse antiguous on its forard side was at least twenty feet abaft the quartermaster's steering position. This layout resulted in a huge U-shaped open deck space (covered by a permenent wooden awning deck) ideal for, and much used for parties!
In the southern winter, we, with our thin blood from the Indian Coast, found watchkeeping rather cold in such an exposed bridge, from LM to Durban!!!
It must have been very much more uncomfortable during the war in real northern winters!
22nd August 2007, 20:22
I served in Aronda for about a year as 3/0 and 2/0 58to 59 The wartime finish was apparent in our accommodation. As2/0 my day bed had an upholstered back but both the 3/0s had plain wooden battens and I was told that the other accommodation including the public rooms were not up to Amra standards. The open bridge was ideal in the trade she was designed for but the bridge wings without dodgers left one exposed from waist upwards. In hindsight a happy ship with a good social life, golf in Chittagong, fishing with Bachu in Karachi. Thanks for the memory.
1st February 2008, 17:40
I have just joined this forum. My Uncle Albert Edward Carter (b 18th October 1893) was Master of the Amra 2 from her launch in 1938 until his death (1940īs ??) and I believe he was buried in Karachi but I dont know the circumstances. He also served on numerous other BISN vessels. I have seen his signature on a passenger manifest for a voyage of the Amra on 18th November 1938 with 90 souls from London to Calcutta. I have some silver serviette rings of his, showing the ships on which he served. Any further information would be happily received.
20th May 2011, 22:21
My father, the late Harry Bob Willy served as a medic on the hospital ship Amra during the second world war. I have some photos if anyone is interested. i would love to see some I may not have!!
6th August 2012, 19:24
Dear Ann, hi!
I edit a monthly (more or less!) newsletter - "...calling BI" - completely free of charge to any with an interest in BISN. I am always interested in having previously unknown photos that may be of interest to all BI-ers. If you contact me separately via firstname.lastname@example.org, perhaps we could arrange something. Looking forward to hearing from you. best regards
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