MV Ozarda

Mike Kemble
22nd July 2007, 15:10
I have had a request from a lady who is desperate to find out what happened to this MV Ozarda in 1942, on May 19th to be exact. The ship was built in Glasgow and launched in 1940, replacing previous named ship scrapped in 1938.

On 19th May 1942 ship was "attacked" - but no info can be found anywhere on this incident. Ship survived and lasted out the war, becoming the Epidavros later in life before scrapping in the eartly 70s. ( is the only online reference I have found to this vessel.

The lady's husband's grandfather served and was killed in this attack.

22nd July 2007, 15:39

1970 sold to Cyprus renamed EPIDAVROS, 1972 scrapped. Thats all the info in BI webpage

Mike Kemble
22nd July 2007, 15:43
yes, got all that, what happened in May 1942 is the puzzle.

Anna McCartney
22nd July 2007, 16:20
HI! I'm the one who was asking Mike. Thank you so much Mike for posting here.

My husband's grandfather was in the British Merchant Navy during WWI and WWII. He died on board the Ozarda on May 19, 1942, and is buried in Yemen.

My mother in law said they were evacuating soldiers from Greece when their ship was attacked.

My parents-in-law recently gave us a bunch of medals belonging to him from the wars, and this got my son (who is six) all interested. He started to ask a lot of questions, and this made us realize that we don't really know all that much about what happened and how he was killed.

We'd always assumed that the ship was sunk but then I started looking around on the web and it sounds like the ship continued to be in service until 1970.

I found this bit of info about him from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

Anyway, I just was wondering if there are any records of what happened to specific ships during WWII.

Thanks so much!
Anna McCartney

22nd July 2007, 16:48
Greetings Anna and a warm welcome to SN. Enjoy the site and all that goes with it. You could also ask the same question on and between the 2 sites you may get further answers. Bon voyage.

Mike Kemble
22nd July 2007, 17:01
Good luck Anna.

Anna McCartney
22nd July 2007, 18:04
Thanks so much! I'll go post my inquiry at the other forum too.

I really appreciate the help, as I know NOTHING about this stuff, and I don't really know where to look! :)

Thanks again!

23rd July 2007, 06:08
The only further info she was Scrapped at Kaohsiung on 23.09.1972

David Davies
23rd July 2007, 08:48
BI history states that she was used as a cased petrol carrier in Eastern Mediterranean 1942 but does not mention any incident

23rd July 2007, 12:44
WELSH, Chief Engineer Officer, DAVID CHALMERS, M.V. Ozarda (London). Merchant Navy. 29th May 1942. Age 47. Son of John Welsh, J.P. and Annie Chalmers Welsh; husband of Jessie Brown Welsh, of Prestwick, Strathclyde, Scotland. Buried Maala Cemetery, Yemen.

Cargo ship Ozarda, 6,895grt, (British India S.N.Co Ltd) was built in 1940 and as you say survived the war. She was renamed Epidavros in 1970 and eventually scrapped in 1972.

There is no record in Lloyds Vol. II of this ship being damaged during the war and your Husbands Grandfather is the only casualty recorded with the CWGC from this ship. In my own experience, this would tend to lead me to the conclusion he died in an accident or illness and was granted war grave status because of his senior rank (I have on file a number of other individuals to back this type of theory).

I did a search for her 1942 Log Book held at Kew, which would of recorded his death, but unfortunately all her Log Books after 1941 no longer exist.

Anna McCartney
24th July 2007, 18:23
WOW, thanks so much for all the info! That's so interesting - my mother in law (who was a small child at the time he died) has always thought he died in some big attack. I guess that sounds more heroic!

I sure appreciate all the help with this!


Mike Kemble
24th July 2007, 23:21
A big thank you to everybody for your help and info. Its nice when something comes to light, however slight.

tom e kelso
25th July 2007, 07:13

It would seem that the BI war history corroborates Billy1963's contention. In the book in question "Valiant Voyaging" there is no mention in the text, index or "Roll of Honour" of Mr Welsh, or any other OZARDA crew member, for that matter, apart from Captain Kerr. The following references to Ozarda's war service abstracted from the bookmay be of interest:

Page 75:.".........The Ozarda, after successfully taking 2000 prisoners of war and a large number of vehicles from Tobruk to Alexandria, returned to Indian coastal service" (No date mentioned)

Page 84 "On her return from a voyage to Malta with supplies, in the course of which she had escaped the torpedo of a U-boat, the Ozarda (Captain Finlay Kerr) had been quickly fitted out at Port Said to carry this inflammable cargo, and duly arrived at Tripoli a few days after its capture. The mouth of the harbour being blocked, her cargo was discharged into the landing craft as and when weather permitted. but when the entrance to the port was cleared, the Ozarda sailed proudly in, the first British vessel to enter the inner harbour of Tripoli. A few days later General Montgomery himself went on board to thanks the Captain and the ship's company 'for the good work they were doing in bringing supplies by sea'.

Page 85: "The next voyage to Tripoli was successfully accomplished, but the Ozarda suffered a series of heavy air attacks when lying in port and saw two of her consorts set on fire. To the assaults of bombs was added that of the new 'circling torpedo', an ominous weapon which moved 'slowly twice between the Ozarda, and an American Liberty ship, the Samuel Parker. As it approached for the third time, one of the cadets on the bridge of the Ozarda, opened fire on it with a rifle, the Master holding it in the beam of an Aldis lamp. His aim was true and the torpedo was exploded only thirty yards from the port side"

Also page 85: "The Ozarda had visited Malta successfully."

Page 87: "The Ozarda was also in the invasion, and followed the troopships in on the first day of the landing. As at Tripoli, she soon found herself being attacked from the air and was damaged by splinters."

No exact dates are given in the text of the book covering the above abstracts. The reference to "invasion" on page 87, is to the landing of Allied Forces in Sicily.

I understand that all existing BI records are now held by the National Maritime Museum. In the next few days I may be able to find out from acquaintances whether these records contain those referring to personnel during the war years


Mike Kemble
25th July 2007, 11:30
Tom, thats fascinating news. This is beginning to look interesting. We now have a ship with a tiny speck of history all to herself, first into Tripoli! And, the destruction of a torpedo with a rifle!! Marvellous!

tom e kelso
25th July 2007, 19:29
Tom, thats fascinating news. This is beginning to look interesting. We now have a ship with a tiny speck of history all to herself, first into Tripoli! And, the destruction of a torpedo with a rifle!! Marvellous!


You'll have to take Hilary St John Sauders' word for it (He wrote "Valiant Voyaging". I must say I'm slightly sceptical about the torpedo story, but then moored mines which were freed by a sweep and shot to the surface were routinely shot at with rifles, I believe. Still a bullet hole in the compressed air propulsion compartment might well give a torpedo up with a sighhhhhhhhh!


tom e kelso
26th July 2007, 07:25
Derek Hargreaves, a BI cadet at the time in question, informs me that the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, does indeed hold British India Steam Navigation Company Ltd records, and in particular, "RECORDS OF COMMANDERS,OFFICERS,ENGINEERS,CADETS AND STEWARDS 1868~1957" contained in 40 Volumes.

An onerous manual search would berequired but having the full name of the deceased, rank, ship's name and date of death would I think reduce the task considerably


26th July 2007, 16:09
You could try the Digital Express service at Kew to access the:

"Deaths at Sea: Merchant Seamen & Passengers" in BT334/97 covering the years 1941-1942. Go to the following link and click the request this link and follow instructions to order. If no record exists, there is no charge. When making a request make sure you add as much detail as possible such as full name, age, date of death etc.

Mike Kemble
6th August 2007, 20:20
thanks, will check it out

Anna McCartney
7th April 2015, 04:49
Hey you guys! I contacted you I think in 2007 looking for information about my husband's grandfather. You all were incredibly helpful and nice and I very much appreciated all the info.

Guess what! I found out what happened to the guy. He died of a stroke. Check the entry for June 1, 1942.

Thank you again for all the help. I appreciate it.

Anna McCartney
1st March 2019, 04:15
Hello! Hey, I got in touch several years ago to ask for info about my husband's grandfather, David Welsh. He died in 1942 on the ship Ozarda. He was the chief engineer on the ship.

I found out more info and thought I would share. My father in law just went into a nursing home in Scotland and I was over going through his papers and came upon some information.

Apparently the ship was evacuating soldiers out of Greece. They were trying to get away and apparently the guys in the engine room were not working fast enough and he went in the engine room to "show them" how to do it faster (I assume this means shoveling coal into the engine??) and he died of heat stroke.

Anyway, among his things that came home after his death, there was a British flag, which I assume was from the ship, plus part of a shell. I brought both home with me.

The shell has engraved on the back
26 MARCH 1941

I did some googling and it looks like the first line is the gun from which it was fired.

I looked up what was going on in Crete on 26 March 1941 and found this:

Would this be the "blitz"? The Wikipedia article says that the British ships believed they were under air attack, but it was really from boats.

I'm trying to figure out why my husband's grandfather would have this shell - the Wikipedia article says the British ships were sunk, so I'm pretty sure that the Ozarda was not involved. Any ideas?

Thanks a million!!

Mike Kemble
3rd March 2019, 19:30
strange. the above post has just appeared in my email inbox. But its 11 years old.