8th October 2008, 21:57
I joined MAIHAR at Immingham in October 1943 and arrived back in Liverpool on D DAy JUne 1944. We were loaded with ammunition for the Burma campaign via Bombay. It took 19days to Gib where we called with Christmas stores for the MASHUD which had been limpet mined by Italian frogmen from Algeciras. From Gib we became Commodore ship - as Rear Admiral Brodie would not sail in an US ship because of their navigational ignorance. Off Algiers we collided with a Westbound convoy and a chemical fire started in No3 hold just forward of the bridge - caused by seawater entering the hole on the waterline. 200 tons were jettisoned through the hole which was boarded over for temporary repairs at Post Said - and proper repairs at Bombay.
The cruiser HMS Birmingham joined the convoy having been torpedoed by a U Boat which lay in wait for our convoy. She was down by the head with only part of 2 props thrashing the water, and was placed in the middle of the convoy for safety.
Subsequently we called at Aden and were sent as a decoy ship from there 2 days before a convoy. After Bombay we called at Karachi - then Lorenco Marques for coal and then Sicily and Italy to discharge. We then sailed in convoy to Philadelphis without any ballast. The condensor intakes were coming out of the water with her heavy rolling and the bridge armour plating which were paving slabs fell off and broke the bridge ladders.
From the US we crossed the Atlantic in the biggest convoy of the war so far - 110 ships.
Happy days
Sid Davies

8th October 2008, 23:17
thanks for that Sid...........interesting story.

""Rear Admiral Brodie would not sail in an US ship because of their navigational ignorance. Off Algiers we collided with a Westbound convoy""

maybe the gallant Admiral may have been having second thoughts by this time.

best regards...........:)

10th October 2008, 21:45
Nice to hear your account Sid, I was 4th Eng. on her fistt voyage after being more or less rebuilt at Stephens of Glasgow. Start of Voyage 94. Glasgow30/5/1957, Middlesborough;Antwerp;London;Ceuta;Port Said; Suez; Massawa;Assab;Djibouti;Aden;Colombo;Madras;Calcutt a;Chalna;Colombo; Aden; Suez;Port Said;Port Sudan;London 1/12/1957

11th October 2008, 21:20
Great to get a rsponse from you chaps on the old Maihar. Yes - when you think about it Admral Brodie could be faulted in his navigation ! However with no lights and no radar I suppose a collision was understandable.
We carried 3 radio operators and the junior was on his first trip like me. He was lost after the war in the Samkey( I believe that was her name) - a Liberty ship which broke up in a mid Atlantic storm and all hands were lost.
Another snippet - the large convoy from the US home had a Commodore by the name ( Yes true) - Admiral Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Ernle-Erle- Drax ( you can look him up on the web ). There were 3 "Woolworth" carriers in the convoy - tankers with a deck put on them and 3 or 4 Swordfish planes. They took off at dawn and dusk to look for U boats. We ran into fog on the Grand Banks when some planes were aloft. As it got dark ships were firing tracer bullets right upwards in the hope that the planes could see them - but they never returned. Possibly they made Newfoundland - who knows ?
The old Admiral made a pigs ear of things as we approached the UK. Normally a flag signal would be hoisted meaning , for instance - " Ships bound for the Clyde leave the convoy and proceed together independantly. Then about 4 or 5 hours would be allowed for the ships to manouvre themselves out of the various columns. However the Admiral put up another signal less than an hour later instructing ships for Liverpool to leave and then ships for the east coast. The result was that the whole sea , as far as you could see had an Armada of ships - all doing their own thing with near misses and hooters going. A recall signal went up but the faster ships turned a blind eye and went full ahead for home. If there had been an attack by u-boats it would have been a disaster.
Another snippet. In the fog on the Grand Banks I was on watch on the port bridge wing, keeping an eye on the spout of water thrown up by the device towed by the ship ahead which was out of sight. Blow me - suddenly there was a small dinghy just nearby with a lone man in it - we passed him by about 100 yards . Apparently he was one of several from a Portuguese schooner which fished there from a fleet of "dorries". I wonder what the chap thought as he saw these shadows drift past !