SS Mahout 1 was built by William Hamilton & Co., Port Glasgow in 1925 and she was a sister to Maidan 11.
On May 3rd 1941 she lay in Huskisson Dock No.3, Liverpool close to where Malakand was berthed during the air raid which resulted in Malakand blowing up in a catastrophic explosion. Mahout’s superstructure was badly damaged by flying debris but what saved her from total loss was the brick structure of the adjacent warehouse. She was protected from further bomb damage by covering her holds with baulks of timber until she could be taken to Birkenhead on May 10th for repairs.
In 1942 she took part in the invasion of Madagascar, Operation Ironclad, which ! started with a slower convoy leaving Durban under a heavy escort. There were two Brocklebank ships in this convoy, Mahout and Martand 1. As they reached Courrier Bay, at the rear of Diego Suarez harbour, the faster troopship convoy comprising the battleship Ramillies, the aircraft carriers Illustrious and Indomitable, the cruiser Devonshire and Hermione plus destroyers and a squadron of minesweepers joined up with them. After midnight the minesweepers moved into harbour followed by a destroyer to act as a lighthouse and then the rest of the warships moved in and were in position by 3.30 for a 4.30 Zero hour.
Mahout carried the invasion vehicles so needed to be in close to the beaches. By daybreak and for the rest of the day the fighting was fierce as the French valiantly tried to repel the attacking forces. Mahout unloaded her transport and back-up stores while under fire but no damage was sustained. When the fighting ceased Mahout became the second ship to berth alongside Diego Suarez Deep Water Quay to finish her unloading. In the flooded dry dock the German Wartenfels had been scuttled but her booby trapped bombs had not exploded. The Chief Officer with the Chief Engineer and three others from Mahout went aboard and located seven bombs which were then safely defused by the German crew and a Naval Bomb Disposal Squad.
On May 19th Mahout left for Mombassa and then on to Calcutta.
Her days ended in 1961 when she arrived at Blyth on March 2nd for breaking up.
In this photograph she is shown in the Manchester Ship Canal.
Photograph belongs to Stuart Smith