Pampas - 1940 - Ships Nostalgia

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Pampas - 1940

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Old 9th January 2010, 00:44
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davidships davidships is offline  
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Pampas - 1940

PAMPAS, the second of Royal Mail Line's eight "P" Class cargo motorships was completed by Harland & Wolff at Belfast in 1940 and had the shortest life of all (not to be confused with the 5th, PARAMATTA, completed in 1944 as PAMPAS in honour of her sister).

My father, a RAF RDF-operator, was aboard PAMPAS for her heavily shot-up 1942 voyage from Alexandria to Malta in convoy MW10. Only PAMPAS and TALABOT arrived, the other two merchant ships BRECONSHIRE and CLAN CAMPBELL were lost before reaching Valletta, and both of the arrivals were promptly sunk on 26 Mar in Grand Harbour by the Luftwaffe - see photo - she suffered further destruction in subsequent raids. She was bombed no less than 18 times and was in no state to be refloated. The wreckage remained in situ until 1950 when it was removed - only at that time could they recover the remains of the eight Maltese stevedores killed eight years earlier.

This is the only photo of PAMPAS that we have found so far - but are there others lurking?

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File Type: jpg Pampas2.jpg (88.4 KB, 117 views)

Last edited by davidships; 9th January 2010 at 11:01..
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Old 9th January 2010, 01:13
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Miramar... for reference for other 'readers'
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Old 3rd March 2010, 03:20
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The Royal Mail vessel PAMPAS I sailed on in the 60s was possibly launched as the Paramatta then re-named HMS Precinimum (sp?) and as I understood it was scheduled to be Montgommery's HQ in the East somewhere but due to engine problems she never made it.
She was fitted with landing craft on the decks and accommodation in the holds for troops.
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Old 15th November 2011, 00:42
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HMS PERSIMMON ex-PAMPAS, launched as PARAMATTA, did make it to East following her service as a Headquarters Infantry Landing Ship in Normandy. Whether she was delayed or not, I don't know, but she was involved in the landings in the Irrawaddy Delta and the capture of Rangoon in April 1945.

Still hoping that a shoebox will contain a photo of the first PAMPAS - it would be my dream Christmas present for the "old man".
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Old 8th March 2017, 05:23
Maustrauser Maustrauser is offline  
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SS Pampas - destruction

Hi David,
Thanks for the photo of the damaged SS Pampas. I attach a photo from the book Our Name Wasn't Written by Caroline Vernon which shows SS Pampas burning at its moorings in Grand Harbour on 26 May 1942.
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Old 7th July 2019, 21:38
dylan1966 dylan1966 is offline  
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This is not Pampas?
On 169738
GT 557598
NT 314423
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Old 8th July 2019, 00:21
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PAMPAS (Captain E.B. Ingram). Convoy MW.10, composed of the Pampas, HMS Breconshire (Captain C.A.G. Hutchinson), Clan Campbell and the Norwegian ship Talabot (Captain Albert Toft), sailed from Alexandria on 20 March, 1942, bound for beleaguered Malta. From the 22nd, it suffered continual attacks by large numbers Italian and German planes and only the Pampas and the Talabot succeeded in reaching Valetta.

The Convoy dispersed on the 22nd, with each merchantman being accompanied by a destroyer. The next day, the Clan Campbell was 20 miles from the port when she was sunk. The Breconshire was 8 miles from the port on the 24th when she was disabled. Due to heavy seas, she could not be towed into Grand Harbour, but was taken to a bay on the south side of the island where she was bombed and sunk on the 27th. When over 300 bombers attacked Grand Harbour on the 26th, the Pampas was sunk and the Talabot so severely damaged that she was scuttled in case her cargo of ammunition exploded. Between them, they had been able to discharge only a few hundred tons of their cargoes. The Royal Navy lost the destroyers HMS Legion and HMS Southwold while a cruiser and two destroyers were damaged.
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