SS Kosciusko

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SS Kosciusko
HMT Czaritza.jpg
HMT Czaritza
SS Kosciusko.jpg
SS Kosciusko
Name HMT Czaritza
Owner Russian East Asiatic S.S. Co. Ltd., Libau
Builder Barclay, Curie & Co Ltd
Yard number 512
Launched 14 Feb 1915
Completed 1915
In service 1915
Out of service 1950
Fate broken up at Blyth on 2 May 1950
General characteristics
Type Passenger / cargo
Tonnage 6,852 tons
Length 440.0 ft (134.11m)
Beam 53.4 ft (16.26m)
Depth 29.3 ft (8.92m)
Propulsion twin screw
Speed 13 knots (24.08 km/h)


Ordered by the Russian American Line prior to the outbreak of World War I and intended to serve as an ocean liner under the name SS Czaritza or SS Tsarina, operating with up to 1000 passengers between New York and Arkhangelsk. When finally placed in peacetime service post WW1 it carried 712 passengers.

Launched in 1915 by Barclay, Curle & Co. Ltd., Glasgow, as SS Czaritza she was evacuated from Russia during the Russian Civil War. she was initially hired, but later bought by Cunard Line in 1917 and used as a troop transport between USA and Europe and between Great Britain and Malta. In September 1920 she was returned to civilian ownership (Danish East Asiatic Company, Copenhagen), and in 1921 renamed as SS Lituania operating on the Baltic - America route. Sold in 1930 to the Polish Transatlantic Spg Co Ltd, who renamed her SS Kosciusko to operate on the Poland, Canada route before being passed to Gdynia-America Spg Lines Ltd, Gdynia during 1934. Deemed obsolete in early 1939 she was withdrawn from Service.

At the outbreak of WW2, now known as SS Gdynia, she was used from November 1939 as a depot ship in Devonport for the Polish navy, returning On 30 June 1941 she returned to the Polish merchant marine under her old name. Chartered to the British Lamport and Holt Line, she served as a troop transport in the Indian Ocean and Malaya. She was attacked by Japanese aircraft several times and in 1943 was hit by a torpedo, which did not explode. She had been fitted out with 4 x 20mm Oerliken anti-aircraft guns. Withdrawn to the Mediterranean, she took part in the Allied Invasion of Sicily. Then she returned to the Indian Ocean, this time as a part of United Maritime Authority.

In April 1946 she was sold to the Liverpool-based Lamport and Holt Line, renamed to 'SS Empire Helfod and continued to serve as a troop transport and for transportation of displaced persons. In 1949 she was withdrawn from service and was scrapped in 1950.

Soldiers carried

England to Alexandria 16 March - 7 May 1919

Bombay, India to Adelaide 11 February to 23 March 1942

Disembarked in Fremantle 18 Mar 1942 and charged with AWOL when the boat left without them.