HMAT A35 Berrima

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HMAT A35 Berrima
HMAT A35 Berrima.jpg
Berrima under construction in 1913 - Wikipedia
HMAT A35 Berrima 2.jpg
18 August 1914 (Stern view at Cockatoo Island)
Name HMAT A35 Berrima
Owner Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co
Builder Caird & Co, Greenock, Scotland
Launched 20 Sep 1913
Completed 1914
In service 17 Aug 1914
Fate scrapped in Osaka 1930
General characteristics
Type Passenger / cargo steamship (twin screw)
Tonnage 11,137 tons
Length 500 ft 2 in (152.45m)
Beam 62 ft 3 in (18.97m)
Depth draught 38 ft (12m)
Propulsion twin screw
Speed 14 knots (25.93 kph)
Capacity 350 x 3rd class passengers plus 250 in temporary accommodation.


Built for Lund's Blue Anchor Line emigrant service. Could carry 350 third class passengers. In 1914 Berrima was requisitioned by the RAN and on 17 Aug 1914 commissioned as an auxiliary cruiser following a six day conversion at Cockatoo island Drydock that saw accommodation created in her holds for 1,500 men and provision of armament. Following her involvement in the capture of Rabaul, capital of German New Guinea, she returned to Sydney where she was decommissioned on 20 Oct 1914 and converted converted to a troop transport. Leased by the Commonwealth until 10 Oct 1917, during which time she made 5 trips carrying troops to war. She had been a member of the second convoy from Albany to Egypt. Management was then transferred to the British Admiralty.

18 February 1917, Struck by a torpedo from U Boat U84 when 50 miles West of Portland Bill, with the loss of four lives. The majority of the crew were evacuated in the lifeboats and were picked up by the destroyer HMS Forester. A line was subsequently connected to the tug Pilot, and Berrima was towed into Portland Harbour the next day. In the absence of a dry dock she was repaired while still afloat with a 42 ton wooden patch built in three sections on the quayside, after which she was requisitioned by the Shipping Controller for the Atlantic stores and munitions ferry. On completion of war duty, she resumed normal service

Berrima returned to commercial service on 24 March 1920 and was subsequently employed on the P&O Branch Line. On 26 April 1929, Berrima departed London on her final voyage to Australia, after which P&O shut down the UK to Australia, via Cape Town, route. Berrima was laid up in Britain until 16 July 1930 when she was sold for £29,000 to Japanese shipbreakers Asakichi Kitagawa. She was subsequently scrapped in Osaka later that year.

Soldiers carried


4 x 4-inch breech loading guns; 2 forward, and 2 aft.

Melbourne to Alexandria 22 December 1914 - 1 February 1915

Alexandria to Mudros 1 -4 August 1915

Malta to Alexandria 15 - 19 October 1915

Fremantle to Port Suez 17 December 1915 - ? January 1916

Fremantle to Devonport 23 December 1916 - 16 February 1917

England to Fremantle 31 October - 22 December 1917

England to Fremantle 2 January - 10 February 1919

Other Voyages

  • 25 June 1915 from Sydney; 28 June 1915 from Melbourne
  • 1 July 1916 from Hobart, 4 July 1916 from Melbourne