From Our Contribution
|Builder/Built||1904 Harland & Wolff, Belfast|
|Type||passenger / refrigerated cargo ship|
Built for the Shaw Savill & Albion Line. Used on the New Zealand to London route, and later Antwerp to New York. Sold to Bernstein Red Star Line, Hamburg in 1928 and renamed Gerolstein. Later names were Consul (1939) and Consul Horn (1939) when owned by Horn HC - Dampfschiffs - Rhederal Horn - Fruchtdampfer AG of Lubeck. Sunk by mine of the coast of the Netherlands (NE of Borkum) on 20 Jul 1942, and lies in 14m of water.
Liverpool to Fremantle 21 December 1918 - 27 January 1919
Extracts from the diary of Melvin James Sawtell Harrigan
Extracted from a Facebook page Melvin James Sawtell Harrigan, maintained by James McQualter, a grandson, in honour of his memory. Melvin shared this journey with Reg Cockshott and Fred Chester. 150 Cpl Mechanic MJS Harrigan originally enlisted with the Light Horse, serving with the 1st and 12th Regiments before in late 1916 seeking a transfer to the newly formed Australian Flying Corps. He served with the 2nd Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps as a member of their ground staff in France. Many of the men coming home would have had similar experiences before, during and at the conclusion of their voyages.
In addition to the men for WA, she was carrying 203 for New South Wales, 109 for Queensland, 65 South Australians, 48 Tasmanians, and 280 Victorians. The South Australians, New South Welshmen, Queenslanders and Tasmanians were sent to the Broadmeadows camp until other transport arrangements were made for them.
21 December Up at 1am this morning had breakfast and after roll call the first mob of 450 got away per hoof for Warminster. Our party was very lucky in having a fine night to march out. The “Saxon” and “Nestor” mob marched out in pouring rain. We kicked up a big noise enroute to the station singing and yelling all the way. The YMCA shouted us tea and biscuits. After an hours wait, our train arrived and we boarded amidst a big hubbub. We went via Swindon, Crewe and Birmingham to Liverpool. Ran right on to the boat. A band played us off. We pulled out to midstream to await for some firemen.
22 December Went to bed in hammocks early last night. The morning broke dirty and foggy. Our firemen came along early so at 1.30pm we set off for home. We passed a big wreck just outside of a battleship that had been torpedoed. We soon ran into rough weather. We had a rough spin all night.
23 December We passed the Isle of Ogman and Welsh coast last night and pitched and tossed all day.
24 December We passed the Scillies and lighthouse early this morning. The sea is still rough though the gale has subsided a bit. We ran into the Bay of Biscay today. It was pretty rough also.
25 December The sea was a bit calmer today in fact much calmer than the Irish Sea. No sight of land today.
26 December A very nice day. We ran into calmer waters during the day and much warmer. We passed Cape St Vincent at daylight. It was fine to see the sun rise over the mountains of Spain. It was an uneventful day but nice and warm. There is not much shipping to be seen. I suppose most of it is at the bottom.
27 December Pretty chilly this morning. We passed Gibraltar on the left shortly after sunrise. On our right is the rugged coast of Morocco with a town right on the sea front opposite the gib. At the rear of the gib is the high Spanish mountains. The Mediterranean Sea here opens out from 3 miles at the neck to a vast expanse on the left. We left the snow capped mountains of Spain. We had a great run today averaging 12 knots. The sea was calm. Every day gets warmer.
28 December We skirted the coast of Algeria today and saw some fine views. The high snow capped mountains set well back with the grassy low ridges running down to the sea. We passed the City of Algiers that looked well from the sea set back on a big bay. The sea was choppy, the weather warm.
29 December Pretty calm today and very uneventful. We had a church parade in the forward part of the ship and played cards during the rest of the day. I am eating like a horse now and can hardly get enough but we are fed well. Had a life buoy parade today. Passed islands on the left today.
30 December The sea was choppy today and the sky was cloudy and overcast, a little rain fell. We passed Malta this morning, it was a good way off.
31 December Rather a chilly day but the old tub kept cutting out her 13 knots over a long gentle swell in the sea.Played cards all day, Principally, Rummy and 500. Wrote letters tonight to be posted at Port Said. We passed 3 ships early tonight. Some interesting signalling went on. Went to bed late, so goodbye to the old year.
1 January 1919 Paid 30 bob today. A chap hurt his spine on physical jerks this morning. Reported case of typhoid among the ships crew.
2 January The balance of pay was handed out this morning. We had a quiet day and the ship done a lot of gambling especially last night. The place was like a casino. We changed our course south about 5pm and at dusk saw the Port Said light in the distance. We soon ran up and waited for the pilot. In half an hour he was aboard and took us in through the lighted buoys. There was a sea wall on the right with De Lessep’s Monument. The town looked pretty at night with all the different coloured lights. We gave the Arabs a great reception as we entered the canal for our moorings, those who could talk to them. There are hundreds of motor launches here. We are to take in coal and water here.
3 January Got out of bed early and had a look round the ship. Port Said is a fine place with a power of shipping about. We had sport with the Arab fruit vendors and tricksters who came aboard to entertain us. Some of the boys got ashore last night in fact some swam ashore. The Major was very wild about it. We spent a lazy and enjoyable day while the ship took on fresh water and green vegetables for the troops. We were surprised to see the ‘Bokara’ come in with her load of boys during the afternoon. We gave them a great hoy. We passed her last in the Bay of Biscay. She anchored ahead of us. We set off at 5 o’clock through the canal passing several ships sunk at their moorings. We passed Kantara at 9 o’clock. It has grown into a very big place with numerous wharves. There is also an iron railway bridge over the canal.
4 January I did not see Somalia last night having gone to bed. We are to get our coal at Aden. We were still steaming down the canal when I got out of my bunk but an hour later we drew out into the harbour at Port Suez and anchored. The ‘Bokara’ came out after us shortly after and anchored near by. In front lay the Aberdeen liner ‘Miltiades’ loaded with English brides of Aussie soldiers. We took on mails for Aden during the morning. We had great sport with the Arab fruit sellers in dhows. One mob nearly got swamped by getting under the ships water pipe. A Tommy officer also got snubbed for putting his spoke in. We weighed anchor at lunch and started south over a glorious sea and cloudy sky. A little rain fell. We got a piano on today.
5 January No sight of land today only the pancake lighthouse. The sea was calm and it was very boring. It was an uneventful day and most of the fellows lay round sleeping and gambling etc.
6 January A bright sunny day. The sea is a bit choppy. We passed some small islands with light houses, one was on a dangerous reef just submerged. Passed several ships. The ‘Miltiades’ came up on us tonight. We have not seen any thing of the ‘Bokara’. Play cards till night. Most of the boys have a good time at music and debates in the evening. Some fellows argued we passed the Hells Gates tonight late.
7 January Up early. No sight of land. The sea got choppy this morning and got a bit rough towards night. Went on guard at nine this morning with a sergeant and 24 men. It is a very rag time guard. I had a busy and tiresome day looking for men to go on duty. The Aberdeen liner with the Aussie wives, ‘Miltiades’, kept behind us all day. She came up last night and was unable to pass us. I guess the poor dears on board will be a bit bilious.
8 January Had a very rough sea today. I guess we are now into the Gulf of Aden. It was great to watch the great waves rushing by and breaking into foam. No one was sick. We passed some great islands at dinner time with a light house. Some fellows say it was Hells Gates but I think they are wrong. There has been a lot of discussion about this place. I confess it has me beaten. I saw nothing like the place that I saw going north years ago with the Island of Perim but we may have passed it in the night. We play cards till late at night. The weather is very warm. I came off guard at 9 o’clock this morning.
9 January Out of bed at 5 o’clock, just as day was breaking. We entered the Port of Aden. The pilot came on board shortly afterwards and took us in. Dropped anchor just off the naval base at 9am. Four coal bulks came along side with a great mob of natives and got to work. The boys put in the time rowing about the bay and boat races were instituted. Two good races being rowed before dinner. The final is to be run after dinner. This is a desolate place but appears to be very strong. It is a picturesque place with the buildings hanging on to the side of the mountain. We lifted anchor shortly after tea and put out to sea steering south east and for the open sea.
10 January An uneventful day. We passed out of the Gulf of Aden into the Indian Ocean. Saw no land today, the sea was a bit choppy with a long swell at night. I played cards all day and night. Reported that the ‘Bokara’ was close behind us but I have not seen her.
11 January Rough sea today. There was general sports on board today and a fancy dress concert at night but I was too busy in playing cards to see any of it.
12 January We all dressed up and shaved for muster and church parade. The old Scotch Padre preached on Tenacity, Sagacity, and Pertinacity. There was a sacred concert at night but I played cards. The sea is a bit rough. I had a wristlet watch pinched today that I bought in Cairo just after the evacuation.
13 January Very hot day, the sea is getting smoother. I spend the day eating and trying to keep cool and playing cards. At night the company held a debate on prohibition and caused a lot of argument. Had a life boat parade today. The second copy of the Mamari Mariner was issued today announcing the death of T Roosevelt and Civil War in Berlin.
14 January Woke up with a dirty taste in my mouth this morning, this sleeping down below is no bon. No drill today. I signed a warrant for the Govt to pay all my boodle over to the Bank of Queensland. Loafed round during the rest of the day trying to keep cool. There was concert at night and I played cards. “Call Earhie” etc. Cross the line tonight. Reported 9 days run to Fremantle. Sleep on deck tonight. Saw a rainbow with the moon.
15 January We crossed the line at 2am this morning. Very warm. Slept up on top last night and was rooted out at 5 in the morning by heavy rain coming on and bye jove it knows how to rain in the tropics. Spent the morning trying to find a cool spot. I saw a big shark this morning also 3 albatrosses. During afternoon a tank was fixed up and every fellow was dipped except a few, me amongst the few. I had a game of cards. There was a bun and treacle race after tea and a dance on the after deck. Lieu Stanley had his false teeth broken today in the dipping and the Major had his lovely white pants spoiled. Black Prince got roughly handled.
16 January I believe a full list of the men aboard were wirelessed to Fremantle today. We are getting tired of the trip though the sea is calm and the sunsets beautiful. More rain fell last night. We did nothing all day only Housie Housie Housie.
17 January A cool breeze blew all day but the sea continues wonderfully calm. Rain came on today and last night and hunted all the mob below. I saw several birds today. Went to bunk early. The padre held a discussion aft tonight. Some events were run off today.
18 January Jock Martin won the mileage sweep today of £5. Sixpence in for the chips, work for the last 24 hours guessing 315 miles. The same as yesterday. The sea is very smooth. Sports started today. B Company winning the tug of war. Davies beat Jessott in the bantam weight boxing and Payne beat Wills in the welter. The band played afterwards and the ships company put on an excellent concert programme. We all enjoyed the evening. The sunsets still continue gorgeous. I took a ticket in the sweep today for date and minute of anchoring at Fremantle. My time was next Friday morning 5.45.
19 January Had a good nights sleep, had a hearty breakfast on bacon and fry then shaved and dressed for divine service. Padre Forrest preached on the forward latch, this was followed by dress parade and inspection by OC after dinner which consisted of meat, peas and potatoes and plum duff which we get every Sunday. I went to sleep on the forward deck and slept till tea time. After tea of German sausage, bread and butter, I took an airing. There was a religious talk after by the padre. I had a look in. All the table was on guard today except me. The ship done 288 miles today.
20 January The sea is choppy today with a head wind. Play cards all day to pass the time away. It is really boring this trip. Not a boat since leaving Aden. We saw some sea gulls today. Impromptu concert tonight.
21 January Flying fish are still to be seen out but not so numerous as closer to the line. Sleep all day and play cards at night. Buck dance tonight at Trafalgar Square under the arc light.
22 January The sea is getting pretty rough. Dinkie Aussie seas here but it is great to see the old packing case take the seas and roll like blazes. Got wireless today from Aussie in reference to the death of King George’s younger son John Charles aged 14.. The padre gave an address on Kitchener tonight. I play cards.
23 January The troops are getting very lazy of a morning. It is hard to get them out of bed. There was a big long swell today and the old ‘Mamari’ flopped about like a cork but we all enjoyed it. Reported we were 883 miles from Fremantle waters at 12 o’clock. Impromptu concert tonight. Pretty cold today with a high wind. 286 miles today.
24 January I put in a reward at the orderly room for my wristlet watch that was pinched last week. Reported per wireless that Ireland has declared her independence. Rot. I loaf around all day dodging parades and playing cards. It is very cold tonight. A keen wind blows on deck. Thank goodness we will soon be home.
25 January There is still a big swell and the sea is not too good. We expect to reach Fremantle before tomorrow night. The finish of the sports took place this afternoon when Davis beat Gerrard for the light weight champion. The concert at night was poor. I played cards till late. I went on guard this morning till tomorrow.
26 January Chilly day. Every body is anxiously looking out for land. The padre gave us a good church service then there was the usual dress parade. At 5 in the afternoon Rottnest lighthouse was seen in the distance. There was great excitement. The pilot came along side at 6, at 7 we dropped anchor out in the bay waiting for the health officer. He will come aboard tomorrow. Fremantle looked well at night and the Cottesloe Beach was a picture. Dunean, a Scottie, won the sweep being 5 minutes out.
27 January I sent a wire to Mother today also a letter. I sent a letter also to Ethel. We took up anchor early after the medical officer had a look at us all and gave us permission to land. After we got up to the wharf the ladies pelted us with fruit. We got off at 2pm. Most of us went by train to Perth. Free motors then drove us free to a Govt House spread free where we had a good time. We walked through the gardens along the water front through the town. Went to a theatre, ate about 10lbs of fruit. Afterwards took the train back to Cottesloe where we had a good time. Later got the train for Fremantle, knocked round here till midnight eating fruit salads. Most of the ships company were crawling home tight. Pennefather went to hospital. We left the WA chaps here today. The hospitality of the people is great. They are good hearty people. We got to bed early in the morning. Martin and Leggett were a bit inked.