SS Varela

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SS Varela.jpg
Name SS Varela
Builder/Built 1914 Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd of Newcastle
Type passenger/cargo liner
Displacement 4,691 tons
Speed 16 knots


Built for the British India Steamships - Could accommodate 32 First Class passengers; 24 Second Class; and 1,160 Deck class. Named after Cape Verala in what is now Vietnam. Built originally for the mail run Bombay - Persian Gulf, with the outbreak of war she was requisitioned by the British Government.

She had the distinction of being the first British India ship to be called up. Initially she was a supply and despatch ship for the Royal Indian Navy but on the 28th October she acted as Headquarters ship for the Allied landings at Fao/Sanniya in the Persian Gulf. After the landings she embarked the wounded and sailed for Basra where she became the base hospital for the campaign. In October of 1915 she underwent conversion in Bombay to an Indian Expeditionary Force Hospital Ship with 450 beds, she served in the Persian Gulf for the Mesopotamian Campaign.

From November 1917 she was officially designated an Ambulance Transport and was not released from these duties until October of 1920; thereafter she returned to her peacetime role in the Persian Gulf.

It wasn't until September 1938 that she was once more called up to Active Service for the Munich Crisis. She spent the entire war serving as a Personnel Ship and continued in that role until 1946 when she returned to her normal peacetime role on the Persian Gulf Service.

With the arrival of the Gulf 'D's in 1947 she transferred to the Calcutta-Madras-Rangoon Service and in 1951 made her final voyage to Cardiff carrying of all things COAL! She was finally sold to Bisco for scrap on the 22nd March 1951, work commenced on the 26th April by Thomas W. Ward Ltd. at Briton Ferry.

Soldiers carried