(HAWAII MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Transport HAWAII MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

15 November 1915:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co. as a 9,482-ton passenger-cargo ship for the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK) Line, Osaka.

18 May 1915:
Launched and named HAWAII MARU.

27 July 1915:
Completed and placed in OSK Lineís service.

10 July 1921:
Arrives at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

7 October 1921:
Arrives at Seattle, Washington.

14 February 1924:
Arrives at Seattle, Washington.

3 November 1928:
Arrives at New Orleans, Louisiana. On the occasion of the Emperor's birthday, several prominent New Orleanians are invited to dine aboard HAWAII MARU.

January 1937-December 1938:
HAWAII MARUís service with OSK includes voyages to Kobe, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Moji, Hong Kong, Singapore, Colombo, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Dar-es-Salaam, Beira, LourenÁo Marques, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Buenos Aires.

29 September 1941:
HAWAII MARU is requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a transport-cargo ship (AP-APK) and assigned IJA ship No. 832. Attached to Vice Admiral Takahashi Iboís (35)(former CO of YAMASHIRO) Third Fleet.

7 December 1941: The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
At 17300, HAWAII MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Vigan, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Nishimura Shoji's (39)(former CO of HARUNA) Vigan Invasion Unit with IJA transports BRISBANE, SHUNKO, OIGAWA, TAKAO and SANKO MARUs escorted by DesRon 2's light cruiser NAKA, DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MURASAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO, minesweepers W-9, W-10, W-11, W-12, W-17 and W-18 and subchasers CH-4, CH-5, CH-6, CH-10, CH-11, CH-12, CH-16 , CH-17 and CH-18.

10 December 1941:
The invasion unit arrives off Vigan, N Luzon and begins to land troops.

9 March 1942:
At 1500, HAWAII MARU departs Woosung, China for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of KOFUKU and MEIU MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU. The convoy carries elements of the IJA 4th Infantry Division and equipment.

14 March 1942:
Arrives at Lingayen Gulf and lands troops.

9 October 1942:
HAWAII MARU departs Saigon, Indochina for Yokohama in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of AFRICA and LONDON MARUs without escort.

21 October 1942:
At 0110, LtCdr Jesse L. Hull's (USNA '26) USS FINBACK (SS-230) fires six torpedoes at the convoy. AFRICA MARU is hit by one torpedo near No. 4 and 5 holds. She responds with three wild shots from an IJA field gun, but is hit by a second torpedo in No. 2 hold. She takes on a list and sinks six minutes later at 24-26N, 120-26N. She was carrying a 7,568-ton cargo of corn, rice and general supplies and 38 passengers. Three of her crew of 112 men are KIA. LONDON MARU is also hit but remains afloat.

October 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

6 March 1943:
HAWAII MARU departs Moji in convoy No. 134 also consisting of MIKASA, YAMAHAGI and TSUSHIMA MARUs escorted by destroyer SANAE.

11 March 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

3 April 1943:
HAWAII MARU departs Singapore carrying about 1,000 Dutch POW officers and men and three British POWs.

6 April 1943:
Arrives in the Saigon River and anchors for two days.

15 April 1943:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa and anchors for three days. Some Dutch POWs begin to die of dysentery and other causes brought on by their captivity.

18 April 1943:
Departs Takao.

25 April 1943:
Arrives at Moji. Disembarks POWs.

26 May 1943:
Released by the IJA back to OSK. HAWAII MARU becomes an Army/Civilian (A/C) Haitosen passenger-cargo ship (A-APK) and is assigned IJA No. 5083.

6 November 1943:
Departs Singapore for Moji carrying 1,230 Dutch and 150 British prisoners of war (POWs). The convoy follows the coast of Indochina and China, but as it crosses to Formosa, it encounters a typhoon that lasts for almost a week. HAWAII MARU shelters at Takao harbor and then steams north toward Japan.

26 November 1943:
HAWAII MARU departs Takao in convoy No. 222 consisting of HAKONE, SHUNKO (SUNKO), HOTEN and ROKKO MARUs, tankers TACHIBANA, NITTATSU, SEINAN MARU and OGURA MARU No. 2 and landing craft depot ship AKITSU MARU escorted by torpedo boat TOMOZURU.

27 November 1943:
N Formosa Strait. SE of Foochow, China. At 0930, three 14th Air Force B-25 "Mitchell" medium bombers attack the convoy. They strafe TOMOZURU and bomb and sink troop transport HAKONE MARU at 25-04N, 119-40E. Undamaged HAWAII MARU picks up about 900 survivors. The convoy continues north to Shanghai where the rescued IJA soldiers from HAKONE MARU are disembarked.

November 1943:
HAWAII MARU departs Shanghai and proceeds independently to Moji.

3 December 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

4 December 1943:
Disembarks the POWs. No POW deaths are reported during the voyage. The British POWs are later sent to Fukuoka Camp No. 17 at Omuta and used as coal miners.

23 March 1944:
HAWAII MARU departs St Jacques, Indochina escorting convoy SATA-12 consisting of NORFOLK MARU and KOTO MARU No. 2 GO and three unidentified merchant ships escorted by subchasers CH-21 and CH-41.

27 March 1944:
Arrives at Manila, Philippines. Both escorts are detached.

2 April 1944:
Off Luzon. Torpedo boat SAGI and subchaser CH-36 join convoy SATA-12 (second) stage as additional escorts. The convoy now consists of HAWAII MARU and ten unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary submarine chaser MISAGO MARU No. 2.

4 April 1944: Arrives at Takao.

13 April 1944 :
HAWAII MARU departs Kirun (Keelung), Formosa in convoy TAMO-16 also consisting of TOYO MARU No. 3, HAKUSHIKA, NORFOLK, HIOKI and YASUKUNI MARUs and eight unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

20 April 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

27 April 1944:
Off Shikoku. At about noon, LtCdr (later Cdr) James H. Ashley, Jrís (USNA '34) USS SEADRAGON (SS-194) fires three torpedoes and gets one hit amidships that damages HAWAII MARU at 33-24N 128-17E.

May 1944:
HAWAII MARU begins-battle damage repairs at an unknown location.

30 November 1944:
At 0900, HAWAII MARU departs Moji for Miri, Borneo via Manila in convoy MI-29 also consisting of tankers ENGEN, ENCHO, ENKEI and SHINYU MARUs with CLYDE, BRAZIL, AKISHIMA, MEIRYU, ENOURA, DAII, AKIKAWA and KAZUURA MARUs, HOSHI MARU No. 11 and KONAN MARU No. 1 escorted by destroyer ASAGAO, kaibokan IKUNA, SHINNAN, KANJU, CD-41, CD-66, subchaser CH-28 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-223.

HAWAII MARU is carrying 1,843 soldiers including men of the IJA's 3rd Company, 23rd Engineers Battalion, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Companies and signal platoon of the 23rd Cavalry Battalion, 3rd Company, 23rd Reconnaissance Regiment, 1st Company, 23rd Transportation Regiment and 87 soldiers of the 22nd Sea Raiding Battalion and its base battalion's maintenance company. A divisional company of engineers and a company of transportation soldiers are also aboard. Her cargo includes ammunition, gasoline, 50 vehicles and 60 plywood explosive motor boats (EMB). The Sea Raiding Battalion was destined for Singapore, but ended up on Formosa.

2 December 1944:
At about 0400, LtCdr (later Cdr) Ralph C. Style's (USNA '33) USS SEA DEVIL (SS-400) fires four torpedoes and gets one hit in HAWAII MARUís No. 2 hold's cargo of ammunition and a series of explosions occur that set the ship afire. The flames spread to No. 4 hold where gasoline is stowed and huge explosion occurs, HAWAII MARU immediately sinks in the cold nine-foot waves at 30-16N 135-48E. All 1,843 troops together with 60 others, 83 gunners, and 148 crewmen are KIA. There are no survivors of the 2,074 men aboard. The 22nd Sea Raiding Battalion loses five officers, 24 NCOs and 6 enlisted men. Later, two more men later die in a Taiwan hospital. Also lost are all 60 suicide boats and 50 men of the 22nd's maintenance company (seibi chutai). The Battalion is considered annihilated (zenmetsu). [1]

At about 0430, SEA DEVIL fires two torpedoes that hit AKIKAWA MARU. She breaks in two and sinks at 30-16N 135-48E. 300 soldiers and crewmen are KIA. KONAN MARU No. 1 rescues the survivors. Later, some ships rejoin at Takao, but at this point convoy MI-29 is officially dissolved.

Author's Note:
[1] Sources conflict as to the number of KIA aboard HAWAII MARU (from 1,843 to 2,047).

Thanks go to John Whitman of Virginia for info about the troops and cargo aboard HAWAII MARU. Thanks also go to Gilbert Casse of France and Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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