RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN, later MEISEI MARU)

MEISEI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2017-2018 Bob Hackett


1917:
Laid down by the Superior Shipbuilding Company, Wisconsin as WAR CHANT, a 1,893-ton cargo Ship for the Cunard Steamship Company.

6 April, 1917:
The United States enters World War I.

31 July 1917:
Launched and renamed LAKE CHAMPLAIN.

September 1917:
Completed for the United States Shipping Board, Washington, D.C.

19 January 1918:
Acquired by the United States Navy.

24 January 1918:
Boston, MA. Commissioned as a World War I temporary auxiliary ship USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN.

March 1918 ~ January 1919:
After initial service transporting coal along the U.S. east coast, she makes four round-trip voyages across the Atlantic to Europe carrying ammunition and other cargo.

February~ March 1919:
USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN travels to Cuba carrying mines and coal.

March 1919:
Decommissioned and returned to the U.S. Shipping Board.

1920:
Sold to Lloyd Royal Belge, Antwerp, Belgium. Renamed NIPPONIER.

1925:
Sold to Armement Gylsen SA, Antwerp. Renamed FRUITHANDEL.

1927:
Sold to Hiyoshi Shipping Co., Ltd., Kobe. Renamed MEISEI MARU. [1]

194?:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Allotted IJA No. 423.

194?:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

31 March 1944:
Sold to Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Kobe.

9 January 1945:
Re-requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Allotted IJA No. 1337.

20 February 1945:
At 1600, MEISEI MARU departs Hong Kong in convoy HOMO-02 also consisting of six unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan AGUNI and CD-40.

3 March 1945:
At 1730, arrives at Moji.

8 June 1945:
MEISEI MARU, under IJA charter, departs Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture for Rashin, Chosen (Korea).

11 June 1945:
26 kilometers off the coast of Rashin. At 0140, LtCdr (later Captain) Robert D. Risser's (USNA '34) USS FLYING FISH ( SS-229), on the surface, fires three torpedoes by SJ radar and gets two hits starboard side that sink MEISEI MARU at 41-47N, 130-38 E. 42 crewmen are KIA. FLYING FISH captures one prisoner-of-war who identifiies the ship as IJA No. 1337.


Author's Note:
[1] Not to be confused with 6,886-ton MEISEI MARU.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett


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