(VALLES, earlier RAMON MARU, postwar – Berend van der Wal Collection)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2019 Gilbert Casse, Berend van der Wal and Peter Cundall

7 January 1920:
Laid down by the Submarine Boat Corporation for Transmarine as a 3,545-tons cargo ship. [1]

17 July 1920:
Launched and named SURICO.

20 September 1920:
Completed and registered at New York. Her Gross Registered tonnage (GRT) and Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) respectively are 3,545-tons and 2,174 tons. Her call sign is MBJR. [2]

Operated on Transmarine East Coast service.

Operating on the Newark to Florida service.

Late 1925:
Laid up.

Early 1926:
Resumes trading.

GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 3,253-tons and 1,977-tons respectively. [2]

9 October 1926:
Departs Newark for Cardiff, Wales.

Transferred to coal trade between Hampton Roads and Boston.

14 June 1927:
Boiler trouble results in ship being delayed in Columbia River for repairs.

7 December 1929:
Departs Grays Harbor. Later calls at Astoria.

16 December 1929:
Arrives at Los Angeles and takes on bunkers. Then sails to Newark.

20 January 1930:
Arrives at Newark and laid up.

Transmarine Group collapses and ship is listed for sale.

23 June 1931:
Her owners are changed to Portland California Steamship Company.

5 December 1931:
Departs Newark for Pacific coast.

14 December 1931:
Passes through Panama Canal.

GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 3,513-tons and 2,208-tons. Reregistered in Seattle. [2]

19 January 1932:
Renamed ADMIRAL GOVE and reregistered in San Francisco. Operates from Portland, Ore.

9 December 1933:
Runs aground near Bay Point buoy No. 2 near Pittsburg, CA while on voyage from San Francisco to Stockton, CA.

11 December 1933:
Successfully refloated but laid up until early 1934.

Her call signal is changed to KDDP.

ADMIRAL GOVE is laid up.

6 March 1937:
Departs San Francisco for Port Townsend, Wash under charter to Quaker Line.

10 March 1937:
Departs Port Townsend for New Orleans, and then New York.

17 April 1937:
Departs New York.

18 April 1937:
Arrives at Philadelphia.

23 April 1937:
Departs Philadelphia.

24 April 1937:
Arrives at Baltimore.

25 April 1937:
Departs Baltimore for Norfolk, VA.

27 April 1937:
Departs Norfolk for Balboa and California.

17 May 1937:
Arrives at San Diego and later that day departs there and arrives at San Pedro.

19 May 1937:
Departs San Pedro and later that day arrives at San Francisco.

21 May 1937:
Enters drydock for repairs. Extensive bottom damage is found and because of cost, undocked and laid up.

Her owners are changed to Pacific Steamship Lines Inc.

1 January 1940:
Sold to Westport Steamship Company, Canada, an apparent subsidiary of Pacific Steamship Lines Inc.

Her owners are changed to Ramona Steamship Company. Renamed RAMONA and reregistered in San Francisco.

16 February 1940:
Departs San Francisco for Sydney, NSW, apparently under charter to Colonial Sugar Refining. Calls at Seattle and Victoria, BC to load cargo for Sydney.

May 1940:
Her owners are changed to Wallem & Company (Tianjin Shipping Company). Reregistered in Panama. The beneficial owner is C. Y. Tung, eventual founder of Orient Overseas Container Lines.

17 April 1941:
Her owners are changed to Daian Shipping Co. Ltd. The rest of the year, makes voyages from Port Redon, French Indochina (now Vietnam) to Shanghai, Port Courbet, French Indochina (now Vietnam) to Shanghai, Palembang, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) to Shanghai and Hongay, French Indochina (now Vietnam) to Shanghai.

29 November 1941:
Departs Port Campha, French Indochina (now Vietnam).

5 December 1941:
Arrives at Shanghai with a cargo of coal.

8 December 1941:
In detention at Shanghai.

17 December 1941:
Formally captured by the Japanese.

January 1942:
Renamed RAMON MARU. The name appears to have simply been a “Japanification” of her seized name, RAMONA, pending the formal outcome of the prize court hearing determining if the seizure is legally valid.

8 January 1942:
Departs Shanghai.

10 January 1942:
Arrives at Aiura.

15 January 1942:
Registered as an auxiliary gunboat attached to Kure Naval District. Conversion to military duty begins at Kure Naval Yard. That same day, Navy Commander Tsuchiya Kenichi (40) is appointed CO.

24 January 1942:
Conversion is completed.

25 January 1942:
Reattached to Yokosuka Naval District under instruction No. 351. The 3rd Picket Boat Division is organized under instruction No. 353. Attached that same day to Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro’s (40) Fifth Fleet, 3rd Picket Boat Division.

5 March 1942:
Departs Kure.

9 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

12 March 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Uraga. Enters drydock later that day.

13 March 1942:
Undocked. Departs Uraga and arrives at Yokosuka. Later that month it is discovered that her hull is obsolete and not strong enough to operate in the North Pacific.

10 April 1942:
Commander Tsuchiya disembarks. Released from 3rd Picket Boat Division under instruction No. 657. Removed from the Navy list and transferred to the Maritime Administration.

16 April 1942:
Scheduled for reconversion at Yokosuka Naval Yard under Navy Department instruction No. 4632.

31 May 1942:
Chartered to Nissan Kisen K.K. Renamed HITORA MARU, in accordance with Nissan naming conventions, and reregistered in Yokohama. Her call sign changes to JKAR. That same day, chartered by the IJA as Army Transport No. 5007 until 14 Jul ‘42.

1 June 1942:
Sasebo Prize Tribunal prosecution commences.

19 June 1942:
Departs Tokyo Bay in a northbound convoy also consisting of TAKAOSAN, YUZAN, KOSHIN, SAIHO and TSUNESHIMA MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat KEISHIN MARU. HITORA MARU is bound for Kushiro.

14 July 1942:
Departs Yokohama in a convoy also consisting of IJN collier/oiler TAGANOURA MARU and IJA transports KOWA and SHINRYU MARUs escorted by destroyer SAWAKAZE. The convoy departs from off Futtsu at 1200 and sails at 9 knots.

17 July 1942:
Arrives at Otaru.

30 July 1942:
In the 30th northbound convoy consisting of IJA transports TAIKAI, UCHIDE and CHOSEN MARUs and IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) MEIWA MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat HIYOSHI MARU No. 2 GO.

12 August 1942:
At 1200, departs from off Futtsu, Tokyo Bay in an unescorted northbound convoy also consisting of NAGATA MARU and TSUKUSHI MARU No. 2. The ships sail at 9 knots.

29 August 1942:
At 1200, departs from off Futtsu, Tokyo Bay in a northbound convoy also consisting of SEIKO, MINAMI, SHOGEN, NIIGATA, WOOSUNG, SAIHO, REIYO and REIAN MARUs and TAMON MARU No. 5 escorted by auxiliary gunboat HIYOSHI MARU No. 2 GO. The ships sail at 9 knots.

14 October 1942:
At entrance to Tokyo Bay collides with MEISHO MARU. Her bow is slightly damaged.

17 December 1942:
A protest is filed against the Sasebo capture court case No. 9 (hull) judgment.

23 December 1942:
Arrives at Miike in westbound convoy No. 81 also consisting of NORWAY, GENYO, HAKUYO, TAIZAN and UNYO MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat KEISHIN MARU as far as Kobe.

5 January 1943:
At 1230, departs Mako, Pescadores in convoy No. 360 also consisting of tanker MANJU MARU and FUKKAI and DURBAN MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 8 escorted by destroyer FUYO.

11 January 1943:
At 1600, arrives at St Jacques, French Indochina (now Vung Tau, Vietnam).

14 January 1943:
The Sasebo capture trial office case No. 9 (no part of cargo) judgment is finalized ‘open’.

4 April 1943:
Due to arrive at Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Vietnam).

14 May 1943:
Due to depart Takao.

9 June 1943:
At 1500, departs Naha, Okinawa in convoy ROKU-13 also consisting of BOKO (ex-British SAGRES), CHILE and MANTAI MARUs escorted by auxiliary minesweeper SEKI and SHOWA MARUs. The ships sail at 8.5 knots.

11 June 1943:
Arrives at Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan). Departs later.

14 June 1943:
At 1300, departs Mako in convoy No. 399 also consisting of HAWAII, HOTEN, GYOTEN, ROKKO, YAMAYURI MARUs and seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

21 June 1943:
At 1000, arrives at St Jacques.

23 June 1943:
At 0900, departs St Jacques in convoy No. 587 also consisting of HAWAII, TAISHIN and ARIAKE MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

26 June 1943:
At 1500, arrives at Singapore. Rated as Navy 2nd Class ship.

4 July 1943:
Departs Singapore in convoy No. 602 also consisting of ENJU, FUKUYO and TEIBI (ex-Vichy French BERNARDIN DE SAINT PIERRE) MARUs and six unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE. The convoy separates into two parts shortly after departure. FUKUYO, HITORA and TEIBI MARUs are part of the second section.

6 July 1943:
The first section arrives at St Jacques.

7 July 1943:
At 1300, arrives in the second section at St Jacques.

10 July 1943:
Departs St Jacques in convoy No. 409 consisting of ARGUN, FUKUYO, NORFOLK, NORWAY and TATSUNO MARUs and four unidentified merchants escorted by subchaser CH-9.

14 July 1943:
At 2007, arrives at Camranh Bay, French Indochina (now Vinh Cam Ranh, Vietnam).

16 July 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

18 July 1943:
At Mako joins convoy No. 283 consisting of KINREI, SHONAN, TOFUKU and HAGURO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 5 escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

19 July 1943:
Breaks down before convoy No. 283 departs and is left behind.

18 August 1943:
Higher Capture tribunal case No. 8 decision: protest is rejected.

22 August 1943:
At 1300, departs from off Yamakawa in convoy ROKU-204 also consisting of TOYOSAKA, SHINTO and KANO MARUs escorted by auxiliary netlayer SHINTO MARU No. 2.

24 August 1943:
Arrives at Nago Bay, Okinawa.

25 August 1943:
Departs Nago Bay and arrives at Naha later this day. HITORA MARU does not stop at Naha but continues S.

27 August 1943:
Arrives at Kirun.

31 August 1943:
Departs Kirun for Mako at 8.5 knots.

1 September 1943:
At 1500, arrives at Mako.

11 September 1943:
At 0900, departs Takao in convoy No. 322 also consisting of YAMAKO (YAMASACHI), TAKETSU (BUTSU), TOKO, TOFUKU MARUs, YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

18 September 1943:
At 0800, arrives at St Jacques.

2 October 1943:
Departs Saigon, French Indochina (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) and then St Jacques in convoy No. 514 consisting of MANSHU, ZUIYO, TOFUKU and SAINAN MARUs, YAMAMIZU MARU No. 3 and JUNGEN GO, WAKO GO and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by subchaser CH-19.

6 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

18 October 1943:
At 0900, departs Singapore for Bintan Island to load bauxite.

23 October 1943:
At 0900, departs Singapore for Saigon.

26 November 1943:
At 0900, departs Takao in Ta-Rinji convoy also consisting of HIBURI and IKOMASAN MARUs escorted by auxiliary patrol boat UGORO MARU. IKOMASAN MARU departed en route for Kwaren.

29 November 1943:
At 1500, due to arrive at Naha.

2 December 1943:
At 1200, departs Naha alone.

4 December 1943:
At 0625, at 29-20N, 129-30E, engine fails and she starts drifting.

At 1900, at position bearing 26° and 40 nautical miles off Sotsukosaki minesweeper W-27 arrives and starts escort.

5 December 1943:
At 1300, auxiliary gunboat TOMITSU MARU starts towing. At 1800, W-27 ends escort and HITORA MARU arrives at Koniya later that day.

Navy (Resv.) Captain Nakahara Hisaichi is appointed CO.

25 March 1944:
Towed by TOKAI MARU from Koniya to Moji escorted by auxiliary minesweeper TAIAN MARU.

27 June 1944:
Departs Kagoshima in convoy KATA-412 also consisting of shared tankers (A/C-AO) NANSHIN MARU No. 21 and (B/C-AO) TAKASAGO MARU No. 1, auxiliary gunboat SHINKO MARU No.2 GO, civilian cargo ship BOKO MARU (ex-British SAGRES), IJN requisitioned passenger/cargo AMOY MARU and IJN auxiliary transport SHOKEI MARU, civilian cargo ship KAKO MARU, IJA transports SHOSHIN, KAIJO, TOYAMA MARUs and an unknown ship called ZUYO GO escorted by minelayer NIIZAKI, auxiliary minesweeper SHONAN MARU No. 16, auxiliary patrol boats RYUSEI and CHIKUTO MARUs and auxiliary netlayer SHINTO MARU No. 2.

28 June 1944:
Arrives at Koniya.

13 March 1945:
At Osaka. Anchored at No 19 floating buoy. Undergoes an air attack. The 25mm guns fire 420 rounds. On fire after hit by 25 incendiary bombs. [3]

19 March 1945:
At Osaka. Undergoes an air attack. The 25mm guns fire 36 rounds.

28 July 1945:
Sinks near Innoshima dock after being hit by bombs in an air attack. Run aground, burnt out and partially sunk. Casualties are unknown. Raised after the war. Her call sign is changed to SCAJAP No. H-078.

Repairs are finally completed. Renamed VALLES.

Runs aground near Macassar while carrying rice from Thailand, but is salvaged soon after. Her ownership is changed to Far Eastern & Panama Transport Corp (Wheelock Marden & Co. Ltd). Engaged in coastal voyages within Indonesia.

Her owners are changed to Panamanian Oriental S. S. Corp (Wheelock Marden & Co. Ltd).

Her owners are changed to Valles Steamship Co. Ltd. Owned by C. S. Koo.

21 September 1966:
Arrives at Hong Kong for scrapping.

Broken up in Hong Kong.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Transmarine is formed by the Submarine Boat Corporation. The Submarine Boat Corporation is the former Electric Boat Company.

[2] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by reducing non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

[3] By then, she was fitted with one 8cm short barrel deck gun, two single 25mm machine guns and two depth charges.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

- Gilbert Casse, Berend van der Wal and Peter Cundall.

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