(Sister DAIFUKU MARU No. 1, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2016 Bob Hackett
Revision 2

29 January 1919:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Drydock, K. K. as a 5,859-ton passenger-cargo ship for Kokusai Kisen, K.K., Kobe.

14 April 1919:
Launched and named SINGAPORE MARU.

17 May 1919:
Completed. Can accomodate an unknown number of passengers and carries a crew of 47.

27 October 1919:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York.

10 December 1920:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Gibraltar.

Sold to Kobe Sanbayshi K. K., (Kobe Pier Co.), Hashidate.

14 December 1921:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Kobe via Port Said, Egypt.

27 March 1923:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Newport, England.

13 June 1923:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Lisbon, Portugal.

11 July 1925:
Red Sea. Yemen. SlNGAPORE MARU, en route from Sydney, Australia to Port Said carrying a cargo of 7,000-tons of wheat, runs aground 30 miles E of Perim.

17 July 1925:
After most of her cargo is jettisoned, SlNGAPORE MARU is refloated with the assisance of salvage vessel MEYUN. She suffers no apparent damage. Some of her cargo is salved and reloaded, then she proceeds.

July 1937: Second Sino-Japanese War:
Chartered by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport.

2 August 1937:
The second echelon of China Emergency troop carriers arrives at Pusan, Korea to load consisting of SINGAPORE, HANKOW, HIDE, HOKUSHO, MIKASA, TASMANIA and TOKYO MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1.

E 1938:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

Renamed SHONAN MARU. [1]

19 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army. Allotted IJA ship No. 28.

9 February 1942: Operation "L" - The Invasion of Palembang:
SHONAN MARU departs Camranh Bay for Palembang in an invasion convoy also consisting of ARGUN, BUYO, GINYO, HIROKAWA, INABASAN, KENZUI, LIMA, MACASSAR, MEIGEN, RAKUYO, SHINSEI, and TSUSHIMA MARUs and supply ship NOJIMA escorted by light cruiser KASHII, DesDiv 20's ASAGIRI, and YUGIRI, kaibokan SHIMUSHU, minelayer HATSUTAKA, mineweeper W-6 and SubChasDiv 11's CH-9.

14 February 1942:
Six Bristol "Blenheim" light bombers of Royal Air Force No. 211 Squadron attack the convoy and sink transport INABASAN MARU and damage several others.

15 February 1942:
In the largest capitulation in British military history, the Straits Settlement of Singapore falls to the Japanese. LtGen Arthur E. Percival, RA, surrenders his numerically superior, but ill-equipped and poorly led, force to LtGen Yamashita Tomoyuki and his victorious 25th Army.

16 February 1942:
Near Palembang, Sumatra. The invasion transports land elements of the IJA 16th Army’s 229th Infantry Regiment and a battalion of the 230th Infantry Regiment, five batteries of the 38th Mountain Artillery Battalion and one company each of the 38th Transport and 38th Engineer Regiments.

27 February 1942:
SHONAN MARU and the transport convoy departs Palembang for Singapore.

3 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

17 October 1942:
Departs Tanjong Priok, the port of Batavia, Java (now Jakarta, Indonesia) for Singapore carrying about 3,000 mostly Dutch prisoners-of-war (POWs).

25 October 1942:
Arrives at Keppel Harbor, Singapore. Nineteen sick POWs are transferred to a hospital.

30 October 1942:
Departs Singapore for Takao, Formosa carrying 1,081 POWs, mostly officers and men of Royal Artillery units and some Royal Air Force and other units accompanied by DAINICHI MARU carrying about 1,200 POWs.

3 November 1942:
Arrives at Cap St. Jacques, Vichy French Indochina (Vung Tau, Vietnam), but does not drop anchor.

4 November 1942:
Departs Cap St. Jacques.

E 11 November 1942:
Arrives at Takao. 21 sick POWs are transferred to a hospital.

E 14 November 1942:
Departs Takao for Mako, Pescadores. Arrives later that day and anchors to ride out a storm.

18 November 1942:
Departs Mako for Moji in a convoy consisting of five unidentifed ships and a destroyer escort.

25 November 1942:
Arrives at Moji. 63 POWs die at sea en route as a result of deplorable conditions the POWs are forced to endure. 320 POWs are left aboard, many of them dying of dysentery and other diseases. Only 677 POWs disembark at Moji.[2]

24 January 1943:
LtCdr Arnold H. Holtz’s (USNA ’31) USS TUNA (SS-203) is patrolling off Kolumbangara Island, near New Georgia, British Solomon Islands to intercept traffic between Faisi and Munda. At 1705, TUNA’s lookouts spot what appears to be an “8,000 ton freighter escorted by a new escort of about 500 tons.” Between 1730~1733, Holtz fires four torpedoes. At 1732, TUNA’s crew hears an explosion and Holtz sees through his periscope that he scored a hit forward of the freighter’s bridge. She soon takes on a list to port. Holtz’s last view is of the freighter [probably SHONAN MARU] dead in the water and lowering boats because at 1735, TUNA is rocked by two bombs dropped by an aircraft overhead. Then at 1739, the escort drops a pattern of eight depth charges nearby. At 1800, the the escort drops another six DCs. TUNA goes deep and evades and escapes. [3]

January 1943:
Undergoes torpedo damage repairs at an unknown location for an unknown period of time. [3]

1 July 1943:
At 0930, SHONAN MARU departs Takao in convoy "D" also consisting of HAVRE (5652 gt), SHINKYO, KONSAN, TEIFU (ex-Vichy French BOUGAINVILLE), CHOJO, TAINAN, TAJIMA MARUs and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by destroyer SANAE.

6 July 1943:
At 2000, arrives at Moji.

15 October 1943:
At 1800, SHONAN MARU departs Takao in convoy No. 773 also consisting of MINRYO, NAGOYA and PANAMA MARUs and TOSHIDA MARU No. 3 escorted by torpedo boat TOMOZURU and auxiliary subchaser CHa-42.

19 October 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Manila.

E 12 November 1943:
SHONAN MARU departs Paramushiro, Kuriles in a convoy also consisting of RONSAN MARU and refrigerator ship KOKO MARU escorted by kaibokan HACHIJO.

E 15 November 1943:
In heavy weather, the convoy separates.

17 November 1943:
At 0400, SHONAN MARU and HACHIJO arrive at Otaru. RONSAN MARU arrives later.

8 September 1944:
Off Hokkaido. At 1415, LtCdr John H. Turner’s (USNA 36) USS SEAL (SS-183) makes radar contact at 8 miles on convoy KI-505 enroute to the Kuriles consisting of SHONAN and NAMIKAZE MARUs and four unidentified ships escorted by destroyer KAMIKAZE and an unsknown patrol craft. At 1419, the masts of the convoy are seen coming out of the haze heading eastward. Turner begins an “end-around” to NW.

About 2014, SEAL heads towards the convoy on the surface making 15 knots. At 2049, Turner fires four torpedoes at overlapping targets xt 47-28N, 148-20E. At 2052, NAMIKAZE MARU's stern is blown off. 40 men are KIA. Later, she is towed to Otaru by KAMIKAZE and declared a constructive total loss (CTL).

At 2055, Turner sees two ships burning. At 2347, he again attacks the convoy, now comprised of only four ships. SEAL fires four torpedoes and gets two hits on a freighter. In all, Turner claims damage to two other ships during the engagement.

9 September 1944:
Sea of Okhotsk, N of Etorofu, Kuriles. At 0250, SEAL fires four stern torpedoes that hit and sink SHONAN MARU at 47-03N, 148-18E. Casualties are unknown.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Not to be confused with ore carrier SHONAN MARU (42/5104 grt).

[2] At least 120 men died in prison camps within the next three weeks of dysentery contracted aboard SINGAPORE (SHONAN) MARU.

[3] Alden's "United States and Allied Submarine Successes in the Pacific and Far East During World War II, 4th ed., notes the ship was probably damaged, but her identity is questionable. However, the long period between this attack and the next known movement of SHONAN MARU seems to indicate that she may well have been Holtz's target.

- Bob Hackett

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