(Painting of TEIA MARU as a troop ship by Ueda Kihachiro)

IJN TEIA MARU: Tabular Record of Movement

© 2009-2013 Bob Hackett
Revision 3

La Seyne, France. Laid down at the Forge et Chantiers et Ateliers de la Mediterranee shipyard as a 17,537 gross register tons passenger ship for the Société des Services Contractuels des Messageries (Messargeries Maritimes) for use on their Europe-Asia colonial route.

30 June 1931:
Launched and named ARAMIS.

October 1932:

21 October 1932:
Departs Marseille on her maiden voyage.

In service with the French Line (CGT - Compagnie Générale Transatlantique). Ports of call include Marseilles, Port Said, Djibouti, Colombo, Penang, Singapore, Saigon, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kobe.

22 June 1933:
Chusan (Zhoushan) Archipelago near Shanghai. Around 2030, ARAMIS runs aground. She is refloated and later towed to Japan by French light cruiser PRIMAUGUET.

Lengthened by La Ciotat Yard by 30 feet and a new bow fitted. The diesel motors have superchargers added taking them to 15600 shp and the ship's speed from 16 to 19 knots.

23 June 1937:
ARAMIS runs aground at Suez.

4 September 1939:
Saigon. ARAMIS is equipped as an Allied armed merchant cruiser (croiseur auxilliaire). She is designatied "X-1" and armed with eight 138mm guns, two 75mm anti-aircraft gun, two 37mm AA gun and 8 machine guns.

20 January 1940 :
Departs Saigon for Hong Kong.

February 1940:
Auxiliary cruiser arrives at Hong Kong Bay. Drydocked for tests.

1 March 1940:

March 1940:
Patrols between Hong Kong and Singapore. In Hong Kong harbor, X-1 seizes Russian vessel SELENGA.

22 March-2 April 1940:
At Cape St. Jacques.

17 April-5 May 1940:
Patrols in the Sunda Strait.

8 May-1 June 1940:
Patrols in the Gulf of Siam and South China Sea.

1 August 1940:
Returns to Saigon and disarmed.

30 November 1940:
X-1's crew is demilitarized. ARAMIS is returned to her owners and rehabilitated.

January 1942:
Saigon. ARAMIS serves as a dockside artillery barracks.

12 April 1942:
Saigon. At 0800, ARAMIS is taken over by the Japanese under the Right of Angary and disarmed "... to answer the call of your country and also to serve the noble cause of collaboration in the East between two friendly countries, France and Japan." [1]

2 June 1942:
ARAMIS' Vichy French crew is disembarked. Chartered by Teikoku Senpaku Kaisha (Imperial Steamship Co.) wholly owned by the Japanese government. Renamed TEIA MARU and registered in the port of Yokohama. Operated by the Nippon Yusen K.K. (NYK) Line. Captain Aizawa (former CO of TAIYO MARU) is appointed CO.

Officially, ARAMIS and 10 other Vichy French ships present at Saigon are chartered from Vichy France. The Vichy French owners of ARAMIS receive a monthly fee of 168,346 Yen for her use by the IJN.

June 1942:
Embarks 569 POWs and 4,697 tons of cargo.

12 June 1942:
Departs Saigon.

23 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

5 July 1942:
Yokohama. Enters drydock at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. shipyard.

19 November 1942:

20 November 1942:
Requisitioned and registered in the IJN

14 September 1943:
TEIA MARU departs Yokohama on the second Japanese-American exchange voyage. Later that day, arrives at Osaka.

September 1943:
Departs Osaka. She carries 80 American repatriates from Japan.

September 1943:
Arrives at Shanghai.

19 September 1943:
Whangpao, off Shanghai. Embarks repatriates.

20 September 1943:
At about 0530, TEIA MARU departs.

22 September 1943:
In the morning, arrives at the anchorage off Stanley Prison, Hong Kong Island.

23 September 1943:
In the afternoon, embarks 24 repatriates and some passengers bound for the Philippines and departs Hong Kong.

25 September 1943:
In the morning, arrives at San Fernando, northern Luzon, P.I.

26 September 1943:
In the afternoon, many Filipinos, who boarded in Hong Kong, disembark. Repatriates from camps at Santo Tomas, Los Banos and Baguio arrive by train and board. There are 130 repatriates including 60 Catholic priests. Americans, Canadians and a few Spanish priests and 80 nuns. There are also Protestant missionaries, men and women and children. At 2100, after taking on fresh water and foodstuffs, TEIA MARU departs.

29 September 1943:
Passes east and south of Hainan Island during night.

30 September 1943:
At 1230, TEIA MARU approaches the anchorage at Cape St. Jacques, Indo-China and passes a Japanese troop convoy of about a dozen ships anchored near shore. She proceeds up the Saigon River about 50 miles, to a point several miles from Saigon. Embarks 27 more repatriates. At 1700, after taking on more fresh water and foodstuffs, departs Saigon for Singapore.

1-2 October 1943:
Anchors in the Straits of Malacca.

3 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore that night.

5 October 1943:
In 1942, Allied and Axis government officals were exchanged. This 1943 exchanges include businessmen and their families who were stranded in the Orient at the beginning of the war. Included are executives of such companies as National City Bank, Chase National Bank, President Lines, British-American Tobacco Co. and many others. No prisoners-of-war (POW) are included in the exchange.

TEIA MARU departs Singapore carrying 1,525 passengers; probably 1,270 Americans, about 120 Canadians, 15 Chileans, several British, Panamanians, Spanish, Portuguese, Cubans, Argentines, and nationals from other South and Central American countries. The largest contingent of repatriates, about 975, is from China. TEIA MARU passes SE around Sumatra and into the Indian Ocean rather than going through the perilous Malacca Straits. [1]

15 October 1943:
At about 1000, arrives off the port of Mormugao, Portuguese Goa (India).

16 October 1943:
Swedish exchange ship M. S. GRIPSHOLM arrives at Mormugao carrying 1,340 Japanese officials, businessmen, others, and their families.[2]

19 October 1943:
At 0800, the exchange of repatriates begins. Allied repatriates leave from the bow of TEIA MARU and enter GRIPSHOLM via the stern gangway. At the same time, the Japanese leave from the bow of GRIPSHOLM and enter the stern of TEIA MARU. A line of boxcars screens the two lines from each other. The exchange takes 91 minutes. 48,760 Red Cross relief supply parcels for Allied POWS and internees in Singapore, Manila and Japan are transferred GRIPSHOLM and loaded aboard TEIA MARU.

21 October 1943:
TEIA MARU departs Mormugao for Yokohama via Singapore and Manila. At 0800, the next day, GRIPSHOLM departs Mormugao carrying 1,233 Americans and 217 Canadians for New York via Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On 1 December, GRIPSHOLM arrives at New York harbor.

E 26 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

October 1943:
Departs Singapore.

November 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

E 10 November 1943:
Departs Manila.

14 November 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

1 January 1944:
Requisitioned and registered in the IJN.

1 February 1944:
At 0700, TEIA MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-41 consisting of transports AWA, ASAMA and NANKAI MARUs, tanker NAMPO MARU plus an unidentified ship (probably MIRI MARU) escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA.

2 February 1944:
At 0730, minesweeper W-27 joins as an additional escort.

3 February 1944:
W-27 departs convoy at 0200.

11 February 1944:
Arrives at Singapore at 1430.

11 March 1944:
At 0730, TEIA MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI--48 consisting of transport/cargo liners TEIA, AWA, SANUKI, and HOKUROKU MARUs, oilers OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, TATEKAWA, ITSUKUSHIMA, SEIYO, NICHIEI and KUROSHIO MARU and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan MIYAKE, SHIMUSHU, IKI and ETOROFU.

14 March 1944:
Arrives at Van Phong Bay, Indochina.

15 March 1944:
Departs Van Phong Bay.

19 March 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

20 March 1944:
Departs Takao.

8 April 1944:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

13 May 1944:
At 0400, TEIA MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-63 consisting of cargo liners/transports AWA, SANUKI, TAMATSU, KIBITSU, USSURI and NISSHO MARUs, tankers KYOKUHO, SANYO, RYOEI and OTOWASAN MARUs escorted by kaibokans MATSUWA, IKI and frigates CD-9 and CD-15. SANUKI MARU and other transports, except TAMATSU, KIBITSU and NISSHO MARUs, carry troops bound for Burma.

18 May 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Manila. TAMATSU, SANYO, KIBITSU and NISSHO MARUs are detached.

20 May 1944:
At 2000, the remaining eight ships of convoy HI-63 depart Manila for Singapore with the same escort.

24 May 1944:
LtCdr James W. Davis' USS RATON (SS-270) attacks the convoy. In a series of attacks, Davis torpedoes and sinks kaibokan IKI and lightly damages MATSUWA MARU. The rest of HI-63 escapes unscathed.

27 May 1944:
At 2000, arrives at Singapore.

5 June 1944:
Departs Singapore for Moji carrying about 1,000 Australian, British, Dutch and other POWs who had worked on the Burma-Thailand Railroad. [4]

15 June 1944:
At 0600, arrives at Moji. 300 POWs are sent to Fukuoka Camp 6 (Orio), 100 Dutch POWs to Fukuoka Camp 9 (Miyata), 250 including 150 Australian POWs are allocated to Mitsui to work in their coal mines at PW Fukuoka Camp 17, (Omuta) and 350 POWs to Fukuoka Camp 21 (Nakama).

8 August 1944:
Arrives at Mutsure and later Moji's Imari Bay.

10 August 1944:
At 0500, TEIA MARU departs Imari Bay for Singapore in convoy HI-71 comprised of transports AWA, NOSHIRO, NOTO, HOKKAI, TAMATSU and MAYASAN MARUs, new fleet oiler HAYASUI, storeship IRAKO and tankers TEIYO and EIYO MARUs, The convoy's screen is provided by Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi (former CO of KISO), 6th Escort Convoy Commander with destroyers FUJINAMI and YUNAGI, kaibokan HIRATO, KURAHASHI, MIKURA, SHONAN, CD-11 and escort carrier TAIYO. TAIYO’s 931st Naval Air Group provides air cover with 12 Nakajima B5N “Kates.

TEIA MARU is carrying 5,478 soldiers and civilians, mainly Army air force personnel. Aircraft maintenance personnel are headed for the Manila Air Depot. There are also military government personnel and men aboard bound for both the Third Air Army and Southern Army at Singapore. Other replacements are en route to the Army’s 3rd Navigational Aid Regiment. These men are to handle radio directing finding gear and radio beacons. The 358th Independent Infantry Battalion is scheduled to join the 33rd Independent Mixed Brigade on Luzon and help expand that brigade into the 105th Division. Also aboard TEIA MARU are soldiers from the 26th Division’s 13th Infantry and fillers en route to the new 56th Independent Mixed Brigade on Borneo and individual replacements scheduled to fill the new 544th Independent Infantry Battalion — a unit mobilizing in the Philippines to augment the new 58th Independent Mixed Brigade.

15 August 1944:
HI-71 arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

17 August 1944:
HI-71 sorties from Mako for Manila in Typhoon weather transporting troops and supplies for the defense of the Philippines. Kajioka's escort forces are augmented by old destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan SADO, ETOROFU, MATSUWA and HIBURI sent from Takao by the 1st Surface Escort Division.

18 August 1944:
At 0524, LtCdr Louis D. McGregor's USS REDFISH (SS-395) torpedoes and damages EIYO MARU. ASAKAZE and her sister YUNAGI are detached to escort her back to Takao.

Off Cape Bolinao, Luzon. At about 2200, LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's USS RASHER (SS-269) hits TEIYO MARU with three of six torpedoes fired. She explodes and sinks about 20 minutes later. At 2222, Munson attacks carrier TAIYO, bringing up the rear of the convoy. TAIYO is hit by three torpedoes and sinks quickly. At 0510, Munson torpedoes oiler TEIYO MARU in another surface radar attack. Hit by three torpedoes, she is set afire and sinks.

At 2312, RASHER, still on the surface, hits TEIA MARU with two torpedoes to her starboard side No. 2 hold and engine room aft section. TEIA MARU is set afire and explodes at 2340 at 10-09N, 119-56E. 2,665 troops, civilians and crew are lost. [5]

Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
[1] In international law, the Right of Angary is the right of belligerents to requisition for their use neutral merchant vessels, aircraft, and other means of transport that are within their territorial jurisdiction. Generally, the Right of Angary should be applied only in case of pressing need in time of war, and compensation is due to the neutral owner. The Right of Angary has come to be extended to cover not only land and sea transport, but also any kind of neutral property under the jurisdiction of a belligerent.

[2]Accounts vary as to the exact number of American and Canadian repatriates carried by TEIA MARU from 1,440 to 1,525.

[3] The U.S. Department of State chartered Swedish liner M. S. GRIPSHOLM as an exchange and repatriation ship under the auspices of the International Red Cross, from 1942 to 1946. In addition to Japanese nationals, she also carried German nationals to the exchange points where she picked up Americans and Canadians. GRIPSHOLM’s Swedish crew made 12 round trips and carried a total of 27,712 reptriates. Exchanges with the Japanese were made at neutral ports: Lourenco Marques in Portuguese East Africa and Mormugoa in Portuguese India (Goa). Exchanges with the Germans took place at Stockholm, Sweden or Lisbon, Portugal.

[4] From October 1942 until May 1944 these POWs worked to build the “Railway of Death” through Thailand and Burma. About 40 percent died during this period of cholera, malaria or dysentery or were starved to death or killed. All suffered with beri-beri caused by inadequate food supply. On completion of the Railway in 1944, most of the survivors had lost about half of their normal body weight.

[5] Sources vary as to the number of passengers and crew aboard TEIA MARU. One Japanese source gives 5,478 passengers while another lists 4,795 Army (many air force) and 427 civilians. Of these, 2,316 troops, 275 passengers, 6 armed guards, 4 shipboard gunners, 10 special lookputs, and 54 crew, for a total of 2,665 were KIA. USN radio intercepts put passenger strength at 5,300.

Thanks go to Gilbert Casse of France, Peter Cundall of Australia and to John Whitman of Virginia for troop info in Rev 3.

-Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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