(TENCHO MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2017-2018 Bob Hackett

E 1918:
Laid down at Dominion Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Toronto as a 2,608-ton cargo ship for Nova Scotia Transportation Co. Ltd. of Toronto, Canada.

May 1919:
Launched and named LeQUESNOY.


7 June 1922:
Sold to Tatsuuma Kisen, K.K. of Nishinomiya through brokerage of Japan Shipping Commerce, Kobe. Renamed TENCHO MARU.

22 September 1938:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Navy (IJN) as a "Haitosen", a Navy/Civilian (B/C) shared employment vessel.

E 1939:
Released by the IJN back to her owners.

128 March 1941:
Re-requisitioned by the Imperial Navy (IJN) as a "Haitosen" (B/C).

14 August 1941:
Released by the IJN back to her owners.

14 December 1942:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Allotted IJA No. 859.

1 February 1943:
TENCHO MARU departs Saeki in Military Movement No. 8's convoy "Z" also consisting of KORYO and RISSHUN MARUs escorted by minelayer NATSUSHIMA.

E 3 February 1943:
NATSUSHIMA is detached at 28N.

18 August 1943:
At 1300, TENCHO MARU departs Mako in convoy No. 766 also consisting of MATSUMOTO, SHUNTEN and TAIRYU MARUs, FUSHIMI MARU No. 3 and one unidentified merchant escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE.

23 August 1943:
At 1350, arrives at Manila.

30 August 1943:
TENCHO MARU departs Manila in convoy No. 3111 also consisting of MAEBASHI and TAIAN MARUs and five unidentified merchants escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA.

7 September 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Palau.

5 October 1943:
TENCHO MARU departs Palau in convoy FU-506 also consisting of MOJI, TOTAI, TOYOKAWA, TOYU and YAKUMO MARUs escorted by kaibokan IKI.

E 14 October 1943:
OI and YACHIYO MARUs and TAMA MARU No.7 join the escort.

15 October 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

31 October 1943:
At 0600, TENCHO MARU departs Saeki for Palau in convoy O-112 also consisting of CHIHAYA, DELAGOA, EHIME, HOZUGAWA, KANJO, MOJI, NICHIAI, UME, UMEKAWA, YAMAGATA and YAWATA MARUs escorted by minesweepers W-18 and W-17, auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, TOKUHO MARU No. 10 and AOI MARU and auxiliary subchasers TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 and CHIYO MARU No. 8. That night, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Robert E. Dornin's (USNA ’35) USS TRIGGER (SS-237). Dornin claims two sinkings, but, in fact, scores no hits. The escorts counterattack, but are unsuccessful.

2 November 1943:
At 0048, LtCdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter's (USNA ’35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes and sinks YAWATA MARU at 28-20N, 135-20E. Four gunners and 64 of the crew are killed. At 0220, At 0215, Dornin's TRIGGER attacks the convoy again. Dornin fires three torpedoes. All hit and sink DELAGOA MARU near Tanegashima at 28-30N, 135-35E. She was carrying 206 maintenance and supply men of the 248th Air Regiment. The unit was equipped with Nakajima Type 1 "Hayabusa" (Oscar) IJA fighters. 201 of its men are KIA, as are 12 Army civilians, seven gunners and 68 crewmen.

NE of Daito Island. At 0321, Dornin torpedoes and sinks UME MARU at 28-40N, 135, 25E. 36 passengers, 25 gunners and 24 crewmen are KIA. At 0418, Cutter's USS SEAHORSE attacks again, This time Cutter sinks CHIHAYA MARU (ex-Dutch TJISAROEA) at 29-31N, 134, 50E. Six crewmen are KIA. Finally, at 0845, Cdr (later Admiral) I. J. Galantin's (USNA ’33) USS HALIBUT (SS-232) torpedoes and sinks EHIME MARU at 28-20N, 134-48E. Five gunners and all 79 crewmen are KIA.

11 November 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

28 November 1943:
TENCHO MARU departs Palau for Saeki in convoy FU-009 also consisting of IJA transports KIZUGAWA, KOSEI, NISSHIN, RYUWA, SAN FRANCISCO, TAJIMA, TOSHO and TOYOOKA MARUs escorted by minesweepers W-17 and W-18 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 8. En route, NISSHIN MARU is detached because of engine trouble and returns to Palau.

E 29 November 1943:
Auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 is detached.

6 December 1943:
At 28N, the escort is joined by minelayers NUWAJIMA and YURIJIMA. Later that day, at 29N, auxiliary minesweepers OI MARU and TAMA MARU No. 6 also join the convoy.

7 December 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

25 February 1944:
At 1500, TENCHO MARU departs Manila for Kau, Halmahera Island in convoy H-19 also consisting of NITTAI, SHOGEN, SHINYU and YAMAGATA MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-103.

28 February 1944::
At 1000, arrives at Cebu, Philippines. The convoy is joined by KANTO MARU and auxiliary subchaser CHa-24 and auxiliary minesweeper Wa-8.

29 February 1944:
Departs Cebu.

1 March 1944::
The escorts detect a submarine. CHa-24 drops depth charges, but without effect.

3 March 1944:
Celebes Sea, 290 miles NW of Wasili, Halmahera. At 2347, LtCdr Willard R. Laughon’s (USNA ’33) USS RASHER (SS-269) attacks convoy H-19. Laughon torpedoes and sinks army transport NITTAI MARU carrying 8,655 tons of white rice at 03-8N, 123-56E. One crewman is killed. The escorts drop seven depth charges that slightly damage USS RASHER.

4 March 1944:
At 1825, the convoy's escort is joined by auxiliary NITTO MARU No. 17. At 2300, the escorts detect a surfaced submarine and attack, but without success.

5 March 1944::
At 0405, Laughon's RASHER fires torpedoes at the convoy at 02-49N, 126-40E. SHINYU MARU evades a hit.

6 March 1944:
At 0237, arrives at Wasile, Halmahera, then departs for Kau.

7 March 1944:
Arrives at Kau.

9 March 1944:
At midnight, TENCHO MARU departs Halmahera for Manokwari, New Guinea in a convoy also consisting of SHINYU, SHOGEN and YAMAGATA MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-4 and auxiliary netlayer HINOKI MARU.

11 March 1944:
At 1017, arrives at Manokwari.

3 April 1944:
At 0500, TENCHO MARU departs Manokwari for Halmahera in a convoy also consisting of SHINYU, SHOGEN, TETSUYO and YAMAGATA MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by minesweepers W-4 and W-105, auxiliary netlayer HINOKI MARU and auxiliary NITTO MARU No. 17.

5 April 1944:
At 0625, arrives at Wasile, Halmahera

17 May 1944:
Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet, Sir) James F. Somerville’s (former CO of HMS NORFOLK) British Task Force 65 and Vice Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet/Sir) Arthur J. Power's Task Force 66’s carriers HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA (CV-3) launch Operation "TRANSOM". Forty-five Grumman “Avenger” torpedo-bombers and Douglas "Dauntless" dive-bombers escorted by 40 Grumman “Hellcats” and Chance-Vought “Corsair” fighers attack the Wonokromo refinery and nearby harbor facilities and shipping at Surabaya. ILLUSTRIOUS’ planes sink transport SHINREI MARU. SARATOGA's planes damage cargo ships TENCHO and CHUKA MARUs and tanker YOSEI (ex-Dutch JOSEFINA) MARU, patrol boat PB-36 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-107 and CHa-108.

16 June 1944:
At 0800, TENCHO MARU departs Surabaya escorted by minesweeeper W-101. At 2130, anchors off Panarucan, Java.

17 June 1944:
At 0700, departs Panarucan.

18 June 1944:
At 2030, arrives off Selat Sungian and anchors.

19 June 1944:
At 0700, departs Selat Sungian.

21 June 1944:
At 1200, arrives at Maumere, Flores.

22 June 1944:
At 1900, TENCHO MARU departs Maumere still escorted by minesweeeper W-101.

23 June 1944:
At 1930, arrives at Labuhanbajo, Flores.

24 June 1944:
At 0800, departs Labuhanbajo.

25 June 1944:
At 1800, anchors off Selat Sungian.

26 June 1944:
At 0800, TENCHO MARU departs Selat Sungian for Surabaya escorted by minesweeeper W-101.

27 June 1944:
At 2030, temporarily anchors at Gendeng.

28 June 1944:
At 0700, departs Gendeng. At 1500, arrives at Surabaya.

25 August 1944:
At 1400, TENCHO MARU departs Surabaya in a convoy also consisting of oiler KORYU MARU escorted by minesweeeper W-11. At 1800, anchors at Probolinggo.

26 August 1944:
At 0100, departs Probolinggo.

29 August 1944:
At 1835, arrives at Bima, NE Sumbawa.

30 August 1944:
At 0930, TENCHO MARU departs Bima escorted by minesweeeper W-11.

1 September 1944:
At 1930, arrives at Surabaya.

14 October 1944:
NW of Tandjung Selatan. At 0945, TENCHO MARU joins minesweeeper W-12. At 2245, the ships anchor in Laut Strait.

15 October 1944:
At 0620, departs Laut Strait and joins with DAI and KANTO MARUs.

16 October 1944:
At 0250, arrives Bandjermasin. At 0650, departs port and anchors nearby.

17 October 1944:
At 0650, TENCHO MARU departs Bandjarmasin, S Borneo, in a convoy also consisting of DAI and KANTO MARUs escorted by minesweeeper W-12. At 1320, a report of an enemy submarine ahead is received. The convoy turns back to Batakani, near Cape Selatan, arriving at 1930.

18 October 1944:
At 2100, departs Batakani.

20 October 1944:
At 1530, arrives at Surabaya.

19 March 1945:
At 0730, TENCHO MARU departs Seletar Naval Base, Singapore in convoy HI-88J also consisting of ARAOSAN, ASOKAWA, HONAN, KAIKO, KITAKAMI and SARAWAK MARUs escorted by destroyer AMATSUKAZE and kaibokan MANJU, CD-18, CD-84, CD-130 and CD-134.

Ten miles off Horsburgh Light, Singapore. At 1310, while leaving the Singapore Strait en route to the convoy assembly area, SARAWAK MARU hits a mine laid by a USAAF B-29 “Superfortress”. Badly damaged, her captain beaches SARAWAK MARU in shallow water. Her cargo includes 4,400-tons of oil, 690-tons of raw rubber and 116-tons of tin. There are no casualties.

21 March 1945:
Bintan Island, Malaya. At 1120, SARAWAK MARU rolls over to port and sinks at 01-25N, 104-36E.

22 March 1945:
The convoy arrives at Cape Camau, Vichy French Indochina.

23 March 1945:
At 0800, departs Cape Camau.

26 March 1945:
Off St Jacques TENCHO, ARAOSAN and KITAKAMI MARUs are detached for Saigon, Vichy French Indochina (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).

2 August 1945:
TENCHO MARU departs Batavia, Java (Jakarta, Indonesia) carrying 400 troops for Singapore in a convoy also consisting of cargo ship FUYO MARU and repair ship SEIHA MARU No. 22 towing an unidentifed 500-ton oiler escorted by patrol boat PB-109.

3 August 1945:
About 1730, British submarines HMS TRUMP and HMS TIPTOE attack the convoy. LtCdr A. A. Catlow's HMS TRUMP fires eight torpedoes at TENCHO MARU, but they all miss or are evaded. At 1850, LtCdr R. L. Jay's HMS TIPTOE torpedoes and sinks TENCHO MARU at 05-07, 106-05E near Billiton Island. 107 military passengers, 2 gunners and 12 crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
Also known as TENTYO MARU.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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