(THAMES MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

3 April 1920:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co. K. K. as a 5,873-ton cargo ship for Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), K. K. of Kobe.

2 June 1920:
Launched and named named THAMES MARU.

21 July 1920:

In service on K Lines’s Japan ~ Europe ~ North America routes.

8 January 1924:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Genoa and Naples. Italy.

11 June 1924:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Hamburg, Germany.

8 January 1934:
Arrives at Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

24 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Allotted IJA No. 618.

8 December 1941:
The Pacific War Begins.

13 December 1941: Operation “E” – The Invasion of Malaya:
At 0830, THAMES MARU departs Camhranh Bay, Vichy French Indochina in TransDiv 6 also consisting of ARABIA, INDIA, RISSHUN and MEXICO MARUs carrying the IJA "Dami Detachment".

16 December 1941:
At 1600, arrives at Kota Bharu, Malaya (now Malaysia) and begins landing troops.

25 April 1942:
The IJA releases THAMES MARU back to K Lines.

17 May 1942:
Off Shionomisaki, S Honshu. At about 1700, LtCdr Creed C. Burlingame's USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236) torpedoes and damages troop transports THAMES and TOTTORI MARUs at 33-28N, 135-35E. THAMES Burlingame sees THAMES MARU explode and later claims a sinking, but her captain beaches her to prevent sinking.

May 1942 to unknown date:
THAMES MARU is temporarily repaired and refloated, then undergoes permanent repairs at an unknown location in Japan for an unknown period of time.

7 March 1943:
Re-requisitioned by the IJA, but this time given IJA No. 5024

12 March 1943:
THAMES MARU departs Mako for St Jacques, Indochina in convoy No. 376 also consisting of NITTETSU and SAN LUIS MARUs without escort.

17 March 1943:
Arrives St Jacques.

5 May 1943:
THAMES MARU departs Singapore for Palau, Carolines via Java carrying 522 Indian prisoners of war (POWs) of the 2/12 Frontier Force Regiment and 1st Battalion of the Hyderabad Regiment and about 1,500 Malay, Chinese and Javanese laborers.

E 7 May 1943:
Arrives at Tanjong Priok, Batavia, Java (Jakarta, Indonesia).

May 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya, Java.

30 May 1943:
Arrives at the Palau Islands. About 200 men die during the voyage.

8 June 1943:
Arrives at Babelthuap, Palau. Disembarks POWs to clear land for an airfield and other tasks.

22 July 1943:
Departs Rabaul, New Britain for Wake Island in convoy No. 2323 also consisting of IJN transport KINSEN MARU with unknown escort.

25 July 1943:
Off Truk Island, Carolines. LtCdr Earl C. Hawk’s (USNA ’28) USS POMPON (SS-267) intercepts the convoy. At 1755, Hawk fires a spread of torpedoes at the convoy. KINSEN MARU is hit by two torpedoes in holds No. 1 and No. 2. Her bow blown off, she stops and settles. 39 men are KIA. Later, CHOAN MARU No. 2 tows her to Truk.

THAMES MARU is hit by two torpedoes amidships in No. 4 hold and catches fire.Then she is hit by a third torpedo and breaks in two. At 1811, THAMES MARU sinks at 02-46N, 148-35E. Four crewmen and two gunners are KIA.

Author's Notes:
Thanks go to Erich.Muehlthaler of Germany and to John Whitman of Virginia for info on IJA troops. Thanks also go to Allan Alsleben of Oregon.

Bob Hackett

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