(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).
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.
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.
to IJA Transports