(SS TUNG WO, [later DOWA MARU] about 1927)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2016 Bob Hackett
Revision 1

E 1913:
Shanghai, China. Laid down at Shanghai Dock and Engineering Co., Ltd as a 1,337-ton cargo ship for the Indo-China Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., London, a subsidiary of Hong Kong based Jardine, Matheson & Co.

E November 1914:
Launched and named TUNG WO.

Completed and placed in Indo-China Steam Navigation Co.’s service.

8 August 1919.
Ichang, China. Yangtze River. At 1900, river gunboat HMS TEAL discharges one rating to TUNG WO for passage to river gunboat HMS KINSHA at Shanghai.

26 April 1938:
TUNG WO is boarded by Japanese, operating from launches, at the mouth of the Yangtze River. The boarding Japanese bayonet and wound Chinese members of the crew, and then escort the vessel to the Japanese base at Tsungming Island, where they search it from top to bottom. The owners declare that the ship is carrying only ordinary cargo. The Japanese, who allege that the vessel is carrying arms, promise an immediate naval inquiry.

27 April 1938:
Orders are given that British gunboat HMS CRICKET, with decks cleared for action, is to take steps to recover the ship by force. The Japanese authorities therefore give an assurance that TUNG WO wil l be released before night.

Requisitioned by the Royal Navy as an armed boarding ship for examination service at Penang Harbor, Malaya.

8 December 1941:
The Pacific War begins.

12 December 1941:
Penang. Air attacks are repeated this day from 0900 onwards, this time by a total of six Mitsubishi Army Type 99, Mitsubishi Ki-51 ("SONIA") light bomber/dive bombers, of the IJAAF 27th Sentai, 24 Army Type 99, Kawasaki Ki-48 ("LILY") light bombers from the IJAAF 75th and 90th Sentai escorted by five Army Type 1 Nakajima Ki-43 ("OSCAR") fighters of the IJAAF 59th Sentai. TUNG WO, at anchor in Penang Roads, is bombed and one of her Chinese crew is mortally wounded, following which some of the other crew desert. Japanese bombers return in the early afternoon. TUNG WO is again attacked, sustaining further damage from a near miss.

13 December 1941:
Penang is subjected to yet another attack during the morning. Just after 0930, an estimated 30 bombers are reported approaching Georgetown. The raiders are comprised of an unescorted force of 3 Ki-48s from the 75th Sentai, led by the unit´s commanding officer, Captain Hota Kunimi, and 18 Ki-51s of the 71st Chutai. While still at anchor in Penang Roads, TUNG WO receives another damaging attack. The remaining crew members jump overboard, leaving just the Master, William Rochester, aboard the vessel, which is finally abandoned. The British retreat south.

16 December 1941:
The Imperial Japanese Army occupies Penang.

15 February 1942:
Singapore, Malaya falls to the Japanese in the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. About 80,000 poorly led, equipped and trained British, Indian and Australian troops became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the Malayan Campaign. Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill calls the ignominious fall of Singapore the "worst disaster" and "largest capitulation" in British history.

Penang. TUNG WO is refloated by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and temporarily repaired.

2 September 1942:
TUNG WO departs Penang for Singapore under tow by transport IJN HEITO MARU.

E September 1942:
TUNG WO arrives at Singapore under tow. British POW’s are assigned to conduct permanent repairs.

Repairs are completed, renamed DOWA MARU and placed in the custody of the Kaigunsho (Navy Department) until the end of the war. [2]

1943 - 1945:
DOWA MARU is operated as a transport around Singapore.

15 August 1945: End of Hostilities:
Seletar Navy Harbor, Singapore. At the end of war DOWA MARU is still mobile, but in a very neglected condition.

Author's Notes:
[1] Not to be confused with IJA No. 6083 DOWA MARU (1,916T/1942), a Peacetime Type D cargo ship.

Special thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany. Photo credit goes to J-air reader "SteveC".

Bob Hackett

Back to IJN Transports Page