(SS PAROO (later MIKAGE MARU), prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2017 Bob Hackett

E 1896
Greenock, Scotland. Laid down by Russell & Co. Ltd. as Yard No. 415, a 2,742-ton cargo ship for the phantom Australasian United Steam Navigation Co., Sydney.

Launched and named S.S. CAPE LEEUWIN.

Purchased before completion by the West Australian Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., Fremantle. Renamed S.S. PAROO. Serves as passenger vessel between Fremantle and Melbourne.


August 1903 :
Sold to West Australian S N Co., Ltd., Fremantle. Services West Australian coastal ports including the run to Singapore.

Sold to East Sun Shipping Co. Ltd., London. Renamed S.S. IRAN.

1917 ~ 1922:
Sold to Persian Gulf SN Co.

1922 ~ 1926:
Sold to Okuda Yeikichi of Mikage, Kobe. Renamed MIKAGE MARU. [1]

1926 ~ 1940:
Sold to Muko Kisen K.K., of Mikage, Kobe.

E 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Allotted IJA No. 161.

7 May 1942:
At 1200, MIKAGE MARU departs Mutsure for Singapore in convoy No. 109 also consisting of cargo ships DOVER, RYUSEI, TAIYO (ex-German CAP FINISTERRE) and YOSHINO MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

8 May 1942:
At 1900, PEKING MARU signals “danger of enemy sub appearance, use strict caution, prepare for gun action”.

170 km SW of Me-Shima, SW Kyushu. At 1945, LtCdr Willis A. Lent’s (USNA ‘25) USS USS GRENADIER (SS-210) fires four torpedoes at TAIYO MARU. Two torpedoes pass under her without exploding, but the other two hit her portside in the stern and No. 2 hold. A cargo of calcium carbide cargo in No. 2 hold catches fire. The flames reach stored hand-grenades and illumination rounds which explode and severely damage TAIYO MARU´s bottom.

80 n. miles from Me-Shima Lighthouse. By 2020, TAIYO MARU develops a 35 degree list to port. Abandon Ship is ordered. At 2040, TAIYO MARU rises vertically and sinks. Captain Harada Keisuke and 156 of his 263-man crew, 656 of 1,044 passengers and four of 53 armed guards/gunners are KIA (total 817).

PEKING MARU sends a distress call , picks up 15 survivors and counter-attacks and then drops depth charges on GRENADIER, but without effect. MINEKAZE and TOMITSU MARU arrive about midnight and start rescue work. Despite severe weather they pick up 480 survivors. At noon, they land the survivors at Nagasaki.

10 May 1942:
48 other survivors are rescued by fishing vessel GENSHIN MARU No. 1 and landed at Nagasaki the next day. No more survivors are found. Total number of survivors is 543.

10 December 1942:
MIKAGE MARU departs Yokohama for Niihama, Shikoku in West Convoy No. 63 also consisting of transport KENRYU MARU, IJN cargo ship WAZAN MARU (B-AK) and collier/oiler IWASHIRO MARU escorted by torpedo boat CHIDORI.

12 December 1942:
Arrives at Niihama.

E 1943:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

20 April 1943:
At 1700, MIKAGE MARU departs Woosung, near Shanghai, China for Tomie, Goto-Retto, Japan in convoy SHI-6 convoy also consisting of DAIKOKU (OKUNI), FRANCE, JUNYO, KOKO, MIYAZAKI , RYUTO, TAITO, TANGO (ex Dutch TOENDJOEK), SHINWA and TETSUYO MARUs (and an unidentified ship) escorted by minelayer TSUBAME.

At 2000 departs Bell Buoy.

22 April 1943:
At 1800, arrives at Tomie, Goto-Retto.

23 April 1943:
At 1300, arrives at Mutsure.

2 June 1943:
Re-requisitioned by the Imperial Army as a Haitosen, Army/Civilian (A/C-AK) shared employment troop transport. Assigned Army No. 5547.

6 June 1943:
At 0700, MIKAGE MARU departs northern Kyushu in convoy SHI-609 also consisting of CHUKA, HENGSHAN (KOZAN), JUNPO, SHOTAI (ex-Philippine REGULUS), SHUNTEN and TAITO MARUs escorted by minelayer TSUBAME.

8 June 1943:
At about 1200, arrives off Bell Buoy, near Shanghai, China.

15 April 1944:
At 0600, MIKAGE MARU departs Yokosuka in convoy "Higashi-Matsu No. 6". The convoy consists of AWA, AWAJI, BATAVIA, HAKUBA, HOKUSHIN, KATSUKAWA and TAKAOKA MARUs bound for Saipan, CHOAN MARU No. 2 and MIKAGE MARU No. 1 bound for Truk, , BISAN, JINSAN and JOKUJA MARUs bound for Palau, KAMISHIMA and SHOZAN MARUs bound for Woleai, INARI and TONEGAWA MARUs bound for Guam and TATSUAKI and TAMAHOKO MARUs bound for Chichi-Jima. The convoy is escorted by destroyers HOKAZE, YUNAGI, UZUKI, kaibokan MIYAKE and CD-6, minelayers KYOSAI, SARUSHIMA and YURIJIMA, minesweepers W-20, W-28 and subchasers CH-10 and CH-12.

17 August 1944:
At 1900, MIKAGE MARU departs departs Kagoshima escorting convoy KATA-717 consisting of BRAZIL, DAIBOSHI, DAISHIN, DAITOKU, DAIYA, ESASHI, HOKUYU, KORYU, KOTSU, HIKOSAN, MAKO, SHINKO, SHIROTAE, TAIKYU, UJINA, UNTEN and WASHIN MARUs and HOEI MARU No. 2, Navy Land Ship Tank No. 135 and three unidentified merchant ships enroute to Koniya or Kagoshima, some direct and some via Naha. Escorts include kaibokan CD-30, torpedo boat TOMOZURU, minelayers NUWAJIMA, TSUBAME, NIIZAKI, subchasers CH-17 and CH-18, auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARUs No. 1 and No. 3, SHONAN MARU No. 16, CHITOSE and HOEI MARUs.

19 August 1944:
At 1200, arrives at Naha.

22 October 1944:
At 1220, MIKAGE MARU departs Moji for Manila with in convoy MOMA-06 also consisting of ATLAS, DAIKEN, DAITOKU, GASSAN, KAKOGAWA, , SEIWA, SEKIHO, SHINFUKU and SHINSHO MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by kaibokan CD-1, CD-3 and CD-7.

23 October 1944:
At about 0400, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) John E. Lee’s (USNA ’30) USS CROAKER (SS-246) torpedoes and damages GASSAN MARU. Later, she is towed to Saishu Island by SHINFUKU MARU where 3500 troops are put ashore. 43 troops and 17 crewmen are KIA.

24 October 1944:
(SE of Korea. At about 0430, CROAKER torpedoes and sinks MIKAGE MARU at 33N, 125E 27 crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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