HMHS Gerusalemme

Hello there
I have just found some interesting information on your wonderful site about the ship my father served on as an SBA during the war, the hmhs Gerusalemme.

I wonder if you have any other pictures (or information) other than the three that are on the site?
Your help in advance is much appreciated
Tom Lord


Thank you for your kind words about AHOY.

My web master and friend Terry Kearns in Atlanta Georgia deserves a lot of credit for turning my research and writing into the site that is out there for anyone who may chance upon it on the web. We always trust that something of interest may then be found on our site.

Information on the Hospital Ship Gerusalemme is difficult to winkle out on the Internet. I hope this information is of some value for you Tom.
Best regards, 
Here are just three references I have found:

Cracovia built in 1920. 1934 renamed Gerusalemme, 1943 seized by Britain and used as hospital ship, 1946 returned to Italy, 1952 scrapped. 8,052 tons.

The Timavo Incident

On 10 June 1940 Italy was about to declare war on the Allies but nobody in Durban knew that except the crews of the Italian ships Timavo and Gerusalemme who had received a coded radio signal to that effect.

The two ships put hurriedly to sea at noon with papers faked to make it seem as if they were bound for Cape Town but, as soon as they were over the horison, they altered course for Lourenco Marques which was a neutral port and which offered sanctuary from the allied forces.

Later that night the news of Italy's declaration of war reached Durban and South African airforce planes began to search for the two ships. The Timavo was found 150 miles north-east of Durban during the night and headed at full speed towards the Zululand coast after a bomb was dropped and warning shots were fired.

The Timavo later grounded herself about 5 miles north of St. Lucia Bay and her crew was captured and brought back to Durban. The ship herself could not be salvaged but some of the cargo was saved. The Gerusalemme, in the meantime, managed to reach Lourenco Marques where she was interned until the Italian surrender after which she returned to Durban to be converted into an allied hospital ship.

This note is about a Surgeon who served in this hospital ship, no doubt your Father as a Sick Berth Attendant could well have worked with him.

Kenneth was a graduate from Pembroke College Oxford University.

Kenneth Frank Welodon. ( 1933 )

He took exams in Edinburgh to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, he joined HM Hospital ship Gerusalemme in the Pacific Fleet. The ship’s role was to collect sick servicemen from prisoner-of-war internment camps in the East Indies and China coast, and take them to Perth, Australia.

A note about Pembroke College: 

Founded in 1624, Pembroke College is concentrated in its traditional site in the centre of Oxford but it has a fine new building on the Thames, as well as its own renovated graduate facilities close by the College. The main site is particularly attractive, being primarily built between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries with Cotswold stone.

The College has a Governing Body of 38 Fellows with just over 400 home and European Union undergraduates, around 40 visiting students from the USA and 90 graduates. Our students are drawn from a wide range of ethnic, social and national backgrounds.

Colleges are at the centre of both academic and social life at Oxford and each college has rather different characteristics. Pembroke's commitment to academic excellence, its compact size and a long tradition of informality combine to make it a stimulating, warm and welcoming community.

Ahoy Mac's Web Log.
URL: ahoy.tk-jk.net

Thanks very much, that's great.


July 12, 2009
Subject: Gerusalemme Hospital Ship

Hi Mac

The Gerusalemme had quite a chequered career. She was one of two italian ships in Durban Harbour in South Africa when Mussolini declared war. The other was the Lloyd Triestino ship Timavo. (Google "Timavo ship" and you get the story) Both vessels received notification the day before and left port hurriedly. Timavo had indicated that she was bound for Cape Town and indeed did head south but as soon as she was below the horizon she turned and headed north for Mozambique. She was intercepted and her skipper beached her just north of Leven Point on the Zululand coast. Today she is nothing more than a lump of growth covered junk just off the beach.

Gerusalemme was intercepted by the Armed Merchant Cruiser Ranchi and also "beached" herself near Kosi Bay also on the Zululand coast. I say "beached" because she was close inshore and Ranchi could not get closer to her being a much larger vessel. As soon as the Ranchi moved off the Gerusalemme "unbeached" herself and made it into neutral Portuguese waters off Mozambique. When Italy surrendered she was sent to Durban and converted into a hospital ship. I have often wondered whether the Gerusalemme really did beach herself or simply played a glorious trick on the Ranchi by pretending to be aground. It would be interesting to try to find track some one who might be able to shed light on this one!

Best wishes
Jeff Gaisford
South Africa



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