HMHS Somersetshire, Hospital Ship

October 25, 2010


Here is all I can find about Somertsetshire, but not as a migrant ship in 1951.

I do believe the Nationanal Australia Archives may have some information on Migrants,

Here is a brief history of Somersetshire as a hospital ship, and then converted to a passenger ship.

       Name HMHS Somersetshire
       Type: Hospital ship
       Tonnage 9,716 tons
       Completed 1921 - Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast
       Owner Bibby Brothers & Co, Liverpool
       Homeport Liverpool
       Date of attack 7 Apr 1942 Nationality:      British

       Fate Damaged by U-453 (Egon Reiner von Schlippenbach)
       Position 32.13N, 26.34E - Grid CO 6896
       Complement 187 (7 dead and 180 survivors).
       Route Alexandria - Tobruk
      Cargo None

History Completed in June 1921 as motor merchant
Somersetshire for Bibby Brothers & Co, Liverpool.
1927 converted to a troopship with accommodation for
1300 troops. In October 1927 the ship sailed to
China and from January to May 1928 she transported
troops to Karachi and was laid up in Dartmouth
thereafter. During another voyage to China in 1931,
influenza broke out which affected 300 person but
fortunately there were no deaths. In September 1939,
  Somersetshire was requisitioned and converted into
HM Hospital Ship No.25 with 507 beds, 118 medical
staff and 171 crew members. She participated in the
withdrawal from Narvik in April 1940 and on 6 Dec,
1940, was bombarded from shore as her launches
brought of the wounded at Tobruk. In February 1941,
the ship joined her sistership HMHS Dorsetshire in
evacuating the wounded from the besieged Tobruk,
before operating from the Red Sea to South Africa,
Australia and New Zealand repatriating wounded

 From 1944 to 1946, Somersetshire sailed all over the
world as a hospital ship and finishing up in the
Pacific. In February 1948, the ship was
decommissioned and rebuilt until November by Harland
& Wolff to a passenger ship with accommodation for
550 passengers. In 1953, the ship briefly returned
to trooping to East Africa during the Mau Mau
troubles and in March 1954 was broken up by Thos. W.
Ward in Barrow-in-Furness.

Notes on loss At 12.57 hours on 7 Apr, 1942, U-453
fired a spread of four torpedoes at a steamer of
10.000 grt and heard three detonations after 47
seconds. HMHS Somersetshire was not recognized as a
hospital ship by the U-boat. The ship, which was
carrying no patients, was hit on the starboard side
forward and settled by the head with a list. Seven
lives were lost. 114 crew members, 64 medical staff
members and two stewardesses abandoned ship in 13
lifeboats. The crew later reboarded her and managed
to reach Alexandria on the port engine and assisted
by tugs. The remaining survivors were picked up by a
Greek destroyer.


As a hospital ship.
Somersetshire (1)         1921         1927 converted to permanent
1939-1946 Hospital ship, 1948 Australia emigrant ship,
1954 scrapped.        

Immigration Museum: Ten Pound Poms *...* and I were 10
pound poms. We
arrived in 1950 on the *MV Somersetshire* and lived in a
migrant camp in
Yallourn, Vic. Anyone else ? *...*

There is obviously no charge involved, it is my pleasure to help if I am able.

Best wishes,

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