British "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

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Sid Guttridge
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Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:40 am

British "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

Post by Sid Guttridge » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:43 am

Hi Guys,

I posted this question on another site while Warsailors was down, but without reply:

According to p.219 of Home Port Singapore (Tregonning, Singapore, 1967), 86 small, shallow-draught, merchant vessels of three classes ("B", "C" and "Shelt") were ordered by the British Ministry of War Transport for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia - 51 in the UK and 35 in Canada. They were all apparently based on recent Straits Steamship Company designs of the immediate pre-war period.

They were to be operated by three pre-war British shipping companies with Far East experience and manned on the lower deck by nearly 3,000 seamen of the Chinese Sailors Reserve Pool.

The Canadian orders were cancelled due to Japan's surrender, but at least some of the British-built ones were completed in small yards and despatched to the Far East just before the end of the war. The first convoy of one "B" Type, three "C" Types and nine "Shelt" Types left Falmouth on 8 August 1945, shortly before Japan capitulated.

All I have on them is the following:

"B" Type. A modified Pahang coaster design of just under 1,000t. (Pahang was a 1,136t vessel launched in 1939).

"C" Type. An improved Resang coaster design of 394t. (Resang was a 314dwt vessel launched in November 1941.)

"Shelt" Type. Coaster of about 75t.

Apart from this one reference, I can find nothing else on these construction programmes.

Has anyone else anything on them?

Many thanks for any assistance,

Sid.

P.S. Apparently Australia also built some small coasters of 309-tons and 257-tons in 1945 for use in Borneo and Sarawak. Does anyone know about this construction programme?
phil morgan
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:41 pm

Re: British "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

Post by phil morgan » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:12 pm

This attached site is a possible starting point:

http://www.tynebuiltships.co.uk/E-Ships ... h1945.html
Several of this type seemed to have names "EMPIRE SEA????",which is some guide.

Good hunting

Phil
Creese
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:30 am

Re: British "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

Post by Creese » Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:06 pm

Cargo vessels, Shelt, Empire Seascape class (23 vessels)
[27.02.1945] EMPIRE SEASCAPE = SERDANG
[17.03.1945] EMPIRE SEASHORE = SCUDAI = TROPIC TRADER = SCUDAI
[12.04.1945] EMPIRE SEAWARD = SENGGARANG = SABAH
[ .04.1945] EMPIRE SEAWAY = SEDILI
[11.06.1945] EMPIRE SEAFARER = SUMPITAN
[ .09.1945] EMPIRE SEAGRASS = SALONG = PULAU TEKONG
[27.08.1945] EMPIRE SEAWORTHY = SIDIBARRANI = SEMENYIH
[21.09.1945] EMPIRE SEAFLOWER = MERSAMATRUH = ISLE OF MAHE = MERSA MATRUH = SHIBAM = AL FATEH
[08.10.1945] EMPIRE SEABRIGHT = HELEN SEABRIGHT = ORTOLAN = GEORGIOS K. = LAUT MAS = PASTEUR
[23.11.1945] EMPIRE SEABANK = HALFAYA = SEMANTAN = TROPIC SEAS = MOON RIVER = SUCCESS STAR
[04.02.1946] EMPIRE SEAFOAM = MARETH = TEESTA = C5-213
[ .02.1945] EMPIRE SEASHELTIE = SELANGOR
[ .02.1945] EMPIRE SEABEACH = SEDENAK = SELAMAT
[ .03.1945] EMPIRE SEAHAWK = SEREMBAN
[ .03.1945] EMPIRE SEAFRONT = SADAO
[ .04.1945] EMPIRE SEABOY = SIRUSA = DARPO LIMA
[ .04.1945] EMPIRE SEABREEZE = SENAI = CHANGI = MENE = MERCURY
[ .06.1945] EMPIRE SEACOAST = BIRHAKIM = TANDA = C5-212
[ .05.1945] EMPIRE SEAGULL = SEMAMPANG = DARPO EMPAT
[26.06.1945] EMPIRE SEABIRD = STIA = ANLI = GLOBAL TRADER = EVER FAITHFUL = BLUE EAGLE
[ .07.1945] EMPIRE SEALION = SERUDOM = JURONG = SOON HONG = SOON LEE
[ .08.1945] EMPIRE SEAVIEW = SEGAMAT
[ .08.1945] EMPIRE SEAPORT = ELADEM = TORILLA = C5-216
[ . . ] EMPIRE SEASPRAY (deleted)

Cargo steamers, C type, Empire Maya class (16 vessels)
[27.03.1945] EMPIRE MAYA = MERLIMAU = MARGARET ROSE
[12.04.1945] EMPIRE MAYMONT = MELUAN = VIR PANDIAN
[25.04.1945] EMPIRE MAYTIME = MEMBAU = ADELINA = NAM SANH
[31.05.1945] EMPIRE MAYTREE = MANTIN = LORINDA = LUEN HWA
[16.05.1945] EMPIRE MAYROSE = MAWAI = MEKLONG = KARANG DJAWA
[16.05.1945] EMPIRE MAYFLOWER = MALIM = STARLINE MERCHANT
[ .05.1945] EMPIRE MAYMEAD = HONG TAT = SAI SIN
[ .08.1945] EMPIRE MAYTOWN = LADY BERBICE
[20.12.1945] EMPIRE MAYSONG = LOCHBROOM = FOCOMAR
[14.06.1945] EMPIRE MAYPORT = MENTAKAB = DEBORA = BRIGHT STAR
[10.07.1945] EMPIRE MAYBURY = HONG ANN = AI SOKULA = NEI RAETE II
[10.08.1945] EMPIRE MAYRING = SING HING = ISLAMABAD
[08.09.1945] EMPIRE MAYROVER = WA HING = MUMTAZ = C5-203
[29.08.1945] EMPIRE MAYLAND = HONG SOON = D. ALEIXO
[31.12.1945] EMPIRE MAYMORN = MAZARUNI
[04.04.1946] EMPIRE MAYDREAM = MAYDREAM = WING HING

Cargo steamers, B type, Empire Pattern class (7 vessels)
[27.04.1945] EMPIRE PATTERN = FORCADOS = BARBALIAS = AGIA VARVARA
[11.06.1945] EMPIRE PAMPAS = WARRI
[15.05.1945] EMPIRE PACIFIC = BULOH = TAINAMSHAN
[21.06.1945] EMPIRE PALACE = BELAGA = KISHNI = OCEAN KING
[09.08.1945] EMPIRE PAVILION = SAPELE = MAHIA = SAFINA-E-AHMAR
[06.10.1945] EMPIRE PASSMORE = BELURU = JALABALA
[20.11.1945] EMPIRE PARK = BENVEG = GRANDHING = SUMBAWA = AMARINA

[launched] NAME = further NAMES
From: 'The Empire Ships' by W. H. Mitchell and L. A. Sawyer.

Best regards, Kris.
phil morgan
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:41 pm

Re: British "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

Post by phil morgan » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:27 pm

In addition the following could be added:
Empire Seablue
Empire Seablue was a 518 GRT coaster which was built by Clelands (Successors) Ltd, Wallsend. Launched on 28 July 1945 and completed in August 1945. Sold in 1950 to Instone Lines Ltd and renamed Seablue. On 13 February 1954 she struck the wreck of Empire Blessing off Knocke, Belgium and was holed. Attempt made to beach her, but she sank 5 nautical miles (9.3 km) west south west of Vlissingen, Netherlands.

Empire Seabrook
Empire Seabrook was a 518 GRT coaster which was built by Shipbuilding Corporation, Newcastle upon Tyne. Launched on 28 March 1945 and completed in May 1945. Sold in 1947 to Coastal Carriers Ltd, Grimsby and renamed Legbourne. Operated under the management of Gillie & Blair Ltd. Sold in 1951 to Soon Bee Steamship Co and renamed Maston. Operated under the management of Heap Eng Moh Steamship Co, Singapore. Renamed Bee Tong later that year. Sold in 1959 to Guan Guan Ltd and renamed Singa Mas. Operated under the management of Chek Guan & Co, Singapore. Sold in 1964 to Transportes Maritime de San Blas SA, Panama and renamed Napoleon. Operated under the management of Guan Guan Shipping Co, Singapore. Sold c1973 to Thai owners and renamed Aquatic 2. Renamed Red Eagle in 1975. Sank on 17 March 1975 in Telok Ayer Basin. Singapore. Raised and sold for scrap, scrapped in March 1976 at Jurong, Singapore.

Empire Seasilver
Empire Seasilver was a 518 GRT coaster which was built by Shipbuilding Corporation, Newcastle upon Tyne. Launched on 7 June 1945 and completed in August 1945. Sold in 1947 to Seaway Coasters Ltd and renamed Seasilver. Operated under the management of C Howard & Sons, London. Renamed Sidi Barrani in 1951 and management transferred to J Fisher & Sons, Barrow. Sold in 1955 to Savon & Ries (Ethiopian Shipping) Co, Massawa, Ethiopia and renamed Seiyun.

Empire Seagreen
Empire Seagreen was a 518 GRT coaster which was built by Clelands (Successors) Ltd, Wallsend. Launched on 6 September 1945 and completed in October 1945. Sold in 1950 to Instone Lines Ltd and renamed Seagreen. Sold in 1959 to H Harvey, Quebec, 'tween deck removed and renamed St Pierre, now 386 GRT. To Transport Maritime Harvey Ltee, Quebec in 1962. Replacement 1951-built diesel engine fitted in 1969. Sank on 9 May 1974 in the Lachine Canal, Montreal. Raised, scrapped in situ in June 1974.

Empire Seaforth
Empire Seaforth was a 518 GRT coaster which was built by Shipbuilding Corporation, Newcastle upon Tyne. Launched in February 1945 and completed in March 1945. Sold in 1947 to Seaway Coasters Ltd and renamed Seaforth. Operated under the management of C Howard & Sons, London. Renamed Halfaya in 1951 and management passed to J Fisher & Sons, Barrow in Furness. Sold in 1955 to A R M

Good hunting
Phil
Sid Guttridge
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:40 am

Re: British "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

Post by Sid Guttridge » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:02 am

Hi Phil Morgan and Crees,

Many thanks, indeed. It is hard information replies such as yours that justify the existence of forums such as this.

It appears that others may have been purchased straight off the stocks as p. 229 of Home Port Singapore lists the diesel-type, 957-ton, B-Class coasters Bentong, Bidor and Bruas as being bought off the slipway in Scotland.

The book also mentions that the B-Class Buloh, Beluru and Belaga (which are not in the above lists) were oil fired, which presumably means there were both diesel and oil-fired B-Class vessels.

I guess that serial construction was interrupted by the end of the war and that some incomplete B- and C-Class vessels were sold directly to shipping companies and so never got MOWT "Empire" names.

Thanks again,

Sid.
Sid Guttridge
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:40 am

Re: British "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

Post by Sid Guttridge » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:28 am

Hi Guys,

Just to say thanks for the The Empire Ships lead. I have bought a very good, ex-library, copy of the book at the ridiculously low price of £2.50 (less than the postage) and am highly delighted. So much so that I will buy some of the authors' other books.

In appreciation,

Sid.
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