HMAT A11 Ascanius

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HMAT A11 Ascanius
HMT Ascanius.jpg
Name HMAT A11 Ascanius
Owner Ocean Steamship Company (Blue Funnel Line)
Builder Workman Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast
Launched 1910
Completed 1910
Fate broken up at La Spezia
General characteristics
Type Passenger/cargo (refrigerated)
Tonnage 10,048 tons
Length 493 ft (150.27m)
Beam 60.4 ft (18.41m)
Depth 28.6 ft (8.71m)
Propulsion twin screw
Speed 13 knots (24 kph)


Owned by Alfred Holt & Co, Liverpool, but leased in 1914 by the Commonwealth until 30 Jul 1917, after which time she was under the control of the British Admiralty. Ascanius was part of the 1st Convoy, carrying the South Australian 10th Battalion, and the 11th Battalion from Fremantle. Between 19 Apr and 12 May 1915 she was converted at Cockatoo Island Dockyard to transport 1,820 troops and 12 horses. This ship completed nine transport voyages from Australia.

After the war she serviced the refrigerated meat trade between Australia and Liverpool, before being used again as a troopship during WW2. She was torpedoed on 30 Jul 1944 by U-621 while a member of Convoy EBC-54, in the English Channel south of Portsmouth while on its way to the Normandy beaches where it was to act as a depot ship. Despite being damaged, she was able to make it to port for repairs.

After WW2, the Ascanius carried Jewish emigrants from Marseilles to Haifa and was sold in 1949 to Italy and renamed San Giovannino. The plan had been to carry emigrants from Italy to Australia, but she had to be laid up due to her age and was broken up at La Spezia in July 1952.

Soldiers carried

Fremantle to Alexandria 31 October - 5 December 1914

Sailed on 20 October 1914 from Adelaide. While many of those aboard jumped ship during he night of 5 Dec 1914, the formal disembarkation took place on 6 December. 'A' and 'B' Companies had travelled on HMAT A7 Medic with the rest boarding the Ascanius.

Fremantle to Port Suez 9 June - 2 July 1915

Sailed on 24 May 1915 from Brisbane, Queensland; and on 27 May 1916 from Melbourne, Victoria. Sharing this voyage with our boys was the 7th Australian Field Ambulance, with many of them fated to get to know them better in Gallipoli and France. While the ship arrived at Port Suez at 11:30pm on 29 Jun 1915, they didn't disembark until the morning of 2 Jul 1915.

Hospital Ship Mudros to Alexandria 7 - 11 August 1915

Hospital ship Mudros to Malta 25-27 August 1915

Mudros to Alexandria 27 - 30 December 1915

England to Fremantle 17 March - 30 April 1916

Melbourne to Devonport 27 May - 18 July 1916

Melbourne to Devonport 11 May - 20 July 1917

England to Fremantle 9 February - 17 March 1919

Other Voyages

  • 10 November 1915 from Melbourne, Victoria
  • 25 October 1916 from Sydney, New South Wales, disembarking at Devonport, England on 28 December 1916