HMAT A38 Ulysses

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HMAT A38 Ulysses
HMAT A38 Ulysses.jpg
HMAT A38 Ulysses 2.jpg
Troops waiting to embark, HMAT Ulysses AWM P08286.011
Name HMAT A38 Ulysses
Owner China Mutual Steam Navigation Co, of London,
Builder Workman Clark, Belfast
Yard number 319
Launched 5 Jul 1913
Completed 1913
In service 22 Oct 1913
Out of service 11 Apr 1942
Fate torpedoed and sunk by U-160
General characteristics
Type Armed merchant ship
Tonnage 14,449 tons
Length 176.8m
Beam 20.8m
Depth 12.3m
Propulsion twin screw
Speed 13.5 knots (25 Kph)
Capacity Crew 195; 95 passengers


Built for China Mutual Steam Navigation Co, of London, leased by the Commonwealth until 15 Aug 1917. Made six trips from Australia. In addition to carrying troops, along with the other transports she carried general goods to the UK. On 15 Aug 1917 management was passed to the British Admiralty. She was then used to transfer US troops across the Atlantic, before resuming commercial service in 1920. At the time of her sinking she was owned by Alfred Holt & Co., Liverpool

She was an important part of the Blue Funnel fleet with the Commodore Captain R D Owen in command. In 1942 she escaped from Hong Kong prior to the arrival of the Japanese, sailing to Singapore and then Australia where she loaded a cargo for Liverpool via the Panama Canal. On 8 April 1942 she collided with a vessel causing some bow damage, causing her to head for Newport News for repairs.

On 11th April, 45 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at 10:31pm the unescorted Ulysses was hit in the stern by a torpedo from U-160 and then in the engine room by a torpedo at 10:53pm. While the crew abandoned ship, the U-boat moved to the side and at 11:27pm fired another torpedo that hit amidships and caused the ship to sink within 30 minutes, but this was not observed by the Germans because a flying boat was now circling the area. The master, 189 crew members, five gunners and 95 passengers were picked up by USS Manley and landed at Charleston, South Carolina.

Soldiers carried

Melbourne to Port Tewfik (Suez) 8 May - ?? June 1915

Mudros to Alexandria 19 - 24 Aug 1915 (Hospital Ship)

Port Tewfik to Fremantle 30 September 1915 - ? October 1915

Melbourne to Port Tewfik (Suez) 27 October 1915 - 26 November 1915

Embarked in Fremantle on 2 November

Lemnos to Alexandria 20 - 22 December 1915

Alexandria to Fremantle 3 January - 5 February 1916

Sydney to Alexandria 20 February - 25 April 1916

Fremantle passengers boarded 1 Apr 1916

Melbourne to Plymouth 25 October - 28 December 1916

England to Fremantle 13 February - 12 April 1917

England to Fremantle 10 September - 4 November 1917

Port Said, Egypt to Fremantle 15 February - 11 March 1918

Devonport to Fremantle 18 January 1919 - 24 February 1919

England to Melbourne 22 July 1919 - 30 Aug 1919

Other Voyages

  • 22 December 1914 from Melbourne
  • 19 December 1917 from Sydney