The Erinpura was one of the ships which
brought the troops home from India. Harry Denison was
one of those, departing Bombay on the 8 June 1919. It would appear that whilst
on this voyage back to the UK the Erinpura ran aground in the Red Sea (see
notes below). How the troops got home is unknown to me but Harry Denison
arrived back in the UK on the 2 Aug 1919. Similar journeys at this time took
3-4 weeks, however Harry's record show that his took about 3 weeks longer, no
doubt as a result of the mishap.
Erinpura is presumably named after the town of Erinpura, Jodhpur,
Rajastan, India. She was built by William Denny and Brothers, of Dumbarton and launched in
1911 and was one of seven sisters built for the Bay of Bengal /
Singapore Straits Service. Erinpura had the distinction of being the first British India ship built for Eastern Service
fitted with radio.
She was used as a troopship early in the First World War, carrying troops from Karachi to Marseilles, and then to Sanniya in Iraq. She ran aground while sailing up the river to Abadan on 24 December 1914 and sustained some
damage. After applying full power astern she was able to release herself but unfortunately was unable to slow and found herself striking the opposite bank damaging her rudder.
She was however able to make the return voyage to Bombay. She made several more trooping voyages until becoming a hospital ship in August 1915, supporting the Indian Expeditionary Force with 475 beds and 104 medical staff. She served on the Basra-Bombay Service, and from November 1917 was used as an ambulance transport.
She ran aground again on 15 June 1919, this time on the Mushejera Reef in the Red Sea. Her passengers and troops were taken off by HMS Topaze and taken to Aden, but attempts to pull Erinpura off failed. It was eventually decided to cut the bow of the ship off, towing the stern to Aden, and leaving the bow stuck on the reef. A new bow was ordered from the original builders Dennys. The stern was towed to Bombay where the new bow section was fitted, and she returned to service in 1923.
She was called up during the Munich Crisis in 1938, and was requisitioned for the Liner Division in March 1940. Erinpura was used as a troop transport in the Mediterranean, and in 1943 was the commodore's ship, under the command of Captain P.V. Cotter, in a Malta-bound convoy with three other British India ships, Karoa, Egra and Rohna, and twenty other merchantmen escorted by eleven warships. The convoy was attacked thirty miles north of Benghazi on 1 May 1943 by German bombers, with Erinpura being hit by a bomb in one of her holds. She sank within four minutes of being hit. Two junior engineers, 54 Indian seamen, three Gunners and 600 Basuto Pioneer Troops were lost with her.
In hospital livery.
indicates entries changed during P&O Group service.
by subsidiary company
India Steam Navigation Company Ltd
Denny & Bros
triple expansion steam engines
& Co Ltd, Dumbarton
first class, 39 second class, 2,359 deck passengers
cubic metres (187,308 cubic feet)
(26 officers, 84 ratings)
as Erinpura for British India Steam Navigation Company at a cost of £108,606.
She was the sixth ship of the E-class to be delivered with the other
ships named Ellenga, Edavana, lephanta, Egra,
Ellora and Ekma.
of British India Steam Navigation Company by The Peninsular and
Oriental Steam Navigation Company agreed.
part in the major convoy from India to Karachi.
while crossing the Muhanrah Bar, off the Great Hanish Islands in the
Red Sea, on her way up the river to Abadan. She was able to pull
herself off by giving full power astern but could not stop before
striking the opposite bank. Damage included a twisted rudder and
on as a transport during the war.
up, along with her sister Ellora, as an Indian Expeditionary Force
Hospital Ship with 475 beds and 104 medical staff. Employed mainly
from Basra to Bombay.
an ambulance transport.
aground on Mushejera Reef in the Red Sea enroute from Bombay to
Marseilles. She struck the reef bow on and came to rest with her stem
27 feet out of the water. The call for help came from HMS
Topaze which took the passengers and troops to Aden before returning
with the Perim Salvage Co’s tug Meyun. The Erinpura would not come
free and she was abandoned with a skeleton maintenance staff on board.
Svitzer Salvage Company resumed salvage efforts, however, bad weather
had split the starboard side forward and bottoms of Nos.1 and 2 holds
had been crushed as she worked on the reef.
company felt that half a ship was better than no ship so the decision
was made to cut her in half just forward of the bridge. The stern was
refloated. The bow section was abandoned and the stern section with
accommodation and engines was towed to Aden.
of Erinpura left Aden in tow of the Waroonga and Kapurthala.
at Bombay where the stern was joined to its new bow (fabricated by
Dennys) in the Mazagon Dockyard.
returned to service based in the Bay of Bengal, running from Madras to
Rangoon or Singapore.
for the Liner Division and had several periods as a Personnel Ship.
serving as a Personnel Ship.
in convoy on her way from Alexandria to Tripoli and Malta with 179
crew, 11 gunners and 1,025 Basuto Pioneer Corps on board. She was
struck by a bomb and sank in four minutes with the loss of 54 crew,
three gunners and 600 of the Pioneers.
of P&O Heritage