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Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Ship No 291

Underwood was one of the ships on the stocks (building berth) at the outbreak of World War II.
She was an order for a twin screw motor vessel from the company of Franch Fewick of Australia.
At 1,990 tons this large modern motor vessel was for the coastal trade in Australia and New Zealand.
She had a length overall of 255 feet, and a beam of 45 feet, and a draught of 21 feet and 6 inches.
The “Underwood” was one of the merchant ships on the stocks at Leith when war broke out. Building to the direction of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, Ltd., she was taken over by the Ministry of War Transport on completion.

With her enormous, hatch opening of 96 feet. (With her sister ship, the “Port Tauranga,” built three years earlier, the largest hatches on Lloyd’s Register), made her ideally suited for the transport of tanks, aircraft, guns, and other vital supplies to Russia.

During a voyage from the Thames to the Clyde, (1944) the convoy in which she was sailing was subjected to a particularly daring attack by E-Boats. In misty weather the enemy craft lay close in shore near the Lizard, and as the convoy passed, attacked it from the land and least protected side. The “Underwood” was one of the vessels lost when hit by torpedoes from the fast motor torpedo boats of the enemy.

Port Tuaranga, was the sister ship of M.V.Underwood.

1 comment:

David F Betts said...

I have just written a book about the sinking of MV Underwood (my grandfather was DEMS gunner aboard her) Solstad, Polperro & RNPS Wallasea on 6 January 1944 by e-boats. For details see my website Dave betts
Many thanks to Leith built ships for useful research information and support