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2011 Log Entries: This page contains the most recent entries from the BIship logbook, which has been signed by visitors from around the world. We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions. Icons: question denotes a specific question and answer response or information offered.

See archived logbooks at:
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Dilbag Singh, Canada - Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 17:03:25
question I travelled in Orna from Calcutta to Suva Fiji with my parent in 1948. I was two at that time. I would like to see the passanger list if possible. The month was june 30th. thanks sal

Peter Maynard, UK - Monday, December 26, 2011 at 12:10:19
answer Message to Wendy Swinburn re your request of 6th December 2011. Are you the Wendy Vincent as was from Budleigh Salterton when I was a deck officer with BI on leave? If so I remember you saying your father was a retired BI Master (ex Commodore of the fleet?) don't think I ever met him - too nervous.
I cannot give you any info on your query but can fill you in on the news of your old home town if you wish to pm me.

Tim Ridge, New Zealand - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 00:50:05
answer Just found this site - I served as cadet to second mate from January 1959 to December 1969 in Nyanza, Waroonga, Chandpara, Dwarka (3 times for my sins), Chinkoa, Landaura, Obra, Ozarda, Devonia, Nevasa (twice) and Uganda. Many happy memories.

Aneesa Dudukay, South Africa - Monday, December 19, 2011 at 21:11:49
question Hi. I would like to enquire about the Captain of HMS Birmingham in November 1942. A family member was aboard ss Tilawa which was sailing from Bombay to Durban. Would appreciate any information. Great site! well done & best of luck to all. Salaams

David Humphreys, US, Friday, December 16, 2011 17:17:28 -0600
answer In answer to Jagdip Singh, November 19, 2011 It seems we were both onboard ss Tairea on her last voyage from Calcutta to the Far East in October 1951. After you disembarked in Hong Kong we continued on our usual schedule to Kobe and Yokohama, before returning to Calcutta via the same ports as our eastbound voyage. Like yourself, I am fortunate to be still working and in the same business as when I sailed on Tairea. If you scroll back on the BI logbook to November 15, 2008, I have briefly documented my time onboard Tairea between July 1951 and March 28, 1952 when she was delivered to the breakers in Blyth. Our arrival in London 5 days earlier was the first time Tairea had been in her home port since she was built almost 30 years earlier. No “Welcome home” – just a stevedore foreman looking for a cargo plan.

Marjory Stewart, UK - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 19:39:26
answer My brother alerted me to your site and I was delighted to hear from and read about some of his old Shipmates. My Dad would have loved to communicate with them. Thank you for being here.

Gilles Leclair, Spain - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 12:55:27
question Could I get more information, photos and blue prints of the (Mombassa 1889-1916 4662 Barque. Pas: 36 1st, 20 2nd. Torpedoed and sunk off Algeria by U 39) for a historical movie that I am doing. It would be for refernces only. Thank you

Bob Hutt, Australia - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 11:26:23
question Seeking shipping schedules, Aust (Brisbane) to Calcutta via Java August 1892. Have paintings along route by a passenger, Colonel Tillotson Royal Artillery dated Sept. 1892.

Wendy Swinburn, Australia - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 02:25:31
question I am researching family history and would like to find out more about my father, Martin Vincent's time with BI. He passed away in 1986. He was Captain of Chindwara up to about 1961. I have letters from that time, plus reference to his command of Santhia around 1958 and Fultala, 1956. I also have a transcript of a broadcast he made over Rangoon Radio on 26 September 1956 for the Centenary of BI that I am happy to share.

Peter Smith, Australia - Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 10:06:20
answer Re: Carmel Talbot's entry Sept.1 2011.
Clara McLaughlin nee Smith was my aunt, She arrived in Australia aboard the Waipara however her father, my grandfather had arrived in Australia earlier on another ship.

Jimmy Coyle, UK - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 23:42:19
answer Came across your web site and spotted my fathers name some one was looking for him as he was an electician on the ss Kenya, Alex (Sandy) Fowlis, Botswana I'm sorry to say that my dad just passed away today.

Jonathan Harradine, UK - Monday, November 28, 2011 at 21:35:17
A very interesting and informative site

George Macindoe, UK - Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 17:19:11
answer re Donny Macleods' log posted 5/01/10 I sailed with Donny on Ozarda on Gulf/Japan route in 1960 Don was 4EO I was fiver. Many a beer we enjoyed in Clancies Kobe. We met again on Landaura He was 3EO I was 4th I was going on leave after a "spell" on coast He was going home for Dara enquiry.Would be good to swap tales,after 50 odd years. [George - mail to your address is bouncing. Please send a correct/alternative email address via the Logbook - Editor]

Bob Smith, Australia - Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 08:37:20
answer I have just found this site - very interesting. I was an Engineer Cadet - 2/E/O from 1963 to 1981. Your web sight has brought back memories of things I have not thought about for nearly thirty years.
There was obviously something special about BI that there is still this much interest in a company that ceased to exist more than thirty years ago.

Geeta Mhatre, US - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 20:55:28
question I'd like to contact Kenneth Paes who was a Purser on the Bankura in the early 1960s and was later living in Mumbai, India. We were friends before I moved to America. I'd love to catch up.

Frank Hanson, UK - Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 17:05:05
question I sailed on the maiden voyage of ss Karanja in Oct 1948 to Mombas. I would like information of the dates of this voyage + the ports its visited and name of Captain. Thanks

Tony Letourdie, Seychelles - Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 09:07:15
i want to know the staff who was working on the ship from the year of 1961 to 1963

Jagdip Singh, Hong Kong - Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 12:42:15
answer On 19 November 1951 I arrived in Hong Kong. ss Tairea sailed from Calcutta, I do not remember exact date, first Port of call was Rangoon 2nd Penang 3rd Singapore and reached my destination Hong Kong. I was told that she is sailing onwards to Japan on her last journey. I was 21 years young lad and enjoyed my trip on deck class and fare was little over Indian Rupees 300 with Indian Food catered. Today I have completed my 60 years in Hong Kong. I started working with H Ruttonjee Son one of the 5 major Wines and Spirits Merchants in Hong Kong and I am still working for the same family for 60 years. I consider myself very very fortunate. I will appreciate if either you or some one else can inform me the sailing schdule of Tairea from Calcutta, India in October or November 1951.

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Michael Pratt, Australia - Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 00:37:05
answer Have been a member since its commencement and enjoy all the interchange of messages from the worldwide membership

Antonio Sobrinho, Portugal - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 11:47:30
question I am interested on knowing facts about the voyage from Lourenco Marques (Mozambique) to Bombay on the 6 may 1950 on the Karanja. Is it possible to know who was the captain of the ship? Description of the voyage? How long did it take?

David Martin, UK - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 08:07:06
answer BI service 1953-1960 Chindwara Dunera Nevasa Dwarka Landaura Waroonga Pentakota

Daphne Collins Painting, New Zealand - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 02:54:51
answer I do not know the name of the ship on which I went out to India in the winter of 1931 or early 1932, as I was only 5. My father went ahead on 25 July 1931. I returned to Plymouth in 1937 as Tilbury was busy with the troops for the Coronation. We had the Coronation service relayed in the Suez Canal and it was a freezing day. The two ships were the Modasa and Domala. The next trip was in the Santhia and Shirala to Japan in 1939 (?) There were minefields in Singapore and Hong Kong and we hit a massive cyclone just outside the Inland Sea. Japan joined the war several months later. We did this trip as we couldn't go home because of the war in Europe. An amendment to your records: The Santhia is recorded by you as "Caught fire and capsized in the Hooghly". She was actually moored in Garden Reach in Calcutta, bombed by the Japs. and sunk there.

Helen Simm, UK - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 15:05:02
answer My late father, Harry Green, joined BI around 1950 and worked his way up to Chief Engineer from Junior Engineer. He left the company in the late 1960's. My mother, brother and I had the privilege of travelling extensively with my father and I have very fond memories of the Chupra, Nowshera, Amra and Palamcotta in particular. I was in fact born in Bombay, and both my brother and I went to school there in the late 1950's/early 60's. In the course of my work I have recently met a former Electical Engineer who worked for BI and he directed me to this site. As a result I have been wading through old family photographs of some of the ships and will have them scanned and presented to you for potential archive material. Reading the content of this site has brought back a lot of happy memories. Thank you.

David Yanik, Australia - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 20:31:41
great memories

J Kevin Donoghue, UK - Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 18:57:47
answer Re Tony Brooke's comments [July 11, 2011] - The Hong Kong Bar in Penang was certainly still fully operational in 2001, they even still had all the old photograph books under the bar. If you asked for the BI book for any particular year you will be handed a trip down memory lane - all the old photographs and comments & we even had hair!

Christine Brodie-Jagger, UK - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 21:12:46
I would like to thank the Editor of this site and also to T E Kelso, UK (Friday, October 28, 2011) for supplying information about my father Neil Glen Brodie (Logbook entry Sunday October 9th 2011).
I'm my father's youngest daughter and he was a regular passenger on P&O cruise ships between 1976 and 2000. However, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in about 1993 and died from related complications in 2005. Very sadly, I don't know the whereabouts of the BI brass buttons that were sent to him by T E Kelso. Since posting my entry on this site, I've completed extensive research about the fates of the ss Devon, the German raider Komet that sank ss Devon and the ss Bulan on which dad served after the war. He was indeed a Cadet (not a Rating, as I'd thought) and joined the Devon, (a BI cadet training ship) in the first week of July 1941, when he was 17. I'm very grateful just to know of someone who knew him. [Devon had formerly been a cadetship belonging to Federal Steam Navigation. BI acquired the ship in 1934 and retained the training role (with 38 cadets) but in mid-1939, this function was taken over by Waroonga. Thereafter, it seems that, like most BI ships, Devon carried a few cadets as part of the normal complement - Editor]

BI staff group - Monday , October 31, 2011 at 17:21:18
During October topics discussed by the online BI staff group have included the losses of and salvage from the ships Gairsoppa and Mantola, BI WW2 officers' uniform, cargo capacities of BI B and C class ships, applications to use the Mechant Navy Memorial on Tower Hill for entertainment, Clan Alpine and Chittagong shipbreaking, Breach Candy, Bombay, Gulf of Aden/Somali piracy, Deep tanks in BI B class vessels, Heritage ships in UK. Members of the group can read all group messages (including the 10-year archive) by logging into the group site. Readers of the Logbook are welcome to post comments and questions here about subjects relating to BI.

Margaret Fraser, UK - Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 21:25:14
My Grandfather Andrew Munro was commander of ss Takliwa, not sure of the exact dates. I have several copies of log books and am very interested to hear any information

Maurice Deans, Australia - Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 20:13:18
answer Very interesting site! If possible, would like to know officers names on the mv Chanda from 1957--1960. Maurice Deans 4th/eng at that time. Also would like to know of a Tom Hunter that sailed on the Woodarra on her maiden voyage to Australia in 1957. Sandy Suter sailed with BI I believe from approx 1955 to 1963. One of the ships was the Chakrata? He did three spells altogether. He has just passed away this year in Worksop UK. [Alexander (Sandy) Suter sailed in Chakdara, Sangola, Karanja, Dara, Dumra, Chupra, Nowshera, Nuddea, Chindwara, Bamora, Socotra, Landaura, Chantala, Nyanza, Pundua and Chilka - Editor]

On Aug 19, 1941 in the Pacific off the Galapagos islands, Devon (BI 1934-1941) encountered the disguised German surface raider Komet (above). All 144 people on board were transferred to Komet, 43 being subsequently held as prisoners of war. Devon was sunk with charges. A Logbook entry by another of Devon's cadets, Hugh Hughes, can be found at Dec 12, 2003. A list of the POWs, including Cadets Brodie and Hughes, appears with the Logbook entry of Jan 9, 2008
On Aug 19, 1941 in the Pacific off the Galapagos islands, Devon (BI 1934-1941) encountered the disguised German surface raider Komet (above). All 144 people on board were transferred to Komet, 43 being subsequently held as prisoners of war. Devon was sunk with charges. A Logbook entry on this site by another of Devon's cadets, Hugh Hughes, can be found at Dec 12, 2003. A list of the POWs, including Cadets Brodie and Hughes, appears with the Logbook entry of Jan 9, 2008
Komet disguised as Japanese merchantman, drawing: Wikipedia

T E Kelso, UK - Friday, October 28, 2011 at 20:22:22
answer With regard to Neil Brodie's son's entry [October 9, 2011] I always understood that he was a Cadet (not Rating) when captured at the sinking of the Devon. Apart from being familiar with his father in his position of Assistant Cargo Superintendent, RAD [Royal Albert Dock], usually at the Import berth 27/29 RAD, my last contact was on a Canberra cruise in early 1990's (Ian Tomkins [BI], in command) after which I sent him a set of BI brass buttons for his blazer! Presumably you still have them...they are now quite valuable! Regards

Margaret Jefferies, UK - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 21:15:27
answer I sailed on the Devonia 1965 Easter with my school to Maderia Tangier and Vigo wonderful memories had a great time.

Paul Morgan - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:38:06
answer I sailed on the Dwarka as 5th engineer in 1979. Lots of good memories [apart from the cockroaches] I was sad when it finaly went!

Bob Conway, UK - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:29:42
Enjoyed reliving some memories. Can't help wondering about people I sailed with. For example, is Spiney Norman (2nd Electrician mv Zira - Bulders & Maiden voyage) still around?

John Clough, Australia - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 00:03:15
answer Joined Madura in Fremantle Xmas 1946 for voyage to Sydney. Took nearly three weeks due to waterfront strikes in Adelaide and Melbourne . Flew back from Perth last week in a bit over three hours. Didn't enjoy it as much as Madura 65 years ago.

Christopher Gillon, France - Monday, October 17, 2011 at 16:11:18
question My Great Grandfather William Thyne was Second Officer BISN Sirsa in 1891 as recorded on his Son's Baptism Record and a Captain in the Naval Service on my grandmother's Baptism Certificate in 1908 (an adult Baptism) but died before she married my grandfather in 1911. We can find no trace of his death in the British Library India section and wondered if you could throw some light on a Family conundrum!

William Philip Vaughan, UK - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 22:59:23
answer June 1949 my first job was flicking the glass on Durenda. That will bring back a lot of memorey to new Fivers. Last ship Rajula 3Eng. Broke my arm home on BO Canton

Shashi Gould, UK - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 13:10:49
question How does one go about looking for passenger manifest?  My Mum travelled on Tilawa in 1942; this was before it was torpedoed.
My last journey from Mombasa to Bombay was on ss Kampala in July 1959, I think.  Would just like to see if my name is on the passenger manifest, though I was only 7 years old at the time. [Relatively few passenger manifests of British registered ships survive. Try the Public Record Office at Kew (personal visit will be required for research), and very occasionally passenger lists do appear for sale on the web - Editor]

Wendy Hughes, UK - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 08:10:30
question I am researching my grandfather, Norman G Smith who was a chief engineer with BI. I have two letters written to him from BI, so I know he was on the ss Karoa in 1918 and the ss Dwarka in 1916 (although the date is indistinct). I also have a photo of him with his crew, but cannot tell which ship they are on. Is it possible to search for a person by name? How could I find his service records? Any help would be appreciated!

Dacca - British india Associated Steamers 1882-1890
Dacca - British india Associated Steamers 1882-1890

Tom Demello, USA - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 04:39:0
question My ancestor Jose Demello and wife Anna Demello came on board the Dacca (i think) from Madeira to Hawaii in 1885. I would like to know for sure. Is there a ships manifest i could check? [It is unlikely - though not impossible - that BI's vessel Dacca sailed between Madeira and Hawaii. Dacca was built for the UK-Queensland run and specifically designed for carriage of emigrants, though between 1882, when she was built, and the end of 1883 she was assigned to the Calcutta run. The ship ran aground and sank in the Red Sea in 1890 - Editor]

Richard Bracher, UK - Monday, October 10, 2011 17:41:19
answer For Nigel William Morgan, ref his posting of March 22nd about ss Malda. I have a number of attachments which would interest him including details of my first voyage when he was a child passenger, composition of the convoy, escorts, ships lost, etc, together with a number of book references relating to the battle of convoys OB336 and HX133 - the first significant convoy battle following the capture of U-110 and the breaking of the German naval Enigma code.

John Howden, UK - Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 16:38:57
question i am looking for details of Arthur Duncan Hopkirk who was on board ss Sealda from 1902. His daughter was named after the ship. Any other info would be appreciated. He was from Scotland

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Neil Glen Brodie, UK - Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 16:02:24
question Looking for any information about my father (now deceased) and his connections with BI. He was captured when serving as a Rating (aged 17 years) on the Devon by a German commerce raider Komet on 19.08.41. He spent the rest of the war in a PoW camp, Milag Nord in Germany. After the war he served on the BI Merchant ship 'BULAN' from Glasgow, between about 1946 until 1951. 1952 -1972 Cargo Superintendent at V&A [Royal Albert Dock office?] and Tilbury Docks. Any information would be much appreciated. [See Richard Bracher's Logbook entries March 26 and January 9, 2008, 2008 and Hugh Hughes's of December 12, 2003 regarding Devon - Editor]

Fiona Winsor, UK - Friday, October 7, 2011 at 17:55:40
answer It was nice to read your comment Dudley Horscroft [Logbook Sep 27, 2011] about my dad, Bobbie Coates. I recently went back to Japan and after 40 years and was amazed how much of the language I remembered but we did attend school there!

Chyebassa was the first of what would become BI's 13-strong, C class cargoships. Built in 1942, the twin-screw Chyebassa continued in BI's fleet until demolition in 1969
Chyebassa was the first of what would become BI's 13-strong, C class cargoships. Built in 1942, the twin-screw Chyebassa continued in BI's fleet until demolition in 1969

Jack McKay, Ireland - Friday, October 7, 2011 at 15:39:45
i would love to know about Terry Rowantree with whom i sailed on the Chyebassa, about 1958, i feel sure theres a bookful of stories. i have memories of our boxing match, and with cadets, on Rabbie Burns birthday as we sailed thru the Red Sea...the new cadet Dave Smart, knew how to box, and gave me a good hiding. Happy days

Ronald (Jock) Marchbank, UK - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 19:13:46
answer I have memories of my trips on ss Dilwara as I travelled to Malaya as a raw soldier 18 years old in 1956. It took us 6 weeks round the Cape. My return trip in 1958 was through the Suez which took 4weeks. How I survived I don't know as I was sick every day.

Shashi Patel Gould, UK - Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 20:02:03
My mum, Mrs Indumati Chhotabhai Patel was a passegner, in 1942, on Tilawa, from Bombay to Mombasa, before it was torpedoed. How do I go about getting the date of her departure and arrival. Her DoB is 5th April 1924.Thanking you in anticipation.

Bill Thomson, Canada - Friday, September 30, 2011 at 07:34:18
answer I was a passenger on the Matiana in March/April 1948 from UK to Mombasa. I had my 4th Birthday on board during the voyage.It was a big adventure for me.

Krishan Arora - Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 10:33:09
answer I was passanger from Bombay to Khorramshar, Persian Gulf and I travellled on April 19th, 1974 on Dwarka ship. This is first time I left India and went to Khrramsahar by ship and It routed through Muscat, Baharain, I think Doha, Kuwait and Khorramsahr - Iran. I went to Tehran by bus and to Istambul, Turkey. Finally reached Germany by train.

Alan Brown, Australia - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 14:26:29
answer Re recent inquiry by Frederick Stuart, I have a photo of ss Dilwara. My gfather, David Brown, of Dundee, was a 1st Class Engineer with BI and sailed to Calcutta from London in Jan 1895 for a 25 year career. I assume his posting was to Dilwara. I also have a pic of Dilwara's engineers of about 1900. Please feel free to email me.
Alan Stewart Brown, Australia

Dudley Horscroft, Australia - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 10:09:43
answer Re Fred Mears [Logbook, December 21, 2010]. I believe that I may have sailed with him on the Itinda, Nov 58 to Feb 59. Unfortunately the signature is not decipherable in my Discharge Book. No matter which ship, he was good to sail with.
Re Fiona Winsor and Bobbie Coates [Logbook September 22, 2010] - I sailed with him on the Chinkoa from September 69 till he left in early 70. I remember him saying that he was somewhat ashamed that when ashore he had to rely on you and your sister to buy the train tickets in Japan. I enjoyed sailing with him.

Nigel Marsh, UK - Mon, 26 Sep 2011 17:38:31
question I am trying to make contact with people who either sailed with or knew of my late step-father Peter Louis Reynolds in order to, piece together his former life with BISN. He joined BISN as a Cadet in 1944. He was then 17 years old. After training he predominantly served around India and in the near and far-east through the tail-end of, and, mopping up after WW2. Apparently he was on one of the first allied shops to visit Hiroshima after the war.
To my knowledge. He served on the Canara, Uganda, Chilka and possibly the Kampala. I have information which might be of use to Jennifer Bunn, [Logbook Jan 10, 2010 and earlier]. Brian St Vincent, Australia. I would be interested to know if Brian Longstaff [Aug 16, 2008], Morley Prowse [Oct 5, 2009 and earlier], Bob – 'Cannanore', Richard Sandeman-Gay [May 22, 2002], have any knowledge of him or the ships he sailed on. He attended BI Reunion - Portsmouth, UK, October 2004 with Thelma (who passed away a few months after him in May 2011). it seems any of the following may know of him Mike Bates, Anne Bates, Ian Dancer, Maureen Dancer, Ian Denholm, Yvonne Denholm, Bryan Long, Philippa Long, I would be grateful to hear from anyone who can provide me with any further relevant information or links to photos.

Tracey Rayner, UK - Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 12:06:54
question Could anyone tell me if they know of an Irish radio officer based in india 1940's he was lost at sea aged 21 approx 1943 his name was George Nicholson. Any information would be greatly appreciated I am trying to find out about him for my 90 year old granmother who was his fiancee at the time. [You might try contacting BAE Systems which acquired Marconi assets in 1999. Marconi Marine (which was headquartered at Chelmsford, UK) employed seagoing radio officers who Marconi seconded to many British shipping companies under contract, including BI, to fulfil radio manning requirements in their ships. It would seem doubtful for BAE to still hold old personnel records but they may know where they can be viewed, if they do exist - Editor]

Jasmin Jones, Australia - Friday, September 23, 2011 at 01:03:03
I am trying to trace my grand father's trip from Madras to Singapore somewhere between 1920-1926. Are there any passenger lists available anywhere? Thanks

Nigel Marsh, France - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 08:02:16
I have tried several times without success to post a message on the BI Logbook in an attempt to make contact with people who knew my late step-father (Peter Lewis Reynolds BI 1947-56). Please could you inform me if this is really possible?

Cheryl Gresswell (nee McLaren) - Monday, September 19, 2011 at 15:32:23
answer i sailed on the Devonia in 1964/5. Went to Norway Sweden Finland Poland Austria and Lenningrad and Moscow.Over two weeks it was a fantastic experience which at 63 I can still recall. I have badges from countries visited. I stayed in a cabin called Glenn but the other cabin was called Gargarin after Russian astronauts. Lost touch with school friends with moving around. My uncle was in the Navy and served on H.M.S. Belfast.

Richard Garland, UK - Friday, September 16, 2011 at 13:09:56
answer A fantastic site find for me. Having found a Mess dress 1899-1902 Transport medal. Found there was an EH Garland awarded the medal. Another relative possibly?

Sal Parhar, Canada - Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 19:55:09
My parents left Calcata by Orna in mid 1948 to Fiji Islands. I would like to see the passanger list. I need help.

Robert Holland, France - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 09:34:46
records of service 1951-1963

Colin Brittain, UK - Monday, September 12, 2011 at 13:19:14
question Still looking for any with a link to the loss of the hospital ship Rohilla. We are presently working with the BBC as they wish to include the tragedy in its next Coast series.

Sumeet Bhatt, India - Monday, September 12, 2011 at 09:49:40
My father's family came to Bombay from Karachi on ss Shirala during partition. Am trying to find a picture of the ship, passenger list etc. The family got scattered and came on different ships but only name they remember is ss Shirala! Would appreciate any information. [Shirala was one of 11 BI ships to participate in conveying refugees in the time immediately before and after Independence and partition, approximately September 1946 to February 1948. From 1950 the vessel was on charter to the Pakistan government for the Karachi-Chittagong service but the following year she was sold for demolition in UK. Shirala's bell was given to the Gurkha Rifles for use at their recruiting depot at Jalapahur - Editor]

David Gow - Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 16:49:38
answer Hi, I found this excellent website because I was researching into a cigarette case I bought at a jumble sale. It is made in tropical wood and marked BI with the Britannia emblem. Google brought me here- very interesting it is too! Thanks and best wishes. [Thanks David, and enjoy your BI cigarette case - Editor]

Terry Gardner, Canada - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 21:29:59
question Would very much like to contact any crew from ss Okhla/GMNM from Sept 1958 to Jan 1961, especially Ken Farmer 2/E, Ian Winton 4/E, George Bowie 5/E, John Grimshaw 3/O, Brian Archer cadet, Bob Palmer cadet, Pete d.Souza 3/E. Wonderful days.

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Bruce Robertson, Canada - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 13:27:33
answer My grandfather James Robertson was a chief engineer for most of his working life and based in Calcutta. I have a wonderful photo of him taken in Rangoon in full dress. I also have many photos of old ships mainly taken in Suez Canal. Any information would be appreciated.

David Jones with lion cub
David Jones with lion cub

Angela Booth, Australia - Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 05:32:18
question I am trying to find information regarding my grandfather David Jone Jones who was a purser on at least one BI ship in 1925/26, the Domala. My grandparents divorced when my mother was very young and she had no contact with her father after the age of about 8. The only photo I have of my grandfather is on a BI ship with a pair of tiger cubs. Any help would be gratefully received. I do know that my grandfather also worked for Elder Dempster on West African routes prior to BI. Looking at the age of my grandfather we estimate the photo was taken in the 20s sometime and my mother does recall my father describing his adventures with the tiger cubs.

Carmel Talbot, Australia - Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 23:29:14
answer My grandmother Clara McLaughlin and Great grandfather George Edgar Smith came from England and arrived in Australia on Waipara

Kiran Joshi, UK - Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 21:04:22
question Tairea - I am looking for a passenger manifest from Ballard Pier, South Bombay, sailing to East Africa on Saturday June 24th 1947, arriving Dar-es-Salaam on Jul 12th 1947. Any help in this matter will be much appreciated.

Aronda's officers during a BI anniversary party at Chittagong, September 15, 1956, including, from left front row, Chief Officer Henry Severs, Captain R S Freakes. ship's Surgeon (with pipe), Chief Engineer Officer W Oliver. Jack Hearne is second from right at the back with the Third Engineer on his left and Ist Radio Officer Dinjoe Murphy on his right
Aronda's officers during a BI anniversary party at Chittagong, September 15, 1956, including, from left front row, Chief Officer Henry Severs, Captain R S Freakes. ship's Surgeon (with pipe), Chief Engineer Officer W Oliver. Jack Hearne is second from right at the back with the Third Engineer on his left and Ist Radio Officer Dinjoe Murphy on his right

Billy Hearne, Ireland - Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 09:41:13
answer I have some pictures taken on board the BI Aronda on 15th Sept 1956 during Centenary Party. They originated from my late Uncle Jack Hearne Marconi R/O. I have emailed them to this site and hope they are of interest to someone who might remember Jack or who might recognise others in the photos. The accompanying letter that was sent home with the photos in 1956 and gives some idea of the fun of the night and the comraderie of the crew. [The year 1956 was BI's 100th anniversary. Parties and dinners were held around the world and on board ship to celebrate the event. As there were several BI ships together in Chittagong at the time, Aronda hosted an anniversary party on September 26, to which officers of Pentakota and the BI timechartered Aludra were invited, as well as local businessmen, government officials and diplomats - altogether 200 people - Editor]

Ebrahim Sodha, UK - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 12:21:18
question I am trying to find some pictures and a log for ss Amra which sailed from Bombay to Momabasa from around 22/02/1953 and reached Mombasa, Kenya on 1st March 1953 and between those dates on the 26th Feb 1953 I was actually on board ss Amra. I would be grateful if anyone has anything relating to that time. Many thanks, in any case.

Chirs Davidson, UK - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 10:58:19
question I believe my great uncle, Charles Davidson, Aberdeen was a Captain with BI in the first half of the 20thC. I have a photo of him in BI uniform with my grandfather in about 1915.
I believe Charles Davidson's son "Chay" was also with BI, as I recall my late father saying that he met him in Basrah in 1958 when his tanker was in port. Does anyone have any information about Charles and Chay? I also contacted John Coulthard and discovered that he was on the Chindwara with Charles Davidson's grandson, Gordon Davidson, and there are photos of Gordon on his site. In addition he had heard of Charles Davidson's son, Charles, who was was a BI captain in the 1950s and I found references to him on your site.

John Pickering, UK - Monday, August 29, 2011 at 17:05:07
question Sir, I have in my possession a Bill of Fare card from the ss Hong Peng dated 22 September 1941 with th BISN CO LD stamp above. I believe it was a troopship to Burma. Can you give me any information please. [As Hong Peng is not known to have been owned or managed by BI, it might be that she was on charter to BI at some stage and there was some BI stationery on board. Please send a scan of card - Editor]

William Temple, UK - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 15:10:22
answer My father was an engineer with the BI circa 1925 to 1939. I must dig out his discharge books and keep things alive for his great grand children.
I will be back!

Carrie Pavic, Australia - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 13:45:05
question Interested in finding information on my grandfather Norma W Bruce who was a captain with BI and if there is any way to look for specific names in records.

Ruth Willson, Netherlands - Monday, August 22, 2011 at 20:25:50
question Christopher Thomas Willson (born 1892 Deptford) was employed by BI shipping around 1916. Do you have any records relating to him? He was my father's elder brother.

Brian Gambrell, Australia - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 20:09:43
answer Would like to get in contact with two engineers i sailed with on Chandpara 64-65, John Fisher & Mike Farrah. met the third mate the aussie wharfies nicknamed deadhead [because of his lack of sleep in port] 10 years ago, was pilot on Sydney Habour. Dave Roe third engineer, who left ship in Bombay and requested flight to Aust instead of repate to UK, knew him at work, passed away a year ago. Any other staff who were on the four BI ships that were in port in Sydney Harbour early 1965 and went to the mess kit party that was held on one of the ships. Met a lot of lads who supplied me a few beers when i was billeted on the Santhia for 3 weeks awaiting the Chandpara. Not being signed on Santhia's articles the few of us billeted on board did not get any duty free cigarettes or alcholic beverage. One third engineer went up to the second and said no beer, no work no more.prohibition ashore meant we could only get 2 beers a day at the seamen's mission at yellow gate. My nickname at the time was Mod: the mods and rockers were the main 2 groups in London at that time. i followed the rule afterwards and whenever i sailed into Bombay would always have a extra few cases of beer in my cabin for anybody stuck in Bombay who visited us onboard. Met some very nice people, and thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with BI.

...sign the logbook Sign the BI logbook

Peter Smith, Australia - Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 12:29:01
answer Re: Entry by Jane Cairns, Sat Feb 5 2011. I have a copy of a partial passenger List for the Waipara departing London 9th April 1914 bound for Australia. The List I have is for 3rd class passengers from Quealy P. to Watson J.. If the person you are seeking falls between these names please contact me.

Richard Harris, UK - Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 19:39:38
answer I was BI Cadet-Mate 1967-1983; Then master on diving suport & survey until 1985. Farm from then to now, but returned to sea 1999 to now sailing on tallships of all nationalities, for a while fulltime, but now relief. Off on 'Pelican of London' as mate tomorrow.

Chris Morgan Australia - Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 04:30:48
question My father, Captain Albert Lewis Morgan served with BI aboard the Reginald Kerr and Sir Geraint to name a few. I am looking for more details of the ships he served on from WW2 onwards. Where do I go for his service records?

Frederick Stuart, UK - Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 22:59:47
question Does anyone have any photos of pictures of ss Dilwara built in 1892 and scrapped in 1922. My gt-uncle Gunner John Charles Maddock of "J" Battery Royal Horse Artillery sailed on this ship on the 13/14th Oct 1897 to Bombay in India! Can any one help me out please? Thank you.

Eileen Westwood, France - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 15:09:14
answer Further to Rick Avern's 2004 [Log entry Nov 4, 2004] question seeking info re Capt James Avern, ss Patna 1882; I'm researching my family history and know that he was cited as co-resp in my grandparents' divorce in 1890. The adultery was claimed to have been committed during the voyage from Kurrachee to London, in Feb/March 1882.

Minakshi Joshi, Canada - Monday, August 1, 2011 at 02:25:09
question I was passenger with my parents Mr and Mrs Joshi On ss Karanja 1971 Aug and Travelled on many ships fron 1955 as a young 3 month old baby Aug 1955. Please help find more info on ships travlled by Mr G G Joshi and Mrs S G Joshi..Thnak-you.

Daressa - BI 1950-1964. Daressa was the last of four D class ships built after the Second World War for the Persian Gulf mail service
Daressa - BI 1950-1964. Daressa was the last of four D class ships built after the Second World War for the Persian Gulf mail service

Suleman Akhtar - Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 21:36:44
answer Being simply in love with ships, I was very fascinated by the RMS Aronda and The 4 sisters, Dumra, Dwarka, Dara and Daressa. They regularly called at Karachi. I served as deck cadet on the Safina-e-Ismail with Capt Zulfiquar Ali Khan as my chief officer. I would love to know where he is and to get in touch with him. Ships are still my passion and it will go with me to my grave. [We agree wholeheartedly! Especially BI ships - Editor]

Penny Thomsen (nee Addison) - Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 05:28:31
answer I travelled from Mombasa via the Cape to England on home leave in April 1957. My most vivid recollection is having my 6th birthday on board and sharing with follow passengers. Also the band playing at lunch time. We returned to Kenya on SS Uganda in October 1957 via Suez.

Paul Sutherland, New Zealand - Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 02:34:50
answer I was on the ms Devonia as an Educational cruise pasanger to Vigo Spain, Lisbon Portugal and Amsterdam Holand. The best holiday from my youth I would like to catch up with others form that voyage 1964, 65 or 66. I did get a mention in the daily mirror paper after due to me being a not so good boy and having a drink or two in Lisbon.

John Raymond Crowley, Australia - July 25, 2011 at 06:22:02
answer I have just seen a log by Raymond Kelman of April 2011 [Log entry Apr 29, 2011] regarding the sinking of the Chakdina. I also am a grandnephew of Raharuhi Raymond and my middle name is Raymond in his memory. I have read some reports about the sinking by torpedo which took three and a half minutes. Those below decks had little chance. Should you be able to contact Raymond Kelman, I am happy for him to communicate to my email address for further info.

Peter Smith, Australia - Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 14:42:35
question I am looking for information on the Waipara voyage departing London 9th April 1914 bound for Brisbane Australia. I believe it ran aground on a reef between Thursday Island and Cooktown. Any further Information would be appreciated.

Merriwyn Thonard, Australia - Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 08:10:43
question I am trying to reseach my grandfathers records with the BISN. His name was Marcel J. Thonard and he was in Rangoon and Tavoy, Burma until 1924. I would be grateful if you could advise me.

Roy Titchmarsh, Singapore - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 08:54:50
answer For Tony Brooke [Log entry Jul 11, 2011] - the Hong Kong Bar Penang is still there - i was there recently and although most of the photo albums were destryed in a fire there were still a couple showing a few B.I. "teams"

Pranjiwan Vyas, India - Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 11:21:47
Taken from the Passenger List for the ss Tairea, Probandar in 1938

Alasdair Duthie, South Africa - Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 20:40:13
The best years of my life spent in the company's service. I have a few photos of varies ships of the company. I served on the Kampala Amra Nuddea Woodara Nevasa Chakla and Sir Geraint.

Patrick Sequeira, Australia - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 06:25:35
Sailed with BI/ P&O from 1970 until 1977.
Sailed on Chilka, Chinkoa, Sirdhana , Tanda, Nardana, Trefusis, Otaki & Dwarka

Tony Brooke, UK - Monday, July 11, 2011 at 14:55:13
Good to see the BI web site going from strength to strength, with more than a dozen reference pages popping up on Google now and a Wiki entry too. But there is something of the old BI spirit still missing, and it's not just the sad fact that none of us look, act or think the same as forty years ago. It's more simply addressed than that. There is still no hyperlink to BI. Officers favourite bars! Good Grief! For better or worse we all know they were once central to every BI ships officers lifestyle. Those centres of reminiscence and legend-propogation aboard ship and the much wilder gathering points for fellow officers in every seaport, were like fine branches of our own exclusive society. Most are long gone, it's true, the Cellar Bar in Singapore and the Hong Kong Bar, in Penang, while others have probably just been expediently erased from memory to avoid misundersanding, due to change of management and circumstances. But the fact remains that BI would not have been, nor ever will be, the same fine institution however hard we try to recall it, without mention and due credit to those places and colourful folk, that gave us all full scope for memories of a wilder, more adventurous time than now.

...sign the logbook Sign the BI logbook

Kelly Latchmi Cheddie, US - Monday, July 11, 2011 at 01:00:06
I was able to find my grandfather (Aja) name who migrated to British Guyana on the ship Ellora which sailed from Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1879 his name was Komulsingh he was 28 years old when he left Barellie, Utter Pradesh. He had a brother who had children and my desire is to find out if there are any grandchildren around.

David Taylor, UK - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 10:29:19
question For years I have been trying to contact a Ronnie Lindsay from Cupar in Fife, Scotland, who was a close friend when he was an officer on the ss Dumra when she sailed between the Persian Gulf and Bombay in the early 1960's. Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks

Greg Weir, Australia - Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 10:18:41
question Hi, I'm looking for any information on Captain N R Sayers or any information on the ss Dorunda which sailed to Queensland in 1885.

Mike Flinders, UK - Friday, July 1, 2011 at 21:02:45
My father, Frederick John Flinders served with BI as part of our research family tree looking for any records his career with BI

Fred Kerlkar, US - Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 04:25:32
answer Tom Rodrigues - As to Keith's question [April 10, 2011] about his father I did sail with Tom on Kampala and then on Chakdina where the family was on board. That was the voyage we landed Tom ashore in Darwin with a medical problem.

James Bolitho, Australia - Friday, June 17, 2011 at 02:06:15
answer My Father Bill Bolitho worked as Chief Mate (I think) in about 1960. Dad passed away in in 2009, but he always loved his time with B.I. i'm only now going through his old letters and found the invite to the 150 yr reunion in Goa, sadly he was too ill to reply. Many thanks for the great web site. Fair winds and smooth sailing!

Jean Robertson, Canada - Monday, June 13, 2011 at 20:02:37
question I have discovered a tea spoon marked B.I.S.N. Coy Ld made by Mappin and Webb.
What would anyone know about it?

Jane Benge, UK - Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 20:06:50
Search family history

Chris Pullen, UK - Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 19:40:26
question I have discovered a portion of plate with BISN badge on it amongst the shingle at low tide on Southampton Water. Is it possible to determine the approximate age of the plate?

David Smith, UK - Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 19:16:03
question Devonia, school cruise - Easter or Summer holidays ? 1965. A party from Newton-le-Willows Grammar School did this cruise. I think the rotation of ports was Tilbury, Santander, Lisbon, Tangier, Vigo and return to Tilbury. Or was it Southampton?
Information for family of a schoolfriend who would love to confirm those ports of call and with dates if possible, please.

Dorunda - BI 1875-1894
Dorunda - BI 1875-1894

Helen Ellevsen, Australia - Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 08:22:23
Grandfather William Dibben born on Dorunda in Indian Ocean enroute to Australia. Named after Captain, Doctor and the ship herself. Would love to see a picture of her. [William Russell Dorunda Dibben was born on Sep 10, 1882 in lat 5° 58'S long 108° 25'E. That position would put the ship to the east of the capital of Indonesia, Batavia (now Djakarta), in the vicinity of the island of Rakit. The ship's surgeon was Dr William Russell]

Andrew Hamilton, UK - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 16:42:42
answer Happy memories..... generally

Ian Robson, UK - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 13:47:15
question I am trying to find copy of crew lists for the LST Maxwell Brander and Fredrick Clover 1963-64 [From the July 1966 issue, BI News carried lists of officers for all ships in the fleet, including the LSTs and LSLs managed on behalf of the British government. Before this innovation, BI News listed only senior officers in fleet ships, again including the LSTs and LSLs, beginning with issue 38 of January 1964. Copies of BI News can be found for sale online or if you have specific dates in mind we should be able to get some of the information you are seeking - Editor]

Sheila Murray, UK - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 19:48:38
answer 1966 ms Devonia school trip to Norway fjiords, Bergen, Copenhagen and back to UK via the Kiel canal. Fantastic time, I always wondered what happened to her so sad to hear scrapped in 67. Happy days!

John Deeprose, Australia - Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 13:41:08
question I am the grandson of Dr William Hickey MC, JP, MB, B.CH, BAO Surgeon Superintendent P&O and BISN 1926 -1949. Anyone know anything? Born in Ireland and awarded MC for action in WW1 in September 1918

Rajindra Mangat, US - Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 05:41:09
Used to travel between Mombassa and Bombay in late 50's and would like more information about ships, history and trace the ship names if posible

Donald Leslie, Australia - Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 03:51:54
Tracing my BI history

Angora-class ship pictured on an old postcard. Angora, built for the company's premier Calcutta-Burma mail service was the fastest of the A class and was in service from 1911 to 1937 (although was laid up for the last five years)
Angora-class ship pictured on an old postcard. Angora, built for the company's premier Calcutta-Burma mail service was the fastest of the A class and was in service from 1911 to 1937 (although was laid up for the last five years)

Imran Khan, Pakistan - Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 09:59:37
answer My grandpa was born aboard Angora in 1912

Lyn Tofari, Finland - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 17:04:10
answer I was trawling the web looking for MS Devonia.
I believe my educational cruise was either the last one or the penultimate one. She sailed from my home town of Liverpool the last week of October 1967, for two weeks. A princely sum of 40gbp! We visited Bordeaux, Tangier, Cadiz and Oporto. With hindsight the visit to the French vineyard and the Portuguese (Sandemans) Lodge were unusually choices for young girls, I was 11 years old and proceeded to get thoroughly drunk at both ports! Tangiers was magical! We were all amused by a rather plump 5th former being pursued through the market place by men proposing marriage. We were tempted to sell her, but didn't think we could take camels aboard the ship. On the outward journey we made such good time that the ship anchored in the bay of Biscay and we had an impromtu regatta, the lifeboats cerainly look different today! The return journey was much more eventful with terrific storms, which kept us below deck. From the portholes we could see alternating sea and sky, with the metal cabinet (our wardrobes) doors swinging open and slamming shut with each roll of the ship. I thought it was really exciting, I suppose I was too young/ignorant to be scared! lol. Poor Devonia limped to southern Ireland for the damage to be assessed, before crawling home to Liverpool. Whether she made another trip after that I don't know, but I suspect the damage probably sealed her fate to be scrapped. Unfortunately I never did take any pictures, my mother gave me an old box camera and I couldn't even get the film in it, so consigned it to the bottom of my suitcase. The memories of 'Glenn' dormitory, sleeping in the upper bunk and the high jinx of boys and girls away from home for the first time, was a truly special event in my life.

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Ann Lovinia Gates (nee Willy), Soth Africa - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 21:42:08
answer Hi Mr Engel [Logbook Jan 14, 2005]. My father Harry Bob Willy served on the Amra as a medic during the second world war. I have a photo of the Amra soccer team which according to my late mother shows a J Engel. Please make contact with me. Regards. [From December 1940 to September 1946, Amra was requisitioned as a hospital ship, No 41 with 385 beds and 107 medical staff - Editor]

Andrew Matheson, UK - Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 12:58:21
answer With reference to Michael Pease's query of 26 January 2010 about the Mantola, my father, James Andrew Matheson, was First Officer on the Mantola between April 1937 and May 1942 and was on the November 1939 voyage from Gibraltar to London to which Michael refers. I would be very interested to hear from Michael with any memories of the Mantola.

Ann Lovinia Gates, South Africa - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 20:17:32
answer My late father Harry Bob Willy served on the HMS Amra during the 2nd World War as a medic. I have photos of the ship's soccer team if anyone is interested.

Mark Bates, US - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 11:01:44
answer My grandfather, Harold Bates, was a Royal Fusilier stationed in Calcutta in the late 1800's early 1900's while going through his effects I found a sterling silver presentation trophy from the officers and crew of rms Thongwa inscribed:"To Capt & Mrs. Harrington from the officers of rms Thongwa 1882 - 1907" and marked P.Orr and sons Madras (makers marks?) If any one knows anything about the ship or is interested in the piece please let me know as I don't see any connection to my grandfather and intend to auction it on ebay soon.

Ian Robson, UK - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:38:04
I served on LSTs 1963-1966 Stationed in Matla, Aden and Singapore, as I had my dicharge book stolen I have got the records from the National Archives but the records do not show my time in Singapore do you keep or have records available. [Sorry to say we don't - Editor]

Gwynneth Sargeant, UK - Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 14:37:48
I have found an old photograph/postcard it belonged from father on the back it says H.M.T Neuralia took me from England to India January 1926, Nothing else, My fathers name was Jack Emanuel Evans, he was in the South Staffordshire regiment sargeant major I would love to know more.

Derek Hook, UK - Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 12:04:54
question Trying to trace my wife rose murry journey from where? in uk when she travelled to india in Sept/Oct 1937, age 6, and brother mum dad who was in the army and pasenger log if possible its the start of a longer journey we are trying to put together for family. thank you! My wife rose murry sailed on the Neuralia Sept/Oct 1937 6 yrs old to Bombay India with her younger brother mum & dad who was in the army a sargent in the education core formaly scot guards we are trying to find where they sailed from in uk to complete story?

Carol Stewart, Canada - Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 16:52:19
question I went on a educational school cruise aboard the ss Nevasa in Nov - Dec. 1972 for 20 days. Have fond memories of this time. Visited England (UK), Italy, Greece, Tunisia, Moracco, and Spain as well. Anyone familiar or were on this ship during this time? Thanks for your website.

Raymond Kelman - Friday, April 29, 2011 at 03:13:44
question My Grand Uncle died on the ss Chakdina in 1941. I am the grandnephew of Raharuhi Raymond Kelman who perished on this ship. I am named after him as was my father. I was hoping to see that maybe someone who survived may have had posts in which they actually which may have related to those who perished aboard this vessel. Raharuhi was a very strong swimmer so it was a mystery to those who knew him here in New Zealand as to how he drowned? I will visit this site again and read further..

Antonio Moreno-Chamorro, UK - Monday, April 25, 2011 at 08:57:06
answer I thought I would express my time with BI, (Electrical Officer) started my service in Southampton joining ss Uganda as a junior elec/officer 1969. In December 1970 joined the ss Kampala in Bombay (Mumbai) sailing on the Indian ocean run under Captain Turk and senior electrical officer John Crocket. Good Times.

Tom Kelso, UK - Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 07:23:05
answer In response to Vicki Croke's query(2 February 2011) Shahjehan (built 1905, scrapped 1934) was owned by the Asiatic Steam Navigation Company Ltd.
While from 1934, the BI had a controlling interest in this company, operations and manning were quite separate. While I have been unable to locate a photograph of this particular vessel, there are to be found interesting details and photos of Company's operations in the Andaman Islands trade to be found at

David Humphreys, US - Tuesday, 19 Apr 2011 11:17:13
answer In answer to John Ludgate U.K., February 11, 2011 - I sailed as a cadet on mv Purnea with Captain Ludgate from February 1951 to July 1951. I joined in Port Adelaide where she was loading a full cargo of flour for Port de Galle, Ceylon.  Our next cargo was a load of rice from Rangoon to Colombo – then in ballast to Calcutta, where I was transferred to mv Tairea. It was sad to read that your father had died onboard PURNEA in Calcutta the following year – 1952.  All those years away from your family and then so close to retirement. I was in Calcutta many times in 1952. In those days in large BI ports such as Bombay and Calcutta it was not unusual for cadets to be called on to act as pallbearers for British India Captains and Officers who had died. I remember my time onboard PURNEA quite well and would be happy to share some memories of your father with you.

Nowshera at Kobe - BI 1955-1972
Nowshera at Kobe - BI 1955-1972
photo: Ivor Richardson

Keith Rodrigues, India - Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 04:34:30
My Dad "Tom [Thomas] Rodrigues" was a Purser with BI from around 1950 to 1975. Sadly He passed away on 6th April 2009. Wonder if any of the officers or crew remember him. He served on Rajula, Dwarka, Kampala, Karanjia, Dumra, Sirdhana, Chinkoa, Chakdina, Chakrata, Nowshera, Teesta.

Richard Bracher, UK - Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 10:24:26
answer In response to Nigel Morgan's request for information about Malda's voyage from the UK to Singapore and Penang in 1941 - I was a cadet aboard Malda for that voyage and have much information on the subject. Apart from memory I have researched the subject both at the National Archives at Kew and in various books. It is not accurate to state that Malda was almost sunk in the Atlantic but she was part of convoy OB.336 which sufered some losses. The file on OB.336 at Kew is very interesting but, unfortunately, the vital Commodore's Report is missing. However, other sources reveal enough to enable one to piece together a pretty clear picture. I could write the full story as I know it but the Editor might find it too long to include in a posting. Alternatively, I am willing to email it Mr Morgan if he can provide an address.

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Ray Almeida, India - Friday, April 8, 2011 at 07:56:45
question Looking for crew list of mv Dara's last votage in 1961. Many of my fellow villagers (Cuncolim, Goa) perished in the sinking f the ship on April 8, 1961. It's been 50 years today.

Cori Convertito - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 13:01:20
question Hello, I am wondering if anyone can tell me if they have the BI News journal which contains the memorial from the loss of Dara in 1961? I'm after a list of crew members who perished that evening.

Liam Minehane, UK - Monday, April 4, 2011 at 19:26:57
question I am married to Ernest Hackett's daughter who sailed with British India Sail Navigation between 1953 and 1956. He is celebrating his 80th birthday shortly
I would like to surprise him with some information on his trips -- Ships - crew members -- trips - etc. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you all

Lester Fernandes, India - Monday, April 4, 2011 at 09:04:19
question My grandfather was on the ill-fated ss Dara and I found a lot of info from your website. I am still researching on it for my collection and would like to know where I could get the list of people or crew list for persons on board when it happened.

Derek Hargeaves - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:36:51
answer Jim Brunton's query of 10th December, 2010 refers to a P&O Commander. See Daily Telegraph obituary, early December 2010.

Hemant C Patel, USA - Friday, March 25, 2011 at 17:47:21
question I sailed on a ship from Mombasa to Bombay in 1967 - 1968 in a British ship called ss Cynthia or something like that can anyone tell me if they have records or pictures of this ship. [Could the date have been 1966 or before? In which case the ship might have been BI's Santhia? - Editor]

Nigel William Morgan, Germany - Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 09:29:32
question I was a passenger on the Malda when it sailed from Glasgow to Penang June/September 1941. All I know was related to me by my parents. I learned that the Malda was almost sunk by a torpedo in the Atlantic. Is there anyone who was on this ship at the same time?

Wendy Hughes, UK - Monday, March 21, 2011 at 15:43:35
question My Grandfather, Norman Griffiths Smith was a Chief Engineer with BI from around 1899 to 1925. Is there any way I can find out details about his record of service, names of ships etc? [Refer to information given re Rosemary Hancock's entry, March 17, 2011 - Editor]

Waipara - BI 1904-1923
Waipara - BI 1904-1923

Christine Baker, UK - Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 06:12:19
answer My mother travelled from the UK to Brisbane on the Waipara in approx 1913. I have a picture on my wall. One day I will have time to research a little more about the ship

Mary Adams, UK - Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:43:33
question I have recently been given a discharge paper for my grandfather S.H. Adams D/JX289619. It is from the British India Steam Navigation Company. The ship is ss H.T. Gurna, Voyage no. 180, Trooping, dated Bombay 2nd April 1943. Does anyone know anymore about the ship or personnel aboard? We have no idea how he got to India but presume he was in another ship that was sunk! [At the beginning of the War, Gurna came under the Admiralty's control and as Royal Fleet Auxiliary was fitted out as a mine carrier in 1940. She spent a period from Feb 1941 in the Great Bitter Lake, Suez Canal, supplying mines to Allied submarines operating in The Mediterranean. At some point, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet Train (there is a Wikipedia page on the British Pacific Fleet which gives information on the Fleet Train) - Editor]

Naringa - BI 1923-1948
Naringa - BI 1923-1948

Rosemary Hancock, South Africa - Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 09:46:35
question Where would I be able to get details on all the ships commanded by a particular Captain? I am trying to establish which ships my husband's grandfathers commanded and when. I have the following information. Percy Gordon Hancock (b.1885) - Master Mariner. Commanded Naringa 1939 (confirmed on this great site) other ships, I've been told he also had connections with Dunera, Chantala (II I think) & Domala.
Harry Douglas Clark I have been told had connections with Bandra (which I was able to confirm on this site) and Mata Hari. I know he spent a lot of time in Calcutta and Bombay. Also, his father Frederick James (Jimmy) Hancock (b.1922) I believe was a 2nd Officer and had connections with the Devon. If anyone knows anything about these gents I would greatly appreciated it. [It depends on the approximate date and flag of vessels. BI's own personnel records are now stored at NMM, Greenwich. In the C19th and possibly into C20th, Lloyd's Register of Shipping (which has a research library at it's London headquarters) kept a Captains' Register. For more recent times, try the Public Records Office at Kew for British ships. Records of the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen are filed at PRO - Editor]

John Black, UK - Friday, March 11, 2011 at 16:37:32
My Great Uncle Matthew Alexander Black (an engineer) travelled 2nd Class on board Margha 1921 as 2nd Engineer. Anyone who can add to this info I would be glad to hear from. Best wishes

John Brogden, Australia - Friday, March 11, 2011 at 01:05:45
answer Have just found this BI communication site. I was an R/O with BI in early 60s best regards to those who remember me.

Catherine Cooper, UK - Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 11:26:40
My dad Ronald Clegg worked as an engineer i believe on passenger liners in the 1950s. He came from Belfast, Northern Ireland. i was just curious to know a bit more about his work and the kind of people he met so at be able to tell my children. also, he always used to say that he had passed the queen the salt on board when she was but a princess. Thanks in advance for any info you can provide

Theron Snell, USA - Friday, March 4, 2011 at 03:19:30
question Intersted in the ss Barpeta and convoy BM-76, November 1943

Maggie Abbott, USA - Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 08:10:23
answer I sailed to Australia with my husband James on the Chantala in 1956, through the Suez Canal with Egyptian soldiers on board because of the war about to break out. Also enjoyed the Centennial Dinner on board during a powerful monsoon. What an experience! Also enjoyed those lovely young officer cadets in training on the ship. See my website for a story at So Happy to find this site, I am part of BI history, will never forget. Thanks.

Caroline Thew, Australia - Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 12:49:48
answer Trying to contact Paul William regarding his search for Robert Thew (in 2007), a naval officer who was my father. Regards

Peter Gorle, UK - Monday, February 28, 2011 at 11:25:31
question Can anyone help me identify the ship in the picture seen at Steamer Point Aden (sorry, the picture won't attach) so here is description maybe armed passenger liner three funnels, two masts [one on the superstructure, two lines of portholes [about 50 on the top row]. The top deck appears to be all one level [ie does not have a lower level at the back as in RN ships of the time], bow slightly raked foreward [at the top] two large guns mounted in front of the superstructure 1940?

...sign the logbook Sign the BI logbook

Ralph Wood, Oman - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 12:37:58
answer Retired from the Omani Royal Yacht Squadron and built a beach house just south of Muscat bay

Robin Hibbert, Spain - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 21:46:51
question Ref : ss Mashobra, my mother travelled from india to England in 1934 whilst carrying me safely in her pregnent condition; a testimony to BI's kindly seaworthiness.
How can i obtain a picture and size, builder, engine power, details etc?

Bill Lawson, Australia - Friday, February 18, 2011 at 05:02:42
question My father Harry Lawson was a ships engineer from 15 August 1927 (starting as first assistant to Senior Engineer) to 19 June 1936 (4th Engineer). He served on various BI ships. Where can I find more information about his experience? Are there any company records in which he is mentioned?

Andrew (Andy) Brown, UK - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 22:42:21
answer Best sea-going days of my career - saw service on Karanja, Dwarka, Dumra, Morvada, Sir Tristram and on Uganda - memorable happy days working with some of the best shipmates you could ever wish to meet - you were the best of the best!

David Matthews, Netherlands - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 19:39:09
question I am researching the BI Ship ss Manela and while the 1921-1946 is obvious, I could not understand anything following except the date it was scrapped. Could someone please advise me. Manela 1921-1946 8303 Passengers: 67 or 88 1st, 68 or 38 2nd, 1933 135 one class. 1946 scrapped in Holland [The 8,303 is the ship's gross tonnage. The passenger figures were options depending on the berthing configuration. In 1935 the ship was converted to single class with 135 passenger berths. She was demolished at Henrik Ido Ambacht, Netherlands in 1946 - Editor]

Colin Wilton-Davies, Jersey CI - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 12:00:06
answer I travelled from Bombay to Durban in 1944 on the Khandalla when I was 12. The First Officer stopped me from getting bored by teaching me to splice and putting me to work painting the Oropesa float.

Susan Gough, UK - Monday, February 14, 2011 at 18:48:27
My father was a radio operator on the BI ship Ekma from July 1944 to November 1945 and I am looking for any related info/pictures.

Wendy Firth, Australia - Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 03:40:59
My dad, Sidney Arthur Moore Croxson joined the BI line somtime at the end of the 1930s and into the 1940s. I believe he got to 3rd Mate, but I am looking for any records of his time with BI line. He was born in 1919 and died 1997. Any help would be much appreciated.

Amra BI 1938-1965
Amra (BI 1938-1965) at Rangoon
from a painting in the former P&O collection

Robin (Jakie) Hartley, Australia - Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 11:47:55
answer Sailed as R/O on Amra, Barpeta, Chakrata, Daressa, Obra from 61 to 64, settled in Australia where I continued to sail around the Aussie coast until retirement. Would like to hear from any one out there I sailed with in that time.

John Ludgate, UK - Friday, February 11, 2011 at 13:14:34
My father, Capt B E H Ludgate died in ms Purnea at Calcutta in 1952.
I am looking for a photo of the Purnea and if possible his service record of the BI ships in which he served. Any help will be much appreciated.

Norman Amos, Australia - Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 02:34:12
answer For Fiona Winsor - I remember the Coates family from the Purnea; around 1967. If Fiona contacts me I will send her some photographs taken onboard at that time. regards

Maureen Pleasants, UK - Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 10:57:12
i have a medal from Thos. & Jno. Brocklebank Ltd. Reads 18th october 1941 sunk by enemy action i would like to find out the history of this vessel. Kind regards [Suggest you look for Brocklebank site(s) which may lead you to the information - Editor]

Jane Cairns, Australia - Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 22:17:17
Interested in information/passenger lists for the Waipara for the 1914 voyage from UK that went to Cairns but also went to Townsville after as they were unable to offload all passengers in Cairns. Any information would be appreciated.

Mihir Chatterji, USA - Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 20:51:52
answer I have fond memories of travelling from Calcutta to Tokyo and back six years later on the Santhia (in the mid-fifties.) It was too far back in my childhood for me to remember most of it, but I do remember many happy moments with my parents and nanny on board. Two terrifying moments too, one during a drill and the other of being smacked on the back of the head by an annoyed bus conductor in Rangoon. A big Thank you to the creators of this site and for the fond memories of the Santhia.

Vicki Croke, USA - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 22:13:14
question Can anyone tell me what a BI vessel carrying passengers between Rangoon and Port Blair would have looked like in the early 1930s? The person I am researching has described it as a steamer. But he also said the name was the Shah Jehan, which I do not think is correct.

Ned Bagley, USA - Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 12:31:49
I am looking for evidence of my great grandfather, William Hethorn, who was supposedly Captain of Abyssinia. He retired to Lunenburg, married, had five children, including my grandmother. Can you confirm his employ and position in BI? Thanks much. warm regards

Stephen McHugh, UK - Friday, January 28, 2011 at 21:58:33
answer As a young boy in the mid to late 60's. I can remember my dad (George) going to sea on the ss Chantala he was a young marine engineering officer. With the merger with P&O his career finished mid 80's as a chief engineer. I was just interested in both BI and is history

Ian Macpherson, South Africa - Friday, January 28, 2011 at 17:53:26
answer I first sailed the ss Matiana from London to Mombasa sometime in mid 1949. Can anyone tell what happened to the M class ships, Modasa, Mantola etc all of which plied the East African coast and down to Beira from the UK

question Farideh Sardar Varoujian, USA - Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 19:10:32
Approimately between 1957 - 1959 I travelled from Bombay (now Mumbai) to the port of Khoramshar, now Iran on Dum Dum, Dwarka, or one of the BI Ships -- I have been ardently looking for (cadet or officer) Fayaz Ali -- I would appreciate any information you can provide how and where I can find him. Thank you.

Tom Kelso, UK - Monday, January 24, 2011 at 21:32:47
answer For Jeannie Mehta, re Khandalla. This ship would indeed have called at Porbander en route to/from Bombay, to Mombasa, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam to embark pax , but only during the North East Monsoon, i.e.October to March. Other pax calls on the Kathiawar/Gujerat coast were made at Veraval (and occasionally Bedi Bunder....all anchorage ports

Andrew Dennis - Monday, January 24, 2011 at 15:14:02
question I am researching for a film set in the 1960's. I wish to refer to BI Kampala in the film for a journey from Bombay to Liverpool 1966. Any information would be very helpful.

Jonathan Gornall, UAE - Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 16:22:58
question I am a writer with The National, the English-language daily newspaper in the UAE. I am researching an article to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the BI cargo liner Dara off Dubai on April 8, 1961, and I would be grateful of any support from former BI staff. In addition to interviewing any surviving crew members - a long shot, I appreciate, at this distance in time - I am keen to see any documentary evidence relating to such details as the ship's itinerary, cargo and composition of crew and passengers. Although I have obtained contemporary newspaper reports, including those of the 1962 inquiry, nowhere have I been able to find a crew list or the names and nationalities of the more than 230 passengers, crew and others who died on the Dara. I am sure all who frequent this site will agree it is important that this tragedy be remembered on its 50th anniversary and I would be extremely grateful of any help that can be offered.

John King, USA - Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 13:54:29
answer We have just received two large photo albums marked "Services from Bombay to Africa and the Persian Gulf" and "Services from India to the Far East" from the BISNC, dating from around the 1930s, with a total of 57 large photographs including many of the ships themselves. The price for the pair is $1750. More details of the albums here. Anyone interested?

Katherine Nye, UK - Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 15:46:05
question I am trying to find out if there was a Karanja prior to the one built in '48. If not, I would like to find out what ship my father Frederick Nye was on, and whether it was a BI ship he was on when he was injured during the war. [BI's first Karanja was in service between 1931 and 1942 - Editor]

John (Jock) Syme Duncan, UK - Friday, January 14, 2011 at 17:55:41
answer "Digger" St Vincent ( Australian who would guess?) He was my best mate on the Sirdhana. I would love to hear from him. By the way my wife's name is Fattie!! Some of my shipmates will recognise this. It has two meanings. I'll say no more! All the best to everyone who knows me.

Chindwara at Durban - BI 1950-1971
Chindwara at Durban - BI 1950-1971
photo: Nick Harding

Jem Jacob, India - Monday, January 10, 2011 at 00:43:13
This is in search of my granpa's details, his name is G Jacob. He was working in customs or cargo dept in Rangoon (1925 to 55) and also in Calcutta (1940's) for BISN. Any photos or details is much appreciated.

Lewis Allan McLean, UK - Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 08:47:40
answer For the attention of Peter Wilkinson from Bahamas, i have documents ref ss Madura my father was engineering officer on board that trip

Charles Thomas, USA - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 20:05:16
question I'd like to make contact with Bill Leech (full name William Richard Leech) who
worked on the Chindwara (above) in the 1950's.

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Quick reference - BI ships mentioned on this page:

Abyssinia, Amra, Angora, Aronda, Bamora, Bandra, Bankura, Barpeta, Canara, Chakdara, Chakdina, Chakla, Chakrata, Chanda, Chandpara, Chantala, Chilka, Chindwara, Chinkoa, Chupra, Chyebassa, Dacca, Dara, Daressa, Devon, Devonia, Dilwara, Domala, Dorunda, Dumra, Dunera, Durenda, Dwarka, Ekma, Ellora, Frederick Clover, Fultala, Gairsoppa, Gurna, Itinda, Kampala, Karanja, Karoa, Kenya, Khandalla, Landaura, Madura, Malda, Manela, Mantola, Margha, Mashobra, Mata Hari, Matiana, Maxwell Brander, Modasa, Mombassa, Morvada, Nardana, Naringa, Neuralia, Nevasa, Nowshera, Nuddea, Nyanza, Obra, Okhla, Orna, Ozarda, Palamcotta, Patna, Pentakota, Pundua, Purnea, Rajula, Reginald Kerr, Rohilla, Sangola, Santhia, Sealda, Shirala, Sir Geraint, Sir Tristram, Sirdhana, Sirsa, Socotra, Tairea, Takliwa, Tanda, Teesta, Thongwa, Tilawa, Uganda, Waipara, Waroonga, Woodarra, Zira

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