Freecrest

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Introduction

Freecrest was built in 1942 as Empire Austen and served on many convoys and independent voyages during WW2. After this she had several names and owners and was broken up at Bombay after a service life of 20 years. I have entitled this page Freecrest as the prime reason for creating it was to complete a full set of histories of the ships that Stan Mayes served on and she was called Freecrest at the time he served on her.

Freecrest
Freecrest - the location and date are not known. [1]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Registered owners, managers and operators Owners: Ministry of War Transport
Managers: Honeyman & Co
Builders Lithgows
Yard Port Glasgow
Country UK
Yard number 969
Registry N/K
Official number 168083
Signal letters N/K
Call sign BDTF (as Empire Austen)
Classification society N/K
Gross tonnage 7,057
Net tonnage 4,991
Deadweight N/K
Length 432.2 ft
Overall Length 447.6 ft
Breadth 56.2 ft
Depth 34.2 ft
Draught N/K
Engines Triple expansion steam engine with cylinders of bore 15½", 25½" and 68" with stroke 48".
Engine builders J.G Kincaid & Co Ltd.
Works Greenock
Country UK
Boilers 2 single-ended boilers and 1 auxiliary boiler operating at 220 psi
Power 520 MN
Propulsion Single Screw
Speed 10 knots
Cargo capacity N/K
Crew N/K

Additional Construction Information

The Lloyds Register entry for Freecrest (then named Empire Austen) for 1945 has the following additional information about her:

  • 2 decks
  • Cruiser stern
  • Equipped with Radio Direction Finding (RDF) and Echo Sounding Device (ESD)

Career Highlights

Date Event
24 March 1942 Launched as Empire Austen for the Ministry of War Transport
May 1942 Completed
1949 Change of owner to Frinton Sailing Co. Ltd
1949 Name changed to Frinton
1951 Name changed to Freecrest and change of owner to Crest Shipping Co. Ltd.
1955 Name changed to Fairwater and change of owner to International Nav Corp
1960 Name changed to APJ Usha and change of owner to Surrendra (Overseas) Pvt. Ltd.
15 June 1962 Broken up at Bombay (Sohanlal & Co.)

Service in WW2

Freecrest, as Empire Austen, took part in a many convoys during WW2 according to information shown in the table below which is provided courtesy of Convoyweb - see External Ref. #4. The table also includes various independent voyages undertaken by this ship during the wartime period.

Departure Convoy/Independent Arrival
Clyde, May 12, 1942 ON.94 (Liverpool - Halifax)
XB.22 (Halifax - Boston) New York, May 27, 1942
New York, Jun 9, 1942 Independent Cape Henry, Jun 15, 1942
Cape Henry, Jun 15, 1942 Independent Capetown, Jul 16, 1942
Capetown, Jul 20, 1942 Independent Capetown, Jul 21, 1942
Capetown, Jul 28, 1942 Independent Durban, Aug 1, 1942
Durban, Aug 8, 1942 Independent Aden, Aug 24, 1942
Aden, Aug 24, 1942 Independent Port Sudan, Aug 28, 1942
Port Sudan, Aug 29, 1942 Independent Suez, Sep 3, 1942
Suez, Sep 22, 1942 Independent
Port Sudan, Sep 29, 1942 Independent Durban, Oct 20, 1942
Durban, Oct 31, 1942 Independent Capetown, Nov 4, 1942
Capetown, Nov 6, 1942 Independent Pernambuco, Nov 29, 1942
Pernambuco, Dec 6, 1942 Independent Trinidad, Dec 8, 1942
Trinidad, Dec 11, 1942 TAG.28 (Trinidad - Guantanamo) Guantanamo, Dec 16, 1942
Guantanamo, Dec 16, 1942 GN.28 (Guantanamo - NYC) New York, Dec 24, 1942
New York, Jan 23, 1943 NG.339 (NYC - Guantanamo) Guantanamo, Jan 29, 1943
Guantanamo, Jan 29, 1943 GAT.41 (Guantanamo - Trinidad) Trinidad, Feb 4, 1943
Trinidad, Feb 13, 1943 TB.5 (Trinidad - Bahia)
Independent Walvis Bay, Mar 15, 1943
Walvis Bay, Mar 16, 1943 Independent Capetown, Mar 20, 1943
Capetown, Apr 2, 1943 CD.12 (Capetown - Durban) Durban, Apr 6, 1943
Durban, Apr 14, 1943 DN.33 (Durban - Dispersed)
Independent Aden, May 2, 1943
Aden, May 3, 1943 Independent Suez, May 11, 1943
Port Said, Jun 21, 1943 Independent Alexandria, Jun 23, 1943
Alexandria, Jul 18, 1943 MWS.38 (Alexandria - Syracuse) Syracuse, Jul 24, 1943
Syracuse, Aug 7, 1943 Escorted Malta, Aug 8, 1943
Malta, Aug 14, 1943 KMS.22 (Gibraltar - Port Said) Alexandria, Aug 19, 1943
Alexandria, Sep 29, 1943 GUS.17 (Alexandria - Hampton Rds) Gibraltar, Oct 9, 1943
Gibraltar, Oct 14, 1943 MKS.27G (Gibraltar - Liverpool) Liverpool, Oct 29, 1943
Liverpool, Nov 25, 1943 Independent Clyde, Nov 26, 1943
Clyde, Dec 8, 1943 OS.61KM (Liverpool - Convoy Split)
KMS.35G (ex OS 61/KMS 35 - Gibraltar) Gibraltar, Dec 21, 1943
Gibraltar, Dec 22, 1943 KMS.35 (Gibraltar - Port Said) Algiers, Dec 24, 1943
Algiers, Jan 17, 1944 Escorted Naples, Jan 21, 1944
Naples, Jan 26, 1944 not reported
Naples, Feb 10, 1944 NV.19 (Naples - Augusta) Augusta, Feb 11, 1944
Augusta, Feb 12, 1944 Petrol Bizerta, Feb 14, 1944
Bizerta, Feb 17, 1944 not reported Bone, Feb 18, 1944
Bone, Mar 9, 1944 KMS.43 (Gibraltar - Port Said) Augusta, Mar 12, 1944
Augusta, Mar 14, 1944 VN.27 (Augusta - Naples) Naples, Mar 15, 1944
Naples, Mar 28, 1944 NV.29 (Naples - Augusta) Augusta, Mar 29, 1944
Augusta, Mar 31, 1944 GUS.35 (Port Said - Hampton Rds) Gibraltar, Apr 6, 1944
Gibraltar, Apr 15, 1944 OS.73 (ex OS 73/KMS 47 - Freetown)
Independent Buenos Aires, May 12, 1944
Buenos Aires, May 12, 1944 Independent Rosario, May 14, 1944
Rosario, May 29, 1944 Independent Buenos Aires, May 31, 1944
Buenos Aires, Jun 8, 1944 Independent Montevideo, Jun 9, 1944
Montevideo, Jun 15, 1944 Independent Freetown, Jul 4, 1944
Freetown, Jul 10, 1944 SL.164 (Freetown - r/v WITH MKS 55)
SL.164MK (r/v SL 164/MKS 55 - Liverpool) Liverpool, Aug 1, 1944
Independent Clyde, Sep 13, 1944
Liverpool, Sep 13, 1944 Independent
Clyde, Oct 3, 1944 OS.91KM (Liverpool - Convoy Split)
KMS.65G (ex OS 91/KMS 65 - Gibraltar) Gibraltar, Oct 11, 1944
Gibraltar, Oct 24, 1944 OS.92 (ex OS 92/KMS 66 - Freetown) Freetown, Nov 4, 1944
Freetown, Nov 5, 1944 Independent Takoradi, Nov 9, 1944
Takoradi, Nov 17, 1944 Independent Freetown, Nov 21, 1944
Freetown, Nov 25, 1944 SL.178 (Freetown - r/v WITH MKS 69)
SL.178MK (r/v SL 178/MKS 69 - Liverpool) Downs, Dec 15, 1944
Southend, Dec 15, 1944 FN.1572 (Southend - Methil) Middlesbrough, Dec 17, 1944
Middlesbrough, Jan 4, 1945 FN.1591 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Jan 5, 1945
Methil, Jan 8, 1945 EN.468 (Methil - Belfast) Belfast, Jan 12, 1945
Belfast Lough, Jan 12, 1945 ONS.40 (Liverpool - Halifax) Halifax, Jan 30, 1945
Halifax, Feb 4, 1945 HF.156 (Halifax - St John Nb) St John Nb, Feb 6, 1945
St John Nb, Feb 26, 1945 FH.162 (St John Nb - Halifax) Halifax, Mar 1, 1945
Halifax, Mar 7, 1945 SC.169 (Halifax - Liverpool)
BTC.105 (M Haven - Southend) Southend, Mar 25, 1945
Southend, Apr 23, 1945 TAM.147 (Southend - Antwerp) Antwerp, Apr 24, 1945
Antwerp, May 3, 1945 ATM.143 (Antwerp - Southend) Southend, May 4, 1945
Antwerp, May 4, 1945 ATM.144 (Antwerp - Southend) Southend, May 5, 1945
Southend, May 19, 1945 TAM.173 (Southend - Antwerp) Antwerp, May 20, 1945
Antwerp, May 28, 1945 ATM.168 (Antwerp - Southend) Southend, May 29, 1945
Southend, May 29, 1945 FN.1721 (Southend - Humber)
Hull, Jun 13, 1945 Independent Rotterdam, Jun 17, 1945
Rotterdam, Jun 23, 1945 Independent Downs, Jun 24, 1945
London, Jul 1, 1945 Independent Newport, Jul 4, 1945
Newport, Jul 14, 1945 Independent New York, Jul 27, 1945
New York, Aug 7, 1945 Independent Antwerp, Aug 22, 1945
Antwerp, Aug 31, 1945 Independent Tyne, Sep 2, 1945
Tyne, Sep 6, 1945 Independent Charleston Sc, Sep 27, 1945
Charleston Sc, Oct 5, 1945 Independent Cherbourg, Oct 21, 1945
Cherbourg, Oct 31, 1945 Independent Cardiff, Nov 2, 1945
Cardiff, Nov 9, 1945 Independent Halifax, Nov 26, 1945
Halifax, Dec 22, 1945 Independent New York, Dec 24, 1945

Service post WW2

Other than the changes of name and ownership recorded in the Career Highlights section above, I have been unable to find out much about the service of this ship but would be very pleased to hear from anyone who knows more. You can contact me via the website Home Page Here.

Stan Mayes served on her between 11 July 1951 and December 1951 and accounts of his voyages, including an account of damage caused by a hurricane, can be found on the Benjidog Recollections website HERE. During this period she was on charter to a Canadian company - Saguenay Terminals.

Image Credits

  1. From the site owner's photograph collection