Neritina

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Introduction

Neritina was a tanker launched in 1943 and used extensively in WW2 convoys. She was broken up in 1961 giving her a service life of 18 years.

Neritina
An old postcard of Neritina - the date and location is not known. [1]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Tanker
Registered owners, managers and operators Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd,London
Builders Harland & Wolff
Yard Govan
Country UK
Yard number 1174g
Registry London
Official number 169634
Signal letters N/K
Call sign GDFY
Classification society N/K
Gross tonnage 8,228
Net tonnage 4,788
Deadweight 11,874
Length 483.3 ft
Overall Length 483.3 ft
Breadth 59.5 ft
Depth 33.8 ft
Draught N/K
Engines 8 cylinder 4-stroke cycle single-acting (4S.C.SA) oil engine - with 25 9/16” bore and 55 1/8” stroke
Engine builders Harland & Wolff
Works Glasgow
Country UK
Boilers Auxiliary engines - 2 double boilers operating at 180 psi
Power 502 NHP
Propulsion N/K
Speed N/K
Cargo capacity N/K
Passenger capacity N/A
Crew 58 on maiden voyage including a number of DEMS gunners

Additional Construction Information

The Lloyds Register entry for Neritina for 1943-44 has the following additional information about her:

  • Cruiser stern
  • 2 decks - second clear of cargo tanks
  • Longitudinal framing at bottom & at deck
  • Oil engine
  • Machinery aft
  • She was fitted with radio direction-finding equipment and echo-sounding equipment and a gyro compass
  • Carrying petroleum in bulk

Career Highlights

Date Event
31 August 1943 Launched
3 December 1943 Completed
9 December 1943 Maiden voyage
July 1961 Broken up at Hirao

Service in WW2

Neritina was built during WW2 and, according to Stan Mayes who was on her maiden voyage (details below), she was defensively equipped as follows:

  • Torpedo protection nets: Admiralty Net Defence (A.N.D)
  • One 4" gun aft
  • One anti-aircraft gun for'ard
  • Four Oerlikons
  • Four machine guns.

Convoys

Neritina took part in 21 convoys according to information shown in the table below which is provided courtesy of Convoyweb - see External. Ref. #4.

Departure Convoy/Independent Arrival
Clyde, Dec 9, 1943 ON.215 (Liverpool - NYC) New York, Dec 28, 1943
Hampton Roads, Jan 25, 1944 UGS.31 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Casablanca, Feb 11, 1944
Casablanca, Feb 16, 1944 OS.67 (ex OS 67/KMS 41 - Freetown) Freetown, Feb 26, 1944
Lagos, Mar 4, 1944 LTS.12 (Lagos - Freetown) Freetown, Mar 11, 1944
Trinidad, Mar 24, 1944 TAG.123 (Trinidad - Guantanamo) Curacao, Mar 26, 1944
Curacao, Mar 31, 1944 TAG.124 (Trinidad - Guantanamo) Guantanamo, Apr 3, 1944
Guantanamo, Apr 3, 1944 GN.124 (Guantanamo - NYC) New York, Apr 10, 1944
New York, Apr 12, 1944 HX.287 (NYC - Liverpool) Liverpool, Apr 26, 1944
Liverpool, May 4, 1944 ON.235 (Liverpool - NYC) New York, May 18, 1944
Hampton Roads, Jun 2, 1944 UGS.44 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Bizerta, Jun 22, 1944
Bizerta, Jun 30, 1944 GUS.44 (Port Said - Hampton Rds) Casablanca, Jul 5, 1944
Casablanca, Jul 13, 1944 GUS.45 (Port Said - Hampton Rds) Hampton Roads, Jul 29, 1944
New York, Aug 17, 1944 HX.304 (NYC - Liverpool) Liverpool, Sep 1, 1944
JW.60 (Loch Ewe - Kola Inlet) Kola Inlet, Sep 23, 1944
Kola Inlet, Nov 2, 1944 RA.61 (Kola Inlet - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Nov 9, 1944
Liverpool, Nov 19, 1944 ON.267 (Southend - NYC) New York, Dec 5, 1944
New York, Jan 3, 1945 HX.330 (NYC - Liverpool) Clyde, Jan 17, 1945
Clyde, Feb 3, 1945 JW.64 (Clyde - Kola Inlet) Kola Inlet, Feb 15, 1945
Kola Inlet, Mar 23, 1945 RA.65 (Kola Inlet - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Apr 1, 1945
Liverpool, Apr 27, 1945 ON.299 (Southend - NYC) New York, May 13, 1945
Hampton Roads, May 18, 1945 UGS.93 (Hampton Rds - Oran) Oran, Jun 4, 1945

Stan Mayes served on Neritina from 7 December 1943 to 1 May 1944 and accounts of his voyages during that period can be found in the Benjidog Recollections website HERE.

Maiden Voyage

Neritina's maiden voyage started on 9 December 1943. This was the first ship for 8 of the crew and Stan's name appears at No. #22 on the crewlist shown below.

Neritina Neritina Neritina
Above is the crew list from Neritina's maiden voyage. [1]

Certificates and Fees

A great deal of paperwork was involved in shipping during the war, as indeed it is today, and we are fortunate that some of the papers from Neritina have survived. Fees were payable and we can see from Image #5 that this included payments to Consular Officers for seaman taken on to the crew, alterations to agreements, crewmen discharged or who have deserted, registation of births and deaths etc.

Neritina Neritina
The images above show fees paid for occurrences during Neritina during 1943-44. There is a reference to a seaman being hospitalised in Jan 1944 and reference to an exchange rate of $4 to £1. When I was a child in the 1950s we used to refer to five shillings as "a dollar" - which is in line with this exchange rate. Stamps issued by the Consular Service confirming payment are attached. [1]

Stamps on Documents

The use of stamps on documents is an interesting one which most of us in the UK are familiar with. National Insurance stamps are one example - your employer - or yourself if self-employed - literally had to purchase a special stamp and stick it on your National Insurance card which was submitted at the end of the year to the National Insurance Office. The record of the contributions you made throughout your life determined how much pension you would get. This principle has still not changed but the contributions are recorded electronically now.

We still pay "Stamp Duty" on most property transactions but this is just another tax and actual stamps are no longer involved. Which is just as well as the tax is currently at the rate of 1% of the transaction for sales of property between £125k and £250k. You would need a very large document to stick stamps to the value of £1,250 on! The following paragraphs summarises the history of the use of stamps for legal and taxation purposes and comes from External Ref. #27:

In Britain, the use of pre-stamped papers for fiscal purposes dates from the Stamp Duty Act ( 5&6 William & Mary, C21) of 1694. The principle, subsequently applied to a wide range of taxation, provides that documents embodying a taxable transaction should be stamped before anything is written or printed on them. Blank papers and parchments were supplied ready-stamped by the Stamp Office or brought to the Stamp Office by lawyers, stationers, etc. for stamping. In the case of ready-stamped papers a charge was made (by way of taxation) for the stamp itself; there was a separate additional charge to cover the cost of the paper. In the case of paper brought for stamping, the charge was for stamping only.

The word "stamp" has undergone a change since its 17th century application. Initially, the word referred to an applied impression, whether inked or "blind"; later, it referred to a separate piece of paper which, bearing an impression, is affixed to a document, thus “stamping” it. Tax stamps, affixed or directly applied, are to be found on documents of great variety, including indentures, passports, leases, insurance policies, almanacs, licences, patents, bonds, letters of administration, playing cards, hair-powder tax labels, agreements, Newgate pardons, university degrees, mortgages, naturalization papers, and many others. Most such stamps bear the amount of the tax in words, expressed either as a sum or as a percentage; many also indicate the subject of the tax: "Dog licence", "Copyright of design", "Consular Service", etc. A number of British tax stamps remained in use at the close of the 20th Century. The embossed tax stamp on cheques, one of the most widely known in the 20th Century, was abolished in Britain in 1971.

Neritina Arrives in Dublin 1944

Ireland was neutral during the war and the following account by Walter Kennedy in External Ref. #26 describes the visit of Neritina to Dublin in April 1944 amongst other comings and goings:

WEDNESDAY  26 APRIL

Trade with Lisbon suspended. A large grey tanker at Alexandra Quay. This was Neritina 8,222 tons built 1943 by Harland and Wolff Govan and owned by Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co London and she had brought 12,000 tons of oil products from Curacao. She had paravane gear at the bows and a large gun forward on the forecastle head as well as another near the stern. She had the same arrangement of goalpost masts, derricks and torpedo nets as previous ships, but carried her Red Ensign on a gaff atop the centre goalpost.

Oak and E.Hayward were at North Wall. Irish Plane, Monaleen and City of Antwerp as Saturday last.

FRIDAY 28 APRIL

Neritina had moved to Sir John Rogerson's Quay. Across the quay was a public house named "The Oil Well"and some of her sailors were in there singing and enjoying themselves. Folklore has it that the pub owners had adopted the name 'Oil Well' after winning compensation for alleged leakage into their premises from nearby oil pipes.

At close quarters the tankers armament appeared to include a 4" gun on the poop and a twelve pounder or 3" in the bows. Machine guns were around the bridge. Guns such as Hotchkiss, 20 mm Oerlikon and 40 mm Bofors were installed on ships like these for defence against aircraft attack.

SATURDAY  29 APRIL

The tugs Coliemore and Ben Eadar came to take Neritina out. While they connected towlines - Coliemore at bows and Ben Eadar astern, the crew took in the gangway and put a Jacob's ladder over the side for the Pilot. As the moorings were taken in and the ship moved away from the quay a large number of bystanders waved and all the crew on deck waved back.

Downriver Ben Eadar let go the stern line and Neritina's engines started up. Coliemore then let go the bow line and tugs and tanker exchanged salutes on their sirens as they parted company - Neritina to sea and the tugs to their berths in Alexandra Basin. Neritina was trimmed to 15 feet forward and 18 feet aft.

MONDAY 1 MAY

Trade with Lisbon had been suspended in the interests of security while preparations for the invasion of Normandy were taking place

The reference to suspension of trade with Lisbon relates to a warning issued by Churchill to all shipping that any ship seen within an exclusion zone would be sunk. This was of course not long before the Normandy Landings.

Stan Mayes was on Neritina during her trip to Dublin and I asked him if he remembered "The Oil Well". He said he did but didn't elaborate so I suspect they had a good time! A link to his account, which accords closely with that of Walter Kennedy, can be found HERE.

Service post WW2

No information is currently available other than that Neritina remained with the same company throughout her working life and was broken up at Hirao in Japan in 1961.

Neritina
Another postcard of Neritina - the date and location are not known. [1]

Image Credits

  1. By courtesy of Stan Mayes although some of the documents were obtained originally by Billy McGee