Ocean Fame

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Introduction

Ocean Fame was a cargo ship built for the UK Government during WW2 during which she was used extensively in convoys and for independent voyages. She survived the war and was sold for merchant navy use where she was in service with three companies until 1966 when she was broken up at Bilbao.

Ocean Fame
Ocean Fame at Venice and taken in the early 1940s [4]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Registered owners, managers and operators Owners: British Government
Managers: W.H. Seager & Co. Ltd.
Builders Todd-Bath Shipbuilders
Yard Portland East
Country USA
Yard number 11
Registry London
Official number 169056
Signal letters N/K
Call sign BDTV
Classification society Lloyd's Register
Gross tonnage 7,173
Net tonnage 4,278
Length 425.1 Ft.
Overall Length 441.5 Ft.
Breadth 57 Ft.
Depth 34.8 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engines Triple expansion steam engine with cylinders of bore 24.5", 37" and 70" with stroke 48"
Engine builders General Machinery Corp.
Works Hamilton
Country USA
Boilers 3 single ended boilers operating at 220psi.
Power 505 MN
Propulsion Single screw
Speed 11 knots
Cargo capacity N/K
Crew N/K
Ocean Fame
Ocean Fame as Firby - Location and date not known. [3]

Additional Construction Information

The Lloyds Register entry for Ocean Fame for 1945 has the following additional information about her:

  • Electric welded construction
  • Fitted with Radio direction-finding and Echo-sounding devices
  • 2 decks with cruiser stern

She was one a a class of 60 'Ocean' ships built in the USA for the British Ministry of War Transport to a standard design. The design was further developed to be the basis for the more well-known Liberty ships and this class is sometimes referred to as 'British Victory' ships. One of the reasons for the use of triple-expansion steam engines that were by that time pretty outdated, was that separate facilities could be used to those in demand for building naval vessels with turbine-driven propellors.

Ocean Fame
Ocean Fame as Firby - Location and date not known. [3]

Career Highlights

Date Event
22 May 1942 Launched as Ocean Fame for the British Government
July 1942 Completed
1947 Sold to Ropner Shipping Co. Ltd. and renamed Firby
1955 Sold to N.G.Kyriakides and renamed Irene K
1964 Renamed Winchester Queen
29 November 1966 Taken to be broken up at Bilbao
Ocean Fame
Ocean Fame as Irene K - the date and location are not known. [2]

Service in WW2

Ocean Fame took part in a very large number of convoys 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
Portland Me, Jul 9, 1942 Independent Boston, Jul 10, 1942
Boston, Jul 11, 1942 BX.28C (Boston - Halifax) Halifax, Jul 13, 1942
Halifax, Jul 19, 1942 HX.199 (Halifax - Liverpool) Clyde, Jul 30, 1942
Holyhead, Aug 23, 1942 HM.21 (Holyhead - M Haven) Cardiff, Aug 24, 1942
Cardiff, Oct 17, 1942 Independent Loch Ewe, Oct 22, 1942
KMS.2G (Loch Ewe - Algiers) Oran, Nov 10, 1942
Oran, Dec 3, 1942 ET.3 (Algiers - Gibraltar) Gibraltar, Dec 4, 1942
Gibraltar, Dec 8, 1942 MKS.3X (Bone - Liverpool) Liverpool, Dec 19, 1942
Liverpool, Jan 15, 1943 Independent Clyde, Jan 16, 1943
Clyde, Jan 21, 1943 KMS.8G (Clyde - Bone) Oran, Feb 3, 1943
Oran, Feb 11, 1943 TE.15 (Gibraltar - Bougie) Philippeville, Feb 12, 1943
Philippeville, Feb 25, 1943 not reported Gibraltar, Mar 2, 1943
Gibraltar, Mar 8, 1943 MKS.9 (Bone - Liverpool) Liverpool, Mar 18, 1943
Clyde, Apr 15, 1943 OS.46KM (Liverpool - Convoy Split)
KMS.13G (ex OS 46/KMS 13 - Gibraltar) Gibraltar, Apr 26, 1943
Gibraltar, Apr 26, 1943 KMS.13 (Gibraltar - Bone) Algiers, Apr 28, 1943
Algiers, May 6, 1943 GUS.7 (Passed Gibraltar - Hampton Rds) Gibraltar, May 9, 1943
OS.48 (ex OS 48/KMS 15 - Freetown) Freetown, Jun 7, 1943
Freetown, Jun 11, 1943 ST.69 (Freetown - Takoradi) Takoradi, Jun 16, 1943
Takoradi, Jun 30, 1943 Independent Calabar, Jul 3, 1943
Independent Calabar, Jul 3, 1943
Calabar, Jul 8, 1943 Independent
Calabar, Jul 8, 1943 Independent Port Harcourt, Jul 9, 1943
Port Harcourt, Jul 13, 1943 Independent Lagos, Jul 15, 1943
Lagos, Jul 18, 1943 LT.22 (Lagos - Takoradi) Takoradi, Jul 21, 1943
Takoradi, Jul 22, 1943 TS.48 (Takoradi - Freetown) Freetown, Jul 27, 1943
Freetown, Jul 28, 1943 SL.134 (Freetown - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Aug 19, 1943
WN.469 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Aug 21, 1943
Methil, Aug 22, 1943 FS.1201 (Methil - Southend)
FN.1129 (Southend - Methil) Spurn Head, Sep 19, 1943
Spurn Head, Sep 19, 1943 FN.1129 (Southend - Methil) Tyne, Sep 20, 1943
Tyne, Sep 21, 1943 FN.1131 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Sep 22, 1943
Methil, Sep 23, 1943 EN.284 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Oban, Sep 26, 1943
Oban, Sep 27, 1943 KMS.28G (Liverpool - Gibraltar) Gibraltar, Oct 7, 1943
Gibraltar, Oct 19, 1943 KMS.29 (Gibraltar - Port Said) Gibraltar, Oct 20, 1943
Gibraltar, Oct 21, 1943 UGS.20 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Bone, Oct 25, 1943
MKS.31 (Port Said - Gibraltar) Philippeville, Nov 19, 1943
Bone, Nov 19, 1943 MKS.31 (Port Said - Gibraltar)
Philippeville, Nov 24, 1943 UGS.23 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Augusta, Nov 27, 1943
Augusta, Nov 29, 1943 AH.10A (Augusta - Bari) Taranto, Nov 30, 1943
Taranto, Dec 10, 1943 not reported
Bari, Dec 13, 1943 HA.12 (Bari - Augusta) Augusta, Dec 16, 1943
Augusta, Dec 16, 1943 MKS.34 (Port Said - Gibraltar) Algiers, Dec 20, 1943
Algiers, Jan 4, 1944 UGS.27 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Augusta, Jan 9, 1944
Augusta, Jan 12, 1944 AH.18 (Augusta - Bari) Brindisi, Jan 14, 1944
not reported Bari, Jan 16, 1944
Brindisi, Jan 16, 1944 not reported
Bari, Jan 24, 1944 HA.20 (Bari - Augusta) Augusta, Jan 26, 1944
Augusta, Jan 26, 1944 not reported Bizerta, Jan 28, 1944
Bizerta, Jan 29, 1944 not reported Algiers, Jan 31, 1944
Algiers, Feb 13, 1944 UGS.31 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Augusta, Feb 17, 1944
Augusta, Feb 18, 1944 VN.22 (Augusta - Naples) Naples, Feb 19, 1944
Naples, Feb 27, 1944 not reported Augusta, Feb 29, 1944
Augusta, Feb 29, 1944 GUS.32 (Port Said - Hampton Rds) Algiers, Mar 5, 1944
Algiers, Mar 12, 1944 UGS.34 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Augusta, Mar 16, 1944
Augusta, Mar 18, 1944 VN.28 (Augusta - Naples) Naples, Mar 19, 1944
Naples, Mar 23, 1944 NV.28 (Naples - Augusta) Augusta, Mar 24, 1944
Augusta, Mar 25, 1944 MKS.44 (Port Said - Gibraltar) Algiers, Mar 29, 1944
Algiers, Apr 1, 1944 UGS.36 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Augusta, Apr 5, 1944
Augusta, Apr 7, 1944 VN.32 (Augusta - Naples) Naples, Apr 8, 1944
Naples, Apr 12, 1944 NV.32 (Naples - Augusta) Augusta, Apr 13, 1944
Augusta, Apr 14, 1944 MKS.46 (Port Said - Gibraltar) Bizerta, Apr 16, 1944
Bizerta, Apr 21, 1944 GUS.37 (Port Said - Hampton Rds) Casablanca, Apr 27, 1944
Casablanca, May 6, 1944 GUS.38 (Port Said - Hampton Rds) Hampton Roads, May 22, 1944
Independent New York, Jun 2, 1944
Hampton Roads, Jun 2, 1944 Independent
New York, Jun 5, 1944 NG.439 (NYC - Guantanamo) Guantanamo, Jun 11, 1944
Guantanamo, Jun 13, 1944 Independent Macoris, Jun 15, 1944
Macoris, Jul 3, 1944 Independent Guantanamo, Jul 5, 1944
Guantanamo, Jul 5, 1944 not reported
New York, Jul 17, 1944 HX.300 (NYC - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Aug 3, 1944
WN.616 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Aug 5, 1944
Methil, Aug 7, 1944 FS.1537 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Aug 9, 1944
Southend, Aug 24, 1944 FN.1459 (Southend - Methil) Tyne, Aug 26, 1944
Methil, Aug 29, 1944 EN.428 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Aug 31, 1944
Independent Baltimore, Sep 16, 1944
ON.251 (Liverpool - NYC) New York, Sep 19, 1944
New York, Sep 24, 1944 Independent
Baltimore, Sep 30, 1944 Independent Hampton Roads, Oct 1, 1944
Hampton Roads, Oct 2, 1944 UGS.56 (Hampton Rds - Port Said) Algiers, Oct 20, 1944
Freetown, Nov 3, 1944 Independent Port Harcourt, Nov 9, 1944
Algiers, Nov 14, 1944 not reported Gibraltar, Nov 16, 1944
Gibraltar, Nov 21, 1944 OS.95 (ex OS 95/KMS 69 - Dispersed)
Independent Freetown, Nov 30, 1944
Port Harcourt, Dec 14, 1944 Independent Lagos, Dec 16, 1944
Lagos, Dec 17, 1944 Independent Dakar, Dec 26, 1944
Dakar, Jan 11, 1945 Independent Lagos, Jan 18, 1945
Lagos, Jan 25, 1945 Independent Casablanca, Feb 10, 1945
Casablanca, Feb 15, 1945 MKS.83G (Gibraltar - Liverpool) Liverpool, Feb 22, 1945
Liverpool, Mar 13, 1945 ON.290 (Southend - NYC) Hampton Roads, Mar 30, 1945
Hampton Roads, Apr 8, 1945 UGS.85 (Hampton Rds - Gibraltar)
Independent Algiers, Apr 20, 1945
UGS.85 (Hampton Rds - Gibraltar) Oran, Apr 24, 1945
Oran, Apr 29, 1945 Independent Oran, May 5, 1945
Algiers, May 5, 1945 Independent
Benisaf, May 7, 1945 GUS.88 (Oran - Hampton Rds) Gibraltar, May 9, 1945
Gibraltar, May 18, 1945 GUS.90 (Oran - Hampton Rds) Hampton Roads, Jun 2, 1945
Cape Henry, Jun 14, 1945 Independent Gibraltar, Jun 28, 1945
Gibraltar, Jul 4, 1945 Independent
Safi, Jul 8, 1945 Independent Havre, Jul 14, 1945
Rouen, Jul 29, 1945 Independent Cardiff, Jul 31, 1945
Cardiff, Aug 11, 1945 Independent Liverpool, Aug 13, 1945
Liverpool, Aug 31, 1945 Independent Port Said, Sep 12, 1945
Suez, Sep 14, 1945 Independent Colombo, Sep 26, 1945
Colombo, Nov 8, 1945 Independent Trincomalee, Nov 10, 1945
Trincomalee, Nov 25, 1945 Independent Lourenco Marques, Dec 9, 1945
Lourenco Marques, Dec 17, 1945 Independent

Service post WW2

In 1947 Ocean Fame was sold to Ropners Shipping Company Limited who changed her name to Firby - most of Ropners ships names ended in 'by'. Accounts of some of her voyages in 1953-4 appear in the recollections of Bill Ross who was undergoing an apprenticeship with the company - see the Benjidog Recollections website HERE. In 1955 she was sold again to Kyriakides who renamed her Irene K, and in 1964 the same company decided to rename her again to Winchester Queen. I have no specific information about her use in this period. She was broken up in 1966 in Spain.

Ocean Fame
Ocean Fame as Firby - Location and date not known. [1]

Image Credits

  1. By courtesy of The Allen Collection (another Benjidog website)
  2. By courtesy of the Coasters and Other Ships Revived website.
  3. By courtesy of Bill Ross
  4. By courtesy of Marlene Matthews