WITH REGARD to Mr Valentine’s ‘Mystery Ship’ query in the November 2012 issue of Sea Breezes.
Both vessels are French. The top vessel is Marechal Joffre 11,732 grt, built 1933. Owner: Soc des Services Contractuels des Messageries Maritimes of Marseille. Builder: Soc Provencale de Constructuel Navales at La Ciotat. She was seized at Manila, 7 Dec 1941, nominally Free French. Apr 1942 she was renamed Rochambeau, by US Navy (AP-63). Returned to France and owners in July 1945 and renamed Marechal Joffre. In 1947 owners name change to Cie des Messageries Maritimes. Broken up a Osaka in 1960 by Rinko Seitetsu KK.
The bottom photograph is more of a problem; I think it is one of four sisters built for Chargeurs Reunis of Le Havre. Cap Varella, ex Kersaint, 8,009 grt, built 1921. Cap Padaran, ex D’Iberville, 8,009 grt, built 1922. Cap St Jacques, ex Guichen, 8,009 grt, built 1923. All were built by Ateliers & Chantiers de la Loire at Nantes and all were renamed when converted into passenger / cargo ships in 1925-26. Cap Varella was taken over by the Japanese for use as a troop transport and renamed Teika Maru, 28 Apr 1942. She was mined and sunk in Shimonoseki Strait on 7 Apr 1945. Cap Padaran; Captured by AMC HMS Carthage in South Atlantic 6 Nov 1941. Placed under the management of the Clan Line by MOWT, she was torpedoed and sunk by U-596 in the Gulf of Taranto on 9 Dec 1943. Cap St Jacques; Seized by Britain in Jun 1940 at Suez. Under the management of British India S N Co, returned to owners in 1946. Broken up in Genoa, by Soc Anglo Betorello Nanan in 1954. Cap Tourane; Intercepted by HMS Devonshire 200mls south of Durban on 2 Nov 1941, brought into Port Elizabeth on 6 Nov and requisitioned. Under City Lines management. Returned to owners 1945. Broken up at Ghent by Van Heyghen Freres in 1953.
Looking at the letters that can be seen on the photograph I think the vessel is either Cap Padaran or Cap Tourane. Maybe these letters may be clearer on the original photograph. The above information has come from the Starke/ Schell Registers for the years 1921; 1922; 1923 and 1933. Also from Strandgut issues 63 and 66.
MICHAEL S CONWAY
3 Hawarden Avenue
Sefton Park, Liverpool, L17 2AJ