Mystery Container REFERRING TO THE JANUARY 2010 ISSUE of Sea Breezes and Mr Pitts query regarding his mystery container. The vessel concerned (TSS Ulysses) was built in Belfast by Workman Clark and was launched on July 5th 1913. On 22nd October 1913 she took up service on the Glasgow-Liverpool-Brisbane route. In 1915 she was trooping Australian soldiers to the Suez area and in 1917 was trooping US soldiers across the Atlantic. In 1920 she was back on commercial service to Brisbane via Capetown.

She was an important part of the Blue Funnel fleet with the Commodore Captain R D Owen in command. In 1942 she got out of Hong Kong prior to the arrival of the Japanese, sailing to Singapore and then Australia where she loaded a cargo for Liverpool via Panama Canal. On April 8th she collided with a vessel causing some bow damage, causing her to head for Newport News for repairs. On 11th April, 5 miles off Palm Beach, Florida, she was torpedoed twice by U-160 and sunk quickly. No lives were lost. The Mystery silver object with tree balled feet and lined with blue cloth may be an ornamental ink stand presented to the ship at the time of departure from the Dockyard. There would have been a thick crystal glass insert, hence the cloth lining. I would suggest the balled feet would fit into a polished wooden plinth and adorn the Captains desk. He must have put it in his pocket when he left. She would have carried up to 175 1st Class passengers but I would think that silver boxes of this quality would hardly be available to purchase on board.


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