Anking I

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Sister of the ship Anhui II

Anking I
ID /IMO No. 1148563.
Type Cargo/passenger.
Sister of Anhui II
Gross Registered Tonnage 3,472 grt. 2,047 nett.
Builder Scotts Dockyard & Engineering, Greenock. Yard No. 527.
Delivery date Mar 12th.1925
Hull Steel, clincher constructio
Decks 3.
Length 336.0 ft. Bridge deck 97.ft.
Width 49.0 ft.
Depth 26.5 ft.
Bridge 97 feet (30 m)
Passengers 88 berthed, plus deck passengers.
Engine Builder Scotts S.& E.Co.
Engine Supplier Scotts E.& E.Co.
Engine Type Brown Curtis, steam turbines with double reduction gearboxes.
Engine cylinders High & low press. turbines with astern turbines.
Engine Power 2,300 shp.
Engine RPM 89.3
Propulsion mode Single screw.
Speed 12 kts.
Rigged Schooner.
Displacement 7,220 tons.
Deadweight 4,619 tons.
Bale capacity 288,760.
Block coefficient (Cb) 0.713
Power Steam
Condenser cooling surface 2,880 Sq.ft.
Boiler Main, 2, cylindrical (scotch) with N.E.M. superheaters.
Boiler pressure 220 psi. 525 Degees Fahr.
Boiler dimensions (total) 14.375 ft.dia. 11.75 ft. long.
Heating Surface (total) 7,260 sq. ft.
Fuel Oil.
Furnace 4 per boiler.
Furnace dimensions 3'3.75" dia.
Draught Forced.
Generator 1, steam recip.
Generator power 20 Kw.
Generator voltage 110V.DC.
Propeller Right hand, 16.25 ft.dia. 14.25 ft. pitch.
Propeller blades 4
Propeller formation Solid.
Propeller material Bronze.
Built classification society B.O.T.
Keel laid Sept 1st. 1924.
Launched Feb 6th. 1925.
Original owner China Navigation Co.
Auxiliary boiler, Cochran verticle 7.5 ft dia. 16.25 ft. high. Working Press. 100 psi.


Dec 1941. Taken over by the Royal Navy at Singapore and converted to a depot ship, based in Malta. Due to the bombing of Malta, the ship based depots were moved ashore, and in 1942 was transferred to Batavia, Tjilatjap, where she was used as a communications and stores vessel.

March 3rd.1942. When bound from Tjilatjap to Fremantle in a convoy escorted by H.M.S. Yarra, was sunk by Japanese warships, 200 miles East of Christmas Island.


Built for the Hong Kong - Swatow - Manila - Singapore - Southeast Asia service.

Events / Stories

Anking I with 1400 people on board, was pirated in the Gulf of Tongkin, on the 26th September 1928, whilst en route Singapore-Hoihow. As was so often the case, the pirates, about 40, had come aboard the ship disguised as deck passengers - boarding at Tanjong Pagar, where Anking I had embarked nearly fifteen hundred coolie labourers.

The attack was particularly vicious and resulted in the deaths of David Clifford Jones of Newquay Wales, Chief Officer, Mr Thomson of Greenock, Chief Engineer, and the quartermaster, who were gunned down when they offered resistance. , the 3rd Officer and the Master, Cyril E Plunket-Cole, were both injured - the latter so seriously that he was later invalided out of the service. The captain and chief officer were on the bridge when suddenly the pirates rushed in, opening fire at point blank range, killing the Chief officer, David Clifford Jones, and shooting the captain through both thighs. The Chinese quartermaster on going to their assistance being immediately shot dead. At the same time the pirates rushed the engine room where a fierce fight broke out, the Chief Engineer, Mr. Thomson, after putting up strong resistance died from a fatal gunshot to the head. The 2nd engineer laid about the attacker with a club but was eventually overpowered by pirates. The 3rd. officer was stunned by a club while resting in a deck chair. On recovering consciousness he staggered to the bridge where he was stabbed in the back. The pirates standing behind him with loaded revolvers, forced him to navigate the vessel to Honghai Bay, north of Bias Bay. On arrival at Honghai bay all the passengers were lined up with their possessions and searched. All valuables being taken. It was estimated that the value of loot from the passengers and the cargo stolen, taken ashore by the pirates exceeded 20,000 pounds sterling. The Anking I then proceeded to Hong Kong where the wounded officers were hospitalised. The dead bodies had already been thrown overboard by the pirates,

The pirates escaped ashore at Bias Bay in the ship’s lifeboat, taking several passengers with them to hold for ransom. They also took the 3rd Engineer, Mr Bird, as a temporary hostage, to ensure their safety until they reached the shore, and to return the lifeboat to Anking. Bizarrely, Ernest Charles Ogilvie Bird was paid Singapore $10 by the pirates for this service.

In 1941, Anking I was requisitioned by the Royal Navy as a depot ship at Malta, retaining her C.N.Co. officers. She was transferred to the Far East in 1942, and became Royal Navy Communications Centre, Batavia (Java), based at Tjilatjap.

Demolition charges were placed in the ship’s holds, in case it became necessary to scuttle her, if Java fell. In the event, Anking I joined a convoy escorted by H.M.A.S. Yarra, and attempted to escape to Fremantle.

Shortly after leaving Tjilatjap, the convoy was intercepted by a fleet of Japanese warships. Anking I was blown out of the water on the 3rd March 1942, about 200 miles East of Christmas Island. There were only three survivors.