SS Anselm, WWI Troopship

SS Anselm, WWI Troopship

Booth Line's  SS "Anselm" (2) during 1918 in her dazzle paint.

Anselm was built by Workman Clarke & Co. Ltd., Belfast, Ireland for the Blue Line. She had a Gross tonnage of 5442 with a length of 400-feet, 4-inches and a beam of 50-feet, 1-inch and a draft of 19.1-feet. Her propulsion was a single screw, triple expansion steam engine of 819 nhp, which gave her12 kts speed. She was launched 1 November 1905 at the cost of £94,000. She was delivered and sailed on maiden voyage 29 March 1905 from Liverpool for Le Havre, France and Manaus, which was 1,000 miles up the Amazon. At the time of her delivery in 1905, she was the largest Booth Line vessel so far built for them at 5,450 tons. Her start in service as the flagship, was not auspicious as on 5th September 1905, she collided with the outbound Cyril in the approaches to Para (Belém), which unfortunately sunk. The Cyril had a full cargo of rubber worth £110,000 which was salvaged, although the Cyril had settled in 70-feet of water and was a total loss. The Anselm suffered bow damage and was held responsible for the collision at the enquiry. Despite this start in life, she served through WWI as a troopship and continued in Booth Line until 1922 after which she was sold. With another grounding, this time in the Straits of Magellan, she remarkably continued in service until 1959, some 54 years in all.

In August of 1914 as war broke out the British Adrimility commisioned her as a troopship for service to France. In 1915 she was returned to Booth Line and placed on the New York - Brazil route. In 1918 she again was pressed into service as a troopship carring American soldiers to France.

Her first trip carring American Doughboy's was on 11 May 1918 when she carried the 3rd Battalion of the 117th Infantry, 30th Division with 27 officers and 949 enlisted men. 833rd Aero Squadron with 3 officers and 155 enlisted men.

On the 20th June 1918 she again made a trip Eastward with 17 officers and 362 enlisted men of the 343rd Michine Gun Battalion, 90th Division. And 6 casual officers and 744 casual enlisted men.

On July 30, 1918 in a pouring rain, the 71st Artillery Regiment, together with its complete equipment, was loaded on two British ships, the SS Margha and the SS Anselm at Pier 3, East Boston, Mass., Colonel Long with nine-hundred and ninety-two troops on the Margha and Major R. C. Harrison with ten hundred and fourteen troops on the Anselm. Also on the Anselm was the 329th Aero Squadron.

SS Anselm and the SS Margha, formed part of a small convoy, which sailed from Boston Harbor out past Fort Strong on the morning of July 31, 1918. The wives and sisters were grouped on the shore to wave us off, and the Jessup with a great crowd on board ran right in alongside, about 9:00 am. This was the final farewell for at 10:01 am we weighed anchor and started out. Thursday night the convoy off Halifax Harbor and Friday morning early passed in by the forts and the town and anchored in the inner harbor. Here they lay until Sunday August 4, when they sailed as part of a field of seventeen transports, at 11:30 am under convoy of HMS Roxburgh.

They had an exceedingly pleasant trip, with but few noteworthy incidents. Officer's schools were held regularly on both ships, and calisthenics drills and calls to boat stations kept the men busy. The 71st Artillery Regiment was highly complimented on both transports by their respective captains for its excellent discipline and the cleanliness of quarters and decks.

Early in the morning of August 13 the convoy picked up its destroyer escort consisting of the USS Terry DD-25 and the USS Jenkins DD-42. The men greeted the American ones flying the American flag and manned by US bluejackets with prolonged cheers. On Thursday August 15, the convoy sailed into Liverpool, with flags flying and the band playing on the deck for the first time since leaving Halifax.

In 1922 she was sold for £40,000 to Argentina Cia. General de Nav. S.A. ( A. M. Delfino y Cia. managers, Buenos Aires) and renamed Commodoro Rivadavia. In May of 1931 she was grounded in the Straits of Magellan. She was salvaged by the Chilean Navy. In 1942 she was transferred to ownership by the Argentine Government under the same name Commodoro Rivadavia. She was renamed in 1944 as the Rio Santa Cruz by her Argentine owners. Off Patagonia in 1952 she suffered a boiler explosion that killed six crew members. She was broken up in 1959 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Date this page was last updated on September 19, 2018. This page is owned by Joe Hartwell ©2004-2018

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