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S.S. Osmanieh (Sunk 31/12/1917)

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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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    Posted: 29 Jun 2013 at 10:27
S.S. OSMANIEH
Owner -Khedivial Mail S.S. & Graving Dock Company - 1906.
Date launched 9 May, 1906.
Builder - Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Yard No 761.
 
Weight . 4,041 tons,
Dimensions: 360-2x45-2x24-3.
 
Power/Speed. 650n.h.p, 17 knots. Quadruple-Expansion Engines.
 
The liner Osmanieh Captained by Lieutenant Commander D. R. Mason, was taken over for service as a fleet auxiliary during the First World War.  She served during the Gallipoli Campaign. She is mentioned in several War Diaries for the period of the campaign, she also ran weekly mail and supply runs from Malta to Mudros for over a year in spite of constant attacks by submarines.
 
On Monday - 31st December, 1917, she was carrying troops and medical staff to Alexandria when she struck a mine laid by UC 34 under the command of Oberleutnant zue See Horst Obermuller at the entrance to the harbour. She sank very quickly taking with her: Lieutenant Commander D.R. Mason, Two officers,  21 Crew members and 167 Troops and eight nurses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2013 at 11:18
I came across the following article in a newspaper,
 
The Western Mail 3/3/1938,
 
 
In following  "Jock". Belford's story of the. 11th Battalion I find a brief reference to the arrival of . the 2nd and 3rd Rein .iorcements on the s.s. Osmanieh and trans-shipping to the S.S. Suffolk in Mudros Harbour on April 10, 1915. As a passenger on the Osmanieh on that occasion I well remember the trip, which I would not recommend to anybody under similar circumstances.

At about 10 p.m. at Mena Camp following on Easter of that year about 300 of us received marching orders, reveille being at 133 a.m. Before mov- ing off on the 10 miles march to Caird we were directed to a large tent where a gigantic lump of corned beef -or corned something-had been placed on a table, together with an ample supply of Anzac wafers from. which we were to ration ourselves. We knew not where we were going except for a vague notion about joining the unit. There was no Q.M. or N.C.O. present to apportion out the rations. Those, who chose simply helped themselves, .and unfortunately for a lot of us we had no idea that no other rations would be available for about four days.

Quite a number of us foolishly re- jected this uninviting fare as we still had a few piastres left from a recent pay and we had visions of purchasing eggs-a-cook or some such sustenance in Cairo. But no such opportunity occurred, and after doing the appetis- ing tramp of ten miles we entrained in a number of high-smelling- fish vans for Alexandria, where we boarded the Osmanieh.

1 think she was ordinaiily. a Meditterranean packet steamer of perhaps 2,000 tons, and as far as I remember we spent two nights and days on her going to Mudros. The tucker shortage soon became very serious, and all applications to our officers aboard only brought the reply that adequate pro- visions had been available at Mena Camp, they of course being well set, as they had their legs under the saloon table. Hunger and discontent began to prevail among the mob, and I'll heyer forget one young officer, not of the 11th, who opened the door slightly, and ironically asked if there were any complaints. His head then disappeared like a Jack-in-the-box. Had he made a second visit of that nature the next day I feel sure he would have gone overboard.

My mate Jack and I tried unsuccessfully to purchase some scrag ends from

the ship's company, who were a mot- ley crew, without a Britisher among them. "There's plenty of tucker on this boat, and I'm having some," declared Jack on the second night, and after half an hour's foraging he re- turned with what was left of a cooked leg of mutton, wHlch provided some picking for a number of us.

The Mediterranean, however, was in a dirty mood, and the Osmanieh pitched, tossed, rolled, and almost . sugar-doodled several times, and a lot of the boys got seasick, with conse ouent loss of appetite. To be relieved of one's appetite in such circumstances ?was indeed an act of Divine Provi- dence.

There-was no heart-breaking at leaving the Osmanieh to join the Suffolk at Mudros, and some of the boys! gave her and her crew a loud an elaborate version of the sailor's farewell. We looked forward with great pleasure to joining the Suffolk, but disillusionment came when we were! calmly informed that we would not come on the ration strength for 48 hours and the position amounted to the fire from the frying pan for two days.

Whereas on the Osmanieh we had nothing to eat but nothing to do, on the Suffolk we had nothing to eat with hard "yacker." The battalion at this time was practising landing from the ship to Mudros beach in the identical boats used a fortnight later in the big stunt. We new arrivals camped on the upper deck of the Suffolk the first night and were approached bright and early next morning by a sergeant who nominated most of us for boats' crews. The boats held about 20, with eight oarsmen and with an adverse current, choppy sea, and oamnen with well tightened belts, we made slow head-way. We would pull her three feet and she would immediately come back two, end one of our passengers not at- tached to an oar made the following provocative remark: "If we make this progress the day of the dinkum landing the enemy will have time to shoot us all dead a hundred times." That brought the hostile retort from an oarsman to "Come and have a ruddy go if you think you can do better," and, the argtiment waxed to the fisti- cuff stage which we non-belligerents in the crowded boat very sternly discouraged and prevented. We thought of probable non-swimmers and a capsized boat.

After doing our maneouvres on Mudros with the natural elements in our favour, we took the boat back to the Suffolk in fine style. So much so that our erstwhile critic contended, in eulogistic vein, that an outboard motor was not in it with us. We in due course -qualified for battalion rations and for the next fortnight, which finished our stay on the Suffolk, we lived in the lap of luxury com- pared with the first, couple of months of Gallipoli, pioneering.

P.G.H. (11th), Three Springs.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krithia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2013 at 08:11
Good one, thanks Mal Wink
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