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michaeldr

Grantully Castle

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michaeldr

The liner 'Grantully Castle' took part of the RND to the eastern Mediterranean, sailing from Avonmouth at the end of February 1915

She was also one of the transports which took part in the demonstration at the Gulf of Saros which coincided with the landings on Gallipoli, 25th April

After that she sailed down to Helles and landed troops at 'W' Beach on the 29th April

I have seen references to the ship rendezvousing off Rabbit Island on 1st May 1915, and then later that day her being sent to Malta for conversion to a hospital ship

An apparent anomaly has cropped up in discussions with Grant (grantsmil) since he has seen diary references to the Grantully Castle still being used as a trooper after 1st May 1915.

This raises several questions

- Did the Grantully Castle go to Malta for refitting as a hospital ship on 1st May 1915?

- Or at some later date?

- How long did it take the Malta dockyard to convert the liner into a hospital ship?

- If she went to Malta on 1st May, then when did she return to the eastern Mediterranean?

- When the Grantully Castle returned to the eastern Mediterranean did she continue to serve as a troop ship, and only at some later stage take up her new role as a hospital ship?

- Is there any possibility that hospital ships when returning (otherwise empty) from Alexandria to Gallipoli were used to carry troops to the peninsula?

Today the Grantully Castle is remembered on the Helles Memorial and listed as a Hospital Ship

but when did she start that part of her career

regards

Michael

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John Morcombe

Dear Michael,

I once compiled a list from RMLI/RND afb.103s of ships mentioned transporting wounded etc.

She was seemingly absent between 30/4/15-7/6/15.

Also first referred to as "HS" from 15/7/15, but this may not be strictly correct.

HMT "GRANTULLY CASTLE" (HS from 15/7/15)

28/2/15 Sailed from Avonmouth with Hood & Anson Bns.

29/4/15 off Anzac beach

8-9/6/15 off Cape Helles

11-13/6/15 at Mudros

arrived Alex. 18/6/15

15-20/7/15 off Cape Helles, receiving wnd. - to Port Said 27/7/15:

17/8/15 leaves Alex. for UK, arrives 30/8/15:

30/9/15 off Cape Helles, arrives Malta 6/10/15:

30/12/15 off Cape Helles to Alex., arrived 3/1/16:

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grantsmil

It appears that from the 9th to the 12th May 1915 she was transporting Australian and New Zealand soldiers to Gallipoli. Information from one of the war diaries of troops who were landed on Gallipoli

“9/5/15. Alexandria 7.00pm. Transport Grantully Castle left Alexandria at 7.4 pm with 26 Officers and 446 other ranks for DARDANELLES. ………..

12/5/15. Cape Hellas 12 noon. Transport Grantully Castle arrived Cape Hellas about daybreak this morning

12/5/15. Gaba Tepe 8 pm. Transport Grantully Castle arrived at Anzac Cove, GABA TEPE about 7.45 pm. today.”

AWM4

Australian Imperial Forces units

War diaries, 1914-18 War

Light Horse

Item number: 10/8/6

Title: 3rd Light Horse Regiment

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spithead

Michael

From the 'Red Duster' site

GRANTULLY CASTLE (2) was built in 1910 by Barclay, Curle & Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 7612grt, a length of 450ft 7in, a beam of 54ft 4in and a service speed of 13 knots. Together with her sister, the Garth Castle, she was one of the last pair ordered under the personal supervision of Sir Donald Currie who died on 23rd April 1909 at the age of 83. One of five ships built for the Intermediate trade she was given a 'G' name to replace the ex-Union 'G' class but the class was never as popular as the 'D' class ships. In January 1915 she was being used as a troopship and while at Mudros during the Gallipoli campaign, in company with the Alnwick Castle, and Balmoral Castle, was held for five weeks from 18th March when the troops, because of mines, were unable to force the Dardanelles straits until 23rd April when they eventually landed to oppose a re-inforced Turkish army. She left the Dardanelles on 1st May 1915 for Malta where she was commissioned as a hospital ship with 552 beds. She reverted to Union-Castle on 11th March 1919 and served for a further 20 years before being broken up in 1939.

Regards John

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michaeldr

John M, Grant & John (spithead),

Many thanks for your replies

The Red Duster's mention is unfortunately un-referenced and (bearing in mind the current thread on 'cut & paste' history) scepticism is natural when other diary mentions appear to contradict it. My problem is that I have seen a personal account which backs it up, but to my shame, cannot now find the quote.

John's very useful list of dates mentions her apparent absence from Gallipoli which commences at this time, and Grant has a ref to her in Alexandria on the 9th May.

More information would certainly be useful here. Failing that at this stage, would speculation be helpful? If it is, then I imaging that it would not take a dockyard too long to convert a liner into a hospital ship [cabins and beds where already in place, so wasn't it just a matter of adding operating theatre equipment etc] and the Grantully Castle could have been back to Alexandria by the 9th May.

But if that is so, then why was she trooping and not carrying wounded? Did the plan change? John's mention of first seeing her referred to as a HS only in July certainly ties in with Grant's diary account.

If anyone can add to, or clarify this story in any way then please let us know

Thanks again

Michael

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michaeldr

quote from post #1 above

Is there any possibility that hospital ships when returning (otherwise empty) from Alexandria to Gallipoli were used to carry troops to the peninsula?

It does seem that ships carrying the wounded one way to Egypt were also employed in carrying troop reinforcements on the return journey to Gallipoli

from ‘Gallipoli Memories’ by Compton Mackenzie, first pub. 1929

chapter IV, page 30

(Lt. Mackenzie RMLI., was on the Franconia sailing from Alexandria to Gallipoli [the date Saturday, May 15th, 1915 is mentioned])

“I found myself seated at a table in the dining-room with a trio of doctors, two of whom were R.A.M.C. regulars and the third a distinguished specialist in temporary uniform. They had all been at the landing on Twenty-fifth of April. I happened to ask why we had been given second-class cabins.

“I’ll show you why after lunch,” said one of them.

Getting hold of a key from the steward, he took me along and opened the door of what looked exactly like a Blue-beard’s Chamber. From floor to ceiling the white cabin was splashed with blood.

“We brought back five thousand wounded in this ship. and they haven’t had time to clear up the relics. The worst cases were in the first-class cabins and there were only three of us attending to them.”

I began to understand why my messmates had talked of everything at meals except the landing.”

regards

Michael

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Harper

The Australian War Memorial has 6 photographs of Grantully Castle - 3 of which are available on line.

The photo taken on 9.5.15 of the 3rd ALH Regt embarking for Gallipoli does not show any red crosses on the ship.

Photo ref is A00891

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swellal

I have a service file for a Canadian soldier who was

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Grantully Castle and detached to the EORD at Seaford

The date on this is April 13, 1918, the embarkation port wasn't mentioned, but the hospital that he left from was in Rouen France.

I hope this helps

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michaeldr

Hi Al,

Many thanks for your interest and for your post

By 1918 the Grantully Castle was certainly a Hospital Ship

Just to clarify, we are trying to sort out at which particular date in 1915 she became officially classed as such

Harper

Many thanks for your fascinating info

We certainly have a mish-mash here

The Grantully Castle (reportedly) going to Malta to be converted to a HS

Being missing for a couple of weeks

Then, trooping again, but without any mention of her HS status or facilities

And the Franconia, a trooper which carried wounded and the surgeons who operated on them to Alexandria, but then reverted to trooper for the return trips, and is not generally acknowledged as a HS at all.

Curiouser and Curiouser

regards

Michael

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mylesfrancis

I know I doesn't answer the original question as to when in 1915 the Grantully Castle was converted to a hospital ship, but I do know that my own grandfather was transfered back to England from the stationary hospital in Rouen on the Grantully Castle in October 1917.

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HarryBa
I know I doesn't answer the original question as to when in 1915 the Grantully Castle was converted to a hospital ship, but I do know that my own grandfather was transfered back to England from the stationary hospital in Rouen on the Grantully Castle in October 1917.

My father was also repatriated to the Uk on the Grantully Castle on 21st December 1918 from Trouville. I have at home (in the UK, I live in Thailand) a Postcard of Grantully Castle in Hospital Ship Colours and I managed to find the same Postcard on the web at http://www.histarmar.com.ar/ArchivoFotosGral-2/BuquesSudAfrica-EH.htm

which states it was taken at Salonika in 1915.

post-44770-1237008678.jpg

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kjharris
My father was also repatriated to the Uk on the Grantully Castle on 21st December 1918 from Trouville. I have at home (in the UK, I live in Thailand) a Postcard of Grantully Castle in Hospital Ship Colours and I managed to find the same Postcard on the web at http://www.histarmar.com.ar/ArchivoFotosGral-2/BuquesSudAfrica-EH.htm

which states it was taken at Salonika in 1915.

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kjharris

Hi there

I think Grantully Castle was an ambulance carrier, not a hospital ship in early 1915. Conversion to this type of black ship usually took three weeks. The ship did not have red crosses and was used as a troopship in one direction (or for stores etc) and carried lightly wounded/sick on the return voyage.

when Grantully Castle became a hospital ship she carried 15 nurses in 1915; it had accommodation for 18 officers, 184 cots, and 350 berths; it went to Salonika empty in Oct15?; To Kephalo 30/9/15; From Kephalo 2/10/15 with 335 patients; To Salonika 12/10/15;

My references are: Admiralty, Transport Department: Correspondence and Papers PRO MT 23/405/

War Diaries WO 95/4145/;

Benns, Catherine WO 372/23;

AWM45 4/42;

cheers, Kirsty Harris

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