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TS Malines – Past and Present

TS Malines

Ex HMS Malines, Malines


Steel twin screw motor vessel, built in 1920 by High Walker yard of Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd., Newcastle (Yard No. 972), for Great Eastern Railway.

Technical Data

  • Length: 97.72 m (overall) m (between perpendiculars)
    Breadth: 13.14 m
    Depth: 7.83  m
    Draught: 4.07 m
    Tonnage: 2980 gross/1262 net/2384t deadweight
    Engines: 4  Brown/Curtis single reduction geared turbines
    Power: kW/1525 bHP
    Speed: 21  knots
    Capacity: 1,500 passengers
    Call Sign: 
    ID Number (Lloyds Reg 1945 – 46): 28939
  • Official Number: 415402
    Port of Registry: Harwich/UK
    Sister Ships: Antwerp, Bruges


January 6th 1921: Launched. Her machinery installation was delayed.

March 9th 1922: Sea trials and was the last vessel delivered to Great Eastern Railway.


March 17th 1922: First arrival at Parkeston Quay.

March 21st 1922: Entered service between Harwich – Antwerp, but occasionally deputised on the Harwich – Hook of Holland service.



January 1st 1923: Registered to London & North Eastern Region

July 8th 1932: At anchor in the Schelde, next day collided at anchor with the German HANSEAT. Heavily damaged, lifted anchor and grounded near Hoedekenskerke. Temporarily repaired and towed by six tugs to Antwerp for dry-docking.

1940: After the outbreak of war she was unable to continue her normal service so was laid up in her home port but was available for evacuating British subjects from the Netherlands.

April 26th 1940: Arrived at Rotterdam.

May 10th 1940: Sailed from Rotterdam with 178 people, mostly British women and children, also including the crew of the ST DENIS.

May 11th 1940: Reached Tilbury.

May 28th 1940: Requisitioned and arrived off Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo and Aerial, the evacuations from Dunkirk and NW France).

May 29th 1940: Alongside the torpedoed HMS GRAFTON  (H89) to take off 800 troops, including those who had already once been rescued from the torpedoed destroyer HMS WAKEFUL (H88).


HMS Grafton (Left) HMS Wakeful (Right)

She then sailed to Dover, where she disembarked her servicemen, before setting out for Dunkirk once more. At the French port she embarked 715 British troops.

May 31st 1940: Reached Folkestone.

June 1st 1940: Instructed to return to Dunkirk but refused to do so, on the grounds that the crew was totally exhausted.

June 2nd 1940: Left Folkestone anchorage, without permission, and turned up at Southampton.

June 4th 1940: Sailed from Soythampton.


June 16th 1940: Sailed from Southampton to Cherbourg to embark troops, before being directed Jersey,

June 20th 1940: Arrived at Jersey to carry servicemen to Weymouth.

June 22nd 1940: At Guernsey to embark evacuees.

June 23rd 1940: Reached Southampton.

June 27th 1940: Left Southampton for the Clyde to lay up there until required for Combined Operations troop training.

November 7th 1940: Left Clyde for the Bristol Channel, to carry out training procedures.

November 15th 1940: Commissioned as HMS MALINES.

December 8th 1940: Left Milford Haven to be fitted out on the Clyde fro Convoy Escort duties and was made available as Supply Ship in the Mediterranean.

September 10th 1941: Fitted extra bunkers and water tanks sailed out of the Tyne.

September 13th 1941: Left Londonderry but failed to make contact with her convoy.

October 29th 1941:  A suspected U-boat contact but, because her engines were inadvertently put into slow rather than full ahead, no depth charges could be dropped. Five charges were fired using one of her two throwers, but none from the other which malfunctioned.

November 24th 1941: Reached Capetown before continuing her voyage via Durban, Mombasa, Aden and Suez..

December 26th 1941: Arrived at Port Said.. Ita was decided that her small cargo capacity made her usefulness  as a Supply Ship very limited, although she was suitable for employment as a troop Transport. When not required as a troopship she was on Convoy Escort duty.

January 26th 1942: While en route to Tobruk  collided in convoy with merchant ship HAVRE and had to be withdrawn for repairs to her damaged bulkheads and frames.

March 1942: She was sent to act as escort for a troop movement to Famagusta but broke down in Haifa. Her work alternated between, carrying troops and escorting convoys.

March – April 1942: As a troop carrier helped move two Indian brigades from Alexandria to Cyprus

May 1942: As a convoy escort involved in a exchange of troops between Haifa and Cyprus and the evacuation of Greek evacuees from Famagusta.

May 1942: Participated in the Malta convoy from Alexandria and then engaged in sailings between Tobruk and Egypt.

July 22nd 1942: Approaching Port Sails was ordered to wait outside to allow cruiser HMS DIDO and her destroyer screen to leave harbour. An aerial torpedo hit her on the starboard side, passed through her and exploded on the port side, killing seven and injuring seven others. ………..

HMS Dido – © Imperial War Museum,

© IWM A 11887  © IWM A 11886

© IWM A 11884  © IWM A 11885

© Imperial War Museum (All)

…. HM Minesweeper WHITEHAVEN commenced towing assisted by HMS BOSTON and she was eventually beached in 10 ft of water forward and was settling by the stern. An hour later she was on the bottom with 7ft of water over her aft deck. She was badly damaged, with a 14ft x 15ft hole on her starboard side. Salvage work was undertaken.

© IWM FL 9994  © IWM FL 2716

HMS Whitehaven © Imperial War Museum (Left) HMS Boston © Imperial War Museum (Right)

December 21st 1942: She was raised, with the intention of using her for Combined Operations Training at Kabret.

March 16th 1943: Moved to Alexandria and dry-docked.

November 16th 1943: Returned to Port Said for use at Kabret.

April 16th 1944: “Paid Off”, a constructive total loss.

November 1945: Arrived at Tyne after a voyage under tow of 6 months. The machinery damage led her being put on one side for later attention. Laid up.

April 24th 1949: Sold for scrap to Clayton & Davie Ltd. at Dunston – on – Tyne.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

One Comment

  1. I remain in awe at the amazing work our cross channel ships undertook in the war, it’s good that such efforts are recorded on this site.
    Thank you for all your work in bringing such heroism to our attention!

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