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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

H.T. "Field Marshall" or "FeldMarschall"


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Looking at a service record of a chap I'm researching and it says "15/01/1919 Base, E.A.F. Embarked H.T. "Field Marshall" Dar Es Salaam. On escort duty to German Prisoners of War and German subjects for repatriation to Germany. Struck of Strength of East African Force".

"overseas to 15/01/19. En tour Eng. 16/01/19 till 28/02/19. Home 01/03/19"

Does anyone know anything about this ship, or this repatriation.


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Dear Sunderland Supporter....

The "Field Marshall" was a Transport ship used to move the British Army around the Empire between the wars; unsure when it came into service but obviously was around in 1919.



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The Miramar Ship Index (a great source of marine info) has this to say about this originally German vessel -

Launched 21/2/1903 (completed in June 1903) - original name - FELDMARSCHALL - 6142 tons - Builder: Reiherstiegwerft, , Hamburg -

Owner as Completed: Deutsche Ost-Afrika Linie, Hamburg - passenger/cargo vessel

Her name changed to FIELD MARSHALL in 1916 (presumably came into Allied hands?) - then in 1922 LING NAM - and 1928 HONG KHENG

Wrecked 22.39N/115.34E 19.7.47

A Google search on the original name brings up some more information - from a modelling site provided by a gentleman from South Africa


Crew: 136

Passengers: 1st Class - 113

2nd Class - 75

3rd Class - 80

Between decks: 120 people

Service: Hamburg - around Africa

"The era of the Imperial Mail Steamship began in 1886 and lasted exactly 28 years, until the outbreak of the 1st World War. 53 ships were specifically built for the state-subsidised Shipping Line of the German Reich (Empire) to voyage to East Asia, Australia and East Africa. They provided a means of punctually carrying post and passengers between the German Colonies of the Empire, and formed the basis of trade relations that to some extent still exist today. The Mail Steamship route to Africa was taken over by a consortium of ship owners, merchants and bankers under the leadership of Adolph Woermann. Thus the German East-Africa Line (DOAL) came into being. The DOAL is the only German shipping company that was founded as a result of a state subsidy. The Imperial Mail Steamer Feldmarschall was launched on 21/2/1903 at the Reiherstieg Wharf in Hamburg, was commissioned on 24 June, and until 1914 was used on the route from Hamburg around Africa. It was specially designed for the this cruising area. The climate on the coast of Africa was made bearable by lining the walls of the passenger area with marble for coolness. For passenger numbers refer to the specifications above. The between decks accommodation was designed with troop transport in mind (this was one of the justifications for state subsidisation of the line).

"When the Feldmarschall arrived in Dar Es Salaam, the capital of German East Africa, in 1914, it and the Steamers Konig and Tabora were made unseaworthy. This was done by removing machinery at the orders of the German Authorities who hoped to prevent the English damaging or confiscating the ship. Despite these precautions she came under fire from HMS Hyacinth on 17 August, 1915. After the British occupation of Dar Es Salaam, the Feldmarschall was repaired in October 1916, renamed Field Marshall by the English, and used as a troop transporter. In February 1919 the Field Marshall brought the last Germans from the former Colony of German East Africa back home to Germany. In 1922 the steamer was sold to Shanghai and named Ling Nam, in 1928 sold to Singapore and named Hong Kheng. On a voyage from Rangoon to Xiamen the ex-Feldmarschall stranded off Chilang Point on 19 July, 1947. The model depicts the Feldmarschall at the point of commission in 1903. It is based on original plans and various photos and illustrations."

There is a picture of a model (not completed by the looks) - here - http://www.alibaba.com/product-tp/10471597.../showimage.html



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  • 4 weeks later...

If anyone knows anything about this repatriation voyage - who was on board, where they disembarked and when, I'd be glad to hear of some details.


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  • 10 years later...

Hello, if you are still there.

I little bit to add to the story of the H T Field Marshal. (H. T.  = Hired Transport)

On 17th November 1920 this transport left the port of Haidar Pasha (Istanbul) with the  2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers on board. The battalion was to be disbanded as a result of the granting of home rule to Ireland. Some  personnel opted for repatriation to the UK, but the majority chose to remain with the colours. The Field Marshal proceeded to Port Said, arriving on  22nd, where 155 officers and men disembarked to await repatriation to the UK. The remainder continued on to Karachi (India at that time) disembarking on 7th December.

My grandfather, a lance corporal, was amongst the India contingent. He remained in the Indian Army until 1947, retiring as a major.

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