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Frederick

Hi guys,

Like many others I am working on Family History. I am hoping someone will be able to tell me if HMAT Karoo (might be Karroo) sailed from Alexandria, Egypt, to Lemnos or Gallipoli departing around 30/8/1915 and arriving around 7/9/1915, and which Australian troops she carried on that voyage

Or alternatively can you suggest from where I can source this information?

Thanks,

Fred

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johnmelling1979

Hello

Its name was Troopship HMAT Karroo (A10)

A picture of it in 1916 is in here

https://discoverytrailscomau.wordpress.com/18-1-5-hmat-australian-ships-during-ww1/

 

Transport Duties Dardanelles Operations 1915 - 1916

 

Also its mentioned in the very useful book here, with careful eyes looking in each convoy you will spot where its departing from in Australia  

Melbourne and Sydney seem to be mentioned a few time

No destinations though

https://issuu.com/anmmuseum/docs/sea_transport_of_the_aif

 

John

Edited by johnmelling1979
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Frederick

Thanks for your help John. If the SS Karroo did leave from Alexandria on around that date, it will provide the missing piece to an intriguing story regarding my uncle that I will be happy to share with you later.

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Fred,

 

the file WO25/3542 would likely answer your question.  It contains lists of ships which sailed from 'abroad' to 'abroad' (where 'abroad' means not the UK) for the third quarter of 1915.  Sadly it has not been digitised and can only be examined by visiting The National Archives in Kew which is of course shut at the moment due to COVID19.

 

It may not help, but the Karroo had arrived in Alexandria on 18 July 1915, having sailed from Devonport in the UK on 5 July 1915. 

 

Good luck in your hunt,

 

David.

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Frederick

David , thanks for your input. The "minor" difficulty there is that I live in Melbourne, Australia, and flights are a tad hard to get right now!

The reason for my inquiry (which might enthuse other researchers) is that I think my uncle might have jumped on a troopship at Alexandria out of sheer boredom on or about 30th August 1915 to get to the front at Gallipoli. At least that is what dates on his letters suggest.

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Fred,

 

that certainly makes things a little trickier!  But you can commission either TNA or a private researcher to look this up for you once TNA re-opens.  The TNA site tells you how to ask them to do it.  It is though apparently usually cheaper to get a private researcher to do this.  You can find members of the Forum who are willing to recommend someone by searching for "researcher" on the Forum.

 

The embarkation returns name officers and give their regiments, but just give numbers of other ranks for each unit, so depending on your uncle's rank (or the story he spun the transportation officer at Alexandria) you might just be able to confirm the family story. 

 

There are also disembarkation returns in the WO25 series, and the one for travel "between stations abroad" for the second half of 1915 is WO25/3703.  I'm afraid I've never examined these so couldn't comment on what they contain.

 

All the best,

 

David

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Frederick

David, a little more detail in order to explain my strange requests about troopship names . My uncle looked after horses in a transport ship called (possibly) “Indian” off the coast of Gallipoli for three weeks from 26/4/15, then returned to Alexandria mid May. From his letters, he was bored witless after several months there. His last letter from there was dated 20th August when he spoke of there being a chance he could join the infantry. His next letter was from Gallipoli “in the trenches” and dated 9th September. Later that month on 21st September, a Court of Inquiry in Gallipoli found him guilty of being awol for 8 days from 31/8 to 7/9 and classified him as being a Deserter  but his punishment was merely forfeiture of pay and FP2. But how did he get to Gallipoli? We suspect he somehow got on to the Karroo which he mentions in his 9/9 letter as being in Mudros when he was there too. Or maybe he got on the Southland which carried the 21st Infantry (departing on the right date), and which was torpedoed en route, with surviving men being transferred to the Partridge, and arrived in Gallipoli on 7/9.

 

So this might just be one of those (what I believe to be unusual) cases of a soldier “deserting to the front”. I would love to prove it correct, as you will understand !

 

Fred

 

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Fred,

 

yes, I can fully understand what you're trying to do.  Proving it may never be possible, but, as a I say, what you can do is give a researcher all of the details you want them to look for (range of dates of departures from Alexandria bound for Gallipoli, Lemnos or Imbros and range of dates for arrivals) and ask them to photograph every relevant page for you.  (TNA permits photographing documents for personal research purposes).   You could also specify your uncle's unit in case they spot a ship with one or more men from his unit aboard, though I'd guess that if he was 'deserting to the front' that he might have had to be rather more clandestine about who he was or how he got aboard.

 

I would offer to do this for you next time I visit TNA, but my current assumption is that that's unlikely to be this calendar year, I'm afraid.

 

David.

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Frederick

Thanks for your replies to my posting David, it is hugely appreciated. I take on board your advice about a private researcher at TNA, and if you are willing to do that for me, I would certainly not look elsewhere. It appears that TNA only closed on 13 May (surprising in itself given how much more conservative we have been here in Australia with libraries closed since late March) and they are talking about being closed until the end of June. So perhaps the timeline may be shorter than we estimated. My book is most unlikely to be ready for the publisher before then, and Len's small story is such an interesting part of it that I am prepared to wait and see in regard to TNA.

Cheers,

Fred

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  • 1 month later...
Frederick

Hi again David and others who tried to assist me in my inquiries a few months back re the movements of the transport ship "Karroo". I have had a guy searching files for me at the Aust. War Memorial without success. There seems to be a gap in records regarding the "Karroo" movements around the late August 1915 period in which I am interested. But does anyone have any knowledge about what another troopship, the HMAT A74  "Beltana" was doing in that last week of August/first week of September, 1915? And did she carry both British and Australian troops?

Fred

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Hi again Fred. 

 

Good to hear from you.  I'm afraid I don't have any information about the 'Beltana'.  There seem quite a few references to it on various sites - though they give the pennant number as A72 - which might help?  There might also again be information in the WO25 series at Kew, but with the current restrictions,  it will probably be several months sadly before I am able to get back there.  

 

All the best,

 

David.

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terryb95

Have you had a look at the National Archives Australia for his Service record

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terryb95

Try the Australian War Memorial They hold The Troopships and cargo Carrier movement cards for 1914-1918 They have on their web page a didital down load for 1916 only

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Jeff Pickerd

Frederick,

The HMAT Karroo A10 was renumbered for the landing fleet of the ANZAC forces, it’s new number was A19.

Along with the transport ships Indian A16 and Cardiganshire A18 they were all vessels carrying the Australian Field Artillery to support the landing.

It would seem your man was allotted to taking care of the Artillery gun horses on board the Karroo, as there were no suitable sites on shore for the gun horses and wagons to operate, with the few teams landed being sent back to their ships.

I would suggest that you go through the artillery war diaries digitally available from the AWM to see if there is any further useful information.

The HMAT Beltane was A72. Have not had a chance as yet to see if I can find any information on its movements during August 1915.

 

Jeff

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  • 1 month later...

Good morning Jeff, David, and others,

This is just about my "last throw at the stumps" in trying to find information on the Beltana and the Karroo voyages in late August/early September 1915, and whether either ship moved British troops from Alexandra to Lemnos. Searches at the Aust. National Archives and the Aust. War memorial have been fruitless for the couple of weeks in question, even though I believe both ships were in the Mediterranean. The only remaining option seems to be the National Archives at Kew, A bit difficult with me being in Melbourne! Any comments on that idea?

Fred

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Hello Fred

 

The Headquarters 1st Australian Field Artillery Brigade War Diary indicates the HT Indian departed Alexandria on 9th April and arrived at Mudros on 11th April with the 1st AFA Brigade Headquarters, 2nd Battery AFA and 1st AFA Brigade Ammunition Column. It departed for Gaba Tepe on 25th April, which is confirmed by the Embarkation Officer (Mudros) War Diary. Other Batteries from the Brigade were on board HT Atlantian and HT Cardiganshire. One Section of 2nd Battery was towed to shore from HT Indian but returned to the ship. HT Indian proceeded to Xeros Bay on 27th and arrived back at Gaba Tepe on 30th.

 

Karroo began embarking 2nd AFAB, 4th and 5th Batteries, along with 8th Battery at Alexandria on 9th April and arrived at Mudros on 12th April. It left the port on 23rd April and anchored outside, departing for Anzac Cove on 25th. A portion of the Headquarters and 1 Sub-section of the 4th Battery with 12 horses, one gun and two wagons were landed at Anzac Cove at 3.30pm. Four more guns of 4th and 5th Batteries were landed on 26th April, (Reference 2nd AFAB Brigade War Diary).

 

For information the Karroo is mentioned in the remarks column of the 1st AFA Brigade War Diary on 6th April at Mudros.

 

From the Embarkation Officer (Mudros) War Diary, the Beltana arrived at Mudros harbour on Tuesday 31st August with Artillery H.Q., 52nd Division, detachment 1/16th Royal Scots, Details A.F.A. and reinforcements 29th Division. It sailed for Alexandria on 6th September after which it returned to Australia via The Cape. The Beltana is mentioned as being in the harbour on 5th September in the Headquarters 54th Brigade RFA War Diary.

 

Again, from the Embarkation Officer (Mudros) War Diary, the Karroo, also spelt in the diary as Karoo, Karoa and Karroa, arrived at Mudros on 3rd September with details of 11th, 13th, 29th, 42nd, 2nd Mounted and Royal Naval Divisions, reinforcements A & N.Z. Corps. The Karoa sailed for Malta on 4th September.

 

The TNA file WO25/3703 mentioned above is huge. It contains returns for ships and the units embarking on board. and also has some named officers although I haven’t as yet transcribed them; I have partially photographed the file but only have images for December, some 202 pages.

 

I hope that helps and apologies in advance for any mistakes.

Alan

Edited by alantwo
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