BAAG Naval Section Intelligence Summary, mid to late September 1942, ship repair, maintenance and movements

Elizabeth Ride has sent the Naval section of a British Army Aid Group (BAAG) Waichow Intelligence Summary (WIS No.7) dated 27th September 1942. This covers shipping movements in and out of Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation in World War Two during September 1942.

These reports also describes time spent by vessels undergoing repairs and maintenance in a number of Hong Kong shipyards.

They also offer a wide range of other information including that concerning the Japanese Army and Air Force and other aspects of life in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation in which you may be interested. This is not usually included here. To see the full reports please refer to Further Information below.

HF: To aid research I have attempted to summarize and list the most salient points covered in the report under three sections:-

Firstly, Locations mentioned – both shipyards in HK and ports vessels have come from or are going to in South and East Asia.

Secondly, the names of Ships mentioned. This has not always been easy. My inability to read Chinese or Japanese is a clear hindrance. Plus even when in English whether typed or handwritten they are sometimes semi-legible. Any corrections or clarification would be helpful.

Thirdly, under Miscellaneous I have noted any items that I think might be of interest.

Further information regarding subjects mentioned in this report including images of the ships would be very welcome.

Locations:Taikoo Dock, Naval Dockyard, Aberdeen, Kowloon Docks, Formosa, Tsing Tao

Ships mentioned: cargo ship Toi Tung Maru, merchantman Shin Tao Maru, ex-HMS Moth [Imperial Japanese Navy Suma], ex-Chinese Maritime Customs Cruiser Fei Sing, HK Boom Defence Vessel Barlight [built by Lobnitz & Co, Renfrew, Scotland. Commissioned 12/12/1938. Scuttled in Hong Kong on 19/12/1941. Raised by the Japanese and commissioned on 20/9/1942 at Netlayer 101. Sunk on 15/6/1944 off Saipan], unnamed tanker, diesel engine fishing boat Tai Sun Maru, SS Ming Sang, SS Mau Lee, SS Monarch, two iron barges, tug boat Fei Sing, HMS Barlight, tanker – salvaged in Aberdeen, diesel engined fishing boats: Tai Sun Maru (plus others in Japanese script),

Former HMS Moth during service as the IJN’s Suma in 1942 Courtesy: Wikipedia

[HMS Moth/IJN Suma biographical extracts –
1914: Laid down at Sunderland Shipbuilding, UK as an “Insect-class” gunboat to counter Austro-Hungarian monitors on the River Danube.
9 October 1915:
Launched, named and numbered HMS MOTH (T69).
5 January 1916:
Completed and registered in the Royal Navy.
12 June 1920:
The “Long Tow Squadron” arrives in Hong Kong. Moth remains in HK refitting until October then serves on the West River.
1 May to 4 June 1941: Repaired at Hong Kong.
11 December 1941: Port of Hong Kong. Sometime prior to the outbreak of the war, HMS MOTH had been drydocked in Hong Kong Navy Yard to repair her bottom plating. As most of the yard personnel had been mobilized, the work was never completed. Most of her armament was landed and the crew sent ashore to defend the city. HMS MOTH and auxiliary minesweeper HMS MARGARET probably sink when the drydock they are in is intentionally scuttled.
24 December 1941: Japanese troops capture the navy yard.
1 July 1942: HMS MOTH is salvaged by the IJN. LtCdr Asahi Tatsuo (53) is appointed the CO. The gunboat begins an extensive rebuild scheduled to be completed on 20 July. The former superstructure is replaced by a partially armored bridge.
14 July 1942: Registered in the Sasebo Naval District as a gunboat and renamed SUMA. Attached to Admiral (Admiral of the Fleet, posthumously) Koga Mineichi’s (34)(former CO of ISE) China Area Fleet’s Second China Expeditionary Fleet’s 15th Squadron.
August-September 1942: Spends these months at Hong Kong fitting out.
3 October 1942: The rebuild is completed.
15 October 1942: SUMA is reassigned to the Pearl River Basin Guard Fleet. Departs Hong Kong for Lingting Island, Pearl River Delta stopping at Chingshan enroute.
24 October 1942: Returns to Hong Kong to avoid an incoming storm.
(frequent visits to HK 1942-1945)
19 March 1945: Yangtze River. At 0814 returns to Kiangyin to wait until the river is swept for mines. At 1435, SUMA and NARUMI depart Kiangyin. At 1526, 51 miles above Kiangyin neat Tienshenchiao, SUMA grazes a mine laid by 14th Air Force planes on 4 Mar ‘45. An explosion amidships under her port boiler room causes a heavy leak, demolishing most of the upper works. A list to port side begins, increasing until the gunboat finally sinks at 32-00N, 120-00E.
10 May 1945: Removed from the Navy List.] (Source 1)

Miscellaneous: four unnamed new British ships at Kowloon Docks to be completed ASAP, sketches of Kowloon Docks and Kowloon Hospital “attached”



  1. Biography of HMS Moth/Japanese Suma –

Further information:

  1. For general information about the Elizabeth Ride collection, her father Sir Lindsay Ride, and the British Army Aid group during WW2 a very useful introduction is through
  2. The BAAG papers are kept at the  Hong Kong Heritage Project

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