BAAG records of shipping in HK during 1944-45 – Type F No.18 – built at Kowloon Docks

Elizabeth Ride has British Army Aid Group (BAAG) records of shipping movements for 1944-45 in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation in World War Two.

These provide information not only about the ships themselves but what cargo was being brought into and out of Hong Kong during the latter stages of WW2, passengers carried, and of godowns, docks etc that were being utilised.

The Type F No.18, a small size cargo ship, was seen on 10 Aug 1944

New ship built by Kowloon Docks

Crew of 40 Japanese

An image of this ship would be helpful

This article was first posted on 10th December 2016


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 – Elizabeth M Ride Collection


  • Peter Cundall

    This appears to refer to Army landing ship SS-15 that was completed in January 1945. The ship appears to have been unofficially named 天山丸 Tenzan Maru and after the war retained the same characters being known as Tien Shan and owned by Kwangtung Industrial Corp, Canton and from 5/48 classed as a cargo ship. The ship remained in local service until 1960 when sold to Hwa Tung SS Co, Kaohsiung, Tainwan and renamed Hsing Chung. The ship foundered 1 January 1968 off Penghu Is, Pescadores while en route to Hong Kong.

  • Thomas Chan

    Dear Peter,

    It is a very interesting topic about the IJA SS landing ships.

    The Imperial Japanese Army started building first protoype SS in 1942 and completed in 1943 being named “蛟龍”. The second improved prototype “蟠龍” was completed in 1943. The 3rd SS “海龍”, being the first mass produced ship, was completed probably in 1944 and was subsequently renamed as SS No.3. The first prototype “蛟龍” and second protoype “蟠龍” were also renamed as SS No.1 and SS No.2 respectively. The mass production of SS landing ship was being based on SS No.3 and total 20 were built. Therefore, there are total 22 SSs and named from SS No. 1 to SS No. 22 (there are some other source stating there are total 23 SSs up to SS No.23).

    As all the ships were built during war time with incomplete record (particularly for IJA) and confusing information, the lost of SS landing ships in Japanese and Allies record are contradicting. E.g., SS No.12 has been sunk in Allies record but survived and tranferred to Allies in Japanese offical record (it is believed the Japanese record should be correct). Base on Jacar, only SS No.12 and No. 19 survived. There is a photo in Wiki showing SS No. 19 with a same class ship aside which believed to be SS No.12.

    According to BAAG KWIZ, the Type F is believed to be the IJA SS. The feature desciption about type F with openable bow for tanks is the feature only in SSs and SBs (SB is another IJA landing ship which is the same as IJN 2nd class transport. They are built by IJN and transferred to IJA). And the sketch of Type F and size fully match with SS. In addition, the 4 type F were built in IJA controled Kowloon dockyard is reasonable to be the SSs which built by IJA themselves. The numbering of Type F from No.18 to No.21 also match with SSs (SB starts from No.101). It is believed No.18 to No.21 are the correct ship name to these Type F! And one of them, the SS No.19, did survived!

    It is my first time heard that there is an other SS, the SS No. 15, survived and transferred for civilian use by Taiwan shipping. But I believe ship is not one of the Type F being built in Hong Kong. But, on the other hand, I am very interested if there is any further infomration about this SS-15 and where these records come from.

    Thomas Chan

  • Peter Cundall

    Dear Thomas,

    Thanks for this. The chief secondary source on SS-15 came from the book I co-wrote with Bill Schell called “Register of Japanese Merchant Ships completed in Japan and Empire 1942-45” that was published in 2008 but is now out of print. The primary sources on the wartime construction came from several sources but mainly mainly Microfiche M1655 Reels 258 and 259 obtainable from NARA. This listed ships built in Japan during the war compiled by the United States Strategic Bombing Survey. On post-war info this came again from a number of sources including Lloyds Confidential Index..

    On the SS a total of 27 were laid down but SS-23 built by Ohara was bombed and sunk incomplete and 3 laid down at Kowloon were not completed and were scrapped on the stocks post-war. SS-24 was built by Sanko Osaka but was badly damaged by air attack when fitting out. Some western records claim this ship became Otowa Maru おとわ丸 but there is no evidence to support this- this ship was built by Urabe in 1943. Most likely the Sanko Osaka ship was scrapped early post-war.

    SS-7, SS-12, SS-13 (sunk but salvaged), SS-15, SS-18, SS-19, SS-20 (sunk but salvaged post-war), SS-21 (sunk but salvaged post-war) all survived the war and were used as merchant ships post-war.

    I have a rather nice photo of SS-15 as Hsing Chung taken in HK which I can share with you (but not publish as it came to me via a chain and I don’t know the photo’s owner to contact).My email address is

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