World War Two – 1944 BAAG sketches of Japanese ships in Hong Kong

Elizabeth Ride: BAAG agents sometimes made outline sketches of shipping seen in HK harbour.  Here are six dated 15 Sep 1944.

Hugh Farmer: Straying somewhat from the industrial history of HK I thought however it would be of interest to find out a little more about these ships. A couple have a closer connection to HK that just being spotted in HK harbour. My main source of information has been wrecksite though a couple of the ships already have a mention in other articles on the website.

Wrecksite usually provides a photo of the ship so you can compare what the BAAG agent saw, or at least drew, and what the camera took. As Elizabeth adds in the comment below These sketches are drawn from details memorised by BAAG agents (they obviously could not draw them in situ). The sketches accompanied actual reports.

As you will see I cannot find details about the Tenichi Maru.

Choan Maru – Luxury liner from the OSK line.
Built 1927. Sunk 10th May 1944
http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?137681

choan maru BAAG image

Tenichi Maru
No further information on wrecksite. However, Elizabeth has added notes describing the ship, its time in Hong Kong and especially in Taikoo Dockyards in the first comment below.
Passenger and cargo ship
Date seen: 30 Jul 44
Position: east of Taikoo dock
Colour: dark grey
Tonnage: about 500 tons
See  also Indhhk article Taikoo Dockyard

Tenichi Maru BAAG

Shinshu Maru – Landing Ship
Built 1935. Sunk 3rd Jan 1945 (Wikipedia says Construction began 8th April 1933, Launched 14th March 1934)
http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?109971

Shinshu Maru

Kanzan Maru – Cargo Ship (I am cannot find information about the Kanzan Maru. Should this be the Kazan Maru? But then as stated below this was sunk in 1943 and this BAAG report is from 1944. Am I missing something? Clarification would be useful)

Elizabeth has added further details about the ship in HK and of undergoing repairs at Taikoo Dockyards.
Built 1935. Damaged by US submarine 23rd Oct 1943, sank the following day.
http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?179428

Kanzan Maru BAAG

Heikai Maru – Cargo Ship
Built 1945  ( according to wrecksite however the BAAG report seen below says “under construction 24th Oct 1944”)
Elizabeth adds in her second comment below further details about the ship’s time in HK and Taikoo Dockyards.
Including – On 11.8.44 BAAG reported: “Work on this vessel which commenced in March 44 has been suspended pending shipment to Hongkong from Formosa of 1 and a quarter inch rivets which cannot be manufactured in Hongkong, the Taikoo dockyard being able to turn out 7/8″ rivets only”.
Bombed and Sunk in HK Harbour 3rd April 1945
http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?134657
see Indhhk article Taikoo Dockyard

Heikai Maru BAAG

Koto Maru- Passenger/Cargo Ship
Built 1939. Sunk 31st May 1944
http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?137733

Koto Maru

Further information:

Related Indhhkk articles:

The website has several articles about BAAG reports from HK during WW2 and about various aspects of life in HK during the Japanese occupation. The index shows all of these.

 

choan maru image

3 Comments

  • Elizabeth Ride

    Hugh – These sketches are drawn from details memorised by BAAG agents (they obviously could not draw them in situ). The sketches accompanied actual reports.

    The details about the Tenichi Maru are as follows:
    “[Japanese characters]
    Passenger and cargo ship
    Date seen: 30 Jul 44
    Position: east of Taikoo dock
    Colour: dark grey
    Tonnage: about 500 tons
    Dimensions: length 140′ approx, beam 25′ approx
    Hull structure: flush-decked with raised forecastle. Vertical bow. Counter stern
    Superstructure: composite with one deck
    Funnel: thin, one midships
    Masts: 2 square masts, setting: M-F-M
    Engine: coal-burning
    Armaments: amidships 1 AAMG on bridge, 1 AAMG abaft funnel
    Crew: about 35
    Arrival: 4 Jul 44
    Repairs: vessel entered dock on 10 Jul for painting.”

    There are similar reports for approx 400 Japanese vessels and sketches of about 100 of them in the BAAG papers. I am glad to supply any of these. Best wishes, Elizabeth.

  • Elizabeth Ride

    Hugh – the details of the sighting of the KANZAN MARU are as follows:

    [Japanese characters]
    Cargo ship
    Date seen: 23 Jul 44
    Position: alongside Taikoo Docks
    Colour: light grey
    Tonnage: about 2000 tons
    Dimensions: length 190 ft approx, beam 25 ft across
    Hull structure: well-decked, vertical bow, counter stern
    Superstructure: composite with one deck
    Funnel: 1, thin, upright, midships
    Masts: 2 square masts, setting M-F-M
    Engine: coal-burning
    Armament: amidships – 1 AAMG on bridge
    Crew: about 45 Chinese and Japanese
    Arrival: 20 Jun 44 from Swabue
    Inward cargo: about 150 tins of aviation spirit, now stored in Kowloon godowns
    Repairs: Entered Taikoo Docks for repairs to engine room. Many bullet holes were found on the sides of the ship. Vessel left dock on 25 Jul 44.

    Reports re the HEIKAI MARU [Japanese characters].
    On 11.8.44 BAAG reported: “Work on this vessel which commenced in March 44 has been suspended pending shipment to Hongkong from Formosa of 1 and a half inch rivets which cannot be manufactured in Hongkong, the Taikoo dockyard being able to turn out 7/8″ rivets only”.
    Note October 44: “Length previously reported as 300-310 ft. Launched 21st July. Work held up due to shortage of boiler rivets.”
    Report dated Sept 44: “An additional deck is being added to the superstructure of the newly-built Heikai Maru [characters] but work has been suspended”
    Report Nov 44: “Heikai Maru [characters] tonnage 2700, berthed alongside dock off the main office still under construction”.:
    Report 28.2.45: “Hongkong was heavily raided by about 300 Allied aircraft on 16th January… …the Heikai Maru [characters], just completed and about to leave the dock, suffered heavy damage.”

    The Kanzan Maru was previously reported as S.S. “Kwongtung”.

    Best wishes, Elizabeth

    • Many thanks Elizabeth.

      I have inserted a summary of the extra information you include about the three ships in these two comments directly into the main article.

      Hugh

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