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SS ABA

SS ABA was a 7,937 gross ton passenger ship, 450ft x 55.8ft, twin screw motor ship, speed 14 knots, accommodation for 225-1st, 70-2nd and 70-3rd class passengers. Laid down in 1916 by Barclay, Curle & Co., Glasgow for the Imperial Russian Government, work was suspended when the October Revolution occurred and she was taken over by the Shipping Controller. She was completed in September 1918 as a funnelless, four masted cargo ship and named Glenapp for the Glen Line (McGregor, Gow & Holland). In 1920 she was purchased by the British & African Steam Navigation Co. (Elder Dempster & Co.) and was rebuilt with one funnel, fitted with passenger accommodation and renamed Aba. In November 1921 she commenced Liverpool to West Africa sailings. In December 1929 she was damaged in heavy weather off Kinsale and towed to Queenstown after her steering gear failed. In June 1931 she was grounded at Lagos but refloated and in November 1931 she was laid up at Dartmouth. By April 1933 she was back in service for Elder Lines Ltd and in September 1939 was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to a Naval Hospital Ship. In March 1940 she was transferred to the Army and took part in the evacuation from Norway and was then transferred to Alexandria. In May 1941 she was bombed and damaged off Crete and then used variously on Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East - South Africa services. In March 1944, clearly marked as a hospital ship, she was again bombed at Naples. After repair, she was used in the North Atlantic and after D-Day was used on the Southampton - Cherbourg service. Decommissioned in January 1947 and returned to Elder Dempster & Company, she was too old to be worth reconditioning and was sold to Bawtry Steamship Company, Liverpool and renamed Matrona for conversion to an emigrant carrier. However, when her ballast was removed, she fell onto her side in Bidston Dock. She was eventually righted in June 1948 by seven locomotives on specially built tracks, she was then towed to Barrow-In-Furness where she was scrapped.

[Source: The Ships List]

Last updated 14 November, 2008

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