Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

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Sid Guttridge
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Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Oct 2019 11:55

Hi Guys,

According to p.219 of Home Port Singapore (Singapore, 1967), 86 small, shallow-draught, merchant vessels of three classes ("B", "C" and "Shelt") were ordered by the British Ministry of War Transport for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia - 51 in the UK and 35 in Canada. They were to be operated by three pre-war British shipping companies with Far East experience and manned on the lower deck by nearly 3,000 seamen of the Chinese Sailors Reserve Pool.

The Canadian orders were cancelled, but at least some of the British-built ones were completed in small yards and despatched to the east just before the end of the war. The first convoy of one "B" Type, three "C" Types and nine "Shelt" Types left Falmouth on 8 August 1945, shortly before Japan capitulated.

All I have on them is the following:

"B" Type. A modified Pahang coaster design of just under 1,000t. (Pahang was a 1,136t vessel launched in 1939).

"C" Type. An improved Resang coaster design of 394t. (Resang was a 314dwt vessel launched in November 1941.)

"Shelt" Type. Coaster of about 75t. Possibly operated by Straits Steamship Company.

Apart from this one reference, I can find nothing else on these construction programmes.

Has anyone else anything on them?

Many thanks for any assistance,

Sid.

P.S. Apparently Australia also built some small coasters of 309-tons and 257-tons in 1945 for use in Borneo and Sarawak. Four were later named Kinabalu, Klias, Temburong and Timbali. Does anyone know about this construction programme?

EwenS
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Re: Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945

Post by EwenS » 04 May 2020 12:27

Don’t know if you are still searching but I have this from “Wartime Standard Ships” by Nick Robins published by Seaforth in 2017.

Type B coaster 1200 tons dwt capacity with Empire P names e.g. Empire Pattern. Modelled on Coast Lines engines-aft, bridge-midships motor ships like Fife Coast from 1930s but with triple expansion steam engines due to shortage of diesels. 7 built in British yards an 15 in Canada.

Type C coaster 300 tons dwt capacity with Empire M names e.g. Empire Maysong. 11 built in Britain and 20 in Canada.

Also the shelter deck versions of the F class prefabricated coasters of 400 tons dwt, built with Empire S names (e.g. Empire Seabright), of which 23 were built for service in the Far East.

Very few of the British ships built for the Far East were finished in time to see war service.

The Canadian ships were ordered by the MoWT in Jan 1945. The B type, or China type in Canada, were built on the west coast. The C type in yards on the Great Lakes and Maritime Provinces. They had names beginning Ottawa P and Ottawa M respectively. None were delivered by VJ Day and only Ottawa Maycove by the end of 1945. All were sold part completed, with the B type going to owners in the Far East and C type to local Canadian owners.

There was also the TED and TES (Tanker Eastern Diesel/Steam) of c900 tons dwt. 20 were built 1945/6 but none in time for war service.

I can recommend the book for an overview of Standard ship production in both World Wars in both Allied and Axis nations.

EwenS
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Re: Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945

Post by EwenS » 04 May 2020 14:03

Coincidentally, while looking for something else this turned up. Scan down towards bottom for details of Ottawa ships.
http://shipbuildinghistory.com/canadaships/wwtwo.htm

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Andy H
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Re: Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945

Post by Andy H » 04 May 2020 14:37

Sid Guttridge wrote:
28 Oct 2019 11:55
Hi Guys,

According to p.219 of Home Port Singapore (Singapore, 1967), 86 small, shallow-draught, merchant vessels of three classes ("B", "C" and "Shelt") were ordered by the British Ministry of War Transport for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia - 51 in the UK and 35 in Canada. They were to be operated by three pre-war British shipping companies with Far East experience and manned on the lower deck by nearly 3,000 seamen of the Chinese Sailors Reserve Pool.

The Canadian orders were cancelled, but at least some of the British-built ones were completed in small yards and despatched to the east just before the end of the war. The first convoy of one "B" Type, three "C" Types and nine "Shelt" Types left Falmouth on 8 August 1945, shortly before Japan capitulated.

All I have on them is the following:

"B" Type. A modified Pahang coaster design of just under 1,000t. (Pahang was a 1,136t vessel launched in 1939).

"C" Type. An improved Resang coaster design of 394t. (Resang was a 314dwt vessel launched in November 1941.)

"Shelt" Type. Coaster of about 75t. Possibly operated by Straits Steamship Company.

Apart from this one reference, I can find nothing else on these construction programmes.

Has anyone else anything on them?

Many thanks for any assistance,

Sid.

P.S. Apparently Australia also built some small coasters of 309-tons and 257-tons in 1945 for use in Borneo and Sarawak. Four were later named Kinabalu, Klias, Temburong and Timbali. Does anyone know about this construction programme?
Hi Sid

Further to Ewans great post, I can add the following from The Empire Ships by Mitchell and Sawyer (ISBN 1850442754) Pg256-7 in regards to the Shelt type vessels. These were prefabricated shelter-deck vessels, 148ft x 27ft weighing 522gt and capable of 7.5kts.
EMPIRE SEASCAPE, EMPIRE SEASHORE, EMPIRE SEAWARD, EMPIRE SEAWAY, EMPIRE SEAFARER, EMPIRE SEAGRASS, EMPIRE SEAWORTHY, EMPIRE SEAFLOWER, EMPIRE SEABRIGHT, EMPIRE SEABANK and EMPIRE SEAFOAM.
All were built by Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing Co.Ltd. EMPIRE SEASHORE was the last survivor of all 11 vessels, being scrapped in 1986 in Singapore.

At the end of July 1945 the first convoy consisting of 1 B Type, 3 C Types and 9 Schelts was ready to leave Falmouth and a few days after setting sail, the war ended. The delivery convoys would be in groups of the smaller types (C & Shelts) escorted by the larger B types, which were fitted with wireless telegraphy.

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945

Post by Andy H » 04 May 2020 14:46

Hi Sid

From the same source as above but on Pg 260-1

Henry Scarr Ltd, Hessle, built the following Shelt vessels
EMPIRE SEASHELTIE, EMPIRE SEABEACH, EMPIRE SEAHAWK, EMPIRE SEAFRONT, EMPIRE SEABOY, EMPIRE SEABREEZE, EMPIRE SEACOAST, EMPIRE SEAGULL, EMPIRE SEABIRD, EMPIRE SEALION, EMPIRE SEAPORT and EMPIRE SEAVIEW.
The last one afloat being EMPIRE SEABREEZE (renamed MERCURY now) which foundered off Tumpat, Malaysia in 1984.
They also built under license (from Grangemouth Dockyard Company) 3 coasters of the B-Type and named them Bentong, Bidor and Braus.

It goes on to mention that 2 more of the Shelt type vessels were purchased from a Cypriot based firm, thus the Starits SS Co.Ltd owned 18 of the 23 Shelts that had been built.

Regards

Andy H

EwenS
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Re: Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945

Post by EwenS » 04 May 2020 18:36

Andy
Seems like the Shelt you mention is the same as my “shelter deck version of the F type”. We both have Empire Seabright and the same total built of 23. Presumably “Shelt” from Shelter Deck.

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Andy H
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Re: Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945

Post by Andy H » 04 May 2020 19:10

EwenS wrote:
04 May 2020 18:36
Andy
Seems like the Shelt you mention is the same as my “shelter deck version of the F type”. We both have Empire Seabright and the same total built of 23. Presumably “Shelt” from Shelter Deck.
Hi Ewen

Essentially yes, the book states "Known as Shelts, they were built on the same prefabricated straight-line form as were the Empire F-Type coasters and the Chant tankers......a gangway door serving 'tween decks, was fitted to each side of the Shelt type ships"

Regards

Andy H

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 May 2020 19:37

Hi EarnS and Andy H,

Having asked the question in the first place, I seem to have forgotten the thread entirely.

My apologies.

You have both given exceptionally useful replies of high standard.

Many thanks indeed.

I will try to be less of an ingrate next time.

An appreciative Sid.

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