MS Sobieski

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HMS Sobieski in wartime service
OwnerGdynia-America Line – GAL
Port of registry1950–1975: Odessa,  Soviet Union
RouteSouth America service
BuilderSwan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Wallsend.
Launched25 August 1938
Completed15 June 1939
Maiden voyage15 June 1939
Out of service1939 taken up as troopship
Fate1975 scrapped at La Spezia
  • 1947 returned to civilian service
  • 1950 sold to Russia renamed Gruziya
General characteristics
Tonnage11,030 GRT
Length155.85 m (511 ft 4 in)
Beam20.41 m (67 ft 0 in)
Draft8.30 m (27 ft 3 in)
Installed powerEngines by J. G. Kincaid & Co, Greenock
Speed17 knots (31 km/h)
Capacity44 first-class, 250 third-class and 850 emigrants

MS Sobieski was a Polish passenger ship launched in 1939. It was constructed for the South American service of the Gdynia-America Line – GAL to replace the aging SS Kościuszko and SS Pulaski. She was named in honour of the Polish king Jan III Sobieski. Sobieski was to be a sister ship to the MS Chrobry.[2]

Maiden Voyage[edit]

Sobieski only managed one journey before the war, arriving in Buenos Aires on the 10th of July 1939.[3]

Wartime Service[edit]

The ship was used as a troopship in the Allied evacuation of western France in 1940 (Operation Aerial), where she was one of the last ships to leave St Jean de Luz during the final evacuation of Polish troops from France, and in the Battle of Dakar. During Operation Streamline Jane, the invasion of Madagascar, in May, 1942, Sobieski was the flag ship.[4]

She was also used to transport the British 18th Division to the defence of Singapore.


At the end of the war she repatriated the remnants of that division's Cambridgeshire Regiment that had survived captivity at the hands of the Japanese in Malaya and Thailand. She also returned former Changi prisoners of war (POWs) from Singapore, sailing via Cape Town and docking at Liverpool during a dockworkers' strike. Disgusted, dismayed ex-POWs had to unload their own baggage, such as it was.

Between 1947-1950, Sobieski sailed on the GenoaHalifaxNew York route, under the Polish flag.[5]

The vessel was sold to Russia in 1950 and renamed Gruziya and scrapped in Italy in 1975.



  1. ^ "Ship Descriptions - S". Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson". Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Passenger list for MS Chrobry". Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  4. ^ "The History Of The Gdynia America Shipping Lines Co. Ltd". Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21". Archived from the original on 17 September 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2020.