SS Clan Chisholm (1937)

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SS Clan Chisholm.jpg
United Kingdom
Name: Clan Chisholm
Owner: Clan Line Steamers Ltd, London[1]
Operator: Cayzer, Irvine & Co Ltd, London[1]
Port of registry: Glasgow[1]
Builder: Greenock & Grangemouth Dockyard Co Ltd, Greenock[1]
Yard number: 429[2]
Launched: 5 August 1937[2]
Completed: 1937[1]
Fate: sunk by torpedo, 17 October 1939[3]
General characteristics
Class and type: Cameron-class steamship
Length: 463.7 feet (141.3 m) p/p[1]
Beam: 63.0 feet (19.2 m)[1]
Depth: 29.9 feet (9.1 m)[1]
Installed power: 1,043 NHP[1]
Propulsion: 2 × steam triple expansion engines; low pressure exhaust steam turbines; twin screw[1]
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h)[4]
Crew: 78[3]
Sensors and
processing systems:
direction finding equipment; echo sounding device; gyrocompass[1]

SS Clan Chisholm was a British cargo steamship. She was torpedoed and sunk in the Second World War while carrying cargo from India to Scotland.


Clan Chisholm was one of the Clan Line's Cameron-class steamships, built by the Greenock & Grangemouth Dockyard Co Ltd, Greenock[1] and launched on 5 August 1937.[2] She was registered in Glasgow.[1]

Chisholm had a pair of three-cylinder steam triple expansion engines and a pair of low pressure steam turbines, all built by J.G. Kincaid & Co of Greenock.[1] Each turbine was powered by exhaust steam from the low-pressure cylinder of one of the piston engines.[1] The combined power output of this plant was rated at 1,043 NHP.[1] She was propelled by twin screws, each driven by one triple-expansion engine and one turbine.

Final voyage and sinking[edit]

On 3 September 1939, the day that the UK declared war on Germany, Chisholm was crossing the Bay of Bengal from Chittagong in Bengal to Madras in India, where she arrived on 5 September.[5] On 9 September she sailed for Glasgow carrying 3,300 tons of tea, 1,900 tons of jute, 1,750 tons of pig iron and 2,600 tons of general cargo.[3] Her Master was Francis Stenson.[3]

Chisholm crossed the Indian Ocean, calling at Tuticorin on 13 September, Colombo in Ceylon overnight on the 14–15th, Aden on the 23rd and Suez on the 30th.[5] She passed through the Suez Canal to Port Said where she joined Convoy Blue 3, which sailed on 1 October and reached Gibraltar on the 11th.[5] There she joined Convoy HG 3 which sailed on 13 October and was to take her as far as Liverpool.[5]

On the evening of 17 October German submarine U-48, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze, sighted Chisholm under way some 150 nautical miles (280 km) northwest of Cape Finisterre.[3] At 2032 hrs Schultze hit Chisholm with a torpedo that failed to explode.[3] At 2035 he hit her with a second torpedo, which detonated.[3] Chisholm sank in a few minutes and four crew members were killed.[3] Captain Stenson and 41 other survivors were rescued by the Swedish cargo ship MV Bardaland and landed at Kirkwall.[3] Another 17 were picked up by the Norwegian whaling ship Skudd, and the remaining 15 were rescued by the Union-Castle Line ship MV Warwick Castle.[3]

SS Clan Chisholm (1937) is located in North Atlantic
SS Clan Chisholm (1937)
Approximate position of Clan Chisholm's wreck in the North Atlantic

Replacement ship[edit]

In 1944 the same shipbuilder, Greenock Dockyard Co Ltd, completed a replacement Clan Chisholm for Clan Line.[6] Compared with her predecessor, the new Chisholm had almost the same length and beam, a pair of Kincaid triple-expansion engines of the same dimensions and with the same arrangement of feeding exhaust steam to low-pressure turbines.[6] However, her depth was 38.1 feet (11.6 m),[6] which was 8.2 feet (2.5 m) greater than her predecessor. Her GRT was 9,581,[6] which was 2,325 tons bigger than her predecessor. She survived the war but later suffered a fire and in August 1962 was scrapped in Hong Kong.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1937–38. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Cameron, Stuart; Strathdee, Paul; Biddulph, Bruce (2002–2013). "Clan Chisholm". Clydebuilt database. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2013). "Clan Chisholm". Ships hit by U-boats. Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Allen, Tony (31 July 2013). "SS Clan Chisholm [+1939]". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hague, Arnold. "Ship Movements". Port Arrivals/Departures. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1945–46. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Cameron, Stuart; Campbell, Colin; Strathdee, Paul; Robinson, George (2002–2013). "Clan Chisholm". Clydebuilt database. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 

Coordinates: 45°15′N 15°5′W / 45.250°N 15.083°W / 45.250; -15.083