SS Vyner Brooke

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SS Vyner Brooke
Name: Vyner Brooke
Namesake: Sir Charles Vyner Brooke
Owner: Sarawak Steamship Co
Operator: Ritchie & Bisset
Port of registry: Kingdom of Sarawak Kuching
Route: KuchingSingapore
Builder: Ramage & Ferguson Ltd, Leith, Scotland
Yard number: 264
Completed: February 1928
Fate: sunk by aircraft, 14 February 1942
General characteristics
  • 1,679 GRT
  • tonnage under deck 1,133
  • 713 NRT
Length: 240.7 ft (73.4 m)
Beam: 41.3 ft (12.6 m)
Draught: 16 ft 2 34 in (4.95 m)
Depth: 16.1 ft (4.9 m)
Decks: one
Installed power: 297 NHP
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h)
  • 44 1st-class passengers
  • 200+ deck passengers
Notes: royal yacht

SS Vyner Brooke was a Scottish-built steamship that was both the royal yacht of Sarawak and a merchant ship frequently used between Singapore and Kuching. She was named after the 3rd Rajah of Sarawak, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke.


Ship designed by naval architect F.G Ritchie OBE, of Ritchie & Bisset, Singapore. Ramage and Ferguson of Leith, near Edinburgh, Scotland built the ship, completing her in February 1928. She had six corrugated furnaces with a combined grate area of 124 square feet (12 m2) that heated two single-ended boilers with a combined heating surface of 4,390 square feet (408 m2). These fed steam at 180 lbf/in2 to a three-cylinder triple expansion steam engine built by Ramage and Ferguson. The engine was rated at 297 NHP and drove twin screws.[1]

She was 1,679 GRT and had cabins on the upper deck for 44 first-class passengers. She carried lifeboats, rafts and lifebelts for 650 people and could carry at least 200 deck passengers.[citation needed]

Sinking and massacre[edit]

On 14 February 1942 in World War II, while evacuating nurses and wounded servicemen away from Singapore she was bombed by Japanese aircraft and sunk. Some of the survivors who reached Bangka Island east of Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies were massacred by the Imperial Japanese Army. Others were imprisoned in Palembang and Muntok POW camps.


  1. ^ Lloyd's Register, Steamers & Motorships (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1934. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Crabb, Brian James (2006). Beyond the Call of Duty. The Loss of British Commonwealth Mercantile and Service Women at Sea During the Second World War. Donington, Lincolnshire: Shaun Tyas. ISBN 1 900289 66-0. 
  • Foo, Vincent H.K.; Chin, Chai Foh (2001). Story of The Sarawak Steamship Company. Kuching: The Sarawak Steamship Co. ISBN 9834070705. 
  • Laxon, W.A. (2004). The Straits Steamship Fleets. Kuching: The Sarawak Steamship Co. ISBN 9834070713. 
  • Shaw, Ian W. (2010). On Radji Beach. Sydney, NSW: Pan Macmillan Australia. ISBN 978-1-4050-4024-2. OCLC 610570783.