1937 SS Talamba off Devil's Peak | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1937 SS Talamba off Devil's Peak

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1937 SS Talamba off Devil's Peak

The ship was driven ashore in the great typhoon of 2 Sep 1937.

degahkg has written a brief history of the Talamba in the comments below.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Thursday, September 2, 1937


As there is a problem with the Cruisingtalk web site I have put together a brief history of the TALAMBA drawn from “The British India Steam Navigation Company Ltd.” W.A. Laxton & F.W. Perry published by the World Ship Society ISBN O 905617 65 7.

The liner TALAMBA was built in 1924 by R. & W. Hawthorn Leslie & Co. Hebburn Newcastle UK. One of three sister ships -TAIREA and TAKLIWA (built by Barclay Curle & Co. Glasgow) for the British India Steam Navigation Company Ltd. (B.I.) The TALAMBA was powered by 2 sets of 4 cyl. triple expansion engines with steam supplied by from seven oil fired boilers giving a speed of 17 knots. They were the only ships in the extensive B.I.  fleet to have three funnels - the third was a dummy.


B.I. named their ships after places in Asia, particularly the Indian sub- continent. The TALAMBA was named after a town near Multan in Pakistan.

The ship mainly sailed between Calcutta, Rangoon, Penang and Singapore with occasional voyages further north to China and Japan.

The serious grounding during the 1937 typhoon at Hong Kong was not the only dramatic event in the liner’s service. In September 1924 whilst sailing north from Singapore there was an attempt to rush the bridge by Chinese deportees. With the assistance of the cruiser H.M.S. CARLISLE the incident was contained and the ship was escorted to Hong Kong. (Any record of this incident in the HK press?)

Requisitioned in September 1938 the TALAMBA became a hospital ship in June 1941 and assisted in the evacuation of Singapore in January 1942. During the invasion of Sicily on 10th July 1943 the ship, despite being clearly marked as a hospital ship, was attacked twice by a German bomber causing fatal damage. Fortunately all 400 wounded aboard were rescued. However, five crew from the engine room died.

So on the 27th November 1937 there were three liners in Hong Kong all built by Hawthorn Leslie.






The atttack on officers on the Talamba by Chinese deportees occurred in September 1926. Accounts in the newspapers of the day appear here

Many thanks to moddsey for providing the link to the press reports which fully describe the incident aboard the ship and the subsequent murder trial in Hong Kong. 

Thanks degahkg