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H.M.T. ‘Nevasa’


(Hired Military Transport)


Contributed by Brian PATON (52A)


Built to celebrate the company's centenary in 1956, SS ‘Nevasa’ spent her first few years trooping. However, as National Service came to an end and air transport became more efficient, the ship was made redundant and laid up in the River Fal in 1962 for two years. SS ‘Nevasa’ was converted to B.I.'s third and largest educational cruise ship at Falmouth in 1964/1965. Her powerful machinery gave her a greater range than the other educational cruise ships and her anti-roll stabilisers provided greater comfort. She ran alongside the SS Uganda between 1968 and 1974. However the SS ‘Nevasa’ was suddenly withdrawn in January 1975 and sent to the breakers in Taiwan, a victim of the 1970's oil crisis.




I believe her maiden voyage was to Malta and her next one was to the Far East – Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. It was on this voyage that I spent four weeks on board with my posting to 2 Infantry Workshop Malaya in October 1956, sailing around the Cape due to the activities concerning the Suez Canal. We made only two ports of call, Dakar in French West Africa and then Durban in South Africa, and then it was non-stop for a fortnight to Singapore.


The photo below was added on 15th April 2021.

Kindly contributed by Peter, son of Brynmor Lewis


The kit bag belonged to my father, Brynmor Lewis, who was born in the valleys. He was en route to R.A.F. Akrotiri in Cyprus to join 6 Squadron as Crew Chief. They were equipped with ‘Venoms’ during the Suez crisis. He left the U.K. in July 1956 which was the maiden voyage of the Nevasa.


‘Brian’s Photo Album’ includes photos of his experiences in Malaya with other ex Arborfield lads.


The photo below was added on 15th December 2015.


The photo shows the H.M.T. Nevasa moored on the river Fal, as mentioned previously by Brian, just downstream of the King Harry chain ferry.  The Editor



(1)   George MILLIE:


(2)   Brian PATON: After receiving your information regarding your father and his return to Blighty on the ‘Nevasa’, I had a further look on the internet and found another article from a pre-war soldier which mentioned the same named vessel, and included a picture (dated 1938), enclosed. I haven't been able to find any history relating to SS ‘Nevasa’ other than that sent to you so if you compare the two photos, there are some structural changes, don’t you think?




(3)   George MILLIE: I have very carefully compared the two photos and have reached the conclusion that they are not the same ship. The 1938 photo is completely different in every detail - the rake of the bow, superstructure, hull, etc., differences too radical for the later one to be a mere refit. I think we'll find that the earlier one was perhaps sunk during WWII or later scrapped and another of the same name built to replace it.


This addition is dated 15th April 2008.  The Editor

The following information has kindly been contributed by Helen Davies who visited the web site via an internet search for the troopship Nevasa. The illustrations are of a post card completed by Helen’s Grandfather on which he recorded the details of his voyage home from India. This HMT Nevasa was built in 1913 and scrapped in Bo’ness (Borrowstounness), Falkirk, in 1948.




reverse of HMT Nevasa Postcard 2w

Helen listed the members of her family who made the voyage, an interesting record of the movement of a service man and his family many years before air trooping became the norm.


Sgt. Isaac Henshall Baldwin. Royal Artillery. (Helen’s Grandad).

Mrs. Constance Georgina Baldwin (Grandmother) known as Kit. Died in 1935 so Helen never met her.

Robert J (10˝ years of age).

Walter E (8 years).

Constance M (6˝ years).

Patricia E (4˝ years).

Kathleen E (1˝ years), Helen’s mother who was born in Murree, Punjab, which is now part of Pakistan.


Additional Information added 15th September 2009.  The Editor

Helen has provided further details of the part the HMT Nevasa played in her family’s life:



Some more info has come out from the family about my Uncle Arthur (known as Peter) Baldwin (son from my grandfather's 2nd marriage)  who travelled on the Nevasa when he was young soldier going  to/from Malaya in the 1960's and as he is no longer with us we cannot check the facts, but it may just give more general info about the journeys made by servicemen and women during its years of service and its various incarnations.


My mother recalls that on her journey home from India there was a really bad storm in the Bay of Biscay (nothing new there!) but reading about the improvements made over time thinks she understands more about how much these would have been appreciated by servicemen, and their families.








Additional Information added 1st September 2009.  The Editor

The following information comes from an e-mail sent by a visitor to the web site, Eddie Hawkins of Southampton, and records the final voyage of the first HMT Nevasa.



Hi Trevor,


It was a very pleasant surprise to discover a photograph of the old SS Nevasa, as I was on it's last voyage to Southampton early 1948.  I have been searching for something about this vessel for many years!


During early 1948 I was serving in the Royal Engineers in Rangoon, and my time had come round for repatriation to England and eventual demobilization.  I joined this ship there, together with other service personnel.  The vessel was full of service personnel and a few civilians.  I believe it started it's voyage from Calcutta and had been delayed by a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.  However, I am not certain of this.


Our first port of call was Singapore, where the ship's engine broke down and we had to disembark whilst repairs were carried out.  We re-joined the ship about a week later.  The next port of call was Colombo, where we took on coal and other supplies -  (coal dust all over the place},  This took about two to three days.  The next stop was Aden, where we again took on coal, etc., it was unbearably hot there and we were all pleased to set sail again after two to three days.


We then called at Suez and Port Said.


Upon leaving Port Said, we hit a very bad storm the full length of the Mediterranean and we could not enter Valletta harbour and had to find shelter on the leeward side of the island.


Practically everyone on board suffered from sea sickness, even members of the crew.


An hatch cover had been damaged and water was entering the hold and other parts of the ship.  Waves were coming up over the ship's bridge.  The crew did, however, eventually manage to secure a tarpaulin over the damaged hatch.


When we left the Mediterranean, things were even worse - a severe storm was raging in the Atlantic.  A great many Portuguese fishermen were drowned off the coast of Portugal in this storm, which continued all the way through the Bay of Biscay.


The journey from Rangoon to Southampton took about eight weeks.


Eddie Hawkins (age 83) Southampton.



Additional Information added 1st November 2010.  The Editor

Eddie Hawkins has added to his account of the last voyage of the first Nevasa (see above) and this photo shows the Nevasa tied up in Singapore Harbour in 1948 after the engines had broken down.


img010 b

H.M.T. Nevasa.  Singapore Harbour 1948.


Eddie also included a photograph (below) of a trooper in Rangoon Harbour, Burma, which he arrived on in 1944. It was originally thought to be the Nevasa but he has had second thoughts on the name and is not sure of its identity. If anybody can positively identify the ship then please contact  The Editor


img011 b

Mystery troopship in Rangoon Harbour, Burma, 1944.


Additional Information added 15th December 2010.

More information has come from Eddie Hawkins in which he details his wartime memories. These feature Burma, Singapore and assorted locations, and include various pieces of documentation from that time. A separate page has been published and can be accessed from HERE


Additional Information added 15th February 2020.

The photo and press cuttings shown below have kindly been supplied by Christine Simm who is collating information on ships sent to Bo’ness for scrapping. This ‘Nevasa’ (1913 – 1948), was scrapped in Bo’ness (Borrowstounness), Falkirk, in 1948.


The ‘Nevasa’ (1913 – 1948), Carriden, Bo’ness.


The Linlithgow Gazette.


The Bo’ness Journal, 2nd of April 1948.


The Registration Details of the Nevasa (1913 – 1948).




First Published: 1st April 2006.

Latest Update: 15th April 2021.










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