Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Second Convoy of 17 Ships Bound for War; in Part 9 of Our Anzac Centenary Milestones Series, We Follow the Second Anzac Convoy from Albany to Egypt and Look at the Background of Captured German Steamers That Became Aussie Troopships

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Second Convoy of 17 Ships Bound for War; in Part 9 of Our Anzac Centenary Milestones Series, We Follow the Second Anzac Convoy from Albany to Egypt and Look at the Background of Captured German Steamers That Became Aussie Troopships

Article excerpt

Byline: Christina Ongley

LESS than two months after the first Australian Imperial Force convoy left Albany's shores with 20,000 troops on board, the second fleet of Anzacs weighed anchor and left the same harbour on December 31, 1914.

Such was the success of the troop recruitment, there were a further 11,000 troops on board the second convoy of 17 ships bound for the Middle East.

Their journey would take them via Colombo, in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); Aden, in Yemen; and the Suez Canal and Port Said, in Egypt, before they reached their resting point of Alexandria on February 3 and completed their disembarkation four days later.

Dr David Stevens, director of strategic and historical studies at the navy's Sea Power Centre, said the second mass departure of Australian and New Zealand troopships was notable in part because it was the last formed convoy to leave Australian shores until 1917.

With German cruisers such as the Emden, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau having been destroyed in the few weeks prior to departure, it was considered there was little threat to the transports making their way to war, and the second convoy was accompanied only by the submarine AE2, which was being towed by HMAT Berrima.

The navy historian - who last month released a book called In All Respects Ready: Australia's Navy and World War One - said the second Anzac convoy also included five vessels that had been captured from the Germans and renamed: the Boorara, Barambah, Barunga, Boonah and Bakara.

The Bakara and Barunga were supposed to leave with the convoy on December 31, but a fire in Bakara's coal bunker and engine problems for the Barunga meant both were delayed in their departure.

The journey was largely uneventful, with the exception of an unidentified vessel that appeared on January 21 and did not reply to signals, causing the AE2 crew to trigger their emergency preparations in case. …

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