Previous name:                               Prinz Adalbert

Subsequent name:                          Alesia  

Official Number:                               140260

Class:                                              Repair Ship

Laid down:
Builder:                                            Bremer Vulkan Schiffbau & Maschinenfabrik, Vegesack
Launched:                                       21 August 1902
Into Service:                                    17 December 1914
Out of service:                                 17 January 1917
Fate:                                                Sunk 6 September 1917


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -



Background Data:  Some official lists, marked as  “Lists of RFA’s” show vessels which spent some time as RFA’s during the First World War. These records are extremely sketchy and some of these vessels were “Yard Craft”, partially or wholly Dockyard manned, partly by RNR or Reserve Fleet personnel. Some of the Depot Ships staffed by skilled civilian Dockyard workers were for a time White Ensign. The Director of Stores was understood to be concerned with their manning and operationally they remained under Admiralty control


21 August 1902 launched by  Bremer Vulkan Schiffbau & Maschinenfabriek, Vegesack as Yard Nr 450 named PRINZ ADALBERT for Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt A.G., Hamburg

December 1902 completed. Carried 120 x 1st Class, 50 x 2nd Class & 300 x 3rd Class passengers

20 January 1903 maiden voyage Hamburg - Brazil

9 February 1903 passed Fernando Verona

22 March 1903 arrived at Maderia when on a return passage to Hamburg

8 April 1903 undertook the maiden sailing of a new passenger, mail and cargo service between Hamburg and Mexico with a call at Havana with accommodation for 1033 x Tween Deck passengers and 124 in 1st Class

24 November 1903 arrived at Philadelphia

12 January 1904 switched to the Genoa - New York service

23 May 1904 while on passage from New York to Genoa passed Gibraltar

27 September 1904 arrived at New York

24 November 1904 sailed New York for Naples and Genoa

7 January 1905 went aground in Lower Bay, New York - refloated after 4 hours

10 January 1905 sailed New York for Naples and Genoa

12 January 1905 the Cornishman newspaper reported that -

Cornishman 12 Jan 1905

23 February 1905 arrived New York

25 February 1905 sailed New York for Naples and Genoa

2 July 1905 passed Gibraltar when on passage from Genoa to New York

29 March 1906 while on passage from New York to Naples passed Fayal

2 May 1906 berthed at New York from Genoa

17 June 1906 berthed at New York from Genoa

3 July 1906 while on passage from New York to Genoa passed Gibraltar

5 September 1906 sailed Genoa

7 September 1906 arrived Palermo sailing later the same day

8 September 1906 arrived Naples sailing later the same day

12 September 1906 arrived Tangiers sailing later the same day

24 September 1906 berthed at New York with 711 passengers

25 September 1906 sailed from New York for Naples

26 June 1907 while on passage from Buenos Aires to Genoa arrived at Gibraltar

2 March 1908 sailed Plymouth for New York

30 April 1909 undertook the Company’s first visits to Quebec and Montreal

9 August 1909 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard west bound from Hamburg to Montreal

21 May 1911 while on passage from Philadelphia to Hamburg passed Dover this day

4 September 1913 while on passage from Hamburg to Philadelphia passed Dover this day

7 February 1914 while on passage from Hamburg to Philadelphia passed Dover this day

30 June 1914 transferred to the Hamburg - Philadelphia service

24 July 1914 sailed Hamburg on her final voyage on the above route

4 August 1914 seized as a prize at Falmouth where she had put in to land passengers and placed under the management of Gillatly, Hankey & Co., London

17 December 1914 brought into service as an accommodation ship at Invergordon and the converted for use as a repair ship - name unchanged

21 December 1914 Sub-Lieutenant Elias S Souter RNR appointed in command

January 1916 renamed Princetown

22 March 1916 & 23 March 1916 proceedings were commenced by the Attorney General before the Prize Court to have the seizure the ship on 4 August 1914 declared lawful. At the end of the proceedings the Court condemmed the ship as a lawful prize

20 October 1916 paid off

23 December 1916 sold 

17 January 1917 purchased, in a damaged state, by H Clarkson & Co, London for £152,000 on behalf of Cie Nav Sud Atlantique, Paris renamed Alesia

5 September 1917 while on passage from Cardiff to Bordeaux torpedoed and damaged by German Submarine UC69 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Hugo Thielmann forty miles NW of Ushant.

6 September 1917  torpedoed and sunk by German Submarine UC50 under the command of Kapitanleutnant Rudolf Seuffer off Ushant at 48.49N 5.00W




1. Image above is as the Prinz Adalbert before her service as an RFA

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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