12/06/07…Derek Swann has just messaged us…
Have just found the site and thought that you might like to know that I and my family traveled on the ship in 1939 from England to Malta, where my father was stationed he being in the Army.
I was only four but can recall one or two things about the ship. We were then in Malta until 1942(Oct/Nov) when we were evacuated to Egypt

12/08/06…Christine has a request here
My Dad UKSubject, was on board the HMT Dunera, 1942 by way of Southampton to China during WW2. I am interested to find anyone that knew him. He passed away at age 59 and I would like to know especially if you were with him during the time in Singapore where he sang on the radio to the UK.

Please email Christine from this link – Would you mind letting us know if you get any replies, Christine? Many thanks….

24/07/06…Rev. Peter Vickers has contacted us…
I noticed an article in the Daily Telegraph but have lost the photo of the Dunera. I was born in March 1941 in Jerusalem when my father was a member of the RASC and my mother joined him there. Following my father’s repatriation to England, my mother with my elder brother and myself and other families, were taken by the Dunera to South Africa via the Suez Canal. My mother recalled in a written note to me that below decks were the Italina prisoners of war. During the evenings the families lay on the decks listening to the Italina Prisoners singing – she recalled it as being a most marvellous experience.On docking in South Africa, she recalls the POW’s being taken off the Dunera between a line of soldiers. We were then dismbarked and remained in South Africa until we had a ship – the Empress of Scotland I believe – renamed – from the Empress of Japan, to take us to Liverpool. The captain refused to travel in convoy as he felt his ship could outrun any u-boat. I haven’t been able to find a copy of the edition of the paper. I do not know whether anyone else remembers this particular journey – I guess it must have been in 1942 / 3 as I had my 3rd birthday on board returning from South Africa on the renamed Empress of Scotland.

17/05/06…Fred Gillard has emailed us with this…I am one of the ex-Austrian Jewish refugees who was “shipped” to Australia. I spent there abut 18 months before returning to England joining the British Army. As a matter of fact there is an article about the “Dunera boys” in today’s Daily Telegraph. A film is made in Germany about this affair.

9th May 2006…..Janka Kramarikova has emailed us. Can anyone help here, please?

I found your e–mail address at https://www.dunera.co.uk/1941_to_1950.html and it looks like you could help me. I’m looking for any information on the trip of Dunera to Australia with German Jewish refugees from Liverpool sent to Hay in the summer 1940.

I am particulary interested in Eugene Rosenberg (*1907+1990, Slovak nationality), who imigrated to England in 14th March 1939 from Czechoslovakia. Before and after the war he was succesfull architect (before the war in Czechoslovakia, after the war in England). I am now writing Mr. Rosenberg’s biography, and I am trying to understund couple of events from his life during the second world war – why as he taken to Australia?, when exactly he left and returned to England? what was he doing in the internment camp?

Would it be possible to help me to discover this kind of information?

Email Janka Kramarikova, please

20/04/06…Jennifer emailed in with this request…
I’m seeking any and all information on the trip to Austrailia with German Jewish refugees from England to Austrailia, especially photos. My Father was on that ship.Please contact us through this email link and I can pass on your message to Jennifer….thank you

18/02/06…A Clark….
After seeing some old photo’s that my dad has I looked up your web site of the ship. My father was one of the first passengers on its maiden voyage as a troop ship. It sailed from Southampton around August 1937 to Hong Kong, Shanghi then on to Tien Cen. If anybody is interested I will collate information for the web site for your readers.

21/1/06….Elaine Higgs
It seems my grandad Jack Hawkins was on Dunera. I have a postcard of the Dunera sent to my grandma. Dated 26 Aug. 1939, it reads: Dear wife, just off to China on this ship

19th June….Brian has messaged in to ask the following….

Very Interesting ! Do you have any info on the troopship Lancashire ? Our battalion (The Buffs) went to HK on it, in 1948.

8th June…Wirra has written in….

I was a young soldier on my way to the Middle East with the first convoy of troops from Australia. The Dunera was one of the ships of the convoy carrying the New Zealand troops. As we were sailing from Fremantle on 14/1/40 the Maori Battalion started singing “Now is the Hour”. It was dusk and that haunting song has stayed with me all my life. I am now 84 years old. It almost reduced me to tears……

From an article entitled To Greece by Author: W. G. (Monty) McClymont…….On the same day as this Cabinet meeting, the First Echelon was embarking on the transports then assembled at Lyttelton and Wellington. In spite of all precautions the public was aware of the imminent departure of the convoy. There was a huge crowd at Lyttelton on the afternoon of 5 January when HMS Leander left with the Dunera and the Sobieski; next morning a still greater number of spectators watched from the slopes overlooking Port Nicholson when HMS Ramillies and HMAS Canberra steamed out with the Empress of Canada, Strathaird, Orion and Rangitata. The groups met in Cook Strait shortly after sunrise on 6 January and late that same afternoon New Zealand faded into the haze behind them.

Many thanks Wirra – I wonder if anyone else has memories of this time who will get in touch….?

7th May 2005…..Peter Rimell has been in touch – I returned to UK on the Dilwara from Hong Kong during June/July 1948. I found your site when I typed Troopship Dilwar in the search box. Wonder if anyone that was aboard then will see this!
A two year old child fell over–board just after boat stations – but was rescued safe and sound.

08/04/05 Dave Bloch has written in…….Just found your site this evening. My father was an internee on that trip the Dunera made from the UK to Australia in 1940. I’m pulling some material together and would be happy to share them if you like.

We’d like to hear your stories, so send ’em in…..Many thanks

Albert Gavagan has contacted us and I apologise for being a bit slow putting this up.

I have a Dinner card which belonged to my Uncle Albert – a RAF(VR) – which puts him on the Dunera on May 29 1946. I am currently researching his past and would like any information on what that journey was and why he was on that ship. This was only 2 months before he died with 17 other members of his squadron at Bassein in Burma on the 25 July 1946. Any information would be gratefully received.

Derek Elwell, Pennant Hills, Australia has been in touch – Note David Young’s comment concerning possible name-change of “Dilwara” to “Ettrick”.

My recently-deceased father was shipped from Liverpool to Canada aboard “Ettrick” in July 1940 as an “enemy alien” internee (with an English mother, Jewish antecedents and having left Germany in 1936 on account of rising Nazi oppression, and having previously been classified as a “friendly”, this was a result of Churchill’s “Collar the lot!” edict).

I have traced two subsequent voyages, back to Britain from Halifax as part of convoy HX62 straight after Dad’s non-convoy voyage, followed by one to Dakar.

That ship, as far as I can ascertain, was built in 1938-9 as a troop-carrier, under that name, and was sunk off Gibraltar in late 1942 after conveying troops to North Africa for Operation Torch.

The only photograph I can trace shows her moored off Inveraray, Scotland, as a base for amphibious training, presumably in the lead-up to “Torch”, and appearance is entirely consistent with the build date.

Accordingly I do not believe that she ever had any other name in her short career.

30/11/04 Jeff Appleyard commented: My late Father served in the Seaforth Highlanders, and I was born in Hong Kong in 1937, and my family all came back to the UK [Southampton] in 1939? on board the “DUNERA”, unfortunately, I am too young to remember anything about the trip. To my regret. I have a couple of photos of the ship, courtesy of K/George school H/K,webmaster.but unable to get any information of that voyage,eg, dates,photos etc.thank you – Jeff Appleyard
Anyone with any information on this voyage – please contact us

17/12/04 – Joe Barnett commented: I was a crew member on the Dunera and the Dilwara in the 50s trooping have a good Christmas regards Joe


Contacts from folks on the Dunera, 1935 – 1950 — 7 Comments

  1. My father returned to England on the Dunera in Feb/Mar 1949 after serving in Singapore.

    He said in his memoirs “it was a ship that could rock in dry dock”.

  2. We sailed out to Malaya on the Dunera in 1959. My brother, mother, father and I.

    I have been told it was the first troop ship through the Suez Canal following the Suez crisis.

    I was only young but have photos and memories of the trip.

    • Hello Elizabeth

      Many thanks for this comment and your recent email thro’ the site form. If you would like to set up a blog post with photos, please do…. Or you can pass them on to me and I will post on your behalf….

      Thank you

      Bye for now


  3. My father WO1 H Jessop RE, my mother ‘Jane’, brother David and I (I was six) sailed on the Dunera from the UK to Hong Kong on her maiden voyage in 1937.

    We went via Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, Bombay, Colombo and Singapore (all with British garrisons) arriving in Hong Kong) six weeks later.

  4. My grandfather Edward Newton and his two daughters, Constance and Martha, my mother, were evacuated with other expats from France to Gibraltar on the SS Ashcrest (formerly SS Zrinski) a coal transporter.

    They survived a torpedo attack because she was unladen.

    They stayed in Gibraltar for a period while the Dunera was refitted for troop carrying before returning to Liverpool.

    In the autumn of 1939.

    • Hello John – thank you for sending in your thoughts and details oif the trip you went on!

      Always good to hear these stories – please do tell us if you get any responses!

      Bye for now


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