Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

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Sid Guttridge
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Details of "B", "C" and "Shelt" Classes of small merchantmen built for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia in 1945?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Oct 2019 11:55

Hi Guys,

According to p.219 of Home Port Singapore (Singapore, 1967), 86 small, shallow-draught, merchant vessels of three classes ("B", "C" and "Shelt") were ordered by the British Ministry of War Transport for the invasions of Malaya and Indonesia - 51 in the UK and 35 in Canada. They were to be operated by three pre-war British shipping companies with Far East experience and manned on the lower deck by nearly 3,000 seamen of the Chinese Sailors Reserve Pool.

The Canadian orders were cancelled, but at least some of the British-built ones were completed in small yards and despatched to the east just before the end of the war. The first convoy of one "B" Type, three "C" Types and nine "Shelt" Types left Falmouth on 8 August 1945, shortly before Japan capitulated.

All I have on them is the following:

"B" Type. A modified Pahang coaster design of just under 1,000t. (Pahang was a 1,136t vessel launched in 1939).

"C" Type. An improved Resang coaster design of 394t. (Resang was a 314dwt vessel launched in November 1941.)

"Shelt" Type. Coaster of about 75t. Possibly operated by Straits Steamship Company.

Apart from this one reference, I can find nothing else on these construction programmes.

Has anyone else anything on them?

Many thanks for any assistance,

Sid.

P.S. Apparently Australia also built some small coasters of 309-tons and 257-tons in 1945 for use in Borneo and Sarawak. Four were later named Kinabalu, Klias, Temburong and Timbali. Does anyone know about this construction programme?

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