As Hospital Ships & Other Duties

Derek Longly

There seems to be little mention on site of the war time exploits of the ships from the service and even less photos.  I have four photos depicting the ships when in war service in my collection which I am including with this article. In addition there is a photo of SS Londres as the German Lothringen from an unattributed internet source.

Thanks to my research I am able to fill in some of the information about each of the ships and their war service and will commence with the:

SS Brighton of 1903

Built for the London Brighton & South Coast Railway by the Wm. Denny shipyard at Dumbarton she was their yard no 683.  She was of 1,384 gross tons, had a length of 272 feet and a beam of 34 feet.  She was fitted with Parsons Steam Turbines constructed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne which gave her a speed of 21 knots.

Photo:Brighton '03 as Troopship

Brighton '03 as Troopship

Derek Longly Collection

In 1914 the Brighton was requisitioned to become a troopship, as depicted in the first photo of her.  Later in the war she became a hospital ship with her appearance at that time shown in the second photo of her.

Photo:Brightoon '03 as Hospital Ship

Brightoon '03 as Hospital Ship

Derek Longly collection

On 19th December 1914 Brighton rescued the survivors of the HMT Orianda, which had struck a mine off Scarborough.

Shortly after the end of WW1 the Brighton had the honour of carrying President Woodrow Wilson back from his signing of the Treaty of Versailles.  

SS Paris of 1913

Also built for the LBSCR by Wm. Denny the Paris was of 1,790 gross tons with a length of 293 feet and beam of 35 feet. She had turbine machinery which provided her with a service speed of 22 knots, although she was well able to exceed this speed.

In August 1914 after being requisitioned she was commissioned as a minesweeper experiencing numerous close encounters during her time in that capacity. (See article Hubert Longly - My Grandfather & His Ships Part III on the site).

In January 1940 the Paris became Hospital Ship 32.  In this capacity she made a first visit to Dunkirk to assist with the evacuation on 25th May 1940. It was during her fourth voyage back to Dunkirk on 2nd June 1940 that she met her fate being bombed initially by one German aircraft, with the damage caused disabling her. Further bombing attacks followed and a tug was sent to assist her but she sank around midnight that day.

Photo:Paris '13 as Hospital Ship

Paris '13 as Hospital Ship

Derek Longly collection

There seem to be conflicting reports as to casualties, with 20 being mentioned by one source but only two listed on another site.  

SS Worthing of 1928

The Wm Denny shipyard also built the Worthing for the Southern Railway,  She had a gross tonnage of 2,288 with a length of 306 feet and beam of 38.6 feet. Her service speed was 24 knots.

When requisitioned for service in WWII on 17th November 1939 she became Hospital Ship 30 when converted for this duty by the Harland & Wolff shipyard at Southampton.

Photo:Worthing '28 as Hospital Ship

Worthing '28 as Hospital Ship

Derek Longly collection

The vessel was later converted to a Fleet Air Arm target ship on 13th July 1940 moving to the Mersey for this further work to be done to her. On 3th November 1940 she was designated HMS Worthing. Then on 7th December 1940 was re-named HMS Brigadier (For photos of her at that time see the article on this site 'Newhaven - Dieppe ships from the collections of Jim Strudwick & Bob Holden'). 

On 11th May 1942 she went to the shipyards at West Hartlepool to become a Landing Ship Infantry, seeing service as such off the D Day Juno Beach. She also landed troops at Arromanches on 11th November 1944.

Her war service ended on 18th December 1944 and on 23rd March 1945 she returned to the Newhaven - Dieppe service.

SS Brighton (V) of 1932  

Almost a sister to the SS Worthing another product of the Wm Denny shipyard the Brighton V was ordered by the Southern Railway.  She was 2,391 gross tons, had a length of 306 feet and a beam of 38.6 feet.  Also fitted with Parsons turbines she too had a service speed of 24 knots. 

On 9th September 1939 Brighton V was requisitioned and converted to a troopship. She worked in this capacity until 24th November 1939 when she became Hospital ship 31. (An illustration of her as a hospital ship is to be found on this site in the article ' Hospital Ship Brighton of 1940').

Her service was however brief, since whilst lying in the inner harbour at Dieppe on 24th May 1940 she was bombed and sunk during an attack on the town.

SS Londres of 1940

Under construction by Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee for SNCF, apparently known at that time as Dieppe, the ship was captured in an unfinished condition by German forces in 1940.

The ship would eventually have a gross tonnage of 2,790 and her dimensions were 308 feet length and 39.7 feet beam.

She was renamed Lothringen and is variously reported to have been completed as a target ship for U boats or as a 'mine ship.'    However, it does seem that in July 1944 she was completed as a minelayer, in which capacity she served in the Hamburg and Bremerhaven areas.

Photo:Lothringen - later SS Londres

Lothringen - later SS Londres

Unknown - possibly uboatdata.ussleahy.com

At the end of the war she was found by the Allies lying at Kiel and was subsequently returned to her owners to be completed as Londres. 

This rather sketchy information about the Lothringen/Londres I have found from several internet sites which is also where I discovered the unattributed photo of her as Lothringen.  

NB: I would wish to state that the information I have provided in this article is correct to the best of my knowledge.  However, I have been dependent upon my sources and if anyone finds material that they believe is incorrect then they are welcome to submit any comments/corrections they may have.


This page was added by Derek Longly on 18/06/2018.
Comments about this page

Some very interesting facts and photos, Derek. Thanks for sharing them.

It's worth mentioning that Londres' sister ship Arromanches was also captured in an unfinished state. However in her case, her engines had not yet been installed and the Kriegsmarine did nothing with her.

Both ships entered service in 1947 and, along with the returning Worthing, were the backbone of the service until the arrival of Brighton VI and Lisieux in the 1950s.

By Andy Gilbert
On 20/06/2018

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