The MV Tulagi Raft Drift Story
This story of “The Voyage of the Survivors of the m.v. ‘Tulagi'”, from 0010 Tuesday 28 March 1944 to 2310 Thursday 25 May 1944, has been compiled and presented by Captain S.J. (“Mick”) Costelloe, updated with recent information.
The author, then Third Mate, had the privilege of sailing with Mr. John Ward, Chief Engineer on board m.v. Bulolo in 1956. Mr. Ward would often come up to the bridge on my watch (2000 to 2359) about 2200 hrs, while in the Coral Sea on voyages to and from Papua-New Guinea. He would seek approval, as the gentleman that he was, to come on the bridge and also to make a cup of Milo. We would talk while keeping a lookout, and on many occasions he told me about his many experiences and of the drift of the victims of the “Tulagi” sinking. On certain occasions I was glad that it was dark, although neither of us, on reflection, should have been embarrassed for showing our emotions.
The United Kingdom Department of Defence assumed control of the vessel (she was Hong Kong-registered) in February 1944. “Tulagi” loaded a full cargo of flour and 380 bags of mail at the flour wharf, Glebe Island, and sailed at 1115 hrs Friday 10 March for Colombo under orders from and under control of the British Admiralty. She was to be subject to some structural alterations on arrival at Colombo and then to form part of the R.N. Fleet Train.
John Ward recalls that the noon chit on Thursday 27 March, which gave information regarding position, the days run, etc. and distance to go, [showed] that the distance to Colombo was 1130 nautical miles and they expected to pass 300 nautical miles east of Chagos Archipelago.1
During that afternoon at 1630 hrs a heavy cruiser passed “Tulagi” on a zig zag course heading south; she was escorting an American vessel loaded with troops. Messages were exchanged with the cruiser and they wished “Tulagi” a good voyage.
At that time “Tulagi” was steering courses, not zig zagging; at that time her course was near true north.
During that evening the Master and John Ward, as they usually did while at sea, discussed the day’s events and played a game of crib. Captain (“Dusty”) Millar at some time after 2030 hrs left the cabin to inspect the blackout profile of the vessel.
John Ward saw the Master again at about 2230 hrs after he had been around the vessel again; he then said that he was going to have a cup of Ovaltine and then turn in. It was the last time that John Ward saw the Master.
John Ward – click picture
John Ward remembered that he put his reading light out at about 2330 and went to sleep. The next thing that he remembered was that he was thrown out of his bunk by, quote: “a terrific banging on the ships side, no sooner was I on my feet than an orange flash from the explosion lit up the whole ocean. I knew the ship had been torpedoed.”
“Tulagi” had been hit on the starboard side in the vicinity of the main bulkhead between No. 3 hatch and the engine room by two torpedoes fired from a German U-boat—U-532—under command of Fregattenkapitän [Ottoheinrich] Junker of the First Monsun Submarine Group. This submarine had sailed from Penang on 4/1/44 on a war patrol. She sank one other vessel—the “Walter Camp”, 7130 tons, 26/1/44—on that patrol and returned to Penang on 19/4/44.
After the explosion, John Ward remembers that the “Tulagi” took a starboard list and commenced to settle by the stern. John Ward’s cabin was on the main deck, starboard side, amidships accommodation.
John rushed out onto the main deck through the forward alleyway door, which was only 10 feet away, dressed in a pair of undershorts; the sea by that time was awash to the hatch coaming of No 1.
To quote John Ward: “The first thing that entered my mind was to get to the high side of the ship. I tried to do this by dragging myself by the hatches, but made no headway, so I made up my mind to swim for it. From then on I blacked out; my mind was a blank. I must have been taken down by the suction of the ship (sinking), for when I came to I was swimming underwater.
Tulagi torpedoing – click picture
“The thought rushed through my mind: ‘Well I have another breath to take, it will be my last; will I take it or let myself go?’ My chest felt it would burst at any moment, but I was in no pain. I could have gone to my death, as I knew I was next to it and without any trouble, as I had a very satisfied feeling and no fear.
“But something made me make up my mind to give it a go. With that, I took my last breath—that was more water and oil into my belly. Just then I caught in the rigging wires of the ship. With all my strength I parted the wires that were holding me and made my way to the surface. As this was taking place, several bodies shot past me at the rate of knots on the way down.
“I could see them going past me at a rate of knots on the way down. I could see them going past me, yet it was a black night; I put it down to the phosphorus (now called Bioluminescence) in the water made by the ship sinking so fast. They were in one eddy going down and I must have been on the outside of it. Also, just before I reached the surface, the hatch covers started to come to the surface, giving me some nasty knocks and bruises; my legs and parts of my body were sore and stiff from the banging for weeks.
“As soon as I got my eyes cleared of oil, I had a look around and I could see nothing of the ship, but a few yards away was a hatch cover. I made for it and hung on it until I got my breath. Then I heard some yelling out, saying they were on a raft. I made for the voices and found two Malay boys on a raft: Kallafan and Ambos [Kalipan and Amos], Quartermasters.
“After getting on the raft I was very sick, throwing out oil and water; also were the Malay boys. We saw another raft a few yards away and got out our oars and secured it, tying it up to our raft. There was nobody on that raft.
“Just then the submarine came to the surface and passed our raft a few yards away, but went straight to another raft some distance away. We could hear the Jap * asking what ship it was, the cargo she had, bound to where, and where from belonging to what company and to what country did we belong? After [being] very polite, saying please and thank you to all questions, and getting all the information they required, they told us we could go now.”
(* John Ward was advised in 1948 that the submarine was German.)
“At the break of day we got busy and took all the stores off the raft we had secured and any other gear we could get. We could see another raft some distance away, so we made our way towards it; that was also made fast.”
On this raft were R. (“Bob”) Charles, 2nd Officer; E. Board, 3rd Officer; Dudley Jacobs, Purser; J. Brown, Deck Cadet; one Indian and one Malay: Ali bin Sarawee, Quartermaster.
Some more of the crew were observed on other rafts and an upturned lifeboat some distance away. Charles and Jacobs took a small raft and went in one direction. Board and another crew member went in another and rescued other crew members. As much water, stores, e.g. biscuits, milk tablets and other items were taken from the upturned lifeboat and returned to the main party at 0800 hrs next morning.
The four rafts were tied together and a discussion took place about the sinking and their present circumstances. It was decided that the vessel was hit at about 0010 hrs * Tuesday 28 March and sank in 20 seconds, stern first and rolling to starboard. They thought they had been hit by two torpedoes and they believed it was from a Japanese submarine. Only 15 crew members were rescued and 39 lost.
(* The German records show that “Tulagi” was sunk on Monday, 27th. The reason was that the two vessels were maintaining different Local Mean Time (LMT).)
The position where “Tulagi” sank was 11 degrees, 00 minutes South, and 78 degrees, 40 minutes East; depth of water 3-4000 fathoms.2
Of the fifteen men who survived the sinking, 11 were Australian/European, three were Malay/Indonesian and one was Indian.
The survivors were divided between four rafts tied together by painters. There were three rafts being used, 5 persons per raft, and the fourth as a spare. On 7th April, one of the rafts was cast adrift.
Similar rafts to those used on the Tulagi
On 21st April, one of the three remaining rafts was broken up to make the remaining two rafts more comfortable for the 15 survivors. The survivors on the two rafts were:
J.R. Ward (Chief Engineer);
D.G. Jacobs (Purser);
R.T. Charles (2nd Officer);
Ali Bin Sariwee (Malay Quartermaster). Note: Ali was from Jahore, Singapore;
Amos Helwend (Malay Quartermaster). Note: Amos was from Barbar Island in Indonesia;
Kalipan (Malay Quartermaster). Note: Kalipan was from Alor Island in Indonesia;
Basu Mian Abdul Bhooya (Indian greaser).
E.J. Board (3rd Officer)
G.L. Smedley (4th Engineer)
J.D. Brown (Cadet Officer)
H.R. Boyce (Petty Officer, RANR)
D.K. Johnson (Able Seaman, RANR)
H.M. Morton (Able Seaman, RANR)
J.F. Murphy (Able Seaman, RANR)
C.H. Webber (Able Seaman, RANR)
The decision was to stay in the area and wait to be rescued. They were expected at Colombo on the following Saturday 1 April, and by Monday 3 April they did expect that there would be a search commenced for them.*
(* A common practice with overdue Merchant ships during WW2. In this case whose responsibility Burns Philp & Co. or the British or Australian Naval Authorities? (RonS.))
“History and research shows that no rescue was organized nor was it intended.”
The “Southern Indian Pilot”, No 39, provides the following information about the area of the incident:
- Sea temperature in that area for the period March, April and May should be between 27 to 29 degrees [Celsius];
- The predominant winds would be ESE to SE, up to 20 knots—the traditional trade winds, referred to as the SE monsoons;
- The currents predicted were mainly west-going, being part of the equatorial current, with a predicted rate of 0.5 to 1.0 knots.
The only two known written accounts of the voyage, the sinking, the drift and rescue, have been provided: by John Ward (from a report in August 1944; this was reproduced in the “Burns Philp Bulletin” of 1962) and, from a newspaper article presumably originated in August of 1944, by Dudley Jacobs 3 (and reporter J.H. Adams), after his return to his home to Sydney. The accounts of the incident and subsequent events are similar; dates are the same; the times vary slightly; there are differing views of situations, but not of the substance that occurred on certain days.
The account by Dudley Jacobs, who was sleeping in his cabin in the hospital on the aft boat deck, says in part: “that after being thrown out of his bunk as a result of the explosion, he ran across the boat deck and dived into the sea, which was at deck level at the time. He swam away from the ship until he located a raft.”
The drift commenced with four rafts tied together with items of equipment and stores obtained from the lifeboats. The rafts were open, 6 x 8 x 3 feet, with forty-four-gallon drums as flotation devices housed in open wooden frame. Stores were contained in bottom lockers. The rafts could be operated from either side. Ten persons could fit comfortably into each raft.
The first surprise and disappointment occurred during the afternoon of Thursday 30 March, when a ship was sighted approaching from North. She was zig zagging; the vessel was signalled with a flare, the vessel came within 2 miles, and victims on the rafts felt that they had been seen and would be picked up. Others in the raft noticed another vessel approaching fast from the north and this gave them high hopes of being rescued. As the second vessel came closer, it was seen to be a submarine of the non-friendly type. The submarine came within one mile; the crew of the submarine were noted to be looking at the raft, she then dived.
The submarine was seen on a number of days after this incident, at dawn; it circled the rafts and observed the victims through glasses.
Ward, Charles and Board expected that the raft would drift north-west towards the Chagos Group, and there was an expectation that, as it was only 50 miles to the [north] and 300 miles to the west, that they would reach there in less than 14 days. This was consistent with the expectation from the prevailing winds and currents.
By Saturday 1 April, most of the victims were naked; two were covered, one by a copra sack, the other had a pair of shorts. They were all very sunburnt and badly chafed from the constant movement of the raft. They had water and food and had at the outset tallied the food and set a ration for a voyage of 27 days.
There were three rafts being used—five persons per raft—and the fourth as a spare.
The distribution of the food was 45 biscuits (nine biscuits per person), two tins of chocolate and six tins of malted milk tablets per raft. The biscuits lasted, as a result of strict rationing, until Wednesday 26 April (30th day of the drift). The milk tablets lasted another three days.
During that afternoon, a strong wind came up from the east, with heavy rain. The weather reached its peak on Sunday, with large seas that broke over the rafts, the crews holding on for dear life and suffering the cold that the weather generated.
This weather lasted for 7 days, with the wind described, at times, as gale force.
During the storm, “The four rafts banged together badly”, as described by John Ward. The weather cleared on [Saturday] 8 (12th day of the drift). The spare raft was cast off, having removed any gear that could be of use to make the remaining three rafts more comfortable. The canvas cover and some of the timber were used to rig a sail on John Ward’s raft; the sail was then set and the steering was maintained by an oar, probably from a lifeboat.
During that Sunday afternoon a coconut was sighted in the water and later a small turtle came alongside, which was duly taken on board and eaten raw.
Subsequent research shows that they were close and south of Chagos Islands, the best-known island in the group being Diego Garcia.
On [Sunday] 9 (12th day of the drift), two fish were caught by hand and eaten; the chocolate ran out that day.
Little progress was made with one raft towing, and on Friday 21 April, the 24th day after the sinking, 15 victims were split into two rafts, seven persons on John Ward’s raft, eight on the third Mate’s; sails were made and rigged on the second raft; they were taken down after sunset and used as a blanket.
On John Ward’s raft were:
Charles—Second Officer; Jacobs—Purser; three Malay Quartermasters and one Indian Fireman;
and on the Third Officer Board’s raft were:
Smedley—Fourth Engineer; Brown—Deck Cadet; and Johnson, J.F. Murphy, Morton, Webber, and R. Boyce—Naval Gunners, RANR.
Instructions were give for the second raft to keep its sails up during the night; this was agreed, and sailing of the two rafts was improved.
John Ward says in his account of the drift, and I quote: “that about this time we all became very weak and began to feel the cold and as soon as the sun started to go down”; he then makes a comment which refers to the latter part of the drift, and I quote: “towards the end the lot of us used to get under the canvas and all keep close together as it was so cold.”
On Sunday 30 April (34 days into the drift) they saw smoke from a ship on the horizon; when she was closer, the raft signalled using flares. To quote John Ward again: “she came within a couple of miles of us but paid no attention to us, but they must have seen us, but went north on her zig zag course.” The ship passed about 1700 hrs.
At about this time (34th day) they experienced strong tide rips, which became worse as they drifted. John Ward again records some vivid description of this happening, and to quote: “at times the ocean as far as the eye could see was like a boiling mass of water. In the latter stages of the drift, as it turned out, as we got closer to the islands the rip got worse. The rip would start from a dead calm sea then start to boil, the ocean covered with small waves going up to a sharp point, and the rafts would bounce around like a cork. This took place every two or three hours but a couple of days before we landed these tide rips eased up quite a lot.”
He continues: “we were passing a class of seaweed every day for about three weeks before we came to land. As the currents went east it brought the seaweed with it, when the current went west so the seaweed would stop, but it gave us great hope especially as we got close to the land we could see that the stalk was a new break. We were happy as the weed was passing us we knew we were going in the right direction of land, which later proved to be correct.”
On Monday 5 May (39th day) they passed over a 15 fathom (27.4 metre) patch; they thought they were on the edge of an island and, to quote John Ward’s account: “but subsequent research shows that it is a sunken reef in the middle of the ocean.” *
(* Author’s note: one can only speculate as to where this might be.4)
Later they saw what they thought was smoke on the horizon, and as it came closer they could see that it was a whale blowing. It passed very close to the raft; it was then noticed that it was being attacked by dozens of thrasher sharks.
On passing, the spray from the whale passed over the rafts. John Ward says that: “They were pleased when the conflict went on its way.”
From about the 44th day, the manila painter holding the two rafts together commenced to break: it was rotting, as one would expect.
Smedley, the fourth engineer, was the swimmer and he joined the rope up on these occasions, which was about every second day. On about the 50th day, Tuesday 16 May, Smedley was stung by bluebottles while joining the painter, and was unconscious for over 24 hours. Because there were so many bluebottles in the water, it was decided that, when the painter parted on the next occasion, the two rafts would drift on their own.
There is some discrepancy about the day the painter parted again, but it was clear in John Ward’s account that it was Friday 19th May (53rd day). During that day Board’s raft came up and requested more water.
The water ration was ordered at 4 oz. per day per man: that was 1 oz. in the morning and 3 oz. in the evening on both rafts. This was maintained on Ward’s raft but, on the other raft, they were giving 6 oz.5 The second raft had more water than Ward’s; this was the decision made when they decided to man two rafts, because there was one extra person on board.
On 19 May, both rafts had about the same water supply: about 4 litres each.
At about 1600 on that day, Friday, the painter parted for the last time and the rafts drifted apart. John Ward states that “we waved good-bye”, and at dusk they were seen about one mile to the south and about to enter a large rain storm. John then states that “we were on the edge of it (the rain storm); we only got a few drops, but I think they got it all; hope so for their own sake.”
The victims were very weak at this time, were feeling the cold and only felt warm during the few hours around noon. Daylight on Wednesday the 24 May (th day out), the victims were greeted with thousands of seagulls and John Ward says: “they were very silvery in the sunlight”; he continues: “we caught a bird and then we threw out a line and caught a black bream. We then knew we were very close to the islands. We went to sleep that night feeling very happy.”
John Ward recalls that, some days before: “I had a dream and I thought I could see two big posts sticking up. I did not know if they were lead marks or masts of a ship, but when we did see land, sure enough, the first thing we saw was the big trees like a mast
on the island.”
At daylight on [Thursday] 25 May (th day) the raft was greeted with the lovely white gulls, and at 1000 hrs land was sighted about five miles to the west. As the day wore on, two more islands were observed, and it was seen that these islands were guarded by a reef extending some distance off. There was a large surf breaking and, when [they] got closer, they noted one area where there
was a break in the surf.
To quote John Ward: “we made for that spot hoping and praying for the best. As we got near the breakers, we took our bags off and went into the breakers on the raft as no surf boat had ever done. The raft stood on its end a couple of times, but met each wave as if it (raft) was made for it, and went through the surge without any trouble into the calm water (inside reef). We decided to make for the smallest of these islands as it was the closest to our course.
“At about 11.10 p.m. we landed on a lovely beach on the island of Pijoutee (correct spelling, Bijoutier) in the Seychelles Islands, as we found out afterwards. Trying to climb off the raft and up the slope of the beach made us realize how weak * we were.”
(* Advice on their physical condition, noting the amount of food eaten and the length of the voyage, suggests that the largest of the victims would have lost about half of their body weight and the smaller about one third.)
Bijoutier – middle island of the Alphonse Group
Hours before entering the reef, the raft was surrounded by sharks and large fish; they stayed with the raft until they entered the surf.
John Ward described it this way:
” Just before we got to the breakers and looking over the side of the raft the water, instead of being blue, was brown with the number of sharks that were around the raft, there were dozens. One of the natives put a slip knot in a piece of rope and put it over the head of a shark about four feet long and tightened the slip. The shark started to fight but we were too weak to hold on to it. Just after that we were in the breakers and I am thankful to say the sharks did not get their feed.”
On climbing up the beach on all fours, needless to say the whole island was swaying about and jumping about; actually this feeling lasted for many days.
A fire was lit using the unused flares and coconuts, crabs and a shark fin * were found and cooked and eaten.
(* The shark fin was tied to a tree limb; they then assumed the island was inhabited.)
At daylight a search of the island located a large turtle, and parts were being roasted when two boats approached from the island of Alphonse to the north.
The European,** – Loïs Gendron – was the plantation manager of the group of islands. He later explained where they were, and the survivors were then fed with maize and fish.
Loïs Gendron (top row, on right) and family
Front row – Loïs’ three daughters. Top left is Loïs’ son and top middle is his son-in-law
(** John Ward told the author that it was not even contemplated how they may have appeared, at that time, to their benefactor; readers might contemplate:  days on a raft, naked, without shaving, hair growing below the shoulders, badly sunburnt, to the extent they all appeared to be black. Because of the way they had to sit and then lay down at night, they had calluses on the major areas of their bodies: backs, buttocks, chests, legs, and arms. John said to the author that:
“We were all so happy and we thought we all looked beautiful, the plantation manager looked quite strange.”)
They were taken back to Alphonse, to a small village where they stayed for 18 days. The womenfolk on the island made clothes for them, gave them six meals a day as they were always hungry. They had turkey, pork, chicken, fish, turtles, plenty of corn cobs, marrow and maize, paw paw and lemons.
Boathouse on Alphonse Island
To quote John Ward for about the last time:
“We could not have landed on a better island for attention and food, as we had to eat and eat and then always hungry; but the people understood and kept the food up to us.
“But the worst part of the stay there was, for the first week or so, bad dreams, waking up at night with the bed jumping about as if in tide rips, and talking in your sleep and going through horrible past experiences.”
The raft was given to the manager of the plantations: he wanted the drums for water storage. When the raft was lifted it fell to pieces; there were borers a half-inch in diameter that had the woodwork (Oregon) riddled. It would have been doubtful if the raft would have lasted another week at sea.
On Friday 9 June, a piece of the second raft was found on the island of St. François, some 5 miles to the south. A search revealed no evidence of the other victims or any other parts of the raft.
The survivors left the Alphonse Island on Monday 12 June by inter-island schooner and landed at the Administration Centre of Victoria on the island of Mahé on Friday 16 June. Ward went to the hospital for treatment for chest and heart pain, which he had been suffering from the night of the sinking.
On Tuesday 22 June the seven survivors sailed for Bombay on the vessel m.v. “Olivebank” owned by Andrew Wier Shipping Company, as Distressed British Seamen (DBS).
They were required to work as seamen during the voyage, as was required under British Law. They arrived on Saturday 1 July and the “Tulagi” survivors were housed ashore. There was an attempt to split up the crew, in particular the Indian, Basu Mian X Abdool Bhooya, Fireman. But John Ward insisted that the group of seven remain together.
They sailed for Melbourne on the vessel “Ajax” on Saturday 8 July as passengers, arriving in Port Pirie on Friday 28 July; boarded a train for Sydney, arriving on Monday 31 July.
A round trip voyage of 142 days 20 hours and 45 minutes, a lifetime for the survivors, and an absolute waste of the precious lives of those who were lost to all.
Some facts about the voyage:
Duration of drift:  days 23 hours;
Position of sinking: 11°00′ S., 78°40′ E.;
Position of Bijoutier Is.: 7° 05′ S., 52° 40′ E.;
Distance travelled using Mercator sailing method: 1598 nautical miles;
Average drift per day: 27.6 nautical miles;
Distance allowing for leeway, currents and steering (35%) *: say 2160 [nautical miles];
Average drift per day: 37.3 nautical miles.
(* This was an estimate by experts in that field.)
Drift of approximately 2900 km for 59 days
Food used on the voyage:
5 biscuits per man; lasted until 26 April;
Chocolate; ran out on 9 April;
Milk tablets; about 29 April;
A total of:
1 small turtle; and
As John Ward says, they were all eaten raw.
Ward returned to sea during the first [week] of September. The three Malay Quartermasters returned to sea during the third week in August, and the Indian Fireman on the 17th of August.
One other comment by John Ward is of interest. He says that, when they were short of water, he would rinse his mouth with salt water four or five times a day to stop his tongue from swelling. Quote: “At the end I was drinking about a quarter of a mug per day.” This flies in the face of most books on survival.
On one of these occasions, I was briefing Mr. Ward, as we always addressed him, about the time of arrival at Moresby and presumably about other matters.
He said something to the effect: “Don’t be so anxious about the future; if I am alive when I next need a cup of Milo, I will be happy.” It’s taken half a lifetime for me to fully understand what his statement meant.
I wish to acknowledge my appreciation to:
- Shipmates, mariners and friends who provided information and advice on “Tulagi” and associated matters;
- Bill Hughes, Purser who was on “Tulagi” in Darwin during the raid, February 1942, and for 3 years of her 5 years, he says “‘Tulagi’ was always a happy ship.”;
- CSIRO for information on Bioluminescence and predictions on rate and direction of the drift of the rafts;
- The Royal Australian Navy for their approval to reproduce from their chart, Aus. 4070. [not available here.]
Captain S.J. (“Mick”) Costelloe.
Some information about the German Submarine:
Type: IXD2 6 U-Boat;
Length: 87.6 m;
Beam: 7.5 m;
Draught: 5.4 m;
Displacement, surfaced: 1616 tons;
Speed, surfaced: 19.2 knots;
Range on the surface: 23.70 nautical miles @ 12 knots, say 82 days;
Submerged: 57 nautical miles @ 4 knots, say 14.25 hrs.
Captain Junker [Fregattenkapitän] said in his attack report that he had been stalking “Tulagi” for some time and attacked her from the east. He had a clear silhouette. Visibility was good. He attacked at close range. He thought the ship was larger and a tanker.
Weather at the time was clear, nil clouds, rippled sea. Moon had set at 1523. There was only 13.3% of the moon visible on that day. At the time of the shoot “Tulagi” would have been visible against a Milky Way setting at the west.
“The Voyage of the Survivors of the “m.v. Tulagi”,
from 0010, 28 March 1944 Tuesday to 2310, Thursday 25 May 1944.”
1: Assuming that “Tulagi” was due south of Colombo at the time, that would place her at about latitude 12° 50′ South. If “Tulagi” were to pass 300 nautical miles to the east of Chagos [Archipelago], that would be at about longitude 76° 30′ East. At a speed of 12 knots, “Tulagi” would be at about latitude 10° 30′ at midnight.
2: Another report in the National Archives of Australia places “Tulagi’s” position when torpedoed at “10°00′ South, 78°40′ East (approx.).” [See Note 1.] 3-4,000 fathoms converts to 5,486-7,315 metres.
3: The report Ward wrote was to Burns Philp & Co. Jacobs probably wrote a separate report to his employer. This 4-page report is in the National Archives of Australia; it largely supports Ward’s.
4: A shallow major submarine ridge, the “Seychelles-Mauritius Plateau” [also known as the “Mascarene Plateau”], runs across the drift path at about this point, assuming a roughly uniform rate of drift.
5: There are two copies of Ward’s report of 1 August 1944 in the National Archives. They differ in one material fact only: one copy states “5 oz.”; the other, “6 oz.”
6: Later information, for example various U-boat websites, is that U-532 was an IXC-40 type [with different specifications].