MV Dumana

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Name: Dumana
Owner: British India Steam Navigation Company
Operator: Air Ministry (1939-1943)
Port of registry: United Kingdom London
Builder: Barclay Curle
Yard number: 593
Launched: 21 November 1921
Completed: 16 March 1923
Renamed: Built as Melma, renamed before completion
Fate: Sunk on 24 December 1943
General characteristics
Class and type: Passenger cargo vessel
Tonnage: 8,428 GRT
Length: 464 feet (141.43 m)
Beam: 58 feet 4 inches (17.78 m)
Depth: 17 feet 2 inches (5.23 m)
Propulsion: Twin screw diesel
2 x 8 cylinders
3,750 bhp (2,800 kW)
Speed: 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h)

The MV Dumana was a British passenger cargo vessel. She was sunk during the Second World War.

Pre-war career

Dumana was built by Barclay Curle at Whiteinch, Glasgow as the Melma, and launched on 21 November 1921. She was completed by 16 March 1923 and entered service under her new name Dumana for the British India Steam Navigation Company, who homeported her in London. The Dumana initially made voyages from London to Karachi and Bombay, though she was transferred to operate on the route to Calcutta after 1934.

Second World War

With the outbreak of war in September 1939 Dumana was chartered by the Air Ministry. She was initially used at Port Said as a base ship for 500 airmen, and was fitted with workshops to overhaul aircraft. She was later moved on to Alexandria, and subsequently Malta and Gibraltar. In 1941 she evacuated RAF personnel from Crete after the island fell to a German invasion. In 1942 Dumana was converted to operate as a base ship for flying boats, and sailed to Bathurst with two squadrons of Short Sunderlands.


Dumana, under the command of her master, Archibald Richard George Drummond, made her final voyage as part of convoy STL 8, traveling from Port Etienne to Takoradi, via Freetown, carrying 300 tons of RAF stores. She called at Freetown on 23 December, and by evening of 24 December was west of Sassandra, on the Ivory Coast. She was spotted by Werner Henke's Template:GS and torpedoed at 20.30 hours. Two of three torpedoes struck and she sank in five minutes, preventing several of the lifeboats from being deployed.

Three officers, seven crew members, 20 lascars, two gunners and seven RAF personnel went down with her, with the master, 107 crew members, seven gunners and 15 RAF personnel surviving to be rescued by the naval trawlers Arran and Southern Pride. The survivors were taken to Takoradi, arriving on 25 December. A memorial stone was erected in Sassandra in the Ivory Coast a year after the sinking.