SS Wahehe (1922)

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Name: Wadigo (1922)
Wahehe (1922-40)
Empire Citizen (1940-41)
Owner: Woermann Linie AG (1922-40)
Ministry of War Transport (1940-41)
Operator: Woermann Linie AG (1922-40)
P Henderson & Co (1940-41)
Port of registry: 22x20px Hamburg (1922-33)
22x20px London (1933-40)
United Kingdom London (1940-41)
Builder: Reiherstieg Schiffswerfte und Maschinenfabrik
Launched: 1922
Completed: August 1922
Out of service: 3 February 1941
Identification: Code Letters RCQH (1922-34)
Code Letters DHZD (1934-40)
Code Letters GLCB (1940-41)
United Kingdom Official Number 167505 (1940-41)
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk by Template:GS
General characteristics
Tonnage: 4,690 GRT (1922-34)
4,709 GRT (1934-40)
4,683 GRT (1940-41)
2,686 NRT (1922-34)
2,771 NRT (1934-40)
2,736 NRT (1940-41)
Length: 361 feet 2 inches (110.08 m)
Beam: 50 feet 3 inches (15.32 m)
Depth: 23 feet 7 inches (7.19 m)
Installed power: Quadruple expansion steam engine
Propulsion: Screw propellor
Capacity: At least 12 passengers (Wahehe, Empire Citizen)
Crew: 69 +2 DEMS gunners (Empire Citizen)

Wahehe was a 4,690 GRT cargo ship which was built in 1922 as Wadigo by Reiherstieg Schiffswerfte und Maschinenfabrik, Hamburg for Woermann Linie AG. She was converted to a refrigerated cargo liner c1934. At sea when war was declared in 1939, she sought refuge at Vigo, Spain. Wahehe sailed from Vigo in February 1940 in an attempt to reach Germany but was captured by the Royal Navy. She was declared a war prize and handed over to the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT), being renamed Empire Citizen. On 3 February 1941, she was torpedoed and sunk by Template:GS.


The ship was built by Reiherstieg Schiffswerfte und Maschinenfabrik, Hamburg.[1] She was laid down as Wadigo and completed in August 1922 as Wahehe.[2]

The ship was 361 feet 2 inches (110.08 m) long, with a beam of 50 feet 3 inches (15.32 m) and a depth of 23 feet 7 inches (7.19 m). She had a GRT of 4,690 and a NRT of 2,686.[3]

The ship was propelled by a quadruple expansion steam engine, which had cylinders of 2145 inches (55 cm), 32310 inches (82 cm), 47 inches (120 cm) and 69 inches (180 cm) diameter by 4945 inches (126 cm) stroke.[3]


Wahehe was built for Woermann Linie AG, Hamburg.[1] She would have been used on routes between Germany and Africa.[4] Her port of registry was Hamburg and the Code Letters RCQH were allocated.[3] In 1934, she was converted to a refrigerated cargo liner. Now 4,709 GRT, 2,771 NRT, her Code Letters were changed to DHZD.[5] Wahehe departed Hamburg before war was declared on 3 September 1939. She took refuge at Vigo, Spain. On 10 February 1940, she departed Vigo in a attempt to reach Germany. On 21 February, she was intercepted by HMS Kandahar,[6] HMS Kimberley and HMS Manchester,[1] when south east of Iceland,[7] at 62°50′N 14°20′W / 62.833°N 14.333°W / 62.833; -14.333.[8] The crew of Wahehe were told that if they scuttled her, then no attempt would be made to rescue them.[1] A crew from HMS Kimberley boarded her and she was escorted into Kirkwall, Orkney Islands as a prize of war.[6] Wahehe was then towed to the Clyde, arriving on 8 March.[8]

Wahehe was passed to the MoWT and renamed Empire Citizen. She was placed under the management of P Henderson & Co Ltd. Her port of registry was changed to London. The United Kingdom Official Number 167505 and Code Letters GLCB were assigned. Her GRT was recorded as 4,683, with a NRT of 2,736.[9] Empire Citizen was a member of a number of convoys during the Second World War.

OG 33

Convoy OG 33 formed at sea on 9 June 1940, bound for Gibraltar. Empire Citizen was carrying general cargo and was bound for Las Palmas, Spain.[10]

OB 279

Convoy OB 279 departed Liverpool on 28 January 1941 and dispersed at sea on 2 February 1941. Empire Citizen was carrying general cargo bound for Freetown, Sierra Leone and Rangoon, Burma.[11] At 01:45 German time on 3 February, Empire Citizen was torpedoed by Template:GS at 58°12′N 23°22′W / 58.2°N 23.367°W / 58.2; -23.367. She settled slowly on an even keel and was abandoned by her crew and passengers. Another torpedo was fired at 02:33 following which she quickly sank by the stern. A total of 66 crew and 12 passengers were lost. Five crew were rescued by HMS Clarkia and were landed at Londonderry.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Mitchell, W H, and Sawyer, L A (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85044-275-4. 
  2. "SS Empire Citizen (+1941)". Wrecksite. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "LLOYD'S REGISTER, STEAMERS & MOTORSHIPS". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  4. "German East Africa Line / Woermann Line (Deutsche Ost-Afrika-Linie / Deutsche Africa-Linien / Woermann Linie)". The Ships List. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  5. "LLOYD'S REGISTER, NAVIRES A VAPEUR ET A MOTEURS". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "H.M.S. KANDAHAR (F28)". Naval History. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Empire Citizen". Uboat. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "NAVAL EVENTS, FEBRUARY 1940, Part 2 of 2, Thursday 15th - Thursday 29th". Naval History. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  9. "LLOYD'S REGISTER, STEAMERS & MOTORSHIPS". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  10. "OG Convoys – 1939-1942 Convoy OG 1 through OG 89". Warsailors. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  11. "Convoy OB 270". Convoyweb.!~obmain. Retrieved 3 April 2010.