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  MV Anshun (MS Culcairn)
U.S. Army

Former Assignments
China Navigation Company
British Navy
Cargo

3,188 Tons
338' 4" x 50' 2" x 21' 7"


Click For Enlargement
AWM c1942

Click For Enlargement

Click For Enlargement
AWM September 1942

Click For Enlargement
43rd BG c1943
Sinking History
Built by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Limited in Greenock, Scotland. Launched in 1930 as MV Anshun operated by the China Navigation Company to provide passenger and cargo service in China.

Wartime History
During World War II, requisitioned by the British Navy at Freetown in West Africa then returned in 1940. On December 8, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War, damaged by a bomb in Manila Bay. Afterwards, steamed southward to Australia.

Afterwards, to Australia and commandeered by the Ministry of War Transport to the U.S. Army and used to transport troops and supplies between Australia and New Guinea.

During September 1942 MV Anshun departed Townsville as part of convoy Q2 with s'Jacob escorted by HMAS Swan and later HMAS Arunta bound for Milne Bay. On September 5, 1942 the convoy waited in the China Strait because Japanese warships were expected to attack Milne Bay overnight.

Sinking History
On September 6, 1942 HMAS Arunta escorted Anshun into Milne Bay while the rest of the convoy waited to the south. While unloading at Gili Gili dock in Milne Bay, this vessel was illuminated by lights on shore. Targeted by Japanese cruisers bombarding the area and hit by gunfire from Tenryƫ. Damaged, the ship listed to the starboard side and sank in shallow water with the port side above the surface.

Shipwreck
MV Anshun sank with the starboard side underwater and the port side exposed above the surface. Afterwards, the shipwreck was often photographed by Allied personnel or appears in photographs of the Gili Gili dock area.

Salvage
During September 1944, Australian salvage divers successfully refloated the ship and towed 1,750 miles to Sydney Harbor for further repairs. Acquired by James Patrick & Company Pty Limited renamed MS Culcairn and repaired at Cockatoo Island Dockyard.

Postwar
MS Culcairn operated as a cargo vessel off the eastern coast of Australia between 1946 until 1962. Ultimate fate unknown, likely broken up sometime afterwards.

References
Some sources refer to this vessel as simply "Anshun" or "SS Anshun".
Passengers In History - Anshun
AWM "The Anshun" ART25777

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Last Updated
September 5, 2021

 

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