Completed 1936 as "TORNUS" for Anglo-Saxon. Hit by torpedo from Japanese Submarine I 26 on 31-12-1943. Repaired. 1952 sold to Shell France and renamed "IOPAS". 20-9-1960 arrived Spezia for scrap.

Also known as
IMO number
Call sign
Construction number
12.151 ton
Length overall
Year of construction
Year of renaming/broken up
Service for Shell
1936 to 1960
Flag state
Home port



Name Job Period Details
Harry Austin Br... steward 1941 to 1944
Daniel Joseph Fox 5th engineer 1942 to 1943
Peter Ralph Davison 5th engineer 1942 to 1943
Robert Bruce 3rd officer 1943 my father was 3rd officer. Torpedoed 1700 31/12/1943
Frank G Bragge 2nd engineer 1949
E. Kevin Donnelly 3rd mate 1951
William Stanley... deck apprentice 1951 to 1952


Date Visitor Anecdote
06/21/2016 - 05:01 Peter Ralph Davison

From Peter's memoirs:

The award winners of the torpedoing of the M.S.Tornus (8054 tons) on 31/12/193, followed by being chased under gunfire although she was holed badly - these men were given awards for saving the ship and the men

Captain Keith Robert Martin Kinnear DSO RNR who was awarded the OBE for saving her to port (ref: )
Mr George Sharpe, Chief Officer was awrded the MBE for going forward to alter pump valves

Mr Tom Collins Chief Engineer who was awrded the MBE for working with Mr Sharpe in action

Mr Charles Butterworth, Second Engineer, was Mentioned in Despatches.

Mr Peter Ralph Davison, Fifth Engineer, was Mentioned in Despatches as assistant to Mr Butterworth in putting thje ship right, and keeping the engines at full speed on watch for an indefinite period.

He also wrote about the incident:
"We were torpedoed by a Jap submarine, just south of the Persian Gulf. The ship was the oil tanker M. V. Tornus, which was heading for [Abadan?]. However the Tornus did not sink. Out of the six ships attacked 24 hours apart, she was the only one that did not sink, however the sub noticed this smartly, and surfaced, opening up with her guns and bringing to bear our own gun crew on our old 1917 Japanese 4.7 in. We had a half hour's gun battle then, while we were zig-zagging a course for the nearest port, Karachi with an 80 foot hole in her bottom, bilge keel to bilge keel, and the bow dropping about 20 feet. All the crews of the other 5 ships were machine gunned. No survivors was the order given."


(Submitted by Terry Bowden)

05/28/2016 - 00:38 Peter Ralph Davison

I have a photo of my father, Peter Ralph Davison wearing a white uniform and cap of the Merchant Marine. On the front he has written "5th Engineer, "Tornus" at Bombay, Mar 1944." On the back he recounts -"The months after being torpodoed. Taken around March, 1944 in Bombay, India, where the "Tornus" came in to have temporary repairs done to the bow plates, so as the bow will not drop off. The torpedo from the Jap submarine made a bid hole in her bottom, 80 feet long, and from bilge keel to bilge keel."

01/28/2013 - 00:00 Rossfleet

I sailed on ship in 1969 as a engineer many fond memories.

08/07/2012 - 11:25 Simon Holroyd

My father Captain Brian Holroyd sailed on the Tornus when joining Shell.

He joined his first ship, the MV Tornus, as a deck apprentice in 1943, spending his first day chipping rust off the ship with a hammer and chisel. But action found him soon enough. After crossing the Atlantic in a convoy, the Tornus headed east to India without escort, tasked with running aviation fuel from Karachi in Pakistan to British forces in Chittagong, Burma. A Japanese torpedo hit the tanker without warning on 31 December 1943.

When the torpedo failed to sink the ship, the submarine surfaced to shell it. However, the vessel was fitted with gun emplacements. The Tornus's crew managed to fire off several shells, driving the submarine away. Brian was sent back on watch and spent the rest of the dark, terrifying night watching the trails of porpoises drawn, out of curiosity, towards the hole in the side of the ship, and worrying whether one would be the trail of a torpedo sent to finish them off.

The ship limped back to port, and and my father remembered enjoying his enforced relaxation whilst awaiting the repairs to be completed.