SS Iron Chieftain (1937)

SS Iron Chieftain was a 4,812 GRT Australian iron ore carrier which was sunk during World War II by a Japanese submarine.

Name: Iron Chieftain
Owner: BHP Shipping
Port of registry: Melbourne, Australia
Builder: Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow
Yard number: 903
Launched: 22 October 1937
  • UK Official Number 159570
  • Code Letters VLJY
Fate: Torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-24 on 3 June 1942
General characteristics
Tonnage: 4,812 GRT, 2737 net, 8130 dwt
Length: 404 ft 5 in (123.27 m)
Beam: 56 ft 2 in (17.12 m)
Depth: 23 ft 2 in (7.06 m)
Propulsion: 1 x quadruple expansion steam engine (David Rowan & Co, Glasgow) 553 hp (412 kW)
Armament: stern deck gun (4-inch), twin machine guns


Iron Chieftain was built by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow for Broken Hill Proprietary Company, Broken Hill. She was launched on 22 October 1937 and was homeported in Melbourne under the British Flag.[1]

On 3 June 1942, Iron Chieftain while en route Newcastle-Whyalla was torpedoed and sunk east of Sydney by I-24 at about 11pm about 27 miles (43 km) east of Sydney. Her Master Captain Lionel Haddelsey and Chief Engineer Marcus Gunn, were two of the twelve crew members who were killed. Thirty-seven survivors were rescued from a raft by HMAS Bingera and from a lifeboat washed onto the beach at The Entrance.[2]

Official number and code letters

Official numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers. Iron Chieftain had the UK Official Number 159570 and used the Code Letters VLJY. [1]


  1. "Llyods Register 1938-39" (PDF). Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  2. "Broken Hill Proprietary". Mercantile Marine. Retrieved 5 June 2012.

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