Californian at Gallipoli / Cape Helles, April 1915


Harland Duzen

Nothing big or major here, just a small fact that I thought people might find interesting.

In the Imperial War Museum's Archives, there are apparently two letters from Captain William Master (who succeeded Lord and was Californian's final captain) and from a steward named "W Hughes" who both describe Californian being used as a troop transport and being anchored between Gallipoli and Cape Helles during the River Clyde's landing at V Beach.

Private Papers of Captain W Masters

Private Papers of W Hughes

Sadly there are no photographs and only brief summaries of both letters, but it's interesting to know that Californian was in the background of another historical event*.

* Maybe there's another photo of her as a troop transport somewhere...
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Hi Harland,

I never knew that, and neither apparently do the Gallipoli Association. I did a 'google' search this evening on 'ships at Gallipoli' and obviously taking pics at the time was probably not considered very important. I would urge you to contact the Gallipoli Asscociation to update their lists of ships involved, plus add to the Wikipedia entry on the SS Californian, and the entry on here.

(I did find one pic that might possibly show The Californian

Britain's last surviving warship from Gallipoli brought back to life

It is to the right in the above pic - though as so many ships were involved I could not say anymore than it has 4 masts and a similar outline to The Californian)

I would like to know a great deal more about Captain Masters of The Californian. Harrison and Stanley Lord Tutton made some great play of Captain Lord's own activities in WW1, but in the whole scheme of things Captain Lord's own involvement was as if nothing to what Captain Masters went through (thanks to your above research) in command of The Californian - the Gallipoli landings of troops in the most awful of circumstances under fire no doubt, and then having his ship sunk by a German submarine in November 1915.