The Ramb IV was originally built as a cargo ship at Monfalcone by the Re-United Yards of the Adriatic (Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico, CRDA) as a banana boat for Regia Azienda Monopolio Banane (Govt), Genoa in 1937 for transporting refrigerated bananas from Somaliland and Eritrea in Italian East Africa. Her keel was laid 14 January 1937, the ship was launched 7 June 1937, and completed 27 October 1937. She was 3,676 Grt, diesel powered, 116.8 meters in length, 15.2 meters in beam, with twin screws and a cruising speed of 17-18.5 knots. The Ramb IV was converted into a hospital ship for service during WWII by the Italian Royal Navy's Red Sea Flotilla at the Eritrean port of Massawa, and and she was re-named Aquileia. The ship was to be used for transporting Italian wounded from the Port of Massawa back to Italy. However, this proved to be not possible due to British control of the Suez Canal. When the Port of Massawa fell on 10 April 1941, the British captured the ship off of Aden and pressed it into service where she operated in the Red Sea and later in Libya.
Sister Ship of the Ramb IV, the Ramb II
On 10 May 1942, while enroute from Tobruk to Alexandria, the Ramb IV was attacked and bombed by German JU-88 aircraft and damaged. Fire resulting from the bombing broke out onboard the ship and she had to be abandoned. One source records that the HMS Kipling was dispatched to assist the ship and placed a fire fighting party on board the ship to assist ship's crew combat the fire. Never-the-less, the ship was abandoned and was later sunk by British Royal Navy ships at position 31.17N/29.23E in approximately 400 meters of water off the coast of what is now Sidi Krier. The ship was carrying 360 staff and wounded patients when attacked. 155 wounded men and 10 crew were lost.
Miramar Single Ship Report for "5614791"
The World's Merchant Fleets 1939 (By Roger Jordan)
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