Wednesday 31 July 2013

The last voyage of the SS Ulysses

SS Ulysses was launched in 1913 in Belfast. She was a steam passenger ship with a displacement of 14,647 tons. She was built for Alfred Holt & Co, trading as the Blue Funnel Line, to sail the route Glasgow - Liverpool - Brisbane. Her home port was Liverpool. During WW1 she served as a troopship and carried Australian soldiers to the Middle East and Europe, and American soldiers across the Atlantic. After the war she resumed commercial service for the Blue Funnel Line in 1920. The Blue Funnel ships all took their names from Greek mythology. They all had that distinctive high blue painted funnel. Most of the ships were cargo ships but a few like Ulysses were passenger liners. Ulysses was sunk in April 1942 by a U-boat and this  is the story of her last voyage.

SS Ulysses(Source:
In 1941 she was in Hong Kong for refitting. Her Captain was James Appleton Russell. The crew were billeted ashore. In September, 1941, whilst nearing completion, the ship was damaged in a typhoon. She had been towed out to a buoy in the harbour, and moored fore and aft, but in the storm, she broke her moorings and ran aground at Green Island, at the western entrance to the harbour. This necessitated further repairs and delayed her departure from Hong Kong. Hong Kong had been living under the threat of a Japanese invasion for several years since Japan invaded  Manchuria in 1931 and the rest of China in 1937. In 1940, many of the British women and children resident in Hong Kong   were evacuated to Australia. In November 1941, two Canadian infantry battalions arrived as reinforcements. The garrison was split into two infantry brigades, one holding the Mainland and the other defending the Island. Hong Kong was on the eve of war, and the Mainland Brigade was already manning the "inner line" known as the Gin Drinkers Line. Tensions were high, but many thought Japan was blustering and that war could be averted. 

In December 1941, Lt Alexander ("Alec") Kennedy, RNVR, commanding officer of MTB 09 one of eight motor torpedo boats based in Hong Kong, had proposed to Rachel Smith. Rachel was the  daughter of Norman Lockhart Smith, the Colonial Secretary. Smith, who  was  known by his initials "NL", was due to retire from the Colonial Government Administration and he and his daughter, Rachel, were booked to sail back to Britain on the Ulysses. Alec Kennedy in a privately published book titled Hong Kong Full Circle 1939-1945 described their departure.
"On the evening of 6th December, the officers and crews of the merchantmen in harbour were recalled to their ships, and the passengers for the Ulysses told to be onboard within 12 hours. I went out to the ship to to say goodbye to Rachel and  "NL" early the next morning. Crossing the harbor the launch passed a coaster which had just arrived from Singapore and had brought among its few passengers the new Colonial Secretary, Mr Franklin Gimson. A steady stream of ships put out from Hong Kong that Sunday morning, all heading south. Ashore the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corp were being mobilised, and the regular battalions were at their battle stations on the border." 
The Ulysses sailed that fateful Sunday, while the Japanese were preparing to attack the American fleet at Pearl Harbour and to invade Hong Kong, Malaya and the Philippines. After one day's passage  from Hong  Kong, and whilst heading for Manila, they heard by wireless that war had begun, and that Manila  was already under attack. Captain Russell decided to change course and sail to Singapore. Early one morning the ship's siren sounded and a loud explosion was heard. The passengers rushed up to the boat deck to find that a Japanese aircraft had passed overhead and dropped bombs, which resulted in near misses and no damage was done. The next day a  Japanese aircraft strafed the ship with machine guns. Again no serious damage and no injuries were sustained. The destroyers HMS Scout and HMS Thanet which left Hong Kong on Monday evening 8th December bound for Singapore had been ordered to look out for the Ulysses, after her distress signal had been received, stating that she was under attack by Japanese aircraft. They found no sign of her. 

Ulysses (Source: Wikipedia)
The ship eventually reached Singapore, causing some surprise, as people thought she had been sunk,   as after sending out the distress signal, the ship had maintained radio silence. She remained in Singapore for a week, where she undertook further repairs. The passengers, including Rachel and her father, were put ashore and accommodated for a week in the Raffles Hotel. Singapore was being bombed and the Japanese were fighting their way through Malaya towards Singapore. Just before Christmas Ulysses departed Singapore for Fremantle after having embarked a large number of women and children evacuees. From Fremantle they sailed to Adelaide for repairs. By this time Hong Kong had surrendered and Lt Alec Kennedy had escaped with the five remaining MTBs to the coast of China and made his way with the other boat crews across country to Free China. It was in Adelaide that Rachel first heard that her fiancĂ© had escaped and was on his way to Burma. After picking up some cargo, the ship sailed via Sydney, and Auckland across the Pacific and through the Panama Canal into the Atlantic Ocean. One of the passengers who joined the ship in Sydney was nineteen-year-old Helen Hills. She and her mother Edith had gone to Australia in October 1941 to stay with relations. When Edith returned to Hong Kong, she decided to leave Helen in Australia where it would be safer. Edith worked as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse in a military hospital in Hong Kong during hostilities, and her husband, Hebert worked in Air Raid Precautions (ARP). After the British surrender Edith and Herbert were interned at Stanley Camp. Helen had two brothers at boarding school in England and decided to return to England on the Ulysses. She later joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). Stuart, the oldest of her two brothers, joined the Army after leaving school and took part in the invasion of Normandy. He was awarded the Military Cross.

As the Ulysses steamed up the coast of Florida she was involved in a collision. On 8th April 1942 she collided with the Panamanian tanker Gold Heels causing a hole in her hull below the waterline and major damage to her bows. The ship had to slow down, which made her  a target for German U-boats. On April 11th, her luck ran out and she was torpedoed by U-160 off the coast of Carolina. Three torpedoes hit the ship but she settled slowly providing enough time for the life boats to be lowered. Her 195 crew members, which included five gunners, and her 95 passengers, were picked up by an American destroyer, the USS Manley.

SS Ulysses after having been struck by three  torpedoes

The picture above shows the Ulysses' boilers blowing shortly before sinking. This was taken by a US aircraft which first reached the scene. The presence of an aircraft (possibly a  flying boat) probably led to the early departure of U-160. An hour or so later, the destroyer, USS Manley, arrived, scrambling nets were lowered and the the survivors were brought up on deck. They were landed in Charleston and then taken to New York, where they took passage on SS Myrmidon, another Blue Funnel Line ship, back to Britain. The ship joined a convoy (Convoy HX 189) at Halifax on 23rd May 1942 and took sixteen days to arrive at Greenock, Glasgow. 
SS Myrmidon (Source:
The SS Myrmidon was sunk by a U-boat in September 1942 off the west coast of Africa. 

USS Manley
In July 2017 I received an email from Mr Roger Lewis who had come across my post on the story of the Ulysses. His mother and grandparents had been on the Ulysses when she was sunk. 
"My mother,Mary Patricia Rowell,had boarded the ship in Austrailia with her parents,her father being Thomas Richmond Rowell (later to be Director of Education in Hong Kong and awarded the CBE in 1950). Apparently the ship was full of rubber from Malaya and therefore did not capsize. In my mother's account she talks of the incredible generosity of the American people. Baroness Rothschild took every passenger to Macy's store in New York for replacement shoes. On her return to the UK my mother joined the WRNS, was on incendiary duty on the roof of St Paul's and was later posted to Bletchley Park where she worked as a cypher clerk on the enigma project. Hopefully this will be of interest."
Roger Lewis also sent me these press cuttings:

Awaiting rescue in the lifeboats
The ship's radio officer had sent a distress message before abandoning ship. In response a US military aircraft arrived at the scene. The destroyer USS Manley reached the area some seventy-five minutes later and rescued all the passengers and crew who had taken to the ships boats. All ten of the ship's lifeboats had been utilised before she sank. For one of the ship's stewardesses, Katherine Lacy, this was the third time she had been torpedoed at sea, but for Lester Pilbean, one of the crew, it was the  fifth time he had been torpedoed at sea and lived to tell the tale. The story of the Ulysses captured the imagination of the American public. The passengers and crew were shown great kindness by the people of Charleston where they landed. In Charleston the passengers were accommodated in the Francis Marion and Fort Sumter hotels. The next day they were taken by train to New York via Washington. They stayed in the Wellington Hotel for ten days. When you look at the faces of the survivors in the newspaper photographs, although they have lost everything, and nearly lost their lives, they don't look downcast, they look indomitable.

The front page of the Charleston newspaper shows in the top left Mrs McAuslin and Mrs Chapman  with their their young children. The photograph top right shows the survivors on the USS Manley as they docked at the naval yard in Charleston. The photograph in the centre-lower section shows Captain Russell thanking the American destroyer commander for their rescue. In the bottom right is Mrs Charlotte Pugh - not looking her 86 years of age.

In the centre is Judith Rowell, Roger Lewis's aunt, then aged 11, and although difficult to seeing the photograph, she is holding three kittens which she had rescued from the ship. The cats mother was the only casualty - she went down with the ship.  On the right is Vera Wickett with her baby son Peter. Vera was known by her stage name Vera Wood and was a well known opera singer.

Captain J.A. Russell was the last to leave his stricken ship. Gibson, his Quartermaster, refused to leave the bridge, and left after searching the ship to make sure that no-one had been left behind. He left with his Captain. There was no panic, women and children boarded the lifeboats first, the crew were efficient. The lifeboats pulled away before the ship sank. It was the last voyage for the Ulysses.


Addendum 1

SS Ulysses  Passengers list on her last voyage :

Surname First Names Age Occupation Place of last residence Embarkation Port Comments
Allan James Malcom  56. (2/11/1885) Bank official Australia Sydney Chartered Bank  - Scottish. Born in 1886 in Scotland. In 1974 they are showmn on incoming passenger list on vessel from SA and Madeira and his occupation is given as retired dentist (?) . 
Allan  (Mrs) Nely Speedy  44 (29/9/1894) Housewife Sydney Scottish. A 1925 shipping record shows them travelling with daughter Margaret Eileen from London to  Penang  with ultimate destination as Sumatra. He is listed as 39 yr old banker.
Anderson  (Mrs )   Olive Lucy  31 yrs Housewife Malaya Sydney 1948 address in UK was Kensington Close, London, W8. Her place of permanent residence was Malaya. Her 1952 address in UK was in Oxford but permanent address was still Malaya.  No details of husband found but she may have been married to George (Ginger) Anderson a Planter in Malaya.
Barton James  R. B.  51 yrs Planter Malaya Sydney His address in UK was given as c/o Lt -Col Barton, DSO  Fermanagh Northern Ireland.
Begg  (Mrs) Olive Janie 43 yrs (15/8/1898) Housewife Ipoh, Malaysia Sydney Husband's name was Norman Fraser Buchanan Begg. He was born in 1892 and records show him returning to UK  after the war (and internment in 1945). He died in 1953 aged 61. He had been an Engineer. Her maiden name was Wood.  They married in 1927 in Essex. Their address is shown as 6, Gliddon Road, W14. She died aged 82 in 1980. They had a daughter Dorothea.
Bett  (Dr.) Douglas Home Blackader 66 yrs. (2/6/1876) Physician  Australia Sydney Born in New Zealand. Deceased April 1962 (London). After arriving in UK in 1942 they settled in Jersey Channel Islands.
Bett.  (Mrs) Olive Cholmely  61 yrs. (24/11/1880 Sydney Maiden name Gore. They married in 1916 in NZ.
Blair    (Mrs) Elizabeth Smellie  29 yrs Housewife Singapore Melbourne Scottish from Motherwell. Maiden name Pwttigrew.  Husband was Daniel Dunlop Blaire - resident of Singapore (45 Orchard Road). Her address in UK given as c/o Mrs J Pettigrew, Motherwell, Scotland.  Daniel Blair went out to Singapore in 1938 working as an Engineer for Stewarty McIntyre & Co . He served in Singapore Settlements Volunteer Group. He was interned and died at Labuan on 28 Jan 1945 whilst a POW. 
Blair    (Miss) Janice Elizabeth 15 months Singapore Melbourne
Bourne      (Mrs) Eileen Peggy 29 yrs (1913) Singapore Melbourne Her husband was Patrick William Bourne who was a PC in Singapore according to manifest. However in 1947 he is shown as Mercantile Assistant Shell Oil Co (Malaya/Singapore) 
Bourne Michael John  20 months Singapore Melbourne
Boyde      (Mrs)     Nancy Keil  46 yrs Housewife Johore, Malaya  Singapore Scottish. She was born 1895. Her maiden name was Anderson. She died in 1948. Her husband was Andrew Graham Boyd. They married in 1924. He was a rubber planter in Malaya. He was interned at Changi. He remarried in 1950 and died in 1989 at the age of 92.
Bryant   (Mrs)  Sybil Mary 43 yrs (12/12/1899) Housewife Japan/Tokyo Sydney Her husband was Air Commodore Walter Edward George  Bryant (1893-1945) who served as Air Attache at British Embassy Tokyo. Her maiden name was Prout. They married 1916. 
Bryant  (Miss) Mary Sybil 17 yrs Tokyo Sydney
Burden   (Miss) Elsie Grace 40 yrs Teacher Australia Sydney  British national. Address was in Chudleigh, South Devon.  She left UK for Australia in July 1939.
Burlington  (Mrs)  Eileen L.  29 yrs Australia Melbourne There is a record of an Eileen Burlington  arriving in London from New York  in 1936,  married tro Charles  Burlington who described himself as a gold prospector in Australia.  They had a child Anita . Not sure if this is the same Eileen Burlington. 
Channer  (Miss) Frances Teacher Australia Sydney
Chapman   (Mrs)  Betty Irene 29 yrs Housewife Rangoon, Burma Sydney Betty, husband and son flew (Flying Boat) from Rangoon to Sydney (via Singapore, Jakarta, Darwin, and Newcastle). Her husband (Harold Victor Chapman) was a PWD Engineer working in Burma - he returned to Burma and rejoined the family in England in 1943. Betty & Richard boarded Ulysses at Sydney. She is shown with son Richard after being rescued  in a photo on the front page of the News & Courier (Charleston) 14th April 1942.
Chapman  (Master)  Richard 6 Child Burma Sydney Adam Chapman contacted me to say that Richard Chapman was his father and Betty his grandmother. Richard wrote of his experiences  See:
Collins Cecil  W. Civil Servant HK Hong Kong Manifest gives address in London as c/o Cable & Wireless
Cooper  (Lt-Col) Thomas 55 yrs India Sydney Employed by Baroda & Central Indian Railway Co. Locomotive and Carriage Superintendent. I dont see him on the Myrmidon Passenger List . He boarded the ship in Sydney.



Doctor (nedical) Malaya Singapore Embarked Sing. Disembarked at Fremantle. See Addendum below
Davies George Howard 61 yrs Hong Kong He is shown on the Carolina arrival list with other survivors but  I could not find him on Myrmidon passenger list. He may have remnaioned in US. Welsh (believed to be from Hereforshire/Pembrokeshire). He boarded Ulysses in Hong Kong. 
Dawe Joseph M.W.  M.o.I. China HK Hong Kong An address is given c/o M.D. Lymer, Romford Esssex. Unable to find more information on him. 
Deighton  (Mrs)  Margaret R. 31 yrs Malaya Sydney Address given in Dunfermeline, Scotland. I believe she was married to Malayan Planter Lawrence Wilfred Deighton. There is a record of them travelling to Singapore from Southampton in 1938.
Ellison    (Mrs)  Rose 47 yrs Typisat Australia Sydney Adddress in UK provided as c/o  Mr I Ellison, Leeds, Eng.  No other information found.
Ellison    (Miss)    Sheila 17 yrs Typist Sydney
Forsyth   Alistair Kyle 34 yrs Dodwell & Co  Hong Kong Sydney After the war was resident in Malaya and profession was shown as Banker. He is described as employed by Dodwell & Co  at time of sinking. He died in 1964 in Tonbridge, Kent. He was married to Frances May Forsyth. Son Michael Alexander (b. circa 1950). He is listed in Loindon Gazzett Dec 1942 as appointed subaltern in RASC. He was Scottish. 
Gambling Oliver Clifton 40 yrs Mining Engineer Australia Melbourne Place of birth: Sheffield. Address c/o Mssrs Rip Bits Lts, Hill Street, Sheffield.  Beleved to be instrument makers. They were associated with Padley & Venables at same address in Sheffield.  (Padley & Venables was listed before WW2). Rip Bits was a maker of rock drill bits and pressure gauges and Padley & Venables made mining tools.
Gambling     (Mrs)    Mildred 43 yrs Housewife Melbourne Place of birth: Leicester. Shown as Mildred on Myrmidon list.
Hills   (Miss) Helen Faber 20 Stenographer Australia/HK Sydney Her parents (Herbert and Edith Hills) lived in Lugard Road Hong Kong  and were interned in Stanley Camp. Helen had gone to Australia  with her mother Edith in 1941 but stayed on in Sydney with an Aunt  when Edith returned to HK in November 1941, as it was safer for her to be in Sydney. After returning to England she joined WAAF. She had two brothers Stuart and Peter. She mnarried RAF Fighter Pilot Ace Lance Amigo Percy Burra-Robinson  after the war. They lived in South Africa. They had two children. Lance had a son from his previous marriage (Kensington - 1940) to Lady Nancy Moira Bowes-Lyon. They divorced in 1950. Lance was awarded DFC in 1944.
Hunt Percy Clarke 65 yrs Business Mgr. Melbourne
Jacobs   (Mrs) Catherine Ruby 31 yrs Sydney Not seen on Myrmidon List ???
Jacobs  (Miss) Patricia Anne  4 yrs Sydney
Jeffery  Mary Norma 20 yrs Bank Clerk Australia Melbourne
Jolly    (Mrs) Helen 36 yrs Housewife Australia Sydney
Jones  (Miss) Kathleen Hilda 34 Teacher Australia Sydney She was a British national working as a school mistress. Her address was c/o her mother (Hilda)  101, Oakwood Park Road, London
Jones  (Miss) Marjorie Lilian 34 School Teacher Australia Sydney British national
Jordan     (Mrs) Margaret Daisy Anne  45 yrs (1897) Malaya Melbourne She died aged 74 in Brighton in 1972.  She was married to Brian Jordan. In 1947 she returned to Singapore/Malaya
Jordan   (Miss)  Margaret Anne 6 Melbourne
Key James Hong Kong Employed by HM Secretary of State for Colonies - 
Key   (Mrs) Ester Rosaline 36 Hong Kong Chinese
Key   (Miss) Angela Helen Hong Kong Adopted daughter
Maas Henry Oscar 57 yrs (1885) Retired Malaya (Penang) Sydney Occupation retired merchant. Address c/o Mrs M. Maas in Dorset. Married to Marjorie Maas. Seems to have been based in Penang. In 1957 he is listed as Chairman of Boustead .
Moffat   (Mrs)  Dorys   Winifred 38 yrs  (1904) Housewife Australia Sydney Her husband Edward Hadley Moffat was interned in Shanghai (Lunghwa Camp). He was a banker.  They married at British Consulate in Yokohama in 1940.  They were resident in Japan until October 1941.
McAuslan   (Mrs)  Lilian Barnsley 38 yrs (1905) Burma Sydney She was married to Henry Buchanan McAuslan. He was serving in British Army in Burma. After the war the family lived in India. They retired to Shropshire. There is a photo on the front page of the Charleston newspaper "The News & Courier" (14 April 1942) showing Lilian and other survivors. 
McAuslan    (Miss) Elizabeth 5 Sydney
McAuslan (Miss)  Ailsa 7 Sydney Ailsa was born in Mandalay in 1935 . The family lived in India after the war and Aisla married in Calcutta in April 1955. Her daughter Alison provided additional information for me.
McLaren  (Mrs)  Nellie Florence 34 yrs Married to Harold McLaren with HK & China Gas Co. HK and then Bondi, Sydney Sydney She was married to Harold William George McLaren who she met in Exeter. They lived in Ilfracomb where he worked for Ilfracomb Cas Co.  until he got a job with HK & China Gas in 1937. Her daughter Ann was bornm in UK and youngest daughter Sue was born in Hong Kong.  Harold remained in HK and was incarcerated at Stanley Camp. Nellie and daughters were evacuated from HK on Empress of Japan to Australia via Manila in June/July 1940. Nellie and daughters stayed with her parents (Mr & Mrs Criddle) in Bridgewater, Somerset.  After the war family returned to HK and Harold  retired in 1964.  
McLaren  (Miss)  Patricia Ann  5 yrs Sydney She was born in UK. Now Ann Russell
McLaren  (Miss)  Susan Jenifer 2 yrs Sydney Born in Hong Kong. Now Susan Penn wife of John Penn whose father was Captain Harry Penn CO of No. 1 Coy HKVDC in 1941
McDonald John Ferguson 32 yrs (1910) Journalist.(Associated Australian Press) Australia Sydney Born in NZ. Married to Dorothy Frances Ferguson. Returned to Australia in 1945.
Noon.  (Mrs) Annie Katherine  67 Rtd Singapore Sydney Travelling with daughter and grandchild.
Noon (Mrs)  Barbara 29 Housewife Singapore Sydney Married to Henry Bromley Noon Chartered Accountant in Federated Malayan States.
Noon Timothy Henry 1 Child Singapore Sydney
Norton John Eardley 39 HK Hong Kong He was born in Egypt in 1903. He gave an address as 8, Glenoch Road, London, NW3. He may have worked for Censor's Office (not clear what he was doing in Hong Kong).
Notman   (Mrs) Annie Eileen 44 (1897) Housewife Kent, UK Hong Kong Married to Herbert George Notman in 1925 (I assume he worked for Vesteys) as she gave an address of Union Cold Storage, part of Vestey Brothers Group who had interests in cold storage, shipping, meat products etc and busiuness in South America. A number of trips were made tob Argentina/Latin America. 
Owen  (Mrs) Dorothie Marie Campbell 33 yrs Melbourne No information found - not seen on Myridon passenger list but were on Ulysses list .
Owen (Master) Charles Blackburn 6 yrs Melbourne
Owen  (Miss) Marie Lennox 5 yrs Melbourne
Packard (Mrs)  Maude Rosina  31 yrs  Adelaide, Aus Sydney She was born 11th Jan 1910. She died in 1985. She married Charles Reginald Packard in 1935.  She had two children. Not sure of the whereabouts of  her husbasnd during WW2. I assume 2nd child born after 1942.
Packard   (Miss)  Angela Mary 3 yrs Sydney
Paynter Bernard  48 yrs Chief Press Censor - Govt official HK HK Hong Kong Chief Press Censor
Ponsford Henry Sydney No other information
Pugh  (Mrs) Charlotte  86 yrs Sydney She  was the oldest passenger. She had been visiting her daughter Agnes Osborn who lived near Sydney.  Charlotte's photo was shown on front page collage of "The News & Courier" 14th April 1942 looking younger than her years. She was  Welsh. 
Reeve  (Mrs) Kathleen Malaya Sydney They boarded ship in Sydney.  They were evacuated from Singapore on the Aorangi  which disembarked passengers at Freemantle. They stayed in Perth before flying to Sydney and joining Ulysses.
Reeve  (Miss) Rosemary 2 Sydney Rosemary Fell (nee Reeve) is Secretary of Malaysian Volunteer Group
Rowell Thomas Richmond Educational Advisor- Colonial Office.  HK Sydney
Rowell  (Mrs)  Edith Mary Wilson Australia Sydney
Rowell   (Miss) Mary Patricia 17 Sydney "My mother,Mary Patricia Rowell,had boarded the ship in Austrailia with her parents,her father being Thomas Richmond Rowell (later to be Director of Education in Hong Kongand awarded the CBE in 1950). (Message to PGC from Mr Roger Lewis)
Rowell  (Miss)  Judith Anne 11 Sydney She is shown in a photo on the front page of "The News & Courier" 14th April 1942 holding three rescued  kittens from the ship. The cats mother went down with the ship.
Russell (Mrs) Isabelle McKenzie 35 yrs  Housewife Singapore Melbourne Scottish. Husband was John William Russell of 45 Orchard Road.
Russell  Gordon Robert 9 yrs Child Melbourne
Russell   (Miss) Isabelle Lindsay  4 yrs Child Melbourne
Smith (Mrs) Doris Anita  Singapore Sydney
Smith Barrie 15 Sydney
Smith   Norman Lockhart 54 Retired Colonial Secretary Hong Kong Retiring to UK and travelling with his daughter
Smith    (Miss)  Rachel Lockhart 21 Cypher Office Hong Kong Engaged to Lt Alec Kennedy who escaped with MTBs from HK
Stevenson   (Mrs)    Edith Maud 32 yrs Malaya Sydney Husband George Stevenson
Stevenson Hamish Gary Reid  1 yr Malaya Sydney
Thomson     (Mrs) Elizabeth 34 yrs KL Malaya Melbourne
Thomson John 14 yrs KL Malaya Melbourne
Thomson Donald 2 yrs KL Malaya Melbourne
Watson Herbert 36 yrs Commercial Traveller Java Singapore
Watson  (Mrs) Isobel Campbell Australia Sydney
Watson    (Mrs)  Joan 38 yrs Malaya Melbourne
Watson Robert Mark  5 Melbourne
Whelan  (Mrs) Marjorie 24 yrs Australia Melbourne Address c/o F.R. Whelan 10, Bedford Road, London, W4
Whelan William 4 Melbourne
Wickett   (Mrs)   Vera (DoB: 1916) About 26yrs old Malaya Sydney Also known as Vera Wood (stage name). She was an opera singer.  She is shown with her infant son in the front page photo of  "The News & Courier" (14th April 1942)
Wickett Peter 6 months Sydney
Williams-Mitchell    (Mrs)  Jean Florence  36 yrs  Housewife Australia Sydney She was born 30/3/1906 in NZ. She married Alan Williams-Mitchell in Sept 1936 in UK. They had two children. She died in 1988 aged 82 in Salsbury, Wilts.
Williams-Mitchell  Robert Henry 2 yrs Child Sydney
Williamson Gladys Louisa 32 yrs Teacher Australia Sydney Gave an address in Suffolk
Wilson Janet D.C.  24 Domestic Australia Sydney Gave an address c/o Mrs Wilson in Sterling, Scotland. 
Young Denis Packenham 19 (12/3/1923) Student Australia Melbourne Address in UK given as c/o his father The Rev. Harold Packenham Young, Christ Church Vicarage, Crew, Cheshire. He was born in India.
Abbey  (Miss) Juliet H.  16 Student New York (Myrmidon) Address on manifest : C/O Mrs WH Abbey, Sedgwick Poark, Horsham, Sussex.  She was a passenger on Myrmidon  but not on Ulysses
Brooker Jessie 56 yrs      (1886) Nurse New York (Myrmidon) I believe was on Myrmidon but not Ulysses
Horry  (Wing Cdr) Hong Kong Took passage on SS Ulysses from HK but disembarked at Singapore. He was former CO of RAF Station at Kai Tak and was transferred to Sing.
Miller    (Mrs) H.W.  Singapore Note that she landed at Auckland (and therefore not on last voyage)
Parker (Mrs) Audrey Isabel 46 Were on the Myridon list but not on Ulysses lists
Parker (Miss) Lavina Mary 12
Parker (Miss)  Caroline Audrey 6
Pearlman Myer.            51
On Myridon List but not seen on Ulysses list 
Russell  (Captain)  James Appleton Master & Commander
Pilbeaner  Lester Member of the crew. He had survived five torpedoe attacks
Lacy   (Miss)   Katherine Member of crew. She was a ship's stewardess. She had been torpedoed twice before.
Gibson Ship's QM Member of crew and with Captain Russell one oif the last to leave the stricken ship.
Cotton                 Frederick William.          Ship's Doctor

Addendum 2 :  Doctor F W Cotton (1874-1950)

I received an email from Andrew Connor (April 2021) advising me that his godfather Doctor Frederick Cotton was the ship's doctor on SS Ulysses during her departure from Hong Kong  on the eve of battle and her subsequent sinking in the Atlantic. He was sixty-seven years old at the time. Following the sinking he returned to UK  from Halifax on SS Vibran which departed Halifax 12 May 1942 and arrived Liverpool 21 May 1942. There were eleven passengers all seamen (presumably Ulysses crew members). 

Addendum 3 : Dr Winifred Corke (1900-1949)

I was contacted in January 2024 by David Corke who had seen this blog on SS Ulysses and informed me that his mother (Winifred Corke) with David and his brother Brian Corke (1933-2022) had boarded the Ulysses when it docked at Singapore. They disembarked at Fremantle. David's father, a veteran of WW1 managed a rubber plantation in Malaya. He served as a Captain in the Federation of Malay States Volunteer Force (militia). He was taken prisoner in Singaporeand incarcerated first in Singapore and then in Siam (Thailand) where he was forced to work on the notorious Burma Railway. He survived the battle and the brutal imprisonment. David was 10 years old when he boarded the Ulysses and his bother, Brian, was 7 years old. They had just returned (in November 1941) to Kuala Lumpur from boarding school in Perth, Western Australia. David recalls they travelled from Freemantle, W.A. to Singapore on MV Gorgon on 20 November 1941. This was the day after the light cruiser, HMAS Sydney, was sunk by the Gernan surface raider Komoran, disguised as a merchant vessel. Both ships were sunk in the engagement which was 220 nautical miles North North-West of Geraldton, Western Australia and close to the route taken when the Gorgon sailed from Fremantle to Singapore. 

Addendum 4 May 2024: Mrs Charlotte Pugh (1855-)

My thanks to a reader, a relative of passenger Mrs Charlotte Pugh, who sent the press cutting below. Mrs Pugh at 86 was the oldest passenger onboard. She boarded the Ulysses at Sydney having been staying with her daughter and son-in-law (Mr & Mrs A. Osborne) for some three years. Mrs Pugh described to the reporter that she was sleeping at the time the vessel was torpedoed.  She apparently was not wakened and remained asleep in her cabin. The passengers were instructed to take to the lifeboats and abandon ship. Just as the passengers were about to leave the stricken vessel - one of the passengers, Miss May Jefferies (Jeffery ?) realised that Mrs Pugh was not amongst the passengers. She rushed to Mrs Pugh's cabin and found her fast asleep. She hurriedly woke her and informed her what had happened and helped her to the lifeboats. In her rush she took none of her belongngs and even left her spectacles behind.  Mrs Pugh related to the reporter how she owed her life to Miss Jefferies - a twenty-year-old bank clerk from Melbourne. Mrs Pugh related how they were picked up by an American destroyer. The officers and crew of the US Navy ship treating them with the gretest kindness and this kind treatment and generosity was repeated in Charleston and New York by the civil community.  In New York she was accommodated in the Hotel Bryant. Mrs Pugh described how she was able to keep the lifevest she  was wearing when rescued from the Ulysses.

Cutting from Aberdare Leader (1942) courtesy Jenni Davies