SS Otaki

The SS Otaki was a Steam Ship of the New Zealand Shipping Company built in 1908.

In 1917 the SS Otaki was sunk on the 20th March 1917 by the German Raider SMS Moewe (Auxiliary Cruiser) The master Lieutenant Archibald Bisset Smith R.N.R was awarded a posthumorus Victoria Cross for the defence of the ship.

The surviving crew were taken to Kiel where they arrived 20th March 1917 and were interned as Prisoners of war.

Records in the National Archives

  • MT 9/1238 Includes list of Otaki POW at 31/5/1918 ( Online Index)
  • WO 161/99/166 Yamashita, Kikutaro Prisoner of War interview (Available via National Archives DocumentsOnline)
  • BT 100/243 Ship’s Name: Otaki 1908 – 1917
  • BT 100/391 Crew List Ship’s Name: Otaki 1914 – 1917
  • WO 98/8 Victoria Cross Registers Smith, Archibald Bisset (Available via National Archives DocumentsOnline)
  • ADM 1/8526/149 SS Otaki – posthumous award of Victoria Cross to Master

Other References

    • The Merchant Navy Volume two, Archibald Hurd, Reprinted by The Imperial War Museum
    • “SS “Otaki” (ship) – Fire outbreak on  Board”  Archives of New Zealand


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