In September 1943 some of the Canadians at Camp Stanley became part of an exchange of interned citizens, a ‘repatriation.’ For those selected, including the two Canadian nurses, this became a long, long journey to freedom.
The Teia Maru
The Teia Maru was orginally the MS Aramis., Built in 1932, she was a French passenger ship used on the Europe-Asia colonial route. She was converted to an armed merchant cruiser when France entered World War II. Aramis was seized by Japan in 1942, renamed Teia Maru, and served as a repatriation ship in 1943. She then served as a transport until she was torpedoed and sunk in 1944.
The Repatriation Voyage
On 14 September 1943 Teia Maru departed Yokohama carrying 80 American repatriates from Japan. Approximately 975 repatriates boarded at Shanghai on 19 September, 24 boarded at Hong Kong on 23 September, 130 boarded at San Fernando, La Union on 26 September, 27 boarded at Saigon on 30 September, and others boarded at Singapore on 5 October. Teia Maru arrived at Mormugao, Goa on 15 October 1943 carrying 1,525 priests, nuns, protestant missionaries, and businessmen and their families.
From the brief Wikipedia article: “MS Gripsholm was an ocean liner, built in 1924 by Armstrong Whitworth in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, for the Swedish American Line for use in the Gothenburg-New York City run. She was of great historical importance as the first ship built for transatlantic express service as a diesel-powered motor vessel, rather than as a conventional steamship. Within forty years, however, all major passenger vessels would be diesel-powered.
“From 1927 onwards, the Gripsholm was used as a cruise ship alongside transatlantic crossings. From 1942 to 1946, the United States Department of State chartered Gripsholm as an exchange and repatriation ship, carrying Japanese and German nationals to exchange points where she then picked up US and Canadian citizens to bring home to the USA and Canada. In this service she sailed under the auspices of the International Red Cross, with a Swedish captain and crew. The ship made 12 round trips, carrying a total of 27,712 repatriates. Exchanges took place at neutral ports; at Lourenço Marques in Mozambique or Mormugoa in Portuguese India with the Japanese, and Stockholm or Lisbon with the Germans.
“After the war, Gripsholm was used to deport inmates of US prisons to Italy and Greece. The Swedish American Line sold Gripsholm to Norddeutscher Lloyd in 1954, who renamed her MS Berlin. The ship was sold for scrap in 1966.”