HMS BOMBALA was a Q-Ship from 1917 to 1918, the RN alias of the former SS WILLOW BRANCH.

An account of the loss may be found in Gibson & Prendergast “The German Submarine War 1914 – 18″ page 297, which read:

” (U154 & U153)… on April 25th they fell in with the Q-boat Willow Branch (alias Bombala), carrying stores between Gibraltar and Sierra Leone. This ship was nine days out and was off Cape Blanco when the two large submarines hove in sight. The U-boats expended thirty rounds before they found the range. For two and a half hours the fight waxed and waned. Finally the Willow Branch, a blazing wreck,was abandoned by her crew, numbering 53; the Third Officer was taken prisoner… Terrible were the events that ensued in the that tropic clime. After the first day the ship’s boats became separated. The master’s boat was never seen again. The other drifted about under the blazing sun for eight days, the torments of agonizing thirst torturing the survivors. Some – 11 in all – drank sea water and went mad. On the ninth morning the 14 left made land in the estuary of the Senegal River. Two of the strongest cast about and found a tiny pool of water, and after drinking a little they tottered back to their comrades bearing the life giving fluid. it was too late, they had died. These two struggled on until the next day, then, found by friendly Arabs, they were taken to a French post”


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