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HMAT A3 Orvieto

The Orvieto was en-route to Australia when the First World War broke out, and upon her arrival was requisitioned by the Government of Australia for use as a troopship.

Carrying the General Staff and over 1,000 officers and men of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force), and at the head of a convoy of ships escorted by Royal Navy and Japanese cruisers, including HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Sydney, she sailed in October 1914 for England, calling at Colombo, Aden, Suez, Port Said and Alexandria. The troops she carried, although originally destined for Europe, were to be disembarked at Alexandria and sent into action in the Gallipoli campaign.

You can read personal accounts of this voyage written by two people who were on board, namely Alfred John Hotton and Arthur Read.

Soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force preparing to embark aboard Orvieto in Melbourne, October 1914. (Alexander Turnbull Library F 77944-1/2).

Troops relax in the harbour at Alexandria, December 3rd/4th 1914. Orvieto is in the background. (Photos of the Great War

More photographs depicting the Orvieto, as well as photographs taken on board, can be found on the Picture Australia web site at Just type the word Orvieto into the box and click Go. Many of the photographs were taken by the official press correspondent for the voyage, C.E.W. Bean, and a great many more photographs taken by him can be found by searching for Bean, Charles Edwin Woodrow on the same site.