Previous names

  • 1914 - 1915 Reshid Pasha
  • 1915 - 1923 Waterwitch
Certificate no 3017
Status Archived


Function Passenger Vessel
Subfunction Ferry
Location Istanbul
Archive reason Overseas Watch List
Current use Commercial Activity
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions Yes
Info required No


Builder Fairfiled Works, Glasgow
Built in 1914
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of decks 4
Number of masts 0
Propulsion Motor
Primary engine type Inboard diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Length: Overall
164.04 feet (50.00 m)
Breadth: Beam
29.53 feet (9.00 m)
10.83 feet (3.30 m)
Air Draft
55.77 feet (17.00 m)
Tonnage: Gross


HALAS 71 is the sole maritime survivor of the Gallipoli Campaign of World War 1 that is still in full service today. She was built in Glasgow in 1914 for Sirketi Hayriye, Istanbul (Bosphorous Steam Navigation Co.) under the name RESHID PASHA.

She was commandeered by British Admiralty 25 June 1915 and renamed WATERWITCH. She was dispatched to the Greek Island of Lesbos in northern Aegean.

She served as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ferry during the Gallipoli Campaign of World War 1 (1915-16), landing Isle of Wight Rifles at Suvla Bay during the September 1915 offensive, and helping evacuate British, Australian and New Zealand troops in November/December 1915 and January 2016. She also supported the WW1 Macedonian Campaign (1915-1918) as RFA tender based in Salonika, Greece.

Between 1918-23, she served as Fleet Manager during the post-war Allied occupation of Istanbul. She was handed back to Turkish owners Sirketi Hayriye, Istanbul (Bosphorous Steam Navigation Co.) on 30 August 1923 and renamed HALAS. She served as a passenger ferry linking Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait for the next 60 years.

She was rescued from the wreckers yard in 1984 and converted into a private luxury motor yacht by Turkish published Haldun Simavi and his wife Cigdem, whose guests on Turkish Mediterranean coastal cruises in the 1990’s included Prince Charles, Princess Margaret, and the Prince and Princess of Kent.

She was refitted in 2008 into a commercial coastal cruiser and events ships operated out of Istanbul by Iltur Gemicilik ve Yat Istletmeleri. 

Key dates

  • 6 May 1914

    Laid down by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd Govan, for Sirketi Hayriye, Istanbul 

  • 17 October 1914

    Launched Reshid Pasha

  • 25 June 1915

    Commandeered by British Admiralty and renamed Waterwitch

  • August 1915

    Sailed from Glasgow to Mudros as Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ferry in support of WW1 Gallipoli Campaign

  • 1916-17

    Based in Thesolonika as RFA tender during Macedonian Campaign

  • 1918-23

    Served as fleet manager to British Naval forces occupying Istanbul

  • 30 August 1923

    Returned to original owners - Sirketi Hayriye, Istanbul. Renamed Halas and operated as a Bospherus passanger ferry

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