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Built: 1920

Tonnage: 6,574 / 10,200 tons

Cargo: 5,500 tons of African produce, including 2500 tons of cotton, 1500 tons of copper, 600 tons of beer, 350 tons of palm oil, 350 tons of copra, 100 tons of kernels, 100 tons of rice and mail

Route: Matadi, Belgian Congo - Libreville, French Equatorial Africa - Lagos

Sunk 31/10/43 by  U-68 on pos  04º 25’N 05º 03’E

0 Dead

84  Survivors

At 21.14 hours on 31 Oct 1943 the unescorted New Columbia (Master Frederick Bradley Kent) was hit in the foreship by one FAT torpedo from U-68 southwest of Bingerville, Ivory Coast. She sank by the bow after being hit in the engine room by a second FAT torpedo at 21.44 hours. Soon after the u-boat left the scene, Captaind Kent gathered the four boats  and with the motor boat ahead, began the long 150 mile trip to Lagos. He deemed to reach the coast based on the average 3 knot speed of the boats within two days.

In the following day around 8.00 an aircraft was seen flying low ahead. A smoke float was laid on the water and was spotted by the aircraft crew which altered course. At 10.00 the British merchant conakrian was sighted and one hour later the boats came alongside the ship when they were fished out and provided food and accomodation. 

Short Sunderland. The sturdy cumbersome aircraft had a paramount role in rescuing thousands of survivors from merchants sunk in the Atlantic. Photo


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