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23)LAGES U-514


Built: 1917

Tonnage: 5,473 / 8,620 tons

Cargo:  N/A

Route. Belém, Pará – Port of Spain, Trinidad - New York 

Sunk 28 SEP 42 by U-514 on pos. 00º13"N 47º47"W

3 Dead

46 Survivors

Photo by Volker bosse Collection.

SS Lajes (Lages) freighter was a Brazilian ship sunk on the night of September 27, 1942, by the German submarine U-514, on the coast of the state of Pará. It was owned by Lloyd Brasileiro and was sunk an hour after the Osorio freighter, which also sailed on the same convoy, was torpedoed by the same submarine.

It was the twenty-third attack on a Brazilian vessel in World War II and the second to be committed after Brazil's declaration of war on the Axis, almost a month before. Three crew members died at the event. Built between 1906 and 1907, on Swan's shipyards, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Walker-on-Tyne, England, was launched under the name of Rauenfels, operated by Hansa Line, Bremen, Germany.

Made with steel hull, it displaced 5,473 gross tonnage, propelled by steam turbines, through a quadruple expansion engine with a single propeller, making the speed of 12 knots. It was in the port of Salvador, Bahia, at the outbreak of World War I, which motivated its retention and subsequent confiscation by the Brazilian Government on June 1, 1917, when Brazil broke diplomatic relations with the Empire German.
It is renamed Lajes (Lages, according to the old spelling), registered in the Port of Rio de Janeiro, being leased to the French government, soon after the end of that conflict. In the early 1920s, it returned to the hands of the Brazilian Government and was incorporated to Lloyd Brasileiro's fleet in 1925.

Merchant Lages sailed from Belém, Pará, on the afternoon of September 27, to New York, along with the freighter Osorio, both escorted by the US destroyer USS Roe (DD-418).

She was captained by Osvaldo Simões da Silva, and had a crew of 49 men, among them, four sailors that manned a 75mm and two of 7mm guns. Not far from the coast, the ship was ordered to sail independently from the small convoy for belching a great trail of smoke.

However, this did not prevent the ships from being attacked. Ironically, the first to be attacked was precisely the ship being escorted, Osório. Then, at 9:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. on September 28, about 50 miles off the coast of Pará, on the Amazon River estuary, Lajes was struck by a torpedo fired by U-514, commanded By Capt. Lieutenant Hans Jürgen Auffermann, the same "u-boot" that had sunk Osorio about an hour before, not far from there.

The explosion killed three men in the engine room, getting the other crew members to lower the lifeboats. In the procedures of abandonment of the ship, the radioman still had time to send an SOS received in Belém. In addition, one of the lifeboats that took six crew was sighted by a war plane that soon requested aid to its base. Both vessels were rescued, considering that the sinkings occurred in relatively shallow waters. However, they were never recovered and declared as total loss at the end of the conflict.



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