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Built: 1913

Tonnage: 6,471 / 9,365 tons

Cargo: Ballast

Route: Durban – New York

Sunk 13 JUN 42 by Italian submarine  Leonardo Da Vinci on position  05º 30’ N  23º 30’ W

1 Dead

89 Survivors

61 survivors were picked up by French ship Desirade and landed at Capetown. 28 survivors landed at Trinidad after being fished out by the Norwegian steamer Glarona


We sailed from Durban bound for New York in ballast. We were armed with 1 – 4”, 1 – 12 pdr., 2 Hotchkiss, 2 Single Merlins, 2 Strip Lewis, 2 P.A.C Rockets, Kites and Balloon. The crew numbered 90, including 4 Naval and 2 Military Gunners, one of the native crew was slightly injured and the Chief Engineer died on the Rescue Ship. All confidential Books and wireless Books were thrown overboard in a weighted box. Degaussing was off..

We sailed from Durban at 13 00 on 28th May and proceeded independently as routed for New York. At 17 30 on 31st May Cape Agulhas was sighted bearing North (true) 15 miles. I had received instructions to commence zig zags on reaching 10º S, but when in latitude 16º S, I intercepted a distress message from a ship in 15º S – 18º W and decided to commence zig zagging right away and not until we reached 10º S, and at 17 00 on 8th June we commenced zig zagging using patterns 9 and 37.

At 04 00 on the 9th June we received wireless instructions from the Admiralty changing route and we steered 331º for a new position 8º N and 25º W. At 12 00 on 12th June the ship’s position by observations was 2º 30”N – 21º 47”W. During the night of 12th / 13th June the weather was overcast and dark and visibility good, the wind was S. E. about force ¾ and there was a S. Easterly swell. At 05 00 13th June while zig zagging in position 5º 19”N  - 23º 24”W. we were struck by torpedo in No. 5 hold on the Port side.

It was still dark and there was no moon none of the locking – guts saw or heard the torpedo approaching the ship. The explosion was not very loud, and owing to the fact that the ship was in ballast there was no debris or hatches thrown up. I was on my cabin at the time but came up on deck immediately, the Chief Officer who was on hatch had not seen a column of water thrown up nor did he mention seeing any flash. The tail shaft was broken and the engines were immediately stopped, the main mast whipped and broke the aerial, and the jumper stays carried away and broke the emergency aerial.

By Clan MacQuarrie (1) (



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