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28)BENWIVIS U-105*

Photo.  City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447 - 2007


Built: 1929

Tonnage: 5,920 / 9,250 tons

Cargo: 3,500 tons of rice, 500 tons of lead, 1,100 tons of timber and 150 tons of wolfram.

Route: Rangoon - Durban - Freetown – Liverpool

Sunk 21 MAR 41 by U-105 on pos. 20° 00'N, 26° 00'W 

34 Dead

21 Survivors

The cargo ship Benwyvis, Capt. H. J. Small, was with a homeward bound convoy on the night of March 20th, 1941, when she was torpedoed and sunk by a submarine. The attack took place at about 10.35 p.m., the vessel being 160 miles due N. of the island of St. Vincent. She did not remain long afloat and within 10 minutes had vanished from sight, leaving behind two lifeboats and a raft crammed with survivors.

One lifeboat capsized in the wave caused by the sinking vessel as she plunged under and five men were drowned. The remaining lifeboat with the survivors from the first now took the raft, on which there were eight men, in tow. The next morning two lifeboats from the SS. Clan Ogilvy were sighted. This ship had also been torpedoed. The overcrowded lifeboat of the Benwyvis transferred some of her occupants to one of the Clan lifeboats and the men on the raft were taken off by the other.

The boats then agreed to separate, all steering due east as it was decided that they had missed the Cape Verde Islands. The first Clan boat was picked up on April 1st by the Spanish steamer Cabo Villano, Capt. Sagardui, bound for Santos, Brazil. The second Clan boat was picked up on the same day by the motor vessel King Edgar bound for Freetown, where the survivors were landed.

The Ben boat under Capt. Small with 33 British and Chinese seamen was adrift for 27 days during which time all the occupants, save one cadet John Ross, died from privation or exposure. On April 17th this boat was picked up by the French steamer Ville de Rouen which put young Ross ashore at Tamatave, Madagascar.

By Dictionary of Disaster at the Age of Steam



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