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Photo  D/S Lulworth Hill - Krigsseilerregisteret


Built: 1940

Tonnage: 7,628 / 9,900 tons 

Cargo: 10,000 tons of sugar

Route: Capetown – UK via Freetown

Sunk 19 MAR 43 by Italian submarine Da Vinci  on pos. 10º 10”S 01º 00’E

36 Dead 

2 Survivors

1 POW 

The Italian navy submarine Leonardo da Vinci torpedoed the Lulworth Hill in the South Atlantic on 19 March 1943.14 survivors made it onto a life raft. One source, seemingly quoting one of only three men to survive the sinking and subsequent ordeal on the life raft, states that the Germans surfaced and machine gunned the survivors; however, this is unlikely as the submarine was not German and the only other survivor of the life raft, in his book of the events, made no such accusation. The Leonardo da Vinci captured and took on board one survivor of the sinking, James Leslie Hull. After 29 days the UK authorities assumed that the Lulworth Hill had been lost with all hands and duly informed their families.

On 7 May the Royal Navy R-class destroyer HMS Rapid picked up one of the Lulworth Hill's liferafts. Of the 14 men that had survived the sinking, after 50 days adrift only two, Seaman Shipwright (i.e. carpenter) Kenneth Cooke and Able Seaman Colin Armitage, remained alive. On 7 December 1943 both men were awarded the George Medal and on 7 November 1944 the Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea. In 1985 a radio interview was broadcast in which Cooke described their ordeal and survival.

Above the two survivors after 50 day ordeal in the shark infested waters of the south Atlantic. Photo

On 23 May 1943 Leonardo da Vinci was in the North Atlantic returning from patrol 300 miles (480 km) west of Vigo, Spain when the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Active depth charged and sank her. There were no survivors. James Hull, the prisoner from Lulworth Hill, had previously been transferred to the Italian submarine Finzi.

Above Destroyer HMS Rapid, which rescued the survivors of SS Lulworth Hill. Photo. IWM FLS 1765. HMS_Rapid_1943_IWM_FL_1765.jpg

Above a poignant interview of Kennneth Cooke where he details his saga along with his shipmates which had their lives taken prematurely in the days following the sinking of Lulworth Hill. 



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