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Built 1929

Tonnage 5,186 / 8,634 tons

Cargo: 8,000 tons of aircraft parts, petrol and military supplies.

Route: New York - Capetown

Sunk 11 JUN 42 by raider Michel on pos.  14º 00’S   10º 00 W 

23 Dead

19 Survivors taken as POW

In the early evening of June 11, the Michel’s lookouts sighted another freighter, which, a short time later, was summarily shot to pieces without any warning. Approaching at speed on an aggressive collision course, the raider’s first two salvoes registered devastating direct hits, destroying the freighter’s charthouse and starting fires amidships and on the boat deck. The Michel continued firing while the burning freighter was being abandoned, and while her master, Captain C.S. Low, and his First Officer escaped, twenty-two members of his crew were picked up and taken on board the raider.

Identified as the 5,186-ton British J & J Denholm, freighter Lylepark, on her way to the Cape from New York with 8,000 tons of aircraft parts, petrol and military supplies on board, by dawn the burnt-out vessel had sunk. Of the remaining twenty-five crew members, a few, including First Officer Read, who had become seperated from his captain, Third Officer Coysh, and a DEMS* gunner, were picked up by the Blue Star liner Avila Star, and landed at Freetown, only to lose their lives three weeks later on July 5, north-east of the Azores, when the liner was torpedoed and sunk by the U-201 (Kptlt. Adalbert Schnee) while on her way back to the UK.

*Defensively-Equipped Merchant Ship gunner.

*Captain Low, spotted by an aircraft from the Escort Carrier HMS Archer, was picked up by that ship and also taken to Freetown, where he arranged passage for himself and his officers on the Avila Star. He miraculously survived her sinking, including having his lifeboat blown out from under him by a torpedo intended to finish off the sinking ship, and was later picked up by a Portuguese destroyer.

By Hilfskreuzer (Auxiliary Cruiser / Raider) - Michel (



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