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Photo provided by Torsten Hagnéus/Kurt Illiminsky

Built: 1937

Tonnage: 5,608 / 4,680 tons

Cargo 4,750 tons of coffee, wool, cheese and 60 tons of mail

Route: Buenos aires - Santos - Philadelphia

Sunk 01 JAN 43 by U-164 on position 00º 19"N 37º 26"W

0 Dead

28 Survivors

The BRAGELAND was torpedoed after being duly warned at 1000 GMT, on Jan 1, 1943 at 00:19 N - 37:30 W, enroute from Santos, Brazil to Philadelphia, loaded with a cargo of coffee, wool, cheese and 60 tons of mail.  The vessel listed about 110 degrees, turned over so that its keel was visible and sank about six minutes later stern first and bow up.

 The ship was on a northerly course, speed 13.5 knots in 2500 fathoms, not zigzagging, radio used only to receive messages prior to attack; three lookouts on bridge.  The weather was clear; sea smooth; wind direction unknown; wind force 1; visibility good; no ships in sight.

At 0930 GMT submarine was sighted on surface on port quarter at a distance of one mile.  Sub overtook ship in a few minutes, came alongside, blinkered the vessel to heave to, and ordered Master to come aboard sub.  Master went aboard deck of sub and was interrogated as to name of ship, destination, cargo, etc. 

In answer to the statement of the Master that the vessel was a "neutral" ship the sub commander replied that the cargo was non-neutral.  After checking a book which contained a list of ships allowed to run in trade without danger of attack, the sub commander asserted that he was obliged to sink the vessel. 

Shortly after the Master returned to the BRAGELAND, the sub commander in the Swedish language, ordered the ship abandoned.  This was accordingly done within a few minutes.  At 1000 GMT after the sub had maneuvered on the surface to a point on port beam 500 yards away, it released a torpedo which struck the ship in the after section of the engine room; which opened a large hole; ruptured main deck and plates on boat deck and caused an immediate flooding of the engine room.  The ship's engines had been secured prior to abandonment; no distress signals were sent; vessel was unarmed; codes and confidential publications went down with the ship.

Upon order of the sub commander to abandon ship, the 28 officers and crew of the BRAGELAND safely got away in three lifeboats.  All of the survivors arrived safely at Tutoya, state of Maranhao Brazil, six days later.




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