Ships hit by U-boats

Maria Rosa

Italian Steam merchant

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NameMaria Rosa
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage4,211 tons
Completed1914 - Northumberland Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Howden-on-Tyne 
OwnerFrancesco Galli fu Giovanni (Hugo Trumpy), Genoa 
Date of attack29 Feb 1940Nationality:      Italian
FateSunk by U-20 (Harro von Klot-Heydenfeldt)
Position52° 24'N, 1° 59'E - Grid AN 8445
Complement30 (12 dead and 18 survivors).
RouteMarseilles (18 Feb) - Hartlepool 
History Completed in May 1914 as British Elfland for Fred Drughorn Ltd, London. 1914 renamed Queen Alexandra for Queen Line Ltd (T. Dunlop & Sons), Glasgow. 1925 sold to Greece and renamed Triton for George D. Gratsos, Ithaca. 1939 sold to Italy and renamed Maria Rosa
Notes on event

At 22.32 hours on 29 February 1940 the unescorted and neutral Maria Rosa (Master Antonio Schiaffino) was hit on the port side between #1 and #2 holds by one G7e torpedo from U-20 while steaming on a non-evasive course at 5 knots about 10 miles east-southeast of Lowestoft. The ship had been missed with a first G7e torpedo at 21.45 hours and the Germans apparently failed to notice the illuminated neutrality markings in moderate visibility during both attacks. The explosion broke the ship in two with its bow raising and the aft part settling with a list to port. No distress signal could be sent as all power went out and the crew barely managed to launch two lifeboats in rough seas and strong wind before the forward part sank in less than two minutes. They were forced to leave several men behind who were trapped in the forecastle or the engine room and whose cries for help had been heard. The rest of the ship gradually sank with the stern lifting up until disappearing 20 minutes after being hit. Eleven crew members were lost. The master and six crew members were in the port lifeboat, while eleven crew members and a British pilot were in the starboard one. The boats then searched in vain for survivors at the sinking position and unsuccessfully tried to attract the attention of a northbound convoy by firing several blue flares. After using the last flare in another attempt to attract a northbound ship one hour later, the survivors huddled underneath the sails and waited until daylight to set sail for the nearby coast. Underway a small collier passed one of the lifeboats in a distance of only 600 meters without noticing the men waving with rags or blowing whistles. Both lifeboats eventually reached the shore between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh around noon on 1 March. Six crew members were taken to a hospital where one of them died of exposure. All survivors were later taken to London and repatriated to Genoa together with the survivors from Mirella on 14 March.

On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board

Location of attack on Maria Rosa.

ship sunk.

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