Ships hit by U-boats

City of Marseilles

British Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of E.H. Cole

NameCity of Marseilles
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage8,317 tons
Completed1913 - Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd, Jarrow 
OwnerEllerman Lines Ltd, London 
Date of attack6 Jan 1940Nationality:      British
FateDamaged by U-13 (Heinz Scheringer)
Position56° 27'N, 2° 34'W - Grid AN 0179
Complement164 (1 dead and 163 survivors).
RouteCalcutta - Colombo - Port Said - Gibraltar - London 
CargoGeneral cargo, including jute 
History Completed in January 1913. During the First World War, the ship was shelled by a German U-boat but escaped.

On 21 January 1943 the City of Marseilles stranded near Batticaloa, Ceylon. Later refloated but broken up in 1947. 
Notes on event

On the morning of 6 January 1940 the City of Marseilles was damaged by a mine, laid on 12 December 1939 by U-13, 1.5 miles southeast of Tay Fairway Buoy, River Tay. The ship had just taken a pilot aboard when the mine exploded under her bridge, stopping the engines and causing a list of 10 to 15° to starboard. The crew began to abandon ship, but two lifeboats had been destroyed by the explosion and another capsized during launch, throwing the 14 occupants into the water. One crew member was lost. Screened by a Hudson aircraft (224 Sqdn RAF), the survivors were picked up by the pilot cutter, a RAF crash launch from Tayport and the Broughty Ferry lifeboat Mona and landed at Broughty.

The abandoned City of Marseilles was boarded by crew members of HMS Cranefly (FY 539) (Skipper H.B. Soames, RNR), HMS Sturton (FY 1595) (Skipper W. Buchan, RNR) and the harbour defence patrol craft HMS Suilven and soon thereafter her officers and a pilot returned to the vessel aboard Mona. The next day, the vessels towed her to Dundee where temporary repairs were made. The ship then continued to the Clyde for repairs and returned to service in April 1940.

On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats