Ships hit by U-boats


Belgian Steam merchant

Gandia under her former name Arawa. Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage9,626 tons
Completed1907 - Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend, Sunderland 
OwnerCompagnie Maritime Belge (Lloyd Royal) SA, Antwerp 
Date of attack22 Jan 1942Nationality:      Belgian
FateSunk by U-135 (Friedrich-Hermann Praetorius)
Position45° 00'N, 41° 00'W - Grid BC 9159
Complement79 (65 dead and 14 survivors).
ConvoyON-56 (dispersed)
RouteLiverpool (12 Jan) - St. John, New Brunswick 
Cargo500 tons of potash as ballast 
History Completed in February 1907 as British steam passenger ship Arawa for Shaw, Savill & Albion Co Ltd, Southampton. 1914 requisitioned as troopship by the Admiralty and returned to the owner in 1921. 1928 sold to Germany and renamed Königstein for Red Star Linie GmbH (Arnold Bernstein), Hamburg. 1939 bought by Van Heyghen Frères, Gent for scrap, but then purchased by Cie Maritime Belge SA and renamed Gandia
Notes on event

At 22.21 hours on 22 January 1942 the unescorted Gandia (Master Maurice Potié), dispersed from the storm scattered convoy ON-56 on 16 January, was hit at the stern by one of two torpedoes from U-135 and sank by the stern within 10 minutes about 420 miles east of Cape Race. The master, 69 crew members and nine gunners tried to abandon ship in four lifeboats, but two of them were destroyed by rough seas while the remaining boats were only partially filled. Some of the men swimming in the water were picked up by the boats, including the master, but 30 men were lost in the sinking. One lifeboat with 21 occupants was in charge of the second officer after the master died of exposure and only eight crew members and two gunners were still alive when USS Bernadou (DD 153) (LtCdr R.E. Braddy, USN) rescued them on 5 February and took the survivors to Reykjavik. The other lifeboat in charge of the chief officer had been launched with 21 occupants and picked up seven others from the water after the sinking, but most of them died of exposure before the last four men were rescued by the Portuguese motor trawler João Corte Real in position 46°30N, 46°56W on 17 February and landed at Oporto on 26 February.

On boardWe have details of 79 people who were on board

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