Italian submarine fates
Ships hit by Italian submarines
Empress of Canada
|Date of attack||14 Mar 1943||Time|
|Fate||Sunk by submarine Leonardo da Vinci (T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia)|
|Position of attack||1° 00'S, 10° 00'W|
|Complement||1885 (392 dead and 1497 survivors)|
|Notes||We have no exact details from the attacks that followed as Leonardo Da Vinci did not return from this patrol.|
At about 2356Z hours on 13th March, she fired two stern torpedoes (450mm) from the stern tubes at a large liner. One scored a hit.
This was British Empress Of Canada (21,517 GRT, built 1928, Captain George Gould) proceeding from Capetown to Freetown, unescorted, at 18.5 knots. She was damaged and brought to a stop.
At 0040Z hours on 14th March, a third torpedo (450mm) was fired. She was hit and sank at about 0115Z hours.
Exact figures are contradictory. Some sources report there were 1,844 passengers and crew, 1,519 survivors (some sources give the number at 1,497) were picked up by HMS Boreas, HMS Petunia , HMS Crocus and HMS Corinthian. She carried some 499 Italian PoWs. There were some 392 victims (44 crew members, 8 gunners and 340 passengers, mostly Italian PoWs).
Da Vinci managed to pick up an Italian doctor: Army doctor Sub-Lieutenant Vittorio Del Vecchio, who was later transferred to Finzi and survived.