british Elder Dempster Lines Ltd. - African Steamship Co. SS Bassa (II) [+1940]
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nationality british
purpose transport
type cargo ship
subtype/class WWI B-class standard cargo ship (br.)
WWI B-class standard cargo ship (br.) Balzac SS (+1941)
propulsion steam
date built 1918
weight (tons) 5627  grt
dimensions 122 x 15.9 x 8.7 m
material steel
engine 1 x 3 cyl. triple expansion engine,three single boilers, single screw
armament armed merchant ship with one gunner
power 517  n.h.p.
speed 11  knots
yard no. 932
IMO/Off. no. 142341
about the loss
cause lost torpedo
date lost 29/09/1940  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.50rank: 592
about people
Armstrong W. G. & Whitworth Co. Ltd., Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
engine by
Clark George Ltd., Sunderland
last owner
[1]Elder Dempster Lines Ltd. - African Steamship Co., Liverpool
SS Bassa (II) [+1940]
period 1919 ~ 1940
IMO/Off. no.: 142341
prev. owners
[2]TSC - The Shipping Controller (WWI), London
SS War Pointer
period 1918 ~ 1919
IMO/Off. no.: 142341
captain Anderson, George Edward
complement 1
no. of crew 49
about the wreck
depth (m.) 2500 max. / -- min. (m)
protected no
war grave no
entered by Allen Tony
entered 27/08/2006
last update Allen Tony
last update 20/04/2013
Allen Tony26/06/2007
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  Hydrographic Service UK  
Racey Carl29/01/2010Launched on 14 January 1918 as a ‘B’ Type Standard Ship by Armstrong, Whitworth and Co. Ltd., Walker Shipyard, Newcastle for the Shipping Controller and allocated to Cairns, Noble and Co as managers. She was purchased in 1919 by Elder Dempster Line Ltd., Liverpool and renamed BASSA .

On 29 September 1940 she was sailing in ballast as part of Convoy OB-218 on passage Liverpool to New York. She was commanded by Master George Edward Anderson and had just dispersed from the convoy when at 00.53 hours she was hit aft by a torpedo fired from U-32 and sank by the stern southwest of Rockall.

The Germans observed the crew abandoning the ship and taking to the lifeboats, but the survivors were never seen again. The master, 48 crew members and one gunner were lost.

On 28 October 1940, U-32 torpedoed and sunk the 42,348 ton Empress of Britain, one of the largest Allied ships to be lost to a U-boat. Two days later U-32 was sunk north-west of Ireland by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Harvester and HMS Highlander. Nine of her 42 crew were lost. Her commander, Hans Jenisch was taken prisoner and spent 6 ½ years in British captivity before returning to Germany in June 1947.
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[1] Stuart Smith
Allen Tony26/06/2007Bassa was a British cargo steamer of 5627 tons and built in 1918. She was formerly called WAR PAINTER in 1919. The vessel was owned by the ELDER DEMPSTER LINES LTD. On the 29th September 1940 when on route from RIVER MERSEY 24th September 1940 for NEW YORK in ballast she was torpedoed without warning and sunk by U-32. All 50 crew were presumed lost.
Lettens Jan28/08/2008UK hydro member
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 UK Hydrographic Office

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About Owners
Elder Dempster Lines Ltd. - African Steamship Co., Liverpool

Elder Dempster was a private partnership controlled by Sir Alfred Jones . He died in 1909 and his various holdings were sold to Sir Owen Cosby Philipps and Lord Pirrie who formed Elder, Dempster & Co. Ltd.

The group collapsed in 1931 and was reformed as Elder Dempster Holdings Ltd with the Elder Dempster fleet managed by Holts. 1953 Elder Dempster Lines Holdings changed its name to Liner Holdings and in 1965 ownership was taken over by Ocean Steamship Co. Ltd. The fleets owned by this company, now known as Ocean Transport & Trading Co. Ltd were increasingly integrated after 1974.

The Elder Dempster Line was sold to the French Company Société Navale Chargeurs Delmas-Vieljeux in 1989 but without the ships at which point Ocean Transport & Trading withdrew from deep-sea shipowning.

Lloyd's reference: 1193

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About Builders
 Armstrong W. G. & Whitworth Co. Ltd., Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
The company was a major British manufacturing company of the early years of the 20th century. Armstrong Whitworth engaged in the construction of armaments, ships, locomotives, automobiles, and aircraft.

Clark George Ltd., Sunderland
George Clark of Southwick Engine Works, Crown Road, Southwick, Sunderland
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