british Anchor Line Ltd. - Henderson Bros. SS Britannia (+1941)
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nationality british
purpose transport
type passenger ship
propulsion steam
date built 1926
weight (tons) 8799  grt
dimensions 140.2 x 18 x 9 m
material steel
engine 1 x Quadruple expansion engine, single shaft, 1 screw
power 558  n.h.p.
speed 15  knots
yard no. 508
IMO/Off. no. 148894
about the loss
cause lost gunfire - shelled
date lost 25/03/1941  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.249rank: 385
about people
Stephen & Sons Ltd., Alexander Stephen, Glasgow
Anchor Line Ltd. - Henderson Bros., Glasgow
no. of crew 492
about the wreck
depth (m.) 4200 max. / -- min. (m)
war grave
entered by Allen Tony
entered 20/04/2009
last update Allen Tony
last update 25/03/2014
[1] Lettens Jan17/09/2009
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Allen Tony20/04/2009The liner Britannia SS was bound from the United Kingdom to India when she was intercepted by the German raider Thor, 3,862 tons, six 5.9 in. guns, 720 miles W. of Freetown.

There was an unequal action for over an hour, the liner putting up a stout fight with her single gun. At the end of this time she was compelled to stop and lower her boats. The Thor then sank her by gunfire, but made no attempt to help the survivors.

The action took place on March 25th, 1941. Later one boat containing 63 persons was picked up by the Spanish steamer Bachi, 3,077 tons. Another with 38 persons reached Brazil after a voyage of 23 days.

Of the 203 crew and 281 passengers, 122 of the crew and 127 passengers lost their lives
ref. used: 
 Hocking C., Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam
Lettens Jan17/09/2009The German raider Thor was responsible for the sinking of:

  • 07 Jul 1940 British freighter Delambre (7032 grt)
  • 08 Jul 1940 Belgian cargo Bruges (4983 grt)
  • 14 Jul 1940 British cargo Gracefield (4613 grt)
  • 16 Jul 1940 British cargo Wendover (5489 grt)
  • 17 Jul 1940 Dutch cargo Tela (3777 grt)
  • 26 Sep 1940 Norwegian whaling factory Kosmos (17801 grt)
  • 08 Oct 1940 British freighter Natia (8715 grt)
  • 25 Mar 1941 British passenger liner Britannia (6800 grt)
  • 25 Mar 1941 Swedish freigther Trolleholm (5047 grt)
  • 02 Apr 1941 British passenger liner Voltaire (13301 grt)
  • 16 Apr 1941 Swedish freighter Sir Ernest Cassel (7739 grt)
  • 23 Mar 1942 Greek cargo Pagasitikos (3942 grt)
  • 30 Mar 1942 British cargo Wellpark (4649 grt)
  • 01 Apr 1942 British cargo Willesden (4563 grt)
  • 03 Apr 1942 Norwegian cargo Aust (5626 grt)
  • 10 Apr 1942 British cargo Kirkpool (4842 grt)
  • 14 Jun 1942 Dutch cargo Olivia (6307 grt)
  • 20 Jul 1942 British cargo Indus (5187 grt)

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About Builders
 Stephen & Sons Ltd., Alexander Stephen, Glasgow
Alexander Stephen and Sons Limited, often referred to simply as Alex Stephens, was a Scottish shipbuilding company based in Linthouse, Govan in Glasgow, on the River Clyde. Alexander Stephen, a member of the third generation of the family, merged the Aberdeen and Arbroath businesses in 1828 and then, after closing the Aberdeen yard in 1829, moved production to the Panmure yard in Dundee in 1842. In 1850 part of the business was transferred to Kelvinhaugh yard, now known as Yorkhill Quay, near Glasgow. The Arbroath yard finally closed in 1857. Then in 1870 the business moved to Linthouse near Glasgow.

In a tragic disater in 1883, the Daphne, a steamer, capsized after its launch from the yard, and 124 workers lost their lives. The Dundee shipyard was sold in 1893. In 1968, Stephens was incorporated into Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and was closed after the latter organisation collapsed in 1971.

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