british SS Lafonia [+1943]
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  Details  
 
general
nationality british
purpose transport
type passenger/cargo ship
propulsion steam
date built 1911
status
unknown
details
weight (tons) 1872  grt
dimensions 86.3 x 11 x 5.8 m
material steel
engine 1 x 3 cyl. triple expansion engine, 2 boilers, single shaft, 1 screw
armament 5 guns of unknown type (1 aft, 1 on either wing and 1 either side amidships)
power 249  n.h.p.
speed 12  knots
yard no. 330
IMO/Off. no. 131348
call sign
GRQY  
GRQY
about the loss
cause lost collision
date lost 26/03/1943  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.1rank: 668
about people
builder
Greenock & Grangemouth Dockyard Co. Ltd., Greenock
engine by
Kincaid John G. & Co., Greenock
last owner
[1]Falkland Islands Co., Ltd., Liverpool
SS Lafonia [+1943]
period 1936 ~ 1943
IMO/Off. no.: 131348
call sign: 
GRQY
prev. owners
[2]Coast Lines Ltd. - Powell, Bacon & Hough, Liverpool
SS Southern Cross
period 1913 ~ 1936
IMO/Off. no.: 131348
call sign: 
GRQY
[3]Samuel Hough Ltd., Liverpool
SS Dorothy Hough
period 1911 ~ 1913
IMO/Off. no.: 131348
call sign: 
GRQY
captain M.O.V. Whitfield
about the wreck
depth (m.) 54 max. / 46 min. (m)
orientation
position on seabed upright
visibility average
current normal
sea bed sand
protected
war grave
references
references
  plimsoll.org
updates
entered by Allen Tony
entered 19/10/2005
last update Racey Carl
last update 26/03/2014
 
  Position  
 
[1] Lettens Jan10/01/2013
latitudeUK hydro member
longitudeUK hydro member
AISUK hydro member
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dist. homeportdist. homeport
ref. used
 UK Hydrographic Office
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  The Wreck today  
 

Lettens Jan31/12/2009

UK hydro member
ref. used 
 UK Hydrographic Office

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  Pictures  
 
 
  copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: UK Hydrographic Office copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu 
 
 copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu 
 
 copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu    
 
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  Hydrographic Service UK  
   
  History  
 
Neildhunter22/01/2010On the 24th March 1943 under Captain Whitfield the LAFONIA sailed in ballast from the Thames bound for Greenock. She sailed as part of a convoy made up of two columns led by the EMPIRE UNITY and WINDSOR QUEEN. The convoy were aware they were to meet a southbound convoy off Hartlepool and Captain Whitfield took charge as she passed buoy 20D at 11:18 on the 25th.

An hour later the Captain heard the exchange of signals between the lead ships indicating that the two convoys had met. By this time fog had set in and at 00:32 on the 26th Captain Whitfield heard a long blast for fog from a vessel nearby - but as he was unable to tell whether it was one of his convoy that had slowed due to the fog or one of the southbound convoy he rang the telegraph to stop engines. ...

read more
ref. used 
 James E Cowden & John O C Duffy, Elder Dempster Fleet History
Neildhunter22/01/2010The SS LAFONIA was a 1,872grt cargo/passenger ship built as yard number 330 (official number 131348) by Greenock & Grangemouth Dockyard Co. for Samuel Hough Ltd of Liverpool and launched as the DOROTHY HOUGH on the 29th April 1911. Her sea trials were held at Aberlady Bay on 10th June and she was completed on the 27th.

She had a single screw powered by a 249 nhp triple expansion engine (21 13/16", 35" and 57" cylinders with a 39" stroke) with two 3-furnaced single-ended boilers from J.G. Kincaid & Co, Greenock and was 283.3 x 36.1 x 19 feet.

In 1913, following the amalgamation of three Liverpool coaster companies which formed Powell, Bacon & Hough Lines, Ltd of Liverpool, she was renamed SOUTHERN COAST. Then in 1936 she was bought by the Falkland Islands Co, Ltd and renamed LAFONIA with the company´s current LAFONIA being renamed FITZROY. In November of that year she was fitted for fuel oil and her high pressure cylinder was rebored from 21" to 21 13/16". In 1942 she was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport and placed under the management of Elder Dempster Lines Ltd.
ref. used 
[1] James E Cowden & John O C Duffy, Elder Dempster Fleet History
[2] Lloyd´s of London, Lloyd's Register of Shipping
Lettens Jan31/12/2009UK hydro member
ref. used 
 UK Hydrographic Office
Peppie04/06/2009

 

1911 Dorothy Hough
1913 Southern Coast
1936 Lafonia

Brits vracht/passagierschip van 1872 grt gebouwd in 1911 bij Greenock, Grangemouth onder bouwnummer 330.
L x B: 86,3 x 11,00 meter.
Eigenaar: Falkland Islands Co.

Op 26-3-1943 in aanvaring gekomen met een onbekend schip en verloren gegaan.

Bron: Miramar Shipindex no. 1131348.

ref. used 
 Arie de Lange
Lettens Jan07/12/2007On March 26th, 1943, while on a voyage in ballast from London to Greenock, the british cargo Lafonia SS was sunk after a collision.
ref. used 
 Hocking C., Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam


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  Documents  
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About Builders
 Kincaid John G. & Co., Greenock
Clark Kincaid Co. Greenock, was originaljy John G. Kincaids Co. Ltd. (Marine Engineers)
 
 
  Movies  
 
Neildhunter  22/01/2010
Video of a dive on the SS Lafonia in October 2009. (And yes the video is over exposed due to operator error!)
ref. used
 Photo Courtesy Of Falkirk Council Archives
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  History  
 
Neildhunter22/01/2010On the 24th March 1943 under Captain Whitfield the LAFONIA sailed in ballast from the Thames bound for Greenock. She sailed as part of a convoy made up of two columns led by the EMPIRE UNITY and WINDSOR QUEEN. The convoy were aware they were to meet a southbound convoy off Hartlepool and Captain Whitfield took charge as she passed buoy 20D at 11:18 on the 25th.

An hour later the Captain heard the exchange of signals between the lead ships indicating that the two convoys had met. By this time fog had set in and at 00:32 on the 26th Captain Whitfield heard a long blast for fog from a vessel nearby - but as he was unable to tell whether it was one of his convoy that had slowed due to the fog or one of the southbound convoy he rang the telegraph to stop engines.

Less than a minute later the Ellerman Wilson Line´s SS COMO appeared out of the fog. The Captain ordered the wheel put hard to starboard and the COMO signalled she would do likewise. However the COMO actually swung to port and at 00:35 struck the LAFONIA on her port side just past the fo´castle.

The majority of the crew left the ship and went over to the MONKSTONE which had come in to provide assistance. The few remaining crew finally left around 02:30 and the LAFONIA was lost from view around 3am. A quartermaster, Jim Brown, was asleep in his bunk in the port side of the forecastle at the time of the collision and was missing when the crew were mustered.

Captain Whitfield himself attempted to search the area but was unable to access his room or find the missing sailor. Jim Brown was the sole life lost in the incident.

In his statement Captain Whitfield is clear that he holds the COMO fully responsible for being out of position and for altering course contrary to her signal.
ref. used 
 James E Cowden & John O C Duffy, Elder Dempster Fleet History
 
 
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