Gallia in 1913
|Owner:||Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique|
|Builder:||Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, La Seyne-sur-Mer|
|Fate:||Torpedoed and sunk on 4 October 1916|
|Class & type:||Ocean liner|
|Depth:||max. 11,2 m|
|Installed power:||26.000 PS (19.123 kW)|
|Speed:||max. 18 knots (33 km/h)|
The Gallia was built as an ocean liner for service between France and South America. She sailed between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro in 10 days, and between Bordeaux and Buenos Aires in 13 days. The ship was refitted for troop ship in World War I.
On 3 October 1916, she left Toulon unescorted, destined for Thessaloniki in Greece. Aboard were 2,350 people (1,650 French soldiers, 350 Serbian soldiers and 350 crew), artillery and ammunition. The next day, between Sardinia and Tunisia, she was hit by one torpedo from the German U-boat U-35 commanded by Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière.
Ammunition aboard the Gallia also exploded and the ship sank in 15 minutes time. Panic broke out, life boats capsized and hundreds of soldiers jumped overboard. The radio had been disabled by the explosions before a mayday could be sent. The next day the French protected cruiser Châteaurenault rescued survivors.
The exact number of casualties will never be known, but estimates vary between 600 and 1,800.
It was, in any case, one of the worst maritime disasters ever with a single French ship.
- Paquebots de Daniel Hillion, éd. Ouest-France, 1992, p. 24.
- Du Manoir (Archives de la Marine - Rapport de l'Enseigne de vaisseau Le Courtois du Manoir).