MS Chrobry

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MS ChrobryTrans.jpg
Name: Chrobry
Namesake: Bolesław I Chrobry
Owner: Gdynia-America Shipping Lines Ltd
Port of registry: Gdynia
Builder: Nakskov SV
Yard number: 89
Launched: 24 February 1939
Completed: July 1939
Commissioned: 1939
Out of service: 14 May 1940
Fate: Scuttled in 1940 by British torpedo after being damaged by German aircraft
General characteristics
Length: 154.2 m (505 ft 11 in)
Beam: 20.3 m (66 ft 7 in)
Draft: 8.3 m (27 ft 3 in)
Installed power: 11250 hp
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Capacity: 1167 passengers total

MS Chrobry was an ocean-going passenger ship, so far the last such newbuilding for the Polish merchant marine. She was built for the Poland – South America Line to replace the aging SS Kościuszko and the SS Pulaski. Built in Denmark as the younger and bigger ship of a pair of consorts, she was named in honour of the first Polish king Bolesław I Chrobry. The name of the King means "Braveheart".

The ship was in the middle of its maiden passenger voyage to South America when World War II broke out. Among the Polish personalities on board were senator Rembielinski, minister Mazurkiewicz, author Bohdan Pawłowicz, and the young writer Witold Gombrowicz, who had been invited to advertise the trip[1] During the war the ship was rebuilt in Britain to become a troop transport. As a transatlantic liner she made only one transatlantic voyage, never coming back to her home port of Gdynia.

The ship was used as a transport during the Norwegian Campaign, in the area around Narvik. On 14 May 1940 she sailed from Tjeldsundet transporting British troops to Bodø.[2] Just before midnight German dive bombers attacked the ship three times in the middle of the Vestfjorden, setting the ship on fire, exploding ammunition, and killing several army officers and men.[2] One of the escorts, the destroyer HMS Wolverine, took off 700 survivors from the ship, while the other escort, the sloop HMS Stork, stood on guard and drove off other German aircraft, then took off the remaining survivors.[2] Both escorts, loaded with survivors, sailed for Harstad. The abandoned Chrobry was scuttled by aircraft from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal on 16 May.[2] A considerable amount of equipment went down with the ship.[2]


  1. ^ Suchanow, Klementyna (2008–2011). "Podróż na Chrobrym". Witold Gombrowicz. Rita Gombrowicz. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e David Brown, Great Britain. Naval Staff, Naval operations of the campaign in Norway, April–June 1940

External links[edit]

  • Photo of MS Chrobry from July 1939, from NAC archive: [1]