SS Beatus

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United Kingdom
Name: Beatus
Owner: Tempus Shipping Co, Ltd[1]
Operator: W.H. Seager & Co Ltd
Port of registry: Cardiff
Builder: Ropner Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd, Stockton-on-Tees[1]
Yard number: 548[2]
Completed: March 1925[1]
Out of service: 18 October 1940[3]
Fate: sunk by torpedo, 18 October 1940[3]
General characteristics
Class and type: cargo steamship
Length: 390.0 feet (118.9 m)[1] p/p
Beam: 55.5 feet (16.9 m)[1]
Draught: 24 feet 6 34 inches (7.49 m)[1]
Depth: 26.4 feet (8.0 m)[1]
Installed power: 436 NHP[1]
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h)[2]
Crew: 37[3]
Sensors and
processing systems:
wireless direction finding (by 1937)[1]

SS Beatus was a British cargo steamship that was built in 1925, sailed in a number of transatlantic convoys in 1940 and was sunk by a U-boat that October.


Ropner Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd of Stockton-on-Tees, England built Beatus, completing her in February 1925.[1] She had nine corrugated furnaces with a combined grate area of 190 square feet (18 m2) that heated three 180 lbf/in2 single-ended boilers with a combined heating surface of 7,500 square feet (697 m2).[1] The boilers fed a three-cylinder triple expansion steam engine that was rated at 436 NHP and drove a single screw.[1] The engine was built by Blair and Company, also of Stockton.[1]

Beatus was registered in Cardiff, managed by W.H. Seager & Co Ltd and owned by another of William Seager's companies, Tempus Shipping Co, Ltd.[1]

Second World War career[edit]

By early 1940 Beatus was sailing in convoys.[6] In February 1940 she joined Convoy SL-20 from Freetown, Sierra Leone to Liverpool with a cargo of wheat.[6] In May and June 1940 she brought a general cargo across the North Atlantic to the UK via Bermuda, where she joined Convoy BHX-46.[7] and Halifax, Nova Scotia, where BHX-46 joined Convoy HX-46.[8] In late July Beatus was carrying a cargo of steel and pit props when she joined another HX convoy, HX-60, from Halifax, NS to Liverpool.[9] Between ocean voyages, Beatus sailed in a number of North Sea coastal convoys.

Convoy SC-7 and sinking[edit]

Early in October Beatus left Trois-Rivières, Quebec, carrying a cargo of 1,626 tons of steel, 5,874 tons of timber and a deck cargo of crated aircraft bound for Middlesbrough via the Tyne. Her Master was Wilfred Leslie Brett.[3] She went via Sydney, Nova Scotia, where she joined Convoy SC-7 bound for Liverpool.[10] SC-7 left Sydney on 5 October. At first the convoy had only one escort ship, the Hastings-class sloop HMS Scarborough. A wolfpack of U-boats found the convoy on 16 October and quickly overwhelmed it, sinking many ships over the next few days.

Between 2058 and 2104 hours on 18 October, SC-7 was about 100 miles (160 km) west by south of Barra Head in the Outer Hebrides when U-46, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Engelbert Endrass, attacked it. Endrass fired four torpedoes: one hit and sank the Swedish freighter SS Convallaria; another hit Beatus.[3] Frank Holding, Assistant Steward on Beatus, recalled:

"The next thing I heard was this explosion and a sound like breaking glass from down near the engine room. The ship stood still. When I went to the boat deck one of the lifeboats was already in the water, full of water... We knew we were sinking."[11]

Captain Brett and all 36 crew members survived, were rescued by a convoy escort, the Flower-class corvette HMS Bluebell, and were later landed at Gourock.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1937. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Allen, Tony (5 November 2010). "SS Beatus (+1940)". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2013). "Beatus". Ships hit by U-boats. Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1933. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1934. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Hague, Arnold. "Convoy SL.20". SL/MKS Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Hague, Arnold. "Convoy BHX.46". BHX Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Hague, Arnold. "Convoy HX.46". HX Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Hague, Arnold. "Convoy HX.60". HX Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Hague, Arnold. "Convoy SC.7". SC Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Tildesley, Kate. "Voices from the Battle of the Atlantic". Second World War Experience Centre. 

Coordinates: 57°31′N 13°10′W / 57.517°N 13.167°W / 57.517; -13.167