SS Benlomond (1922)

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History
Name:
  • SS Cynthiana (1922)
  • SS Hoosac (1922)
  • SS London Corporation (1922-1937)
  • SS Marionga J. Goulandris (1937-1938)
  • SS Benlomond (1938-1942)
Owner:
Builder: Irvine's Shipbuilding & Dry Docks Co. Ltd., West Hartlepool
Yard number: 587
Completed: January 1922
Fate: Sunk on 23 November 1942
General characteristics
Tonnage:
Length: 420 ft (130 m)
Beam: 55 ft (17 m)
Depth: 27.8 ft (8.5 m)
Installed power: 705 nhp
Propulsion: Triple expansion steam engine

SS Benlomond was a British merchant ship torpedoed in the South Atlantic by a German U-boat in 1942. Built in 1922 as Cynthiana, over the next two decades she passed through a number of owners and had several different names; Hoosac (1922), London Corporation (1922-1937), Marionga J. Goulandris (1937-1938) and finally Benlomond from 1938 to 1942.

Construction and early career[edit]

Benlomond was built by Irvine's Shipbuilding & Dry Docks Co. Ltd., West Hartlepool and completed in January 1922 as Cynthiana for Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd.[1] She was soon renamed, taking the name Hoosac in February 1922, and then London Corporation in November 1922. In 1925 Furness, Withy & Company transferred her to one of their subsidiary lines, Warren Line (Liverpool) Ltd., before she was transferred back to the parent company in 1929. In December 1937 they sold her to the Greek shipping firm Goulandris Brothers, of Andros, who renamed her Marionga J. Goulandris but in May 1938 she was sold back into British ownership, being bought by Ben Line Steamers Ltd., Leith and renamed Benlomond.[2][3][4] She was the fourth ship of Ben Line Steamers to be named Benlomond.[4][5] Benlomond was one of four pre-owned ships bought by the company as part of its expansion about this time; along with SS Benrinnes, SS Benvannoch and SS Benvrackie.[6] Benrinnes, bought by Ben Line in November 1938, was the sistership of Benlomond, having been built by Irvine's Shipbuilding and Dry Docks Company in 1921 as the Parisiana for Furness, Withy & Company.[4]

Loss[edit]

Benlomond's final voyage took her from Port Said to New York, via Cape Town and Paramaribo, under the command of her master, John Maul. On 23 November 1942 she was sailing unescorted and in ballast to Paramaribo when she was spotted by the German submarine U-172, under the command of Carl Emmermann.[7] At 14.10 hours U-172 fired two torpedoes which hit Benlomond, sinking her within two minutes about 750 miles east of the River Amazon.[1] After questioning the survivors, U-172 left the area. Ultimately only a single survivor of the sinking, Chinese second mess steward Poon Lim, survived to be rescued after spending 133 days on a Carley float.[4][7][8] He was picked up by a Brazilian fishing vessel east of Salinas, and was landed at Belém on 8 April 1943. The rest of the Benlomond's crew, her master, 44 crew members and eight gunners, were lost.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Benlomond British Steam merchant". uboat.net. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Screw Steamer Cynthania". teesbuiltships.co.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  3. ^ Jordan, Roger (1999). The World's Merchant Fleets 1939: The Particulars and Wartime Fates of 6,000 Ships. London: Chatham Publishing. p. 191. ISBN 1-86176-023-X.
  4. ^ a b c d Middlemiss, Norman L. (2003). Merchant Fleets: The Thai Boats: Danish East Asiatic (EAC) & Ben Line. Newcastle upon Tyne: Shield Publications. p. 121. ISBN 1-871128-22-6.
  5. ^ "Ben Line / William Thomson & Co". theshipslist.com. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  6. ^ Strachan, Michael (1992). The Ben Line: 1825-1982: An Anecdotal History. Wilby, Norwich: Michael Russell Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 9-780859-551977.
  7. ^ a b Blair, Clay (2012). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted 1942-45. Hachette UK. p. 77. ISBN 0297866222.
  8. ^ Strachan, Michael (1992). The Ben Line: 1825-1982: An Anecdotal History. Wilby, Norwich: Michael Russell Publishing. pp. 18–19. ISBN 9-780859-551977.