SS Gallia

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Gallia 1913.png
Gallia in 1913
Name: SS Gallia
Owner: Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique
Builder: Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, La Seyne-sur-Mer
Completed: 1913
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk on 4 October 1916
General characteristics
Class and type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 14,966 GRT
Length: 174.7 m
Beam: 19.1 m
Depth: max. 11,2 m
Installed power: 26.000 PS (19.123 kW)
Speed: max. 18 knots (33 km/h)
Capacity: 1,000 passengers

SS Gallia was an transatlantic ocean liner converted into a troopship in 1915. She was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean Sea on 4 October 1916 with great loss of life.

Salon de musique aboard Gallia

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 use as a troopship during World War I.

On 3 October 1916, Gallia left Toulon unescorted, destined for Thessaloniki in Greece. Aboard were 2,350 people (1,650 French soldiers, 350 Serbian soldiers, and 350 crew mmbers) and a cargo of artillery and ammunition. The next day, between Sardinia and Tunisia, she was hit by one torpedo from the German submarine U-35 commanded by Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière.

Ammunition aboard Gallia exploded and the ship sank in 15 minutes. Panic broke out on board, lifeboats capsized, and hundreds of soldiers jumped overboard. The ship′s radio was disabled by the explosions before a distress signal could be sent. The next day the French Navy protected cruiser French protected cruiser Châteaurenault rescued Gallia′s 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 involving a single French ship.

See also[edit]


  • 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).


Coordinates: 38°16′12″N 7°18′00″E / 38.2700°N 7.3000°E / 38.2700; 7.3000