St Essylt (1)


In March 1942 St Essylt was quarantined in Fremantle with a confirmed case of smallpox on board.

See Woodman Point Quarantine Station



The following tale of her sinking is taken from Bernard Edward’s fine book:


The Quiet Heroes - British Merchant Seamen at War

Various Saint Line Staff are mentioned in the article. More information can be found on their own pages:


Captain S. Diggins


D. Robertson


W. Marrs


R. Tucker


M. McNeil

Official Number

Ship Builder

Engine Builder

Engine Type


162150


J L Thompson

Sunderland




Diesel

Doxford

HP



Screws


1

St Essylt Launched - 1940

Operation Husky - 1943

Date of attack

4 Jul 1943

Nationality:      

British

Fate

Sunk by U-375 (Jürgen Koenenkamp)

Position

36° 44'N, 1° 31'E - Grid CH 8295

Complement

401 (4 dead and 397 survivors).

Convoy

KMS-18B

Route

Clyde (24 Jun) - Sicily

Torpedoed and Sunk in  The Mediterranean - 1943

St Essylt

Left Clyde

For Sicily

Lost 4 July 1943

Fate

Master

S Diggins

Survived

Chief Officer

D Robertson

Survived

Chief Engineer

W L Marrs

Survived

Second Engineer

R L Tucker

Survived

Able Seaman

M McNeil

Survived

Asst Steward

P Wormald

Lost

Cargo

322 troops, 900 tons of military stores and two landing craft (LCM)

History

Completed in September 1940

Notes on event

At 21.40 hours on 4 July 1943 U-375 fired a spread of four torpedoes at convoy KMS-18B and hit the St. Essylt (Master Stephen Diggins) in station #13 on the starboard side with one of them about 20 miles north-northwest of Cape Tenes, Algeria.

The ship caught fire, was abandoned and eventually sank after an explosion at 05.45 hours on 5 July.

One crew member, one gunner and two passengers were lost.

The master, 53 crew members, 23 gunners and 320 military personnel were rescued and landed at Algiers.

HMS Honeysuckle (K 27) (Lt H.H.D. MacKillican, DSC, RNR) picked up 276 survivors and the remaining men were picked up by HMS Rhododendron (K 78) (Lt O.B. Medley, RNVR) and HMRT Restive (W 39) (Lt D.M. Richards, RNR).

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