Llandovery Castle

There's a query on uboat.net about this ship:

Prompt where to find characteristics and history of service of a steamship Llandovery Castle. Interests its use before war and history of creation.

Can anyone over here help?


Pat W

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally posted as a separate thread under this topic, has been moved to this pre-existing subtopic addressing the line to which this ship belonged. MAB]

Mark Baber

Assuming that you're asking about the first of two U-C ships of this name, which was sunk during WW I:

The first ship to be built for Union-Castle after its 1912 acquisition by the Royal Mail Group, Llandovery Castle was built by Barclay, Curle & Co., Glasgow. She was launched in September 1913, and entered service in early 1914.

It's not entirely clear to me from what I have exactly which of U-C's services she was on. Mallett's The Union-Castle Line says she "set new standards for the East African service." Haws' Merchant Fleets says in one paragraph that she was "designed solely for the East African trade," but in the next that she was "completed for the 'Round Africa' service" but was transferred to the Mail Service in 1915, after many of U-C's larger ships had been requisitioned. Finally, Williams' Wartime Disasters at Sea says she served West and East Africa. In any event, her British base appears to have been London.

Of the three books already mentioned, only Williams mentions that she was requisitioned as a troop carrier in December 1915, but it appears that she was converted to a hospital ship assigned to the Canadian military in 1916 (Haws) or 1917 (Williams) and was serving in that role when, en route from Halifax to Liverpool, she was torpedoed and sunk by U 86 116 miles off Fastnet on 27 June 1918, thus becoming the last U-C ship lost in the war. She was at the time fully illuminated as a hospital ship. Although all her lifeboats were successfully launched, all but one of them were sunk by gunfire from U 86. There were 234 deaths and 24 survivors.

After the war two of the sub's officers were convicted in the German Supreme Court of war crimes.
Thank you, Mark

I think that somebody over on the "Dark Side" is writing about Helmut Patzig, the commander of the U 86. Patzig was tried in absentia-- the First Watch Officer took the rap.

Pat W

B Portwig

may i suggest trying to get a copy of the union castle chronicles by marschall murray and or union castle line a fleet history by peter newall - excellent books


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