News from 1917 Southland is Torpedoed and Sunk

Mark Baber

Dec 29, 2000
The New York Times, 9 June 1917

Steamer Southland Sunk in Fight With U-Boat; 8 of Crew Killed by Explosion; One American Missing
LONDON, June 8---The British steamer Southland, from Liverpool for Philadelphia in ballast, was torpedoed without warning on June 4. She had six Americans aboard, of whom one, Edward Gigney of New York City, is missing.

The gun crew on the Southland fired ten shots at the submarine after tile first torpedo was fired. A second torpedo was fired by the submarine, and it caused an explosion in the magazine which killed eight men. Two boats, containing forty men, are still missing. The rest of the crew of 159 has been landed.

As showing the excellent information which the submarines receive, the U-boat commander, when informed of the name of the ship, showed surprise and said: "Why, you are a week ahead of your time." The submarine flew no flag.

The American survivors are Albert Lyons of Bridgewater, Mass., A. McCoy of Los Angeles, James Geoghegan of Salamanca, N. Y.; John McNeil of Providence, and Jacob Houser of Middletown, Penn.
News was received yesterday by cable from Liverpool at the offices of the International Mercantile Marine Company, at 9 Broadway, that the steamship Southland, formerly the Red Star liner Vaderland, running between New York and Antwerp, had been sunk by a German submarine. Officials of the company said that the cable did not say where the Southland had been attacked. She left Liverpool on May 30 for Philadelphia.

The Southland was a twin-screw steamship of 11,899 tons, and was launched at Glasgow in 1900. She was 560 feet 8 inches long, 60 feet 2 inches beam, and 38 feet 2 inches depth of hold. She was in charge of Captain J. B. Kelk, who is well known in the Atlantic trade.

In March of 1915 the Southland was commandeered by the British Government for war purposes. She was torpedoed in the Aegean Sea while on her way to Alexandria, Egypt, in September of 1915, while carrying troops. Nine persons were killed and twenty-two were reported missing, apparently having been drowned. The vessel reached Mudros under her own steam.


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