News from 1917 The Sinking of Afric


Mark Baber

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MAB Notes: 1. On 12 February 1917, Afric was torpedoed and sunk by UC 66 of the Eddystone Light. There were 22 deaths and 145 survivors. This report appeared a few days after the event. 2. In the fourth paragraph, "here" means "New York." 3. The remainder of this front page article related to other marine losses and escapes, and has not been transcribed.

The New York Times, 14 February 1917

LINER AFRIC SUNK; 17 MEN MISSING
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12,000-Ton White Star Steamer Is Believed to Have Been in Admiralty Service
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145 OF CREW ARE LANDED
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LONDON, Feb. 13---Lloyd's Shipping Agency announced this afternoon that the White Star Line steamship Afric, of 11,999 tons gross, had been sunk. Seventeen of the crew are missing.

The pilot and 144 of the crew of the steamship Afric have been landed.
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The Afric was owned by the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company of Liverpool, which is a part of the International Mercantile Marine Company and was built by Harland & Wolff at Belfast in 1899 for the emigrant and freight trade from Liverpool to Australia, via the Cape of Good Hope. She was of 11,999 gross tonnage and is the largest steamer sunk by German submarines since the new blockade went into effect on Feb. 1.

The Afric last reported in marine records as leaving Cape Town on Dec. 3, and, according to the agents of the White Star Line here, she was supposed to be in the Admiralty service. The Afric had four masts and one funnel, and had accommodations for 500 passengers. She was 550 feet long, had a beam of 63 feet 3 inches. was 31 feet 9 inches in depth, and was equipped with twin screw engines which gave her an average speed of 13 to 14 knots.
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Three Other Ships Sunk
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LONDON, Feb. 13.-The sinking of three ships, including the White Star liner Afric, were [sic] announced today by Lloyd's Shipping Agency. The largest of these two was the British steamer Foreland of 1,960 tons, which was built at Sunderland in 1914 and owned in London. The other vessel reported sunk was the Norwegian motor ship West, whose crew has been landed. This list [sic] is not listed in available shipping records.

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Mark Baber

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The Times, 14 February 1917

WHITE STAR LINER SUNK
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22 MEN KILLED AND MISSING
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SURVIVORS LANDED

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The White Star liner Afric, of 11,999 tons, was stated yesterday to
have been sunk by a submarine. Five of the crew are believed to have
been killed, and 17 are missing. The pilot and 144 of the crew have been
landed.

There were no passengers on board.

Before the war the Afric, which was built by Harland and Wolff in 1899,
and had a speed of 13 1/2 knots, was employed in the White Star
passenger and cargo service to Australia via Cape Town, carrying
passengers in only one class at rates rather below the ordinary second
saloon fares.

The Afric is the sixth White Star liner to have been sunk during the
war. The others were the Arabic, Britannic, Georgic, Laurentic, and the
Oceanic, which was wrecked off Shetland on September 8, 1914.

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