TSS Tuscania an American Tragedy

Jim Currie

I was looking through the effects of an old relative the other day and came across a silver and gilt perforated spoon. At the top, it had the crest of the Anchor Line and the name TSS Tuscania. Being an ex Anchor Line Officer, I was immediately interested and looked this vessel up on the WWW.
Strangely enough, during the time I was with the company I had never heard the name mentioned. It transpires that the ship was part of WW1 convoy HX-20 bound from Hoboken via Halifax to the UK. She was torpedoed and sunk by the german submarine U-77 off the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland - near to the island of Islay in the Inner Hebrides. This was at 6-45pm on the 5th.February, 1918.
The ship was was by then, 4 years old - However, the idea to build her was conceived the same year of the Titanic disaster 1912. She was built by Alexander Stephens of Linthouse, Glasgow, Scotland and launched in 1914.
Tuscania was carrying a very large contingent of US Troops bound for the war in Europe.

For me, the Islay connection was another coincidence since my family originated from there. And I live near to there until a couple of years ago.

It was the first time America had lost so many soldiers in one day since the Civil War - the story filled every U.S. Newspaper. Over 200 lost their lives. The following year, 400 more US personnel were killed on the other side of the island when the troop ship Otranto was in collision with another ship in Machir Bay.

The people of Islay were devastated with this loss of life - having lost 100 of there own men from the small town of Port Ellen previously in the war. They took it very hard.
All the dead who washed-up on the island were buried by the islanders at the time. However, all but one of the bodies were returned eventually to the States. The grave of the one remaining soldier is looked after by the locals who swore they would tend it till the end of time - time hasn't ended yet!
The American red Cross paid for a monument in the shape of a lighthouse to be erected. it is still tended carefully as far as I know.
Dear Jim,

The spoon you have might well have come from the 'new' Tuscania.Anchor Line used the name again for a ship that plied the Bombay/Liverpool route in the late twenties. I have a picture of her and her history but it is too big for this email. My interes was her immigration passenger lists and if yo feel happy I could search them (inbound) for youe relative.

Mike Hoare
I've split the history and the picture to reduce the file sizes. Part1. History.
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Tuscania_Pic_description.doc (20.5 k)[/td][/tr][/table]​