Wreck of the Rex


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Guest (R17)

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Was just wondering if anyone has any information on the wreck site of the Rex ? I understand she was burnt but know little about her. Whats the wreck site like... Is there anything to see ?
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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The site gives a fairly good general overview of the history of the Rex. However, it omitted that she was broken up over a very long time and, in June 1958, what remained on site was destroyed by dynamite charges. So there are remnants still to be seen, but they likely consist of portions of the lower portside hull and little else- the superstructure remained almost entirely out of water and was easily removed, as were what was left of the interiors and machinery. One intriguing possibility is that the Rex MAY have been trying to flee south to the Allies when she was destroyed. Two other Italian liners had been stolen by their anti-fascist crew members and surrendered, and there is some evidence that the Rex crew planned on doing the same.....and might have succeeded had they not grounded her on a sandbar, and had the allies been notified that she was coming. It is an interesting alternative to the "Germans planned to sink her as a block ship" story, but needs to be more fully researched.
 

Mark Baber

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Jul 4, 2000
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Thanks for the additional details, Jim. I had seen some references to both theories before I wrote the Great Ships history, and without clear evidence either way, I espoused neither.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Have been attempting to locate any crewmen, Italian or German, who survived the attack. Like post 1951 photos of the wreck they seem to be unavailable. So far only one work has appeared espousing the "attempting to flee South" theory - the author certainly did his homework in all other regards, I think you'll agree- which is why I think it deserves further looking into. Likewise,resolving the debate over whether Allied bombing or a German-set fire destroyed Conte di Savoia might be a good avenue for further study at some point.
92736.jpg

A curious onboard shot from better days. "La vita a bordo non e davvero monotona."
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Matthew- it was one of the sister ship pairs. Either Saturnia and Vulcania, or Conte Grande and Conte Biancamano. Will check my copy of The Lido Fleet - available on eBay and the best of all Italian Line reference works- and come back with the definite answer.
 

Matthew Lips

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Mar 8, 2001
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Thanks, Jim. No need to go digging through your library! I was just curious, because I hadn't heard the story before.

I can't say I'm very surprised, though, because both my parents lived in Italy during the War and I have heard many stories of, shall we say, rather confused allegiances in the post-Mussolini era especially. Those were interesting times, all right!
 
Mar 13, 2006
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there are not very many pictures of the Rex being attacked by the british plane I have one only seen two photos of the after the fire where is is laying on her port side she was scrapped in 1949
 

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