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SS Tuscania

 
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 11 Mei 2006 7:32    Onderwerp: SS Tuscania Reageer met quote

The British Admiralty requisitioned the Tuscania in 1916 for the war effort. This Anchor Line steamer, is now placed under the management of the Cunard Line, as a merchant troopship. In September the Tuscania brought Canadian Troops from Halifax to Liverpool. A rapid-fire gun was fitted on the stern of the Tuscania in October. It was called the Four-Inch Gun



In New York, 18th June 1916, the Tuscania arrived in port, with a large amount of bullion and American securities estimated by passengers to be worth several million dollars. Great precautions were taken to prevent the Tuscania from being torpedoed. Miss Sibyl Eden, an English woman who has been serving with the Red Cross in Serbia, said she understood a call was soon to be issued urging the 200,000 or more Serbians in this country to join the new Serb army.
In March of 1917 while the Tuscania was 300 miles West of Fastnet Light, off the Irish Coast a German U-boat is sited. The Tuscania went ahead at 16 Knots in a zigzag coarse, the Submarine gave chase but gave up the pursuit. The United States declared War on Germany on April 6th 1917. In August 1917 the U.S. Army 16th Engineers boarded the Tuscania in New York and sailed for Liverpool.


The photo of the 16th U.S. Army Engineers boarding the Tuscania in Halifax, Canada in August 1917. Courtesy of the United States Military History Institute still photo collection.



Note: There were two ships in the early 20th century named Tuscania.

Tuscania I - 1915 to 1918 Two Smoke Stacks

Tuscania II - 1922 to 1961 Single Smoke Stack.


The Tuscania is docked at Pier 54 at the Cunard docks on the 23rd of January, 1918; and is in the birth that was formerly reserved for the Lusitania. The ship is manned by Merchant Marines from the United Kingdom, and is assigned to pick up and transport American U.S. Army troops and supplies to Europe. The trip would include stops in Halifax, Canada; Glasgow, Scotland, and possibly a stop in England, the final destination was to be Le-Havre, France. The Tuscania outer appearance had a black hull, two black stacks, with the top deck passenger area painted white. At sometime while in the Hoboken, Dock, in New York, the Tuscania is repainted. The whole outer shell of the ship was first painted white, the Hull, the two stacks, the passenger compartment area. Then an Olive drab was painted on, mainly the hull, this was for camouflage, something that the British were experimenting with. The Tuscania had two smoke stacks, both of them were to remain white.



The ferry boat Chautauqua transports the American soldiers to the Cunard dock where their names are checked before they board the Ship Tuscania. Some of the soldiers arriving at the Cunard docks in Hoboken that day noticed a net full of barracks bags dropped into the water. One can imagine how miserable it must have been for soldiers who had their barracks bags among that lot.



The Tuscania was a luxury Ocean Liner converted over to a troopship in 1916. The ship was owned by the Cunard Steamship Company, and managed by it's subsidiary company, the Anchor Line. The Glasgow Shipping company known as the Anchor Line was purchased by the Cunard Steam Ship Company in November of 1911. The Anchor Line fleet was operated under the business name of "Henderson Brothers Ltd." The Cunard Steam Ship Company managed the British Merchant Fleet during the first World War.

The soldiers traveled from near and far, and now that they have finally arrived, they can enjoy the comforts the Ocean Liner has to offer. As each soldier boards the Tuscania they were ordered to go below deck and stay there until the ship left the harbor the next day. This was for security reasons and to allow the dock workers to load the cargo with minimum interruptions. The U.S. Army marched 2,179 soldiers aboard the Tuscania.

On the 24th of January the Tuscania departs the Cunard dock at Hoboken. The destination was withheld to the soldiers, again for security reasons. Two days later the Tuscania arrives in Halifax, Canada. As the Tuscania drew closer to Halifax on the 26th of January, the soldiers on deck saw that snow had arrived in Canada, and they got their first glimpse of what a war zone must be like.

Just 50 days earlier on the 6th December 1917, a munitions ship Mount Blanc was entering Halifax harbor while a Belgium relief ship Imo was leaving, the two ships collided. A fire broke out on the Mount Blanc, and the crew aware of what was on the ship evacuated quickly. The Mount Blanc drifted to the Halifax Pier ablaze. The Halifax Fire Department responded quickly getting their fire trucks to the pier, and while trying to hook up their hoses the Mount Blanc exploded, creating the biggest man made explosion before the nuclear age. The explosion claimed 1900 lives, another 9000 were reported injured. The entire North End of Halifax was destroyed, some 325 acres. Halifax was the last stop for 21soldiers, as they were to sick to travel.


The Tuscania would depart the next morning leaving these men behind. January 27th, the Tuscania leaves Halifax harbor. Just outside the harbor the Tuscania awaits for 9 other Merchant Troopships, 1 oil tanker, and 1 escorting British Cruiser (HMS Cochrane) to form British Convoy, HX-20. For the soldier, the events that transpired unfolded in front of them without any prior knowledge. As they waited one can imagine, standing on the deck of a ship watching all these ships assembling. The Captain of each ship in convoy HX-20 was given a coarse to sail their ship, and had to adhere to a zig-zagging pattern to make it harder for any lurking U-boat to lock in on their ship. Each Captain was given an order not to stop to assist any ship that falls prey to a U-boat.



The British Cruiser HMS Cochrane had the instructions to attack any detected U-boat that may be lurking near the convoy, but they were not to stop to lend any assistance to any vessel that becomes a victim of a U-boat. The HMS Cochrane was the only defense for the entire convoy for their journey across the Atlantic. Many of the men had never been to sea, several men fell sick to the waves. The ships hospital had men that were sick, some having the mumps or chickenpox. There was no shortage of doctors aboard to treat the ill, the Tuscania had their own doctors, and there were many doctors among the passengers as well. The ships hospital was located at the aft end of the Tuscania, top deck.

The Tuscania went through a heavy sea with a tremendous downpour of rain, the next morning the sea was calm. Alcohol consumption was off limits, even so the men found the bar leaking at times. The men did what they could, to keep themselves entertained. The Card room was popular and they had several boxing matches on deck. Playing Chess was another popular activity. I can only imagine that the activities on the Tuscania probably were not much different than those of modern day cruise ships, accept there were no telephones, no slot machines, and no swimming pools aboard. I am sure that skeet shooting would not have been allowed.


Several men peered out at the open sea at the ships around them, wondering if any of them would fall victim to a German U-boat. There were microphones set at different places below the Tuscania to pick up underwater sounds of submersibles. The microphones were wired to a M-V radio set in the wireless operating room. Other ships in the convoy also had this type of underwater listing devices installed. The dinning rooms on the Tuscania were not big enough to accommodate all those who were on board to dine at the same time. Each soldier was given an assigned schedule to which dining room section to report to, the table and the time in which they would receive their meals. The meals were staggered to accommodate all those aboard. While there was no actual lifeboat training activities that were performed, they did have lifeboat drills. Each soldier was assigned to a particular lifeboat, in case of an actual emergency, a member of the ships crew would assist them into the lifeboat. Each soldier was assigned a life preserver to wear in case of an emergency. The morning of February 4th, while west of Ireland, their convoy is met by 8 British Cruisers. The British Navy came to escort the convoy through the British Isles commonly known as the Danger Zone.

The escorting Cruisers were from the 4th Flotilla from the base at Lough Swilly in Northern Ireland. A strong southern breeze was blowing the morning of February 5th, the wave's were a bit choppy. Most of the day was uneventful, by late afternoon the sea became heavy. Land was sighted, and the men were anxious to stand on solid ground. Part of the crew on the British Cruiser Pigeon were at dinner on the lower deck when they clearly heard the rumble of a torpedo passing beneath their ship, a sound that must have stopped forks on the way to mouths. The Tuscania's dinning rooms were also full of men who had just settled down to enjoy their meal. A sudden unexpected explosion detonated on the Starboard side of the ship. The ship immediately began to lean to that side. The ships lights went out. The Tuscania had been struck by a torpedo, time was 5:42 p.m. The M-V radio set failed to detect any sounds of the U-boat that had struck the Tuscania. None of the 15 lookouts were able to spot the U-boat or the incoming torpedo.

5th, Feb. 1918



The German U-boat in fact fired two torpedo's at the Tuscania. The first torpedo just missed the Cruiser Pigeon and passed harmlessly in front of the Tuscania. The second torpedo squarely struck the Tuscania amid ship starboard side, boiler room. Under orders the Convoy and the British Cruiser's poured on the steam and left the stricken Tuscania behind, alone in the dark, helpless. The Cruisers escorting the rest of the convoy, dropped depth charges blindly into the sea in case the U-boat was in pursuit. No one knew where the U-boat was or where it would strike next. With no British Cruisers around to protect the Tuscania, the U-boat now has an unchallenged opportunity to finish off the Tuscania, sending her 2,179 passengers, and crew to the depths of the sea.



The Tuscania's Captain, Peter MacLean, directed emergency operations. He sent men to insure that the water tight doors were shut. The torpedo that struck must have damaged the main electrical conduit, which is why the ships lights went out in some areas of the ship, while others areas had dim light. The ship was taking on water, and the propellers of the Tuscania were still rotating, yet the ship seemed to be motionless in the sea. In the dark on the top deck a couple of the ships officers search for the emergency dynamo (generator), after it was located they worked quickly to start it up. Once they did so, the ships two Mastoid Lights turned on, the top deck is illuminated with bright white light. The Tuscania's Bo' sun fired rockets from the bridge as a distress signal. The wireless operator is sending out SOS distress signals.

The Ships 2nd Officer, Mr. Lyons was superintending the launching of boats on the starboard side. A few lifeboats on the starboard side of the ship were damaged from the explosion. The men below deck were in either utter darkness or in very dim light depending on the area of the ship in which they found themselves. Some men having to use their hands to direct them in any direction they chose to move. The men who were next to their bunks were the lucky ones, they put their life preservers on, and grabbed their Army issued flashlight. These men were of some help to those found in the dark passage ways.

There were quite a few men on the top deck that had no life preserver or flashlight. Only a few men dared to find their way back down to their bunk, to get their life preserver and flashlight. No one knew how fast the Tuscania was going to sink, most did not want to risk being caught below deck. A whirlpool could be seen on the starboard side. No doubt water being sucked into the exposed hole below the water line. Many of the soldiers were experiencing anxiety, some were in a state of panic. Most men did not know why none of the convoy stopped to assist. They had been abandoned left to mercy of the U-boat to be finished off. Some men reacting on their own fears, simply jumped off the ship into the water.

The Tuscania's upper deck, lit up by the two mastoid lights was surely a clear target for the lurking U-boat in the darkness that surrounded the ship. The ship was also leaning pretty heavily to the starboard side. The sea was heavy, the swells were as wide as they were deep. Some men worried that the Tuscania might belly up. Most men controlled their anxieties as best as they could. A good thing since there wasn't enough life boats or rafts to accommodate everyone onboard. Britain had been at war with Germany for 4 years, and the more experienced crew men were needed in the Royal Navy. The Tuscania's crew was mostly made up of young inexperienced boys, teenage boys. Only a few of Tuscania's officers aboard were trying to man the lifeboat stations, they could only lower boats so fast. Meanwhile at other lifeboat stations, the assigned crew member of that station was not present, this caused some tempers to raise. Panic was apparent, but not as widespread as one would think. At several of the lifeboat stations that were not being supervised by the mercantile marines, the soldiers grew impatient and finally decided to lower the lifeboats themselves.

They did not want to be on the ship should it decided to take the plunge, they did not want to be near the ship should the U-boat decide to finish the ship off. Before the lifeboats were lowered, the soldiers filled up the lifeboats which seat about sixty. This was to much weight for the davits to support. The lifeboat loaded with men simply broke away from the davits and fell to the ocean surface disintegrating the boat and placing all the occupants into the cold waters of the Northern Channel. This did not seem to deter the soldiers from lowering the boats, they just allowed less men to enter the boat before lowering it. The ropes that lowered the boats have winches that have to be lowered uniformly. One boat being lowered down became uneven and one of the winches having to much slack released the ratcheting latch, the boat then supported at one end by a tight rope, the other end of the boat swung downward dropping its occupants out of the boat like a sack of beans. A few lifeboats were launched successfully. Another lifeboat that was over loaded with men broke from its davits, and lands on another fully loaded boat below them, killing most of them. Screams of pain were all about. The men on the Tuscania shining their flashlights into the water could see bodies floating everywhere. There were a few men who were Panic-stricken and simply jumped overboard. The Northern Channel in February was near freezing, the men in the water could not last very long. Floating devices of any type were thrown to them.

The Tuscania's officers were trying to control the situation as it was getting out of hand. They put an immediate stop to the lowering of boats. The Army officers that were still aboard, had never been trained to handle this type of situation, nor had they ever had this type of experience. They became indecisive because of their lack of knowledge in this type of crisis. The soldiers lacked leadership, and guidance they needed for this situation. For most, it was every man for themselves, this was an instinct for survival, created by fear.

It was the Tuscania's officers that took control, they started shouting orders, trying to instill discipline into the soldiers. They set the example for the Army officers to follow, and follow they did. They soon had the men standing in formation. To try and bring a calmness to the situation, one of the ships officers suggest that they start singing the Star Spangled Banner song, and they did. Why they sang one of the ships officers walked up and down the column of men in formation shouting, "TRUST IN JOHN BULL'S DESTROYERS" he kept shouting "THERE IS NO DANGER OF HER SINKING BEFORE WE ALL ARE TAKEN OFF THE SHIP" trying to command confidence into the men as they continued to sing. I do not know who the Tuscania officer was, but his forcefulness to drill discipline into the men aboard surely save many lives. Now this kept the majority of men occupied, but a few did not cooperate and were determined to get off the Tuscania, and they did. The launching of lifeboats was then resumed in a safe manner by the other ship officers that were still aboard. By 7:00 p.m. all the life boats were gone, and over 1350 men were still aboard.

The British Cruisers HMS Grasshopper, Pigeon, and Mosquito return to the Tuscania to begin rescue operations. Upon arriving at the scene using their spot lights, they surveyed their position. Priority was given to those survivors who were in the water, that task was given to the HMS Pigeon. The second priority was to get the rest of the men off the deck of the Tuscania before it sinks. Before reacting to the situation, consideration on how best to attempt this was given. The waves were to deep to pull up along side the Tuscania. And if the Tuscania turned over why a cruiser was along side, the cruiser would be destroyed. So it was decided that ropes would be thrown to the deck of the Tuscania and the men could climb down the ropes to the deck of the cruisers. HMS Grasshopper and Mosquito pulled up on opposite sides of the Tuscania. Then the once the ropes were secure the men climbed or slid down the ropes to awaiting destroyers. The events that were transpiring were in view from the Altacarry light house in Ireland. The light house operator was watching the events from above in his tower. It has been alleged that the old light house keeper was reporting shipping activities to nearby U-boats. He had no prior knowledge of this convoy, and had played no role, in the U-boat activity that led to the Tuscania being torpedoed. Ireland has always been an Island on to its own, connected to England only by political rule. At the onset of WWI a new spirit of independence was growing in Ireland.

The Irish were not much different from the Americans in their struggle for independence. America a little more than 100 years earlier sought aid from France in their struggle for freedom. From shore witnesses see the ropes from the cruisers and have the impression that the Tuscania is being towed, not aware that the ropes were actually life saving lines.



At 7:15 the Tuscania still afloat, over an hour since the first torpedo struck, the U-boat decides to fire another torpedo at the Tuscania, using the stern tube. The torpedo passes harmlessly in front of the Tuscania, but passed closely by the stern of the HMS Mosquito. The torpedo trail was clearly spotted by men on the Tuscania as well as on the rescuing cruisers. The torpedo struck the cliffs directly under the Altacarry Light house. Glass in the light house was broken as the result of the explosion. The HMS Pigeon and Mosquito broke away from rescue operations and began to drop depth charges. The HMS Grasshopper was ordered to stand by the Tuscania an continue the rescue operations.

Illuminating rockets were fired, the deck guns were firing into the water. The men that were still in the water were under the impression that a naval battle was underway. Each explosion from the depth charges forced a concussion of water pressure against the bodies of men in the water. The sounds of the depth charges cause panic aboard the Tuscania, several of the soldiers believing that the Tuscania had been hit by another torpedo. The HMS Mosquito decides to take the risk to pull up along side the Tuscania. This move places the men on the HMS Mosquito in harms way, their ship is now endangered by the massive Ocean liner, and is a sitting duck should the U-boat fire another torpedo. They remained along side for 25 minutes until all the last available space was taken, then shoved off and proceeded to Lough Swilly, Ireland. HMS Pigeon pulled up along side and continued the rescue work. By 8:45 p.m. completes the rescue work from the Tuscania and pulls away taking their passenger to Buncrana, Ireland. The Tuscania then resumed and even keel.


The Grasshopper and several fishing boats continue to pick up survivors in lifeboats and life rafts. Many of the soldiers in lifeboats saw the bright light of the lighthouses, not knowing any better they tried to guide their boat to drift toward the lights, not knowing the lights were there to warn them to stay away. The Tuscania finally took the plunged sometime near 10:00 p.m., four hours since it was torpedoed. It was remarkable that the Tuscania stayed afloat so long. As for the U-boat it was thought that maybe it was sunk since the attack ceased after the last dropping of depth charges. The U-boat was not sunk and was turned over to the British after the war per the Armistice agreement.

The majority of the men rescued from their life boats were rescued by the HMS Grasshopper. The majority of the men who tried to escape the Tuscania by lifeboat perished, 200 American soldiers and 46 plus, Mercantile Marines of the United Kingdom. The majority of the casualties met their fate on the rocky coast line of the Scottish Island known as Islay. The majority of the men who were saved, was accomplished by the gallant efforts of the HMS Pigeon, and Mosquito. The Tuscania was credited as the first ship carrying Americans Troops to Europe to be torpedoed and sunk. The Tuscania was the only ship during WWI carrying American troops to be torpedoed and sunk while under British convoy. Perhaps the most widely recognized survivor of the Tuscania would probably go to Harry R. Truman who was buried alive by Mt. St. Helens when it erupted on May 18th, 1980.

Japanese Imperial Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, would have had knowledge of this event during his years as a student at Harvard University, his mind may have been referencing this information, after the attack on Pearl Harbor when he said: "We have awakened a sleeping giant and have instilled in him a terrible resolve."




Unlike the popular stories of the Titanic and the Lusitania, the story of the Tuscania faded as a result of World War II. The American Red Cross raised a monument on the Island of Islay in memory of those lost on the Tuscania in the 1920's, it still stands there today reminding us all about the men who were lost so long ago, and of one man who's final resting place remains to be on Islay.

http://renton.50megs.com/Tuscania/
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Laatst aangepast door Yvonne op 11 Mei 2006 18:27, in totaal 1 keer bewerkt
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Regulus 1



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Woonplaats: Jabbeke, Flanders - Home of the Marine Jagdgeschwader in WW I

BerichtGeplaatst: 11 Mei 2006 18:22    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Wat foto's van de monumenten aldaar...

http://www.armin-grewe.com/islay/islay-otranto.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Feb 2018 15:13    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Troepentransport Tuscania zinkt
De Duitse onderzeeër U-77 torpedeert op 5 februari 1918 voor de kust van Ierland het stoomschip Tuscania dat bijna 2400 Amerikaanse militairen naar Le Havre moet brengen.

Zowat 12 kilometer voor de kust vuurt de U-77 tweemaal. De eerste torpedo is een misser, maar de tweede raakt de Tuscania vol aan stuurboordzijde met een bijzonder krachtige ontploffing tot gevolg. Omdat het getroffen schip in een Brits konvooi vaart, is er onmiddellijk hulp ter plaatse : 2187 Amerikaanse militairen worden gered, samen met het grootste deel van de bemanning.

De Britse werkwijze om in konvooien de oceaan over te steken, is zeer belangrijk en efficiënt voor de geallieerde troepenaanvoer. Van de ruim 1,1 miljoen Amerikaanse militairen die naar Europa getransporteerd worden, verdrinken er slechts 637 ten gevolge van aanvallen door Duitse duikboten.

bron : oorlogskalender 2014-2018, Davidsfonds

https://martinusevers.org/2018/02/07/troepentransport-tuscania-zinkt/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 10 Feb 2018 10:53    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Slechts een summiere vermelding van het incident door HMS Cochrane.

5 February 1918
6.40pm: SS Tuscania struck by mine or torpedo. Fired red rocket.

http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-05-HMS_Cochrane.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 10 Feb 2018 18:36    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Journey Plotter @ 10 Feb 2018 10:53 schreef:
Slechts een summiere vermelding van het incident door HMS Cochrane.

5 February 1918
6.40pm: SS Tuscania struck by mine or torpedo. Fired red rocket.

http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-05-HMS_Cochrane.htm

Even tussendoor, wat is dat toch een geweldige site.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 11 Feb 2018 14:00    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Bedankt, leuk om te horen. Very Happy
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