Daily Event for October 6, 2010

The 15,000 ton Andalucia Star was a passenger ship built in 1927 by Cammell Laird and was owned by the Blue Star Line. Her last voyage took her from Buenos Aires to Liverpool with a stop in Freetown, but after leaving Argentina she would never see land again. She was carrying frozen meat and other needed supplies for the U.K. and 253 people, including 22 women and 3 children. Many of the passengers were Argentine citizens who were on their way to join the British forces fighting Germany.

Around 10 p.m. on October 6, 1942 when the ship was less than 200 miles from Freetown the U-107 slammed two torpedoes into her side, twenty minuets later a third fish blew a hole completely through her forward section dooming the ship. On board the passengers and crew went about the task of evacuating from the dying ship with little panic, but one accident. While lowering one of the lifeboats one end of the boat became jammed on the davit while the opposite end continued to pay out spilling all who were in the boat to be dumped into the sea.

Two of the people, a stewardess and a barkeeper, were never recovered, but the rest were picked up. One, a five year old girl, who had a been in the lifeboat, drifted off some distance and was heard crying, Lamptrimmer William S. Wheeler dove into the water and found the girl because of the red light on her waistcoat, which the stewardess, who had died, had turned on before they got into the boat. Wheeler stayed with the girl until they were rescued, for this he was awarded the Bronze Medal for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea.

Because of the orderly evacuation of the ship only four lives were lost, Captain James B. Hall and three others were the last to leave the ship, one of these was a passenger who had become confused, perhaps due to fear. As all the boats had gone, Hall and the two crewmen launched a raft and the four men jumped into the sea, one of the crewmen suffered a heart attack before he could be brought on to the raft and soon after died, the passenger was never seen again. The Andalucia Star capsized and sank sometime around 10:30 p.m. With 249 people adrift in small boats, Hall organized them very well and kept them together until they were all picked up by HMS Petunia K-79 on Oct. 7 and landed at Freetown.

Several members of the crew were Commended by the King, including Capt. Hall, Able Seaman Norman Bennett, 4th Engineer Officer John William Hubbard, Esq. and the stewardess, who was commended posthumous for her actions.

In February of 1944 an Argentine flag, which had been saved from the ship by Harry Baker, one of the Argentine volunteers, was presented to Sir William McCallum, the chairman of the British Community Council in Buenos Aires, the flag was signed by 65 of the volunteers as well as many of the crew of the Andalucia Star and was to be put on display at the Argentine Historical Museum in Lujan.
© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honour
In memory of those who lost their lives in SS Andalucia Star
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Green, Lily A.
Harcourt, Robert
Hayes, William R.
Nylander, William
King's Commendation for brave conduct

To submit a photo, biographical information or correction please email the webmaster.

Andalucia Star seen after her 1935 refit.

2005 Daily Event
2008 Daily Event