164096 ss City Of Benares: September 1940

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Gage, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

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  2. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    CITY OF BENARES official number 164096 built in 1936 for Ellerman Lines.
    18.9.40 torpedoed and sunk by U-48 (Bleichrodt), in the Atlantic 253 miles WSW of Rockall, in position 56.43N 21.15W while on a voyage from Liverpool 13.9.40 to Quebec and Montreal, with 191 passengers, part of convoy OB 213 comprising 19 ships. The Master, Capt Landles Nicoll, Commodore Rear Admiral E.J.G. MacKinnon DSO RN 3 naval staff, 121 crew and 134 passengers including children were lost. 105 survivors were rescued by HM destroyer HURRICANE 1340/39 (H.06) (Lt-Cdr H.C. Simms) ex-Brazilian JAPARUA and landed at Greenock; 42 survivors were adrift for 8 days, then rescued by HM destroyer ANTHONY 1350/29 (Lt-Cdr N.J.V. Thew) (H.40) and landed at Greenock.

    Ralph Barker wrote the book "Children of the Benares" and I corresponded with him briefly a few years ago in my research about ss "CITY OF CAIRO" he also wrote a book about that sinking.

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  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    CITY OF BENARES (September 17, 1940)
    City Lines passenger liner of 11,000 tons (Captain Landles Nicoll) carrying some 400 passengers and 99 evacuee children on their way to a new life in Canada. Part of convoy OB-213, the ship was torpedoed by the U-48 (Heinrich Bleichrodt) when 600 miles and five days out from Liverpool, its starting point. A total of 325 souls were drowned including seventy seven of the ninety children on board. Many survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Hurricane. This tragedy ended the British Government's Children's Overseas Resettlement Scheme in which 1,530 children were sent to Canada, 577 to Australia, 353 to South Africa, 202 to New Zealand and another 838 children sent to the United States by the American Committee in London. In August, 1940, the Dutch liner Vollendam was torpedoed and sunk off Ireland but the 321 children on board were all saved. (HMS Hurricane was later lost on December 24, 1943 to the U-415). The U-48 survived the war and was scuttled on May 3, 1945.
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  5. KriegsmarineFreak

    KriegsmarineFreak Senior Member

    So horrible that so many innocent children died! They could have cared less about the war! I would feel so bad if I was the German U-boat commander who sunk the City of Benares. Have you guys read the book called, "Miracles On The Water?" Its about the City of Benares and gives a really great overall on the disaster.
  6. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    There is a marvellous though emotional chapter on the 2 girls fight for survival in the book Their finest hour, the name of the BBC series also of a few years ago. I have to admit to having to put the book down myself during one of the young girls descriptions when the sailors on HMS Grenade (could have been Hms Hurricane memory lacking here) were rowing towards them imploring them to hold on.
  7. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    That's where I first read of the 'City of Benares'. Great book.
  8. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    Particulary liked the Durham sgt Leggets story in that book. A different generation. Thats a book that should be part of the UK curriculum in my view.
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Britain Through a Lens: The Documentary Film Mob

    John Grierson, Founder of the British Documentary Movement, had a sister Ruby who also worked on the documentaries. She is credited in the above link with pioneering the documentary interview. She was filming on the SS City of Benares and killed when it was torpedoed.

    Date of Death: 17/09/1940
    Age: 36
    Regiment/Service: Civilian War Dead
    Reporting Authority: S.S. CITY OF BENARES
    Additional Information: M.A.; of 17 Merrick Square, Southwark, London. Daughter of Robert Morrison Grierson and Jane Grierson, of Malleny Grove, Balerno, Midlothian.
    Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 14.56.38.png
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  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    The story of the City of Benares came up on the RealTimeWWII Twitter account today and I have a question.

    After the tragedy of the City of Benares, were other ships still dispatched with children on board to live out the war in Canada?

    When I was in Winchester in June, on a Sunday, I visited the Royal Hampshire Regimental Museum. The volunteer there was an old ex-Fusilier in his 80s who told me about being on a ship to Canada as a child in the war, which was torpedoed. They were picked up in lifeboats and brought back to the UK. It sounds like he was on the City of Benares.
  11. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    The consequences of the attack were devastating, even by wartime standards, and it marked the effective end of all overseas evacuation from Britain, both public and private.
    Although evacuation ceased when the SS City of Benares was torpedoed in September 1940, CORB remained active. It was only disbanded, along with the advisory councils, four years later, at which point the perceived German military threat had diminished.

    Remembering the City of Benares tragedy | The National Archives blog

    I have quite a bit of researched information including crew lists and passenger lists for this ship.
  12. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    A chapter about the CORB children - apologies to those who have seen it before.

    Attached Files:

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  13. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Thank you both for your informative replies!
  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Panel from Tower Hill Memorial for the Merchantmen
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  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Item on the Antiques Roadshow about evacuees and transportation to Canada

    Died 17/09/1940

    Aged 8

    Civilian War Dead

    Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Mansfield, of 90 Thirlmere Gardens, Preston Park, Wembley, Middlesex.
    Reporting authority S.S. CITY OF BENARES

  16. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    I've never seen any of the presenters so choked up as with this item.
  17. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    When doing research on the use of child labour on local farms during the war I came across mention of a Pauline Jones evacuated from Neath to Herefordshire. She was supposed to be sent to Canada but luckily for her didn't make the cut off for the City of Benares. The fortunes of war.
  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    An MP, who'd served with BEF in WW1 was onboard

    James Baldwin-Webb - Wikipedia
    Although Baldwin-Webb did not see active service after the outbreak of World War II, continuing to appear in Parliament, he later became honorary secretary of the British Volunteer Ambulance Corps (originally called the Anglo-French Ambulance Corps[3]). It was on a voyage to Canada to fund-raise for the Corps[3] that he lost his life, as he was drowned when the SS City of Benares was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic by a German submarine.[7] Witnesses recalled that Baldwin-Webb helped women passengers out of the ship onto lifeboats, and tried to persuade the wife of fellow passenger Rudolf Olden to leave but she preferred to stay with her invalid husband.[3](German Nazi propagandists later claimed that he and Olden were sailing on a British government mission to persuade the then-neutral United States to enter the war.[8]) He was last seen alive "standing by the Captain as the ship went down".[3] He was unmarried.

    He is commemorated in the House of Commons chamber by a heraldic shield.[9]

    A road, Baldwin-Webb Avenue, is named after him in the Donnington district of Telford in Shropshire.

    Casualty Details | CWGC
    Name and Rank: Colonel JAMES BALDWIN-WEBB
    Regiment & Unit/Ship: Civilian War Dead
    Date of Death: Died 17 September 1940
    Age 47 years old
    Buried or commemorated at
    Civilian War Dead
    Territorial Decoration
    Additional Info: Colonel. Son of James Bertram Webb and Elizabeth A. Webb, of Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. Member of Parliament for the Wrekin, resided at Olton, Warwickshire.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
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