Daily Event for January 9, 2009

Sailing from England to Beira, Mozambique the Union-Castle Line's 10,002 ton passenger ship Dunbar Castle
hit a mine seven miles from Ramsgate on Jan. 9, 1940. She was in convoy OA-69 which was to join up with another convoy after getting into the Atlantic. All told there were 150 crewmen and 48 passengers including 9 children and the pilot on board when she left.

Soon after the explosion she began to list making launching the boats difficult, but the crew managed to get
all the passengers except one into them and away. Most of the crew also made it into the boats, but several
had been killed by the explosion including the master. Others in the galley were scalded and died of their injuries.

One passenger and several crewmen were missing after a head count was made, none were found alive. The
pilot had been injured and a race horse that had been on deck was knocked into the sea. Thirty minuets after
striking the mine the Dunbar Castle settled on the bottom on an even keel. In all ten lives were lost.

As the master was mortally wounded the man in charge of evacuating the ship was Chief Officer Herbert H.
Robinson, for his actions in getting the boats away and maintaining order during the ordeal he was awarded
an OBE in March 1940.

Although reports of the sinking state that the ship broke in two the photograph does not support this. The
wreck was demolished following the war. Dunbar Castle was the first war loss for the Union-Castle Line in World War II. The mines had been laid Jan. 6-7 by Z-15 Erich Steinbrinck (Korvettenkapitän Rolf Johannesson), Z-14 Friedrich Ihn (Korvettenkapitän Günther Wachsmuth), Z-16 Friedrich Eckoldt (Korvettenkapitän Alfred Schemmel) and would claim several ships including HMS Grenville H-03.
© 2009 Michael W. Pocock

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

Bacon, Norman L.
Baldwin, William
Assistant Cook
Causton, Henry A.
Davis, Ronald A.
Assistant Steward
Fraser, Angus
Assistant Storekeeper
Kay, Richard
Assistant Baker
Linney, John T.
Russell-Johnson, Walter
Stewart, William J.
Young, William F.
Lt. Colonel Essex Regiment in WWI.

The wreck of the Dunbar Castle.

2005 Daily Event