Daily Event for February 7, 2009

February 7, 1917 west of Fastnet Rock two vessels were lost to torpedoes fired without warning by SMS U-85. The Johnston Line's cargo ship Vedamore was en route from the U.S.A. to Liverpool when the torpedo struck, twenty-four crewmen lost their lives and the 35 survivors spent the next ten hours in open boats in freezing temperatures. Two of the twenty-four men lost in the sinking died in the boats from exposure.

The second ship lost was the Anchor Line's passenger ship California, she was also torpedoed without warning not far from where Vedamore went down. In this case there were two hundred and four people on board, 176 crewmen and 32 passengers, including a number of women and children. The ship took an immediate list to starboard and there seems to have been some confusion lowering the boats. At least two of them were dropped on top of others, in one of these the purser was killed. Captain Henderson was the last person off the ship. Seven minuets after the torpedo struck, the California was gone.

A number of people had been killed by the explosion, and probably some were injured and could not get off the ship, but most of the forty-three who perished were in two lifeboats which were never found.

These were the last two ships lost to U-85, she was gunned down by the Q-Ship Privet on Mar. 12, 1917, there were no survivors. Privet was also damaged in the battle and sank in Plymouth Sound.
© 2009 Michael W. Pocock

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

Adamson, Samuel J.
Second Officer
Browitt, Harold C. R.
3rd Officer
Conception, Santiago
Connrton, W.
De La Cruz, Florentino
Dongug, Thomas
Fireman & Trimmer
Entillan, Marian
Fell, James F.
Gentry, Amos H.
2nd Cook
Gomez, Urbano
Hagan, Thomas
Assistant Steward
Husam, L. B.
Knox, John
2nd Engineer
Lee, Ludwell
Ship's Cook
Paradis, Max
Shepherd, Edward
Slavin, James
Able Seaman
Sterling, James
Topas, T. S.
Toriello, P.
Walker, Albert E.
Wiley, Basilo C.

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