Daily Event for September 23, 2012

After the Italian capitulation on Sept. 8, 1943 the Germans moved quickly to take over Italy and her possessions. A large effort to secure as many weapons, material and Italian troops was put forth and thousands of Italians were captured. The freighter Donizeti was among the many ships captured by the Germans. She was built in 1928 by Cantiere Navale Triestino in Monfalcone, Italy. Registered at 2,428 tons and was certified to carry 700 passengers. Wartime being what it is the number of passengers it could carry was of no concern so the ship was loaded with 1,576 Italian prisoners to be evacuated.

She was bound for Piraeus under escort, but when the small convoy was about 10 miles SW of Rhodes on September 23, 1943, it was intercepted by HMS Eclipse H-08. During the gun battle one of the escorts, TA-10, was badly damaged, but Donizetti was set ablaze, capsized and sank. According to published accounts Lt. Commander Edward Mack, commanding officer of Eclipse, was unaware that Donizetti was carrying prisoners and the ship was not wearing any markings which would indicate she was a prisoner transport, therefore no attempt was made to pick up any of the 1,796 on board. None of the Italian prisoners or the German crew survived.
© 2012 Michael W. Pocock

2005 Daily Event
2009 Daily Event
2011 Daily Event