Liverpool Steamer CLEMENT and the Swedish steamer GUN sunk

Steamer Clement
Liverpool Daily Post, Oct 3rd 1939



27 Crew landed

German's seize the Captain and Engineer

An armed German raider the first of the present war has appeared in the South Atlantic and has sunk the Liverpool Steamer CLEMENT belonging to the Booth Line, 5,051 tons.

Steps have been taken to deal with the raider, message from Brazil describe it as a cruiser. 16 crew after landing at Maceio, Brazil, were reported to have re-embarked for Bahia. 11 more have arrived at Maceio, two other lifeboats are expected.

U-Boat warfare on neutral shipping has been intensified, 8 Swedish steamers were captured yesterday.

The Captain of the Swedish steamer GUN, which has been sunk yesterday, gave an account of the panic created aboard the u-boat when a British submarine came to the surface. The u-boat hurriedly submerged leaving the boarding party on the GUN.

The German authorities allege the Danish steamer VENDIA, sunk recently, attempted to ram the u-boat, for this the Captain and crew will be court-martialled.

The sinking of the Booth Liner CLEMENT was officially announced yesterday. An urgent wireless message has been sent to all British merchant ships warning them of the German armed raider off the east coast of South America.

With the CLEMENT'S Skipper, Capt F. C. P. HARRIS, of 4 Tanat Dr, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, the crew totalled about 50. It is presumed the crew are all saved, it is not known if any passengers were on board, the vessel was carrying cargo and had limited passenger accommodation.

The CLEMENT was the 1,000th ship launched by Messers CAMMELL LAIRD and Co, at Birkenhead on Oct 11th 1934. She was the first of two sister ships, both cargo steamers and had a speed of 13 knots and accommodation for 12 passengers.

Rio de Janeiro, Monday

16 survivors of the CLEMENT picked up by the Brazilian steamer HATINGA, in an open boat between Pernambuco and Alagoas, three other boats contained the rest of the crew, with the exception of the Captain and Engineer taken prisoner by the Germans.

The HATINGA 2,114 tons, landed the men at Maceio Brazil, later they re-embarked and it is understood they are being taken on to Bahia. A second lifeboat arrived at Maceio containing 11 survivors, 2 others are expected at any moment.

Survivors state the CLEMENT was bombarded by a cruiser from a distance of about 300 yds, and sank 2hrs later. The attack occurred at midday on Saturday, amongst the survivors are 3 pilots, the purser, an engineer and several sailors.

The Captain of the Swedish passenger ship ARGENTINA which arrived at Rio yesterday, said he had seen a German cruiser headed for Africa when he was nearing Recife, shortly afterwards a Britsh freighter was sighted sinking.

Buenos Ayres Monday

13 survivors of the CLEMENT picked up by one of the steamers of the LLOYD-BARSILEIRO Line, will be landed at Bahia tomorrow.

Crew list of the Clement



Stockholm Monday

Graphic accounts of sinking told by the Captain of the Swedish steamer GUN, which was sunk in the Skagerak by a German Sub on its arrival at Haelsingborg.

The Captain said the steamer was stopped by the German sub on Saturday evening.

The Captain of the GUN and two other men were ordered aboard the German sub, meanwhile a German Officer and three other men boarded the GUN to sink her. The crew took to the boats.

While this was being done a British sub suddenly appeared.

The German sub dived at once with the Swedes on board and remained submerged for 7hrs. When she was underwater she fired three torpedoes, which the German Captain declared must have sunk the British vessel.

The GUN was sunk so quickly the Germans on board did not have time to rejoin the German sub and were obliged to spend the night in one of the Swedish boats.

The German Captain said it was he who had sunk the Danish steamer VENDIA and that the VENDIA had attempted to ram the submarine and accused him of trying to do the same, which he denied.

He evidently had detailed information concerning the destination of the Swedish steamer and immediately asked to be shown where the cargo consigned to the Belgian Government was.

The Swedish Captain said there was panic on board the German sub when the British vessel was sighted, during the time submerged they were all nervous wrecks in a savage mood. The number of the u-boat was painted out but he managed to catch a glimpse of the lifebuoy on which the letters U-3 were not quite obliterated.

Daily Post 4th October 1939


"Refused to attack u-boat with Swedes aboard"

Stockholm, Tuesday, all newspapers published, print statement by the Captain of the Swedish steamer GUN sunk by a German u-boat, reveal that the Captain of the British submarine which arrived on the scene refrained from using depth charges after learning that three Swedes had been taken on board the German vessel.


Copyright 2002 / To date