SS TRANSYLVANIA

S.S. TRANSYLVANIA

The "Transylvania" of 1926 was laid down in 1919 (Duncan Haws states 1923) but wasn't launched until March 11, 1925. She was built by Fairfield & Co.Ltd.Glasgow for the Anchor Line of Glasgow and was a 16,923 gross ton vessel, length 552.4 ft x beam 70.3 ft, three funnels, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 16 knots. There was accommodation for 279 First, 344 Second and 800 Third Class passengers. She sailed from Glasgow on her maiden voyage for Moville and New York on September 12, 1925. On November 22, 1928 she stood by the sinking German freighter "Herrenwijk" of the Lubeck Line for 15 hours in tempestuous seas. Launched lifeboats and a raft were smashed against the hull until eventually the "Estonia" of the East Asiatic Co. stood to the lee of the larger "Transylvania" and took off 5 men and rescued a further 8 men from the sea when the "Herrenwijk" sank, but 13 men drowned. On March 28, 1929 the "Transylvania" grounded in fog, on La Coeque Rocks, 10 miles west of Cherbourg. She refloated and disembarked her passengers at Cherbourg, and then proceeded to the Clyde for builder's repairs. She didn't resume service until June of that year. In Oct.1930, she was altered to carry First, Tourist and Third Class passengers and in March 1936 to carry Cabin, Tourist and Third Class. In 1935 she carried out summer cruises to Bermuda and in 1937 was reconditioned, her Third Class accommodation was remodeled and her speed increased to 17 knots. Between 1937 and 1939 she made summer cruises to the West Indies. On August 18, 1939 she commenced her last voyage from Glasgow - Moville - New York - Moville - Glasgow and on September 7, 1939 was requisitioned and refitted as an Armed Merchant Cruiser and attached to the 10th Cruiser squadron. On August 10, 1940 she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-56, 35 miles west of Inistrahull, Northern Ireland and although taken in tow, she sank with the loss of 48 lives.
[North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.1, p.470]
[Merchant Fleets by Duncan Haws, vol.9 Anchor Line]
[Posted to The ShipsList by Ted Finch - 21 November 1997]

source: Immigrant Ship Information

10th August 1940
This Anchor Line ship of 16,923 Gross tonnage, built in 1925 by Fairfield, Glasgow was hired in August 1939 for use as an Armed Mechant Cruiser. Previously she had been used for services between Glasgow and New York. While on passage from the Clyde to the Northern Patrol in the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, and while off Malin Head, Northern Ireland there was an explosion just after midnight on the port side abaft the engine room. The cause was not apparent at the time but it was later established that it was a torpedo from U56. She took a list and was down by the stern. As she appeared to be sinking the order to abandon ship was give at about 3:00am. The weather was bad but boats were lowered successfully although some capsized because of the conditions. The Captain left the ship shortly before she sank at 4:25am. The surviving crew were taken aboard the rescue destroyers which had arrived at about 3:15am and taken to the Clyde. (With thanks to James Lafferty)

Source: Ship Losses Around Britain