Basil Forward’s CRS10
Built 1929 Scoffs Shipbuilding & Engineering Co
5,186 tons; 407.3 ft x 53.3 ft x 28.5 ft
Triple expansion engines; 534 nhp; 11 knots
Denholm Line Steamers; (J&J Denholm)
1942 The steamship LYLEPARK (Captain Charles S. Low), was intercepted by enemy raider MICHEL, NW of Mossamedes, Angola, on June 11th, 1942, and was sunk by gunfire striking the charthouse and on the boatdeck, starting fires, forcing the men to abandon ship. Position 12.04 S : 09.47 W.
LYLEPARK was on journey from Glasgow to New York to pick up cargo, and then to African ports with a cargo of 8,000 tons of military equipment, weapons and supplies, heading alone for Cape. Thirty-six men were killed and three wounded. Captain Low and the Chief Officer were among the survivors, having stayed on the LYLEPARK after the attack. The rest of the survivors were taken up by the MICHEL and transferred over to the DOGGERBANK, which took them to Japan where they were put to work in the Yawata steelworks of Yokohama.
Captain Low and the Chief Officer found refuge on a couple of rafts. He was spotted by an aircraft from a carrier, and was picked up and taken on board the British Escort Carrier, ARCHER and then landed at Freetown. The Chief Officer and the Second Officer were rescued by AVILA STAR, and they were also taken to Freetown.
It was hoped to get passage to Liverpool on the AVILA STAR.
But, at 0036 on the 6th July, the unescorted AVILA STAR was torpedoed & sunk by U-201 NE of the Azores, Position 38.04N: 22.48W.
The Blue Star liner AVILA STAR left Buenos Aires early in July, 1942, for England with 196 persons on board (171 crew and 25 passengers).
Lisbon wireless station received, on July 12th, news of a British liner that was torpedoed and sunk 500 miles to the west. Five naval aircraft and a destroyer were despatched by the Portuguese Government, together with military aircraft from the Azores, to search.
Portuguese destroyer LIMA found and rescued 93 crewmembers, 6 gunners and 13 passengers.
On July 6th the Avila Star had been torpedoed by two submarines, and sank in about 20 minutes. The ship was listing heavily, making it difficult to launch the lifeboats, one of which capsized. Fortunately the sea was calm and the remaining six boats got away in safety, but three were still unaccounted for.
A further search was undertaken by the Portuguese air and sea forces and on July 23rd, one boat was sighted by a seaplane which dropped food and water. The boat with 28 of the original 39 was picked up by the sloop PEDRO NUNES; the survivors were landed at Ponta Delgada, Azores.
The captain did not survive. In all, of the 196 on board, 126 crew and 8 passengers were rescued by the Portuguese ships.
Built 1927 John Brown & Co, Clydebank
For the Blue Star Line
14,443 grt; 550 ft x 68 ft x 42 ft
Four turbine engines; Two shafts; 1,840 nhp; 16 knots
1929 Renamed AVILA STAR
Avila Star - from a Tuck postcard
For more on the ship go to …
For a remarkable tribute
and the story of the sinking, go to ….