Linaria

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Introduction

Linaria (1924) was steam cargo ship completed in 1924 for Stag Line and remained with them throughout her service life. She was the second Stag Line ship with the name Linaria - the earlier one was completed in 1911 and was sunk by a mine during WW1 on 26 December 1914 off the coast of Filey.

The ship will be referred to simply as Linaria for the rest of this page.

Linaria took part in a number of convoys during WW2 but was torpedoed by a submarine on 24 February 1941 with the loss of the entire crew.

I am grateful to Malcolm Caine for much of the information on this page.

Linaria
Linaria. The date and location are not known. [1]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo ship
Registered owners, managers and operators Owners: Stag Line Ltd.
Managers: J. Robinson & Sons
Builders Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.
Yard Sunderland
Country UK
Yard number 331
Registry London
Official number 139904
Signal letters N/K
Call sign GCNZ
Classification society N/K
Gross tonnage 3,385
Net tonnage 2,014
Length 331 ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth 48 ft
Depth 23.2 ft
Draught N/K
Engines Triple-expansion steam engine with cylinders of bore 22.5", 36.5" and 62" and stroke 42".
Engine builders N.E. Marine Engineering Co. Ltd.
Works Sunderland
Country UK
Boilers N/K
Power 249 NHP
Propulsion Single Screw
Speed 10 knots
Cargo capacity N/K
Crew N/K

Additional Construction Information

The Lloyds Register entry for Linaria for 1940-41 has the following additional information about her:

  • 1 deck
  • Fitted with radio direction finding and echo-sounding equipment
Linaria
Linaria. The date and location are not known. [1]

Career Highlights

Date Event
20 March 1923 Launched
April 1924 Completed
24 February 1941 Sunk by enemy action
Linaria
Linaria in dock - the date and location are not known. [2]

Service Pre WW2

Stag Line operated their ships in the tramp trade - basically taking cargoes from one port to another according to the work available rather than operating a scheduled service. According to Middlemiss - External Ref. #82 - at the start of the Great Depression, Stag Line had five tramp steamers carrying dry cargoes - Clintonia, Linaria, Euphorbia, Cydonia and Gardenia.

Work for these ships was in short supply but the following voyages are recorded for Linaria during this period:

Date Event
18 April 1929 Barry, Port Sudan, Aden, Calcutta, Karachi, Bombay, Workington
6 October 1929 Cardiff, Djibouti, Calcutta, Karachi, Bombay, Workington
19 March 1930 Barry, Bombay (salt), Calcutta (coal), Karachi, Havre, Cardiff
12 September 1930 Cardiff, Port Sudan, Manila, Calcutta, Galatz, Cardiff

After the last trip noted above Linaria was laid up. I have found no further information about her voyages prior to the outbreak of WW2.

Service in WW2

Linaria took part in a number of convoys and independent voyages according to information shown in the table below which is provided courtesy of Convoyweb - see External Ref. #4.

Departure Convoy/Independent Arrival
Gibraltar, Jan 8, 1940 HG.14 (Gibraltar - Liverpool) Liverpool, Jan 17, 1940
Gibraltar, Mar 12, 1940 HG.22 (Gibraltar - Liverpool) Liverpool, Mar 22, 1940
Gibraltar, May 31, 1940 HG.32 (Gibraltar - Liverpool) Clyde, Jun 10, 1940
Clyde, Jun 27, 1940 OB.175 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Milford Haven, Sep 10, 1940 OB.212 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Freetown, Nov 1, 1940 SL.54S (Freetown - Liverpool) Liverpool, Nov 26, 1940
Clyde, Dec 3, 1940 WN.49 (Clyde - Methil) Methil, Dec 8, 1940
Methil, Dec 11, 1940 FS.359 (Methil - Southend) Tyne, Dec 14, 1940
Liverpool, Feb 18, 1941 OB.288 (Liverpool - Dispersed)

Loss of Linaria

Linaria was one of 47 ships that sailed from Loch Ewe on 20 February 1941 as convoy OB.288. She was en route from the Tyne to Halifax with a cargo of coal. The convoy was escorted by 3 destroyers and 3 corvettes, and on 22 February 1941 was attacked by a single aircraft - a F-W Kondor. At that stage of the war, the limit of anti-submarine escort was 19º West, and at 0700 hours on 23 February the escorts left the convoy which then dispersed in accordance with their sailing instructions.

That night and the following day, the ships were attacked by enemy submarines and the following were sunk: Anglo Peruvian, Linaria, Cape Nelson, Sirikishna, Marslew, Huntingdon, Temple Moat and Waynegate.

The Senior Naval Officer of the escort was Lt. Cdr. A.G. Poe of HMS Georgetown. The other escorts were Antelope, Achates, Picottee, Heather and Snowdrop, together forming the 4th Escort Group.

Date Position Course Speed
21 February 59° 35' N, 07° 50 W 300 7 knots
22 February 59° 44' N, 11° 54 W 270 7 knots
23 February 59° 16' N, 17° 46 W 300 7 knots
24 February 59° 50' N, 23° 00 W (estimated)

Who sank Linaria?

There has been various views over the years as to which submarine sunk Linaria.

According to Hocking in his 1969 book - External Ref. #80:

The steamship Linaria left Loch Ewe on February 20th 1941 bound for Halifax. She was last heard of on February 24th after which no further news of her came to hand. Presumably she was lost to enemy action. The Linaria carried a crew of 35.

According to Jürgen Rohwer in his 1968 book Die U-Boot-Erfolge der Achsenmächte : 1939-1945 - External Ref. #81 - includes a table (in German) to which footnote #16 states:

.... The Italians claimed that the Bianchi sank the Waynegate but this was not right - it was the Linaria.
Linaria
This is an extract from Rohwer's book. Note that the Italian submarine referred to was actually named Michele Bianchi [2]

Looking at modern internet resources:

Website Comment
Miramar Ship Index - External Ref. #1 Michele Bianchi sank Linaria by torpedo
uboat.net - External Ref. #3 At 01.16 hours on 24 Feb 1941 the unescorted Linaria (Master Henry Theodore Speed) was hit by one G7e torpedo from U-96 and sank by the stern about 265 miles south of Reykjavik, Iceland. The ship had been reported missing in approx. 61°N/25°W after being dispersed from convoy OB-288. The master, 32 crew members and two gunners were lost.
Wikipedia entry for U-96 Linaria was one of the merchant ships she claims to have sunk during her 3rd patrol.
Warsailors website - External Ref. #6 U-96 described as sinking Linaria

Based on the information now available, the concensus view is that Linaria was sunk by U-96.

Note: U-96 was one of the most famous of the U-boats and was the subject of a book by Lothar-Günther Buchheim called Das Boot which was made into a film in 1981.

Roll of Honour

The loss of Linaria is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial to those with "no grave but the sea" and is included on the Benjidog Tower Hill website HERE.

There were no survivors and the names of those that lost their lives are in the table below.

Surname Forenames D.O.D. Rank Cemetery/Memorial Grave Ref. Additional Information
Birkedale William Frederick Theodore 24/02/1941 Second Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 54
Black Archibald 24/02/1941 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 62
Brincat John 24/02/1941 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 47
Brotherston George 24/02/1941 Boatswain Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 62
Cannon Kenneth 24/02/1941 Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 15
Cash Frederick John 24/02/1941 Fireman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Son of Ellen Cash, of Haresfinch, St. Helens, Lancashire.
Connolly Patrick 24/02/1941 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 28. Son of James and Mary Connolly, of Jarrow, Co. Durham.
Davis John Robert 24/02/1941 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 22
Green Cornelius 24/02/1941 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 36. Son of Cornelius and Catherine Green.
Grunson William 24/02/1941 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 54
Hall Ronald 24/02/1941 Galley Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 15. Son of William Anthony and Ann Hall, of South Shields, Co. Durham.
Hull Thomas 24/02/1941 Cook Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 28
Johnson John 24/02/1941 Donkeyman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 34. Son of Henry and Margaret Johnson, of West Harton, South Shields, Co. Durham.
Lamport Stanley 24/02/1941 Mess Room Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 16
Little James 24/02/1941 Cabin Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 17. Son of James and Sarah Little, of Shiremoor, Northumberland.
Little Robert 24/02/1941 Chief Engineer Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 65
Mccauley Denis 24/02/1941 Steward Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 40
Mooney John Scott 24/02/1941 Sailor Tower Hill Memorial Panel 54. Age 21. Son of Georgina Mooney; Nephew of Mrs. J.E. Trotter, of North Shields, Northumberland.
O'grady John 24/02/1941 Second Radio Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 29. Son of John and Mary Harkins O'grady; Husband of Bilsland O'grady, of Maryhill, Glasgow.
Peak Thomas Turner 24/02/1941 Third Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 43. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Peak.
Phillips Thomas 24/02/1941 Third Engineer Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 29. Husband of Eleanor Phillips, of Wallsend, Northumberland.
Roberts Ernest Henri 24/02/1941 First Radio Officer Halifax Memorial Panel 18.
Rodriguez Militas Manuel 24/02/1941 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 45
Shield Leslie 24/02/1941 Deck Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 65. Age 15. Son of Thomas and Isabella Melvin Olsen Shield.
Speed Henry Theodore 24/02/1941 Master Tower Hill Memorial Panel 64. Age 54. Son of Henry and Sarah Speed; Husband of Beatrice Mary Speed, of Bebington, Cheshire.
Whyte James 24/02/1941 Seaman Rheinberg War Cemetery 13. E. 2. Age 32
Williams Thomas 24/02/1941 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 65. Age 61
Wilson Arthur 24/02/1941 Deck Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 65. Age 17. Son of Robert and Mary Wilson.
Wilson James Patrick 24/02/1941 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 65. Age 22
Young David Legg 24/02/1941 Sailor Tower Hill Memorial Panel 65. Age 32
Tower Hill Memorial Tower Hill Memorial
Panels on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial at Tower Hill commemorating Linaria. [3]
Poppies

Image Credits

  1. By courtesy of SearleCanada.org
  2. By courtesy of Malcolm Caine
  3. From the Benjidog Tower Hill website