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.
|Registered owners, managers and operators||Owners: Stag Line Ltd.
Managers: J. Robinson & Sons
|Builders||Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.|
|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.|
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
|20 March 1923||Launched|
|24 February 1941||Sunk by enemy action|
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:
|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.
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.
|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)|
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.
|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.
Looking at modern internet resources:
|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.
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|