David Murray Captain's Steward on Athenia

Hi Mac,

Have been following the interchange with my sister Denise and wanted to follow up on your questions about which ship my father David was rescued by.

David Murray from Athenia is the 5th.from the left,
David Murray from Athenia is the 5th.from the left, the man next to him has David's cap ob as he was bald and was getting sunburned.

According to my mother, he was picked up by a luxury American yacht, which we've taken to be the Southern Cross and then transferred to the City of Flint.

Two further vessels he was aboard during the war were torpedoed subsequently .....one of which was the Clan MacFee (not sure of spelling) 16/8/1940. He was picked up, then that rescuing ship (perhaps the VARAG, but not sure) was torpedoed and he spent 6 days in a life boat at sea, during which time a German submarine surfaced, and the CO came out while the German soldiers had their the rifles trained on the survivors. He gave the order to dive, and left them to their fate. Eventually they were rescued (that could have been the VARAG). Dad's discharge papers don't say

The attached photo was from Dublin wharf after they were rescued. (David is 5th from left in the front) His hat is being worn by the other (bald) fellow, who was geting badly sunburned.Am not sure what paper this photo is from or the date of the rescue.

I'd love to know if anyone out there knows anyone else in the photo, or if anyone knows of the German CO who left them alone.

Anyhow he later worked on hospital ships off the Normandy beachhead (Aramanch), rather than Dunkirk. He was a lucky one!

Thanks for your site! Hope to hear from others.

Cheers Josephine Murray

Hello Jo,
Thank you for that, Southern Cross was certainly the luxury Yacht that picked up some Athenia survivors, but City of Flint took her load of survivors to Halifax, so if your Father landed in Ireland he must have arrived in the Norwegian Tanker Knut Nelson.

Clan Macphee was part of Convoy OB 197, and as you state was sunk on the 16th. of August 1940 by U-30 commanded by Fritz-Julius Lemp, by chance the same U-Boat that sank Athenia. Here is some detail of Clan Macphee, as you can see, 41 were picked up by the Kelet, U-Boat UA, commanded by Hans Cohausz, on 19th Aug 1940 sank the 4,295 ton Kelet.

Another 6 from Clan Macphee were lost, and the final 35 were rescued by the Norwegian Varegg, to be landed at Galway. ( I think your picture including your Father might have been at Galway )

The CO of the German submarine that surfaced must have been from UA.

To survive three sinkings is quite remarkable, and then to wind up in a hospital ship, David had a charmed life at sea.

Name  Clan Macphee
Type:  Steam merchant
Tonnage  6.628 tons
Completed  1911 - Irvine´s Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co Ltd, Middleton Shipyard, West Hartlepool
Owner  The Clan Line Steamers Ltd, London
Homeport  Glasgow
Date of attack  16 Aug, 1940  Nationality:      British
Fate  Sunk by U-30 (Fritz-Julius Lemp)
Position  57.30N, 17.14W - Grid AL 3783
- See location on a map -
Complement  108 (67 dead and 41 survivors).
Convoy  OB-197
Route  Glasgow - Liverpool - Bombay - coast of Malabar
Cargo  6700 tons of general cargo
History  Completed in June 1911
Notes on loss  At 19.32 hours on 16 Aug, 1940, the Clan Macphee (Master Thomas Philip B. Cranwell) in convoy OB-197 was hit by one torpedo from U-30 and sank about 350 miles west of North Uist, Outer Hebrides. The master and 66 crew members were lost. 41 survivors were picked up by the Kelet, which was sunk by UA (Cohausz) on 19 Aug, 1940. Six survivors from the Clan Macphee were lost, the remaining 35 survivors were picked up by the Norwegian merchant Varegg and landed at Galway on 26 August.

    Detail of UA built for Turkey but never delivered.

    Laid down  10 Feb 1937  Germaniawerft, Kiel
    Commissioned  20 Sept 1939  Kptlt. Hans Cohausz
    Commanders  09.39 - 10.40
    11.40 - 02.42
    02.42 - 05.42
    05.42 - 08.42
    08.42 - 03.43
    03.43 - 04.44
    04.44 - 03.45  Krvkpt. Hans Cohausz
    Frgkpt. Hans Eckermann
    Krvkpt. Hans Cohausz
    Kptlt. Ebe Schnoor
    Krvkpt. Friedrich Schäfer
    Krvkpt. Georg Peters
    Oblt. Ulrich-Philipp Graf von und zu Arco-Zinneberg
    Career  9 patrols  09.39 - 03.41 7th Flotilla (Kiel) front boat
    04.41 - 12.41 2nd Flotilla (Lorient) front boat
    12.41 - 08.42 7th Flotilla (St. Nazaire) front boat
    08.42 - 03.43 U-Abwehrschule (Gotenh.) school b.
    03.42 - 11.44 4th Flotilla (Stettin) trial boat
    11.44 - 01.45 24th Flotilla (Gotenhafen) school boat
    01.45 - 03.45 18th Flotilla (Hela) school boat
    03.45 24th Flotilla (Eckernförde) school boat
    Successes  7 ships sunk for a total of 40,706 tons
    including the British Armed Merchant Cruiser Andania (13,950 tons)
    1 ship damaged for 7,524 tons
    Fate  Taken out of service in May 1944 at Neustadt, Holstein. Scuttled on 3 May 1945 at the Kiel Arsenal. Wreck broken up.


    The boat was almost ready as the Turkish Batiray (the second of 4 ordered from Germaniawerft, the first, Saldiray, had been delivered in June 1939) when the war in Europe broke out and she was not handed to the Turkish but rather commissioned into the German Navy.

    The remaining two boats, Atilay and Yildiray, were laid down in Turkish yards under German supervision. Altiray was commissioned in 1940 but with the German engineers and designers gone due to the war Yildiray was much delayed and was not commissioned until Jan, 1946. Altiray was lost with all hands to a moored mine on 14 July, 1942.

    She was briefly named Optimist by the Germans but given her UA name on 21 Sept, 1939. She was the most successful foreign U-boat in German service by far, credited with 7 of the 9 ships sunk by those boats. Cohausz sank all those 7 ships and Eckermann sank one.

    Details of U-30, Hans Cohausz also commanded U-30, 1936/1938.


    Ordered  1 Apr, 1935  
    Laid down  24 Jan, 1936  AG Weser, Bremen (werk 911)
    Launched  4 Aug, 1936  
    Commissioned  8 Oct, 1936  Kptlt. Hans Cohausz
    8 Oct, 1936 - 31 Oct, 1938    Kptlt. Hans Cohausz
    15 Feb, 1938 - 17 Aug, 1938    Hans Pauckstadt
    Nov, 1938 - Sep, 1940    Kptlt. Fritz-Julius Lemp (Knights Cross)
    Sep, 1940 - 31 Mar, 1941    Robert Prützmann
    1 Apr, 1941 - Apr, 1941    Paul-Karl Loeser
    Apr, 1941 - 22 Apr, 1941    Hubertus Purkhold
    23 Apr, 1941 - 9 Mar, 1942    Oblt. Kurt Baberg
    10 Mar, 1942 - 4 Oct, 1942    Oblt. Hermann Bauer
    5 Oct, 1942 - 16 Dec, 1942    Franz Saar
    May, 1943 - 1 Dec, 1943    Oblt. Ernst Fischer
    2 Dec, 1943 - 14 Dec, 1944    Oblt. Ludwig Fabricius
    17 Jan, 1945 - 23 Jan, 1945    Oblt. Günther Schimmel
    Career  8 patrols  8 Oct, 1936 - 31 Aug, 1939  2. Flottille (front boat)
    1 Sep, 1939 - 31 Dec, 1939  2. Flottille (front boat)
    1 Jan, 1940 - 30 Nov, 1940  2. Flottille (front boat)
    1 Dec, 1940 - 30 Nov, 1943  24. Flottille (training)
    1 Dec, 1943 - 12 Jan, 1945  22. Flottille (school boat)
    Successes  16 ships sunk for a total of 86.165 GRT
    1 auxiliary warship sunk for a total of 325 GRT
    1 ship damaged for a total of 5.642 GRT
    1 warship damaged for a total of 31.100 tons

    Used in the last months as a range boat. Scuttled on 4 May, 1945 in Kupfermühlen Bay, wreck broken up in 1948.

Jo, pictures of Clan Macphee, Fritz-Julius Lemp. and U-30 are all attached. This has turned out to be a long email, for which I apologise.

Clan Macphee
Clan Macphee

Fritz-Julius Lemp



Best regards,

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