Grandfather lost his life in WW1 when HMS Louvain p was torpedoed by the German UC22 submarine

January 28, 2013


This is Reggie DeBono from Malta. Just found your address on Goggle.

My grandfather lost his life in WW1 when his ship was torpedoed by the German UC22 submarine in Keos near Mudros.

I have done quite a bit of research;  and even managed to obtain a copy of the German UC22 Captain’s Log Book as he wrote it nearly 100 years ago.

Captain Carl Bunte was not in the habit to attack Hospital Ships. A few Hours before he attacked HMS Louvain (my grandfather’s Troop Ship) he followed the Hospital Ship Maheno which was returning wounded soldiers back to Malta  -  he did not attack it ,  and let it sail on.

Other submarine Captains did sink Hospital Ships, but NOT Carl Bunte.

Believe it or not the Maheno is still afloat shipwrecked on Frazer Island Queensland, nearly 100 years later! My nephew went to see it last year, it is still there.

Normally (?)  I should hate the name Carl Bunte  -  but I prefer to try to understand than to hate. Now I am trying to trace his grandchildren to meet them if possible.

You see, if Carl Bunte did not sink the Louvain, my grandfather would have reached Gallipoli to fight the Germans and Austrians.

They were all trained for War. The dead and the casualties are those who get shot FIRST. Their mission is the same;  they follow ‘orders’ to fight FUTILE Wars. Some of them become ‘official killers’, but not all of them.

I have reason to believe that I am like my grandfather. Even in photos I  really look like him.

Best wishes 


Here is the detail of Maheno and a photo of her wreck at Fraser Island.

New Zealand Hospital ship Maheno winds up a wreck on Fraser Island

A major landmark of Fraser Island is the shipwreck of S.S. Maheno, she was originally built in 1905 in Scotland.

Fitting out Maheno
Fitting out Maheno

Building Maheno.
The shipyard William Denny & Brothers of Dumbarton, near Glasgow, was a major shareholder in the Union Steam Ship Company, and for 30 years built almost all its new ships. Dennys had a good name for its short-sea passenger ships and gave Union several cutting-edge vessels. Shown here being fitted out at Dennys in 1905, the 5,282-ton Maheno was a forerunner in the use of marine turbine engines. She made 17.25 knots on trials, but the machinery was not a success in service, and she had to be re-engined just before the First World War. Maheno served as a hospital ship and as a trans-Tasman liner.

A 5, 282 ton ship, destined as a luxury passenger ship for trans-Tasman crossings. during the First World War ship served as a hospital ship in the English Channel.

Medical/nursing staff.
7 medical officers, 59 other ranks, 10 nurses. Capacity 340 cot cases.

These are the seven New Zealand nurses who accompanied the New Zealand
Expeditionary Force when it took control of German Samoa in August 1914.
Evelyn Brooke is second from left in the back row.

Evelyn Brooke was appointed matron in the hospital ship Maheno, which embarked for Turkey in July 1915. As a hospital ship matron, she was responsible for all nursing arrangements. Much of the work was carried out by male orderlies, whom she trained but were under the command of a non-commissioned officer (the wardmaster).

Painting NZHS Maheno in WW1.

Walter Armiger Bowring, Departure of the Hospital Ship "Maheno", 1915

Post war she returned to the Tasman run as a luxury liner.

NZHS Maheno alongside.

In 1935, the ship was declared outdated and on June 25th, 1935 the ship was being towed from Melbourne ( for scrap metal ) when it was caught in a strong cyclone. .The ship has since become severely rusted, with almost three and a half decks buried under the sand. Climbing on the shipwreck is not permitted.

Wreck of SS Maheno on Fraser Island Queensland, Australia.

There are 3 books about the Maheno:

  • Earl of Liverpool (Governor of New Zealand - Compiler). The New Zealand Hospital Ship 'Maheno'; The First Voyage July, 1915, to January, 1916. Whitcombe & Tombs, Auckland 1916.
  • Earl of Liverpool (Governor of New Zealand - Compiler). The Voyages of His Majesty's New Zealand Hospital Ships 'Marama' and 'Maheno'; 2nd Volume. Whitcombe & Tombs, Auckland 1917.
  • Earl of Liverpool ( Governor of New Zealand ) The Voyages of His Majesty's New Zealand Hospital Ships 'Marama' and 'Maheno'; 3rd Volume. Whitcombe & Tombs, Auckland 1918.

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