Late father was a chef on board the Oronsay

October 07, 2009 3:55 PM
Subject: History of the Oronsay

Hi Mac

I hope you don't mind me calling you "Mac".

I have just come across an item on your web log in reference to the SS Oronsay that plied the Australian run before WW11. I have an interest in the history of the ship because my late father was a chef on board the Oronsay and I believe he was on the Oronsay at the sinking of the Lancastria at the evacuation of St Nazaire in 1940.

I have often wondered about the ships history and what she was used for during the war. My father told me a little about what he did during the war years, but he died before I was old enough to understand a great deal about his war time service.

I would be interested in any information you may have in reference to the history of the Oronsay.

Kindest Regards
Gordon Lamb


Mac is fine.

Here is a Post Card picture of Oronsay 1, she had been built in 1925, with a Gross Tonnage of 20,001 and was requisitioned as a Troopship in 1939, to be torpedoed in 1942 off Liberia.

Oronsay 1
SS. Oronsay 1

Oronsay was sunk on the 8th. of October 1942 off Freetown, West Africa, by the Italian Submarine Archemede, commanded by Lieutenant Saccardo, 5 crew members of Oronsay died, 26 were captured to become Prisoners of War, and 412 survived.

Archemede was commissioned on the 18th. of April in 1939, and only sank 3 Allied ships in her career, she herself was sunk by a land based US Catalina, VP-83, when she was surfaced off Brazil on the 15th. of April
1943. The Catalina dropped bombs, then attacked with depth charges from only 50 feet, and in 6 minutes Archemedes had sunk. There were some 30 survivors from the Italian Submarine, the Catalina dropping some
life rafts for these survivors.

A photo of this Italian Sub is attached.

Italian submarine Archemede
Italian submarine Archemede

Hope this helps.

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