10 Vessels Lost During Wartime


Wars bring enormous casualties in their wake. But while many of such casualties are treated as a consequence of the wartime catastrophe, the loss to innocent lives and property caused during wartimes is regarded as one of the biggest setback to the quality of humaneness and compassion.

History bears evidences of many such fatalities to innocent lives caused by naval, air and military cross-firing. Of the three causations, listed below are 10 maritime vessels – voyager and cargo carrying vessels – lost because of naval attacking during wars.

1.  RMS Lusitania: The Lusitania disaster marks a very important chapter in the pages of World War I history. An unprovoked attack on a British voyager vessel functioning as an important voyage operator between the West (USA) and Europe (Britain) in the year 1915 saw the loss of almost 1,200 lives.

The act utterly condemned by the then Allied Powers also led the United States of America to officially become a part of the Allied Powers to subdue the Central Powers and thereby control the spread and effects of the hugely detrimental World War.


2. Goya: A German cargo vessel, the Goya became a wartime casualty when in the year 1945 it was attacked by a USSR submersible killing almost 7,000 war expatriates.

The Goya maritime accident brought to light a needless action by USSR naval troops especially considering that the German superpower were about to accede that they had lost the World War two. Historical experts around the world regard the Goya naval casualty as one of the hugest loss of lives in the history of humankind.


3.  SS Ancona: An Italian cruising ship, the Ancona was yet another maritime casualty of the First World War.

The vessel was sunk by a German U-boat submersible in the year 1915 when the ship was traversing from the port of Messina to New York, an unprovoked attack which ensued in fatalities of over 200 people, including the crew personnel.


4. SS Nerisa: The SS Nerisa was a US voyager and cargo carrying ship built specifically to suit the then popular trends in the American cruising industry.

Another German U-boat caused fatality, the Nerisa was attacked and fatally destroyed at the start of the Second World War (in 1941) when it was transiting and entering the British waters with Canadian war personnel.


5. SS Athenia: The Athenia was the result of the German naval overlooking, in spite of orders to adhere to the expected wartime naval norms issued by the nation’s ruler.

The SS Athenia was a voyager vessel, initially intended to be operated between the British and South American ports and later on shifted to operate between the British and Canadian ports. The cruise ship was attacked in the year 1939 near the Hebridean Islands, when a U-boat skipper failed to identify its actual maritime nature and thus violated the expected code of maritime conduct in the face of a global war. Over 100 voyagers lost their lives in the casualty, a comparatively small number thanks to the prompt rescue efforts of other vessels in the oceanic vicinity.


6. SS Persia: The very first voyager ship to be fatally attacked and destroyed by specialised German subs, the Persia casualty occurred right towards the beginning of the First World War in the year 1915.

The casualty ensued in the loss of lives of almost all voyagers aboard the ship, en route to the Indian colony from the British waters.


7.  HMT Royal Edward: Although commissioned as a postal ship to be operated between Great Britain and the African colony of Egypt, the HMT Royal Edward was re-modified to be used as a naval troop vessel during the First World War.

In the year 1915, the vessel while en route to a potentially strategic Mediterranean naval location was pinpointed and attacked by a German submersible. Although rescue vessels were be able to be deployed immediately, the fatality caused due to the missile attack was in enormous numbers, still disputed by various reputed data sources.


8. SS Patria: Unlike the other ships attacked and destroyed during the wars by opposition cross-fires, the Patria was a vessel that became a wartime casualty in the year 1940 because of a self-induced detonation aboard it.

The Patria was a casualty victim of the secret Jewish armed wing – Haganah – which is said to have bombed the ship in order to prevent the exiling of Jews to the Mauritian colony, as per the stipulations of the British White Book that put a cap on the number of Jews to be allowed to remain in the Holy Land. Nearly 270 Jews lost their lives in the bomb detonation


9. Provence II: The Provence II was a voyager vessel built in the early 20th century by the then French shipping conglomerate CGT (Compagnie Generale Transatlantique).

At the time of her attack in the year 1915, by a German U-boat submersible, the vessel was refurbished to be utilised as a French naval personnel carrier ship. The casualty resulted in the loss of lives of almost 1,000 personnel though an almost equal number were able to be successfully saved.


10. SS Sultana: An American civil war casualty, the SS Sultana was perilously lost in the waters of the River Mississippi. The fatality of the Sultana occurred in the year 1865, closely following the end of the plaguing Civil War.

At the time of the fatality, the Sultana was loaded with freed Northern soldiers, captured in the Southern prisons. A faulty boiler system caused the accident which led to the loss of lives of nearly 2,000 people.

These wartime casualties indicated certain authorities’ need to establish military supremacy even when the need to do so didn’t arise. While the effectiveness of such a military manoeuvre has been debated throughout the course of history, fact remains that these blots can never be erased from the hearts and minds on account their sheer cruelty and disregard for humanitarian empathy.






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