The Fort Longueuil was launched from United Shipyards Ltd, Montreal and delivered on 8 December 1942. It was one of the 90 boats purchased by the USA War Shipping Administration and leased to the Ministry of War Transport on bareboat charter. J Chambers & Co, Lancashire Shipping Company Liverpool, were appointed the ship's managers.
Details of the ship are shown below:
The Last Voyage
On 19th September 1943, the ‘Fort Longueuil’ was torpedoed and sunk in the Indian Ocean by the German U-Boat, U-532. Of the 59 crew members, 57 lost their lives.
The ship's master on its last, fateful voyage was George Cardno Edwards, a 52 year old man, born in Australia but living with his family in Massachusetts, USA. The rest of the 49 crew were made up of men from Britain, India and Canada. There were also 6 Royal Navy Sailors and 4 members of the 6th Maritime Regiment of the Royal Artillery onboard, to man the guns (D.E.M.S.).
The ship was fitted with a 4 inch stern gun, 5 Oerlikon guns, 2 'pig troughs', 1 pillar box, 2 FAM rockets, 4 PAC rockets and a balloon used in cases of air attack. The ship was also fitted with torpedo nets and booms.
The Fort Longueuil left Barry Docks on 16 July 1943 with a cargo of Government Stores, including munitions and joined convoy OS.52/KMS.21* at Milford. Two ships travelling in this convoy, El Argentino and Halizones, were lost due to enemy action shortly before arriving at Gibraltar on 29 July 1943. From Gibraltar the ship proceeded to Alexandria, arriving on 8 August (cargo was probably unloaded here) and sailed from there on 26 August. After sailing down the Suez Canal two days later, the ship docked at Aden on 8 September to bunker. When the ship left for Australia on 9 September, it was carrying a full cargo of 8,475 tons of phosphate.
Click image for larger map of the Indian Ocean
The Fort Longueuil was due to have arrived at Fremantle, Australia and then to have sailed to Port Kembla and Newcastle (New South Wales), but was reported 'overdue, presumed lost' on 15 October 1943. By 3 November 1943 it was known that the ship had been lost at the estimated position of 10oS 68oE, South of Chagos Island in the Indian Ocean. Remarkably, two men, Thakar Miah and Mohamed Aftab, managed to survive 4˝ months at sea and became Japanese Prisoners of War.
*For more information on Convoy OS.52/KMS.21 see Mike Holdoway's website at http://www.mhold.eclipse.co.uk/oskms/index.html?os068.htm~osmain (External link)
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