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Official Log, ss CLAN ALPINE - Nov 1942

Captain Charles William Banbury

Courtesy Michael Banbury

Captain Charles W. Banbury

Clan Line flag

Clan Line House Flag

This is a copy of the logbook of ss CLAN ALPINE - concerning the rescue of survivors from three of the lifeboats from ss CITY OF CAIRO - for November 1942 transcribed from National Archives file BT381/2320.



Log entry - at sea 19/11/1942, 0430 hrs

On this date the Chief Officer reported to me that a morse lamp was flashing "SOS - HELP" very close to the ship. Flares were burned shortly after. Daylight was approaching quickly and a ship's boat was sighted. I stopped the ship close alongside the boat, which was full of men, women and children. Efforts were made to take them aboard up side ladders, but the women were mostly too weak and emaciated to be helped up. The accommodation ladder was fortunately rigged and this was lowered and the rescue effected. The boat was lifted clear of the water and the voyage continued.

At 0820 hours on the same day the 2nd Officer reported two more boat sails in sight and I stopped close to them at 0900 hours approx. These boats were also full and the people therein slowly brought aboard. The boats were taken aboard.

I estimated that there were in all about 150 people including the master (Capt. Rogerson), European and Indian crew, and passengers, men, women and children of a torpedoed British ship. They had been thirteen days in their boats, and the majority were in a weak, emaciated condition.

I posted extra lookouts in the hopes of sighting three more boats adrift from the same ship, but nothing more was seen.

Everything possible was done for these survivors, the worst cases among the women being put to bed. The children seemed least affected. During the morning two Indian seamen died.

15th Port [St Helena]

This same day at 1315 hours I cast anchor in the 15th port [St Helena] describing the plight of survivors by visual signal an hour in advance. Energetic steps were made immediately by Port and Military authorities and the work of disembarkation commenced at once in an excellent manner. The work of nursing and feeding them had rendered a census impracticable but a count was taken as they went overside, namely 129. Two bodies were later landed.

All ranks and ratings on this vessel worked with fine spirit to alleviate the sufferings of these unfortunate people.

21/11/42 - 15th Port [St Helena]

I have been in touch with the Supt. of Police and other authorities regarding the two bodies landed. Their names are unknown by the other survivors and have been buried nameless.

21/11/42 - 15th Port [St Helena]

I have now been officially informed that the survivors have been properly counted and the number of persons from the lifeboats which have been landed here by me is 148 souls, plus two bodies.

The log is signed by the Master, Capt. Charles W. Banbury and the Chief Officer J.T. Turton.