SS Cortona

General Cargo Vessel
Built by Vickers Ltd
Completed: 1921
Owned by Donaldson Bros & Black
Length: 414.4 ft
Beam: 55 ft 9 in.
Service Speed:
13 knots
7,093 tons

Nationality: British

The SS Cortona sailed from Liverpool on July 1, 1942 bound for Buenos Aires with 2,400 tons of general cargo. At 00.22 hours on 12 July, 1942, when south of the Azores, she detached from the convoy to make her own way to South America. She was torpedoed and damaged by the Type XB U-boat, U-116. Three minutes later, U-201 also fired a torpedo which wrecked the starboard side of the vessel and set fire to the ship. The crew took to the remaining lifeboats and at daylight the vessel was reboarded when the 3rd Officer and 4 of the crew managed to cut away some water tanks on two rafts that were aboard. The master, 18 crew members and four gunners drifted in a lifeboat for ten days until they were picked up by the British destroyer HMS Pathfinder (G 10) (Cdr E.A. Gibbs) and landed at Londonderry. The second lifeboat containing 29 crew members under the command of the Chief Officer was not heard of again. 29 crew members and two gunners lost their lives. The position of the sinking was given by U-201 as grid reference DG 6311 (32°45'N, 24°45'W).