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Benlomond Sunk By German U-Boat

By James Donahue

If the steamship Belomond held any distinction in marine history it might have been that it operated under five different names during the 20 years it traversed the globe.

The old steamer was sunk and 53 of its 54 crew members killed with it was hit by two torpedoes fired from the German submarine U-172 about 750 miles off the mouth of the Amazon River on November 23, 1942.

The sole survivor, the Chinese second mess steward Poon Lim, was rescued by a Brazilian fishing boat after spending an incredible 133 days on an open raft.

The Benlomond, under the command of Captain John Maul, was steaming under ballast and without escort from Cape Town, bound for Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana when U-172, commanded by Carl Emmermann, fired two torpedoes into its hull. She was struck in the engine room and sank within minutes. Captain Maul, 44 crew members and eight gunners died.

The 6,630-ton ship was launched at Liverpool, England, as the Cynthiana in 1922. Later that same year it was renamed the Hoosac, then in 1923 was renamed London Corporation. The steamer was sold to Greek owners in 1937 and renamed Marionga J. Goulandris. Then when war broke out the steamer went back to British owners and given its final name, Benlomond.