Freighter La Rance A Victim Of War
By James Donahue
The floors of the seas of the world are strewn with the wrecks of great ships that were deliberately sunk by submarines
during the two great world wars. The French cargo vessel La Rance is just one of those victims. It lies near Planier Island,
Marseille, after being torpedoed and shelled on December 2, 1917.
The La Rance was steaming from Marseille to Algiers, under the command of Captain Joseph Galliard, when it was sunk
by the German U-boat UC-67, commanded by Karl Neumann. Galliard and three other members of his crew died in the shelling.
The rest of the ship’s crew was rescued by the trawler Gabriella, which was on auxiliary patrol and arrived on
the scene in time to chase away the U-boat and take on survivors.
That is about all that we know about the events that destroyed the La Rance.
The vessel was not a large ship at 298 feet. It was launched in 1906 so had been steaming the oceans for 11 years before
it was destroyed. At the time of the sinking it was owned by Cie. Generale Transatlantique of St. Nazaire.
Because it was operating at war time, the ship was equipped with one stern gun and one in the bow. The weapons obviously
didn’t stave off the submarine attack.