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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Sinking of ss "Rapallo"


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On 13 January 1918 ss "Rapallo" was sunk in the Straits of Messina after being torpedoed by Zdenko Hudececk in command of Austrian submarine U28. There was one fatality - the 15 year old assistant cook Thomas Samuel Jenkins from South Wales.

"Rapallo" was almost a brand new ship commanded by my grandfather, Capt H J Young, DSC, and was sailing in ballast.

There appears to be a slight mystery as confusing signals were recorded by Lloyds, initially that the ship had survived the attack in a damaged condition but later that she had been sunk in the attack. There is a family story that my grandfather had to scuttle one of his ships and I have a cabin clock that purports to come from this scuttled ship. Is there a possibility that "Rapallo" was not sunk by the torpedo but that my grandfather was ordered to scuttle her, as with no cargo to salvage and with over-loaded repair facilities, she was not worth bringing into port ?

Again, would there be an official report to confirm the real circumstances of her sinking which can be accessed ?

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Start with with ADM137/4040 “Enemy submarines: particulars of attacks on merchant vessels in Mediterranean, January 1918” held at The National Archives, Kew.

Best wishes,


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Thomas S. Jenkins Assistant Cook THOMAS SAMUEL JENKINS S.S. "Rapallo" (Liverpool), Mercantile Marine who died age 15 on 13 January 1918 Assistant Cook JENKINS, Son of Margaret Ann Jenkins (nee Davies), of 25, Old Church Rd., Whitchurch, Glam, and the late Thomas David Jenkins. Born at Pencoed.


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  • 5 years later...

Still trying to find if "Rapallo" was actually sunk by torpedo or scuttled after being damaged by the attack.  The picture is of a Seth Thomas cabin clock that my aunt believed came from a ship that her father was ordered to scuttle.


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