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SS Beatus
Career (UK)
Name: Beatus
Owner: Tempus Shipping Co, Ltd[1]
Operator: W.H. Seager & Co Ltd
Port of registry: Cardiff
Builder: Ropner Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd, Stockton-on-Tees[1]
Yard number: 548[2]
Completed: March 1925[1]
Out of service: 18 October 1940[3]
Identification:

code letters KSHC (until 1933)[4]
ICS Kilo.svgICS Sierra.svgICS Hotel.svgICS Charlie.svg
call sign GFVX (1934–40)[5]
ICS Golf.svgICS Foxtrot.svgICS Victor.svgICS X-ray.svg

UK official number: 148281[1]
Fate: sunk by torpedo, 18 October 1940[3]
General characteristics
Class & type: cargo steamship
Tonnage:

4,885 GRT[1]
tonnage under deck 4,610[1]

2,992 NRT[1]
Length: 390.0 feet (118.9 m)[1] p/p
Beam: 55.5 feet (16.9 m)[1]
Draught: 24 feet 6 34 inches (7.49 m)[1]
Depth: 26.4 feet (8.0 m)[1]
Installed power: 436 NHP[1]
Propulsion: triple-expansion steam engine;
single screw[1]
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h)[2]
Crew: 37[3]
Sensors and
processing systems:
wireless direction finding (by 1937)[1]

SS Beatus was a British cargo steamship that was built in 1925, sailed in a number of transatlantic convoys in 1940 and was sunk by a U-boat that October.

Building

Ropner Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd of Stockton-on-Tees, England built Beatus, completing her in February 1925.[1] She had nine corrugated furnaces with a combined grate area of 190 square feet (18 m2) that heated three 180 lbf/in2 single-ended boilers with a combined heating surface of 7,500 square feet (697 m2).[1] The boilers fed a three-cylinder triple expansion steam engine that was rated at 436 NHP and drove a single screw.[1] The engine was built by Blair and Company, also of Stockton.[1]

Beatus was registered in Cardiff, managed by W.H. Seager & Co Ltd and owned by another of William Seager's companies, Tempus Shipping Co, Ltd.[1]

Second World War career

By early 1940 Beatus was sailing in convoys.[6] In February 1940 she joined Convoy SL-20 from Freetown, Sierra Leone to Liverpool with a cargo of wheat.[6] In May and June 1940 she brought a general cargo across the North Atlantic to the UK via Bermuda, where she joined Convoy BHX-46[7] and Halifax, Nova Scotia, where BHX-46 joined Convoy HX-46.[8] In late July Beatus was carrying a cargo of steel and pit props when she joined another HX convoy, HX-60, from Halifax, NS to Liverpool.[9] Between ocean voyages, Beatus sailed in a number of North Sea coastal convoys.

Convoy SC-7 and sinking

Early in October Beatus left Trois-Rivières, Quebec, carrying a cargo of 1,626 tons of steel, 5,874 tons of timber and a deck cargo of crated aircraft bound for Middlesbrough via the Tyne. Her Master was Wilfred Leslie Brett.[3] She went via Sydney, Nova Scotia, where she joined Convoy SC-7 bound for Liverpool.[10] SC-7 left Sydney on 5 October. At first the convoy had only one escort ship, the Hastings-class sloop HMS Scarborough. A wolf pack of U-boats found the convoy on 16 October and quickly overwhelmed it, sinking many ships over the next few days.

Between 2058 and 2104 hrs on 18 October SC-7 was about 100 miles west by south of Barra Head in the Outer Hebrides when U-46, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Engelbert Endrass, attacked it. Endrass fired four torpedoes: one hit and sank the Swedish freighter SS Convallaria; another hit Beatus.[3] Frank Holding, Assistant Steward on Beatus, recalled:

"The next thing I heard was this explosion and a sound like breaking glass from down near the engine room. The ship stood still. When I went to the boat deck one of the lifeboats was already in the water, full of water... We knew we were sinking."[11]

Captain Brett and all 36 crew members survived, were rescued by a convoy escort, the Flower-class corvette HMS Bluebell, and were later landed at Gourock.[3]

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships. London: Lloyd's Register. 1937. http://www.plimsollshipdata.org/pdffile.php?name=37b0100.pdf. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Allen, Tony (5 November 2010). "SS Beatus (+1940)". The Wreck Site. http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?12949. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Helgason, Guðmundur (1995-2013). "Beatus". Ships hit by U-boats. Guðmundur Helgason. http://uboat.net/allies/merchants/612.html. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  4. Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships. London: Lloyd's Register. 1933. http://www.plimsollshipdata.org/pdffile.php?name=33b0098.pdf. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  5. Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships. London: Lloyd's Register. 1934. http://www.plimsollshipdata.org/pdffile.php?name=34b0101.pdf. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hague, Arnold. "Convoy SL.20". SL/MKS Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/sl2/index.html?sl.php?convoy=20!~slmain. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  7. Hague, Arnold. "Convoy BHX.46". BHX Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/bhx/index.html?bhx.php?convoy=46!~bhxmain. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  8. Hague, Arnold. "Convoy HX.46". HX Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/hx/index.html?hx.php?convoy=46!~hxmain. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  9. Hague, Arnold. "Convoy HX.60". HX Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/hx/index.html?hx.php?convoy=60!~hxmain. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  10. Hague, Arnold. "Convoy SC.7". SC Convoy Series. Don Kindell, ConvoyWeb. http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/sc/index.html?sc.php?convoy=7!~scmain. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  11. Tildesley, Kate. "Voices from the Battle of the Atlantic". Second World War Experience Centre. http://www.war-experience.org/history/keyaspects/atlantic/default.asp#ref31. 

Coordinates: 57°31′N 13°10′W / 57.517°N 13.167°W / 57.517; -13.167

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