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SM U-54 in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great

SM U-54



1st August 1914 Hospital ship  

HMHS Essequibo

RMS Essequibo - full details still to source.

Served as hospital ship during ww1 (for Canadian government?)

  • Hospital Ship or Ambulance Transport Service during WW1.
  • Medical Staff strength.
  • Officers:11
  • Nurses:16
  • Other:76
  • Accommodation capacity.
  • Officers:42
  • Cots:249
  • Berths:298
  • Period of Service as Hospital Ship or Ambulance Transport.
  • Date From:2nd September 1915
  • Date To:12th September 1919
  • Ships Crew details:

Apparently Essequibo was stopped by U-64 in 1917, searched, confirmed a hospital ship, and sent on her way. She was commissioned in 1915 as a Mail Ship, pressed into service as a hospital ship for the duration, then returned to her original role. Eventually sold to the Russians in 1935!

Essequibo was a 8489 grt steamer built in 1914/15 for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. she was transferred in 1922 to Pacific Steam Nav. Co. (which the Royal Mail SP Co. owned) and sold to the USSR in 1935 and renamed Neva.

The "Essequibo" was stopped and searched by U 54 (Kptlt. Freiherr von Bothmer) off Ireland on 15.03.1917, not by U 64.

The Essequibo was a British hospital ship loaned to the Canadian Government in 1917 as one of the five Canadian hospital ships for ww1 for the transatlantic run. She was indeed stopped, inspected and allowed to proceed by a German uboat as previously reported. An English sailor's or merchant marine company history does talk briefly about this.

25th May 1916 U-Boat Index - WW1  SM U-54

Type U 51 Shipyard Germaniawerft, Kiel (Werk 236) Ordered 23 Aug 1914 Laid down 18 Mar 1915 Launched 22 Feb 1916 Commissioned 25 May 1916

Commanders.
16 May 1916 - 19 May 1917 Freiherr Volkhard von Bothmer.
20 May 1917 - 22 Mar 1918 Kurt Heeseler.
23 Mar 1918 - 11 Nov 1918 Oblt. Hellmuth von Ruckteschell

Career 12 patrols.
2 Jul 1916 - 11 Nov 1918 II Flotilla

Successes 26 ships sunk with a total of 66,713 tons.
4 ships damaged with a total of 17,847 tons.
1 warship sunk with a total of 1,290 tons.

  • 3 Feb 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Tamara 453 nw
  • 4 Feb 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Floridian 4,777 br
  • 4 Feb 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Palmleaf 5,489 br
  • 5 Feb 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Ainsdale (damaged) 1,825 br
  • 5 Feb 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Azul 3,074 br
  • 7 Feb 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Wallace (damaged) 3,930 br
  • 7 Feb 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Saxonian 4,855 br
  • 15 Mar 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Eugene Pergeline 2,203 fr
  • 1 Apr 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Consul Persson 1,835 nw
  • 1 Apr 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Fjelland 387 nw
  • 2 Apr 1917 U 54 Volkhard von Bothmer Havlyst 532 nw
  • 3 Jun 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler San Lorenzo (damaged) 9,607 br
  • 7 Jun 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Jonathan Holt 1,523 br
  • 13 Jun 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Darius 3,426 br
  • 23 Jul 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Ashleigh 6,985 br
  • 23 Jul 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Huelva 4,867 br
  • 25 Jul 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Rustington 3,071 br
  • 26 Jul 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Somerset 7,163 br
  • 31 Jul 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Alcides 2,704 nw
  • 16 Sep 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Arabis 3,928 br
  • 17 Sep 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Niemen 1,888 fr
  • 19 Sep 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Marthe Marguerite 588 fr
  • 24 Sep 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Louis Bossert 605 nw
  • 25 Sep 1917 U 54 Kurt Heeseler Marceau 292 fr
  • 30 Apr 1918 U 54 Hellmuth von Ruckteschell Starmount (damaged) 2,485 br
  • 8 May 1918 U 54 Hellmuth von Ruckteschell Dux 1,349 br
  • 8 May 1918 U 54 Hellmuth von Ruckteschell Princess Dagmar 913 br
  • 10 May 1918 U 54 Hellmuth von Ruckteschell Wileysike 2,501 br
  • 16 Jul 1918 U 54 Hellmuth von Ruckteschell Anchusa 1,290 br
  • 27 Sep 1918 U 54 Hellmuth von Ruckteschell En Avant 86 fr
  • 29 Sep 1918 U 54 Hellmuth von Ruckteschell Libourne 1,219 br

Fate 24 Nov 1918 - Surrendered to Italy. Broken up at Taranto in May 1919.

There was another U 54 in World War Two.
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 15 Aug 1939 and commissioned into the Kriegsmarine on 23 Sep 1939.

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.



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SM U-54

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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