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SM UB-32 in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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SM UB-32

1st August 1914 Hospital ship  

SS Gloucester Castle

SS Gloucester Castle was built in 1911 by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 7999grt, a length of 450ft 7in, a beam of 56ft 2in and a service speed of 13 knots. She was built for the Intermediate service.

On 24th September, 1914 she was commissioned as a 410 bed hospital ship and in April 1915 took part in the Dardanelles campaign carrying the Portsmouth Battalion of the Royal Marines.

  • Hospital Ship or Ambulance Transport Service during WW1.
  • Medical Staff strength.
  • Officers:8
  • Nurses:10
  • Other:41
  • Accommodation capacity.
  • Officers:40
  • Cots:128
  • Berths:242
  • Period of Service as Hospital Ship or Ambulance Transport.
  • Date From:24th September 1914
  • Date To:9th September 1919
  • Ships Crew details:

On 30th March 1917, although clearly identified as a hospital ship, she was torpedoed by UB-32 in the English Channel whilst on passage from Le Havre to Southampton. Fortunately, only 3 of the 399 passengers died during the transfer to rescuing trawlers but it took two weeks to tow the ship to safety for repair.

In April 1919 she resumed commercial operations on the Intermediate service and later on the Round Africa service. But her slow speed earned her the name 'Go Slowster Castle'.

In 1926 she was replaced by the Llandaff Castle and reverted to Intermediate status until 1939 when she was laid up at Netley in Southampton Water.

On 21st June 1942 she sailed from Birkenhead and on 15th July, off the Ascension Islands, was shelled and sunk by the German surface raider Schiff 28,Michel. Out of 154 persons on board 82 crew members, 6 women, 2 children and 3 male passengers were killed. The surviving 57 crew members, 2 women and 2 child passengers were taken aboard the German supply ship Charlotte Schliemann and taken to Japan for internment. The commander of the Michel, Von Ruckteschell, was found guilty of war crimes and imprisoned at Spandau in 1946.

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Those known to have served on

SM UB-32

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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    Mar 2017

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    Want to know more about SM UB-32?

    There are:1 articles tagged SM UB-32 available in our Library

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