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Merchant Vessels - World War II

Merchant Vessels - World War II

Merchant Vessels sunk in World War II - Characteristics and Losses    
      Casualties Casualties  



Lost Lost Fate / Career
      Passengers Crew  
SS Athenia 03/09/1939            13,581 93 19 04/09/1939 - Sank
          1st Ship lost in World War I
HMS Rawalpindi 23/11/1939            16,697   238 Sunk by Deutschland
RMS Lancastria 17/06/1940            16,243 3000+ 6 Sunk by Air attack, largest loss of life
RMS Empress of Britain 26/10/1940            42,348 25 20 Torpedoed and sunk by Submarine
HMS Jervis Bay 05/11/1940            14,164 - 187 Sunk by Admiral Scheer
(Converted Passenger liner)         65 Survivors
MV San Demetrio 17/03/1942              8,073 - 19 7,000 tons of Avaiation fuel
(Tanker)         4,000 tons of fuel
          Sunk torpedoed by Submarine
RMS Empress of Asia 05/02/1942            16,909 - 16 Aircraft
(Ocean Liner)         416 Crew, 25 Gunners, 2235 Troops
          Armed Merchant Cruiser and Troopship
Empress of Canada 13/03/1943            21,517 340* 44 Torpedoed and sunk by Italian Submarine
(Ocean Liner)       8 gunners *Fatalities including Italian POWs
          Ocean liner converted to Troopship
Ohio OHMS  12/08/1942              9,514 7 1 13,500 tons of fuel
(Tanker)       1 gunner Towed out of Grand Harbour
          Sunk 19/09/1946


The Merchant Vessels played an extraordinary role during World War II either as troop ships or supply vessels. The history behind these ships and the courage of the men who crewed them is both fascinating and compelling.

This is not a comprehensive list of Merchant Vessels lost in WWII, please contact us if you think that other notable vessels should be added to

The Overseas Records are available for Free on, to view these select the "Data Type" i.e. GRO Marine Deaths Indexes or GRO Marine Births for records information.


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