Aelybryn survivors rescued by the Lourenço Marques

The Portuguese Lourenço Marques

The Portuguese Lourenço Marques
(Postcard of unknown author)

Lourenço Marques

Type: Passenger Steamer
Tonnage: 6,281 Gt
Owner: Companhia Nacional de Navegação (CNN) 

Homeport: Lisboa
Built: Blohm & Voss, Germany (1905)

On March 14, 1943, the crew of the Portuguese steamer Lourenço Marques - traveling from the city of Lourenço Marques, in Mozambique, to Cape Town, South Africa - saw at 5.20 pm a lifeboat with 33 survivors of the English freighter Aelybryn, sunk four days earlier.

The castaways had made signals with red rockets for some time, but probably the sun prevented them from being seen earlier. The British believed, in a certain moment, that the ship would steam away without seeing them.

An hour later they were on board and headed for Cape Town, where they arrived on the 17th.

On the return to Lisbon, on April 11, the Lourenço Marques embarked in Funchal nine castaways from the Belgian ship Moanda, who had arrived in Madeira Island some weeks before.

The Aelybryn was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-160 at 11.10 pm on March 11, 1943. After the attack, the Germans questioned the survivors, but they misunderstood the ship's name as they recorded it as the American Arian.

Carlos Guerreiro

Aelybryn (GB)

Captain: Harold William Brockwell
Type: Vapor mercante / Steam Merchant
Tonnage: 4,986 Gt
Owner: Ambrose, Davies & Matthews Ltd, Swansea

Homeport: London
Built: Sir James Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland (1938)


National Archives UK, Kew (GB)  §  Torre do Tombo  §  Arquivo Histórico da Marinha (PT)  §  §  Alan J. Tennent, British and Commonwealth merchant ship Losses to Axis submarines 1939-1945, Gloucestershire, Sutton Publishing, 2001 §  Lista dos Navios da Marinha Portuguesa, datas 1939 a 1945