The “Alferrarede” finds the survivors of the “Lucrecia”


Captain: Armando Lorena
Type: Long range steamer
Tonnage: 1452
Owner: Sociedade Geral de Comércio Indústria e Transportes Lda.

Homeport: Lisboa
Built: Geestemunde, 1905
Event: Found 31 survivors of the tanker Lucrecia sunk by a U-34 on the 7th July 1940.

On July 7, 1940, on voyage from Cardiff to Oporto, the ship “Alferrarede” found, at latitude 49º50 'North and longitude 08º07' West, a steamer half submerged and near it a lifeboat with 31 crew members that were rescued.

Four of the crew were wounded, and one of them, the mate, was in serious condition. Captain Armando Lorena was told by crew members that their captain, Cornelis Smith, had died during the explosion of a torpedo.

As they were collecting the shipwrecked, they were flown over by several British planes, which were informed by signs about what was happening. Also by signals the Portuguese were ordered not to use the radio, reason why no warning of danger for the navigation was made although the "Lucrecia" continued to be only partially submerged.

Alferrarede left the lifeboat behind, but picked up a raft that was floating in the vicinity, which would later be delivered to the Portuguese customs.

The next day, at 9 pm, Johannes de Vries, the 40-year-old Dutchman and second-in-command, died as result of the wounds received during the attack. The body was thrown into the sea by seven o'clock the next morning after the usual ceremonies.

Alferrarede arrived in Oporto on July 10, 1940, where he surrendered the 30 survivors to the proper authorities.


To the sinking of Lucrecia

Lucrecia, a tanker in service for the  Shell company, was traveling between Curacao and Falmouth in the United Kingdom, transporting fuel oil when a torpedo hit it by starboard. It had been fired by the U-34 at about 7:14 pm and the explosion, which occurred under the bridge, killed the commander, broke the keel and put the fuel tank of the bow on fire.

The crew immediately abandoned the slowly sinking ship, that floated away only partially submerged.

Smoke from the fire attracted several planes - a patrol from St. Eval and two Sunderland´s – and, as stated by the site, the Alferrarede also attracted the attention of U-34, however, due to the threat from the airplanes the Germans not even attempted identifie or attack the vessel.

C. G.


Captain: Cornelis Smit
Type: Tanker
 Tonnage: 2584 
Owner: Curaçaoshe Scheepvaart Mij

Homeport: Willemstad
Built: Italy, 1928
Fate: Sunk by U-34 on 7 July 1940


  • Archives/Arquivos: National Archives UK, Kew (GB); Arquivo Histórico da Marinha (PT); Arquivo Histórico do MNE (PT); NARA (USA) 
  • Sites:;;;
  • Books: Navios da Marinha Portuguesa, datas 1939 a 1945;