The “Nyassa” picked up 23 survivors from the British “Andaluzian”

Nyassa
(Portugal)

Captain: Bettencourt
Type:
Tonnage:
Owner: Companhia Nacional de Navegação 

Homeport: Lisboa
Built:
Event: Rescued 23 crew members from the British Andaluzian, sunk by U.106.

The “Nyassa” was returning from a trip to the African colonies when, on 20 March 1941, they encountered a vessel of 23 castaways - seven officers and 16 sailors - ex-crewmembers of the English freighter "Andaluzian", sunk days before north of Cape Verde by U-106.

The Portuguese ship was routed to Lisbon with two stopovers, in Funchal and in Casablanca, where it should leave 400 Frenchmen, embarked in an African port after refusing to fight alongside the Free French Forces of General De Gaulle.

Fearing becoming prisoners to the French the British sailors were not interested in going to Casablanca. So they stayed in Funchal after arriving there on March 23rd. Days later they embarked on the passenger ship "Lima" that assured the connection between the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira to Lisbon, where they arrived on the 29th, with 101 other passengers.

In Lisbon the 23 men of the “Andalusian” met the commander Bettencourt of the “Nyassa” again,  addressing him public thanks. The same happened in relation with the captain of the “Lima” that had transported them to Lisbon. The men were handed to the British authorities.

Nineteen crewmen who embarked on other whaler found, the following morning, some castaways of the "Tapanoeli, another freighter that had been sunk shortly before the “Andalusian” was hit. By then they had already decided to follow to the Cape Verde archipelago, about 120 miles away. They exchanged a few words with the other men and set sail to reach the destination as quickly as possible.

On the morning of the 19th they caught sight of one of the islands for the first time, but they could not - throughout the day - find an area to land because the entire coast seemed stony and dangerous, reason why they spent another night at sea.

Only at 16 o'clock the next day did they find a beach that seemed to be good for a landing, but when they approached they were caught by a wave that flooded the boat. In spite of everything they managed to arrive unharmed on the beach where they set up a temporary camp, dried the clothes, ate and rested.

The next morning, divided into two groups, they set off in search of people and managed to locate some Portuguese settlers who welcomed them and explained that they were on Boa Vista Island. There they were very well treated and eventually received information that there had been called a steamer to collect them.

On donkeys they traveled about 16 kilometers to the south, from the place where they were until a port where they embarked in the steamer "28 of May", that already had aboard 25 crewmembers of the "Tapanoeli" who also had arrived at Boa Vista Island. On the way to San Vicent Island, they also passed by St. Nicholas, where they collected survivors of the British freighter "Clan MacNab", who had also been part of the SL-68 convoy, but while trying to escape one attack collided with another ship and sunk.

All of them arrived in St. Vincent on March 23, 1941, where the British consul in the island took care of the, dealing with repatriations. The crew of the "Andaluzian" embarked on the 26th in the British passenger ship "Avila Star" to the United Kingdom.

 

The sinking of the "Andaluzian"

The ship was part of the SL-68 convoy attacked shortly after 9 pm on 17 March 1941 by U-106. Several torpedoes were fired in the direction of the allied ships reaching the British "Andaluzian" and the Dutch "Tapanoeli".

All 42 crew members - the master, 39 crew and two gunners - were able to leave the "Andaluzian" in two whalers, which followed different directions shortly after being put into the water. The one that contained the 23 men was collected by the Nyassa, while the other with 19 arrived in the Boavista Island, in Cape Verde.

Of the 65 crew members of the "Tapanoeli", 25 arrived in Ilha da Boa Vista and the remaining at the Island of São Vicente.

Andaluzian
(GB)

Captain: H. B. McHugh
Type: Vapor mercante/ Steam Merchant
Tonnage: 3082
Owner: Ellerman Papayanni Lines Ldt

Homeport: Liverpool
Built: Hull, UK, 1918
Fate: Sunk on 17 March 1941 bu U-51. All 42 crew members survived.




Resources:

  • Archives: National Archives UK, Kew (GB); Arquivo Histórico da Marinha (PT); Arquivo Histórico do MNE (PT); 
  • Sites: uboat.net; 
  • Books: Shipping Company Losses of the second World War, Ian M. Malcolm; Lista dos Navios da Marinha Portuguesa, datas 1939 a 1945;