The “Santa Princesa” found survivors from the “Designer”

Santa Princesa

Captain: António Trindade da Silva Paião
Type: Cod fishing trawler
Tonnage: 1188
Owner: Empresa de Pesca de Aveiro

Homeport: Aveiro
Built: Scotland, 1906
Event: Found 7 crew members from the British merchant "Designer", sunk by the U-98 on 9 July 1941.

The "Santa Princesa" codfish trawler was returning from Newfoundland to Leixões when, at six o'clock on July 10, 1941, two hundred miles north of Corvo Island, Azores, its crew sighted the sail of a small boat.

Captain António Trindade da Silva Paião ordered the men to pick up the seven crewmen - one Englishman and six Indians - belonging to the British ship "Designer" sunk on the 9th by the German submarine U-98.

The shipwrecked recounted on board of the Santa Princesa that from the 71 crewmen only few had been able to embark on three lifeboats, namely 14 men in one, nine in another and seven in the one the Portuguese had just found. They had lost sight from the others during the night and did not know which way they had sailed.

From the "Santa Princesa" a careful observation of the horizon was made in an attempt to locate others, but nothing was seen. Once the trip back to Leixões was resumed, the number of lookouts was increased in the hope of encountering more survivors, but nothing happened until they arrived in Portugal on the 15th at 10:10 p.m..


The sinking of the "Designer"

The "Designer" departed from Ellesmere Port bound for Cape Town with the OB-341 convoy until July 6, 1941, when ships bound for the South Atlantic dispersed following their routes independently.

It carried military supplies, more than 200 bags of mail and was commanded by Donald Archibald McCallum who was one of the mortal victims when the ship was hit by one of two torpedoes fired by the U-98 north-west of the Azores.

The "Designer" sunk in about six minutes. Thirty men managed to get out, but only the seven who met by the “Santa Princesa” would be found.

According to the different sources the number of crew members on board of “Designer” changes. In several ones more than eighty crew members are mentioned, instead of the 71 referred in the report of the captain of the “Santa Princesa”. Others state that 11 survivors - one English and 10 Indians - have been collected by the Portuguese ship, a number also disputed by the report delivered by the captain Antonio Paiao, in Leixões.


Captain: Donald Archibald McCallum
Type: Steam merchant
Tonnage: 5945
Owner: T & J Harrison

Homeport: Liverpool
Built: Scotland, 1928
Fate: Sunk by U-96 on 9 July 1941. 66 dead, 7 survivors. 


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