SS British Consul

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Name: SS British Consul
Operator: British Tanker Co. Ltd., London
Builder: Sir James Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland
Completed: 1924
Fate: sunk 19 August 1942
General characteristics
Tonnage: 6,900 tons

The SS British Consul was a tanker built by Sir James Laing & Sons Ltd., Sunderland in 1922 and operated by the British Tanker Company.

First Sinking

On the night of 18/19 February 1942 she was anchored in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She had been due to sail at midnight but submarines had been reported outside the port. The Royal Navy granted her Master, Captain G.A. Dickson, permission to defer sailing until 0400 hrs. as his crew would have a better chance of spotting submarines in daylight. Kapitänleutnant Albrecht Achilles of U-boat U-161 reported that he fired two stern-launched torpedoes into Port of Spain anchorage at 0532 hrs. and that one of these struck the British Consul.[1] Captain Dickson reports that the torpedo struck her "between the pumproom and the poop, starting a fire". All hands got away in the lifeboats and stood by under the bow. She sank in shallow water so the crew reboarded her.[2] The British Consul was salvaged and Captain Dickson transferred to New York where he was given command of the MV British Prudence.

Second Sinking

In August 1942 the British Consul, now commanded by Captain James Kennedy, joined convoy TAW(S) from Trinidad via Curaçao to Key West. Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Suhren of U-boat U-564 reported that on the morning of 19 August 1942 he attacked the convoy and hit three ships including the British Consul. Captain Kennedy and one crew member were lost. The survivors were rescued by the Flower class corvette HMS Clarkia and landed at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. This time the British Consul could not be recovered.

Replacement ship

A replacement ship of the same name was built in 1950 by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Glasgow. The new British Consul was launched on 2 March 1950, and at 8,655 gross tonnage, she was larger than the original 1924 tanker.


  • E.C. Talbot-Booth (1942). Ships and the Sea (Seventh Edition). London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd.. p. 445. 
  • Letter from James Baillie at Grangemouth to Captain Waters, 2 May 1942


  1. British Consul
  2. Letter from James Baillie to Captain Waters, Page 1.