Today, but we commemorate 100 years of the sinking of SS Alamance by Uboat UB-57 with a loss of 7 lives, six from SS Alamance and one from HMS Berwick.
Previously known as SS Nevadan, SS Alamance was a 4,455 ton American steam propelled cargo transport ship, built in 1902 by New York Shipbuilding Company, Camden, New Jersey. At the time of her demise, she was operated by Garland Steamship Corporation, New York.
SS Alamance sailed from Hampton Roads in convoy HH40 on 18 January 1918 with general cargo en-route from Baltimore to Liverpool. On 5th February 1918, Alamance, under escort from HMS Berwick and Commander William Blunt, she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UB-57 when 4 miles east of Maiden’s Head, Ireland at 06.30am. Six crew lost from Alamance and one from Berwick.
HMS Berwick’s logs of that day state “Alamance struck by a torpedo and fell out of line attended by vessels of escort.” It was logged too that Leonard James Champion Marshall Ord. “Died of exposure due to immersion after being picked out of water after torpedoing of Alamance to which ship he was lent as signalman.”
Today she lays some 135 metres below the surface, well out of reach of recreational and most technical divers at latitude 55°00.602’N and longitude 05°38.247’W.