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Welcome to our City of Benares website celebrating this fine liner. The City of Benares was built in 1936  by Barclay Curle & Co., Glasgow for Ellerman Lines and was their only two funnelled liner. She was designed for their England to India service.

During the Second World War she was requisitioned as a troopship. In 1940 the City of Benares was part of convoy OB-213, and was being used as a refugee ship in the overseas evacuation scheme of Great Britain, organised by Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB). She was carrying 90 child evacuee passengers who were being evacuated from wartime Britain to Canada. The ship departed Liverpool on the 13th September 1940, bound for the Quebec and Montreal in Canada, under the command of her Master, Landles Nicoll. She was the flagship of the convoy commodore Rear Admiral E.J.G. Mackinnon DSO RN and the first ship in the centre column. Late in the evening of 17 September, she
was sighted by U-48, who fired two torpedos at her at 23.45 hours. Both torpedoes missed, and at 00.01 hours on 18 September, the U-boat fired another torpedo at her. The torpedo struck her in the stern causing her to sink within 30 minutes, 253 miles west-southwest of Rockhall. In total, 248 of the 406 people on board, including 77 of the 90 child evacuees. It was one of the worst maritime tragedies of the Second World War and prompted the cessation of the CORB.

This website aims to record the history of this fine British ocean liner and commemorate its tragic loss in the Second World War and act as a virtual home to honour and commemorate this fine ship. We hope you enjoy this website and when you leave we hope you will visit again soon.


S.S. City of Benares (1936)


~ The Children's Ship ~

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Her Regular Service Route: Great Britain to India via the Suez Canal

London - Port Said - Suez Canal - Suez - Bombay



(c) The AJN Transport Britain Collection 2010                                                                                                                                                                                 A Edward Elliott