Leopoldville was laid down by John Cockerill in Hoboken and was launched in September 1928 for Compagnie Maritime du Congo. She was commissioned the year after and operated the route between Antwerpen and Belgian Congo. After the outbreak of World War Two she was chartered by the British Admiralty as a troop transport. When the Germans launched Operation Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein, or the Battle of the Bulge in English, in December 1944, she was hastily filled up with soldiers from US 66th Infantry Division to be delivered in France. 24. December 1944 she was spotted and torpedoed outside Cherbourg by the German uboat U 486 under command of Oberleutnant Gerhard Meyer. Under the rescue attempts and evacuation of the doomed ship, everything that could, went wrong. rescue craft were slow to the scene and calls for help were mishandled. Not to mention the cold winter weather in the English Channel. She sank 2,5 hours later with the loss of 763 men. The wreck rest today on her port side on a depth of 30 to 64 meter five nautical miles north of Cherbourg. Also see the fate of HMT Lancastria.

Former names:

478,8 x 62,2 x 26,0 f
Tons: Built: Home Port:
11256 grt
Antwerpen ( BE ) 1928
( BE )

49° 45′ 57″ N, 1° 36′ 20″ W

Picture: Leopoldville
Courtesy of Simplon Postcards

Last updated: March 2018