SS Tredinnick sunk by R.Smg. Pietro Calvi/Olivieri 25 March 1942 off Bahamas, Antigua


            The 4,589-ton cargo steam ship Tredinnick was built with a shelter deck in 1921 by J. Redhead & Sons Limited of South Shields, England. She was registered to St. Ives, England and commanded by Captain G. G. Barrett. Because all of her 46 crew were killed or drowned in her loss, very little is known about this casualty. Furthermore it occurred hundreds of miles to the east of the line between Bermuda and Anegada – in position 27.15N and 49.15W (over 10 degrees of Longitude east of the line) and thus receives scant coverage in these pages.
Including the Tredinnick is as much to ascertain the movements of the Italian submarine Pietro Calvi in the region as to document the ship’s loss – however it also goes to demonstrate how many ships were lost in the wide body of water generally called the Sargasso Sea, between the Azores and Canaries and Bermuda and Caribbean, which no single nation claims as their own territorial waters. It would be very difficult if cast adrift in this remote area of ocean to last long enough to reach shore, and through it insufficient ships pass to give a likelihood of rescue. So this area s generally like a “black hole” not only for the survivors and victims of attack, but for historians trying to document their final movements.
            On the 25th of March – some sources place the date at the 29th (D’Adamo,, R.Smg Pietro Calvi under  C.C. Olivieri ran across the Tredinnick and dispatched her with a torpedo ( Calvi was on a mission from Bordeaux, which she had left on 7th March, for Cape Orange, Brazil. Several days later, on the 1st of April, it would sink the American tanker T. C. McCobb. It arrived off Brazil on the 7th of April (D’Adamo, It ended the patrol on the 29th of April, having spent all its torpedoes.
The Tredinnick was under the ownership and operation of the Hain Steamship Company, Limited, of the Baltic Exchange Chambers, Saint Mary’s Axes, London, with additional offices in the Salvage Buildings in Cardiff, Wales. Her dimensions were 413.6 feet long by 52.1 feet wide and 25.5 feet deep (Jordan, p.140). She was manned by 46 men – forty crew and six gunners. One of her ordinary seamen was George Edward Gawthorpe, aged eighteen years. The Second Radio Officer was NormanWood, age 29, whose parents were James and Elle. His death widowed Mrs. Lavinia Wood of Droylsden, Lancashire. Amongst her crew were Leslie Hubert Connell, a cook, and his brother William Jr., from Glamorganshire, Wales. Their parents were William Henry and Winifred of Treharris. Both young men perished aboard the Tredinnick and are commemorated in Merthyr Tydfil (Beech Grove) Cemetery in their hometown in Wales. There were also two Taylor and two Jones men on board, though their relationship, if any, is not made clear in the Tower Hill Memorial plaque dedicated to her crew (

No doubt a number of men survived the sinking, as the Calvi and her sisters were not known for the kind of viscous, sudden and total night attack which the Raider Widder utilized against the Anglo Saxon. In all likelihood they men – J. Auchterlounie, A. Barik, I. Ben, W. Dissell, T. W. Grace, F. E. J. Liebermann, J. Moksena, T. Prentice, E. Sango, and A. Yarldley to name just a few – died a slow and tortuous death of starvation, or drowned when the raft they were on or lifeboat they were in was tipped over and subsumed by the sea. History – and we – may never know, barring a detailed attack report from the Calvi or a long-overdue message in a bottle, or the location and investigation of the ships’ hulk in the Sargasso Sea.