For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
This page is not meant to be a comprehensive history of the S.S. Nerissa, but a record of sailors of the ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY who served in her, photos they took and stories they may have shared with their families.
S.S. Nerissa was torpedoed on April 30, 1941 by U-552, a Type VIIC submarine under the command of Erich Topp, 200 miles north of Liverpool inward bound. On April 30 she entered the area patrolled by the aircraft of the Royal Navy's Coastal Command. A Lockheed Hudson aircraft flew over her at nightfall and signaled that the area was clear of enemy submarines; at 11:30 hrs. she was struck amidships by a torpedo fired from German submarine U-552, 200 mi (320 km) from her destination of Liverpool. The lifeboats were manned and in the process of being lowered when an explosion split the ship in two, destroying the un-lowered boats. U-552 had fired an additional two torpedoes to ensure the ship's sinking which had struck together three minutes after the first. In the short time between the two impacts the ship's radio operator was able to send a Mayday signal along with the ship's position and at first light a Bristol Blenheim of Coastal Command circled the scene. The British destroyer H.M.S. Veteran arrived an hour later at 07:50 hrs. and picked up the 91 survivors, who were transferred to the Flower Class corvette H.M.S. Kingcup and landed at Derry, 209 died at sea (122 Canadians died), 10 perished from the Royal Canadian Navy. (Source: The Ultimate Sacrifice by Robert D'Aoust)
Photos and Documents