The SINKING of Francesco Crispi
April 19, 1943. The Francesco Crispi, a merchant ship adapted for troop transport, is sunk by the submarine HMS Saracen: 943 dead, of which 534 grenadiers and 409 soldiers of other groups; 357 survivors.
Around 2.30 pm, the Crispi was intercepted and hit with three torpedoes by the British submarine HMS Saracen which was lying in ambush 18 miles from Punta Nera (Elba Island). The heavily damaged steamer sinks in just 16 minutes. The convoy was formed by F. Crispi, with 1300 men on board, by the transport ship "Rossini" and by some auxiliary ships; it was escorted by the destroyer "La Masa". Three were the deadly torpedoes that hit the target and made Francesco Crispi disappear into the abysses of a deep sea.
FRANCESCO CRISPI: AN OLD SHIP READAPTED TO MILITARY SERVICE
During the conflict, old ships adapted for military service were often used for the transport of troops; in this case the steamship Francesco Crispi (7600 tons) was used, probably a mail ship dating back to the late 1920s. Together with the Crispi there were also the Rossini, another transport ship, the destroyer G. La Masa, an armed auxiliary ship and a hospital ship.
THE BRITISH SUBMARINE HMS SARACEN
He belonged to the class S, (code P247) and was launched on February 16, 1942. In his first combat mission, on August 3 of that year, it sunk the German submarine U 335 off the islands Faer Oer. The Saracen become famous for this. It had a displacement of 990 tons, was 65.9 meters long and a crew of 48 men with 6-7 torpedo launchers and a 102/40 gun. On November 9, 1942, it sunk the Italian submarine Granito off Capo San Vito in Sicily. In April 1943 it crossed the Ligurian Sea, intercepting the Italian convoys. On April 19, 1943, it sunk the passenger ship used to transport troops Francesco Crispi off the island of Elba, on April 22 it sunk the steamship Tagliamento off the coast of Pianosa, while on July 6 it was the turn of Tripoli, near the island of Capraia. The Saracen race ended on August 14, 1943 right in front of Bastia, in that sea where it had raged for months. It was attacked with depth charges by the Italian warships Minerva and Euterpe. He quickly emerged and the crew, before rescuing themselves, maneuvered to bring down the Saracen , thus avoiding it falling into enemy hands; Captain Michael Lumby even wanted to wait a day to avoid sinking his submarine on Friday the 13th, a day that did not have seemed a good omen, despite the fact that the submarine was already lost.