14th September 1940 – CGT’s Flandre lost to a mine

flandre_hospital - smallSS Flandre was built for CGT (French Line) by Atel. & Chant. de St Nazaire at Penhoet. Launched on 31st October 1913, she was transferred to Sud-Atlantique before completion for their Bordeaux to South America service. Her maiden voyage was on 30th September 1914, to Buenos Aires. Requisitioned in March 1915 she was used as a troopship in the Dardanelles campaign. In 1917 she was converted into a hospital ship, and after the Armistice was used to repatriate troops.

flandre at sea - smallIn July 1919 Flandre was released and returned to CGT, for use on their Central American service to Mexico. During the Great Depression of the 1930s she was moved to the slower service operating from St Nazaire to Bordeaux, Spain and on to Central America and the West Indies.

Flandre Loss1940 - smallAt the outbreak of World War II Flandre was initially laid up, but early in 1940 was requisitioned again, to transport troops for the Norway campaign. Following the collapse of France, Flandre was seized by the Germans for use as a naval auxiliary, to be used as a troop transport for Operation Sealion, the planned invasion of the UK. Leaving Bordeaux in convoy on 13th September 1940 she struck a magnetic mine, ironically laid earlier by Germans, in the mouth of the Gironde river, and grounded. She broke in two on 14th September 1940 and was abandoned, fortunately with no casualties. After the war the remains were destroyed by a Royal Navy ordnance team.