17th February 1917 –
SS Athos sunk, 754 lost

athosAthos was a two-funnelled cargo-passenger ship being built at Dunkirk for Messageries Maritimes when the Great War erupted. Once launched, she was towed to St Nazaire, where she was completed in November 1915 for use as a troopship. She was 513 feet long, and displaced 12,644grt. Her maiden voyage was to China, sailing on 28th November 1915, with a second voyage from Marseilles to Yokohama and back in late 1916.

525On 17th February 1917, while some 200 miles ESE of Malta, on her third voyage, she was torpedoed by German submarine U-65, commanded by Hermann von Fischel. She was carrying 1,950 people, including a large contingent of Senegalese soldiers, civilian passengers, 1,000 Chinese labourers and the crew. Athos sank in just 14 minutes, with the loss of 754 aboard, including the captain. The survivors were quickly picked up by  escorting vessels.