30th January 1918 – Minnetonka sunk off Malta

minnetonka broadsideMinnetonka was built at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast yard for Atlantic Transport. Launched on 12th December 1901, she was completed by early July 1902. Her maiden voyage was from London to New York on 12th July 1902. She was one of the first ships to be fitted with wireless, a Marconi system: her call letters were MMK.

minnetonka as HMTFollowing the outbreak of the Great War she was requisitioned in May 1915 as a troopship, as HMT158. She was attacked by submarine U35 on 2nd February 1917, while in the Mediterranean, but successfully escaped. Later that year she was attacked on 24th September by the German submarine UC34 but again escaped successfully.

Finally, on 30th January 1918, she was attacked by the German submarine U64, under Captain Robert Moraht. She was sailing unescorted from Port Said to Malta, carrying a cargo of mail. Two torpedoes were fired, one of which hit and damaged the liner. Shortly after the submarine fired another torpedo, and then surfaced and engaged the troopship , firing 10 rounds from the deck gun. Fortunately at that time there were no troops aboard, although four crew were killed in the attack. Minnetonka sank soon after.