SS Volo

United Kingdom
Name: Volo
Namesake: Volos, Greece
Operator: Ellerman´s Wilson Line Ltd, Hull
Port of registry: Hull
Builder: Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd,[1] Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Yard number: 1582[2]
Completed: April 1938[1]
Out of service: 28 December 1941[3]
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk on 28 December 1941
General characteristics
Class and type: cargo steamship
Length: 283.9 feet (86.5 m)[1] p/p
Beam: 40.2 feet (12.3 m)[1]
Draught: 17 feet 0 inches (5.18 m)[1]
Depth: 15.7 feet (4.8 m)[1]
Ice class: "strengthened for navigation in ice"[1]
Installed power: 335 NHP[1]
Crew: 30 crew + 8 DEMS gunners[3]
Sensors and
processing systems:
wireless direction finding[1]
Notes: sister ship: Tasso

SS Volo was a British steam cargo ship that was built on Tyneside in 1938 and sunk by a German U-boat in the Mediterranean Sea off North Africa in 1941. 23 people onboard the Volo died as a result of the attack.


Volo was one of a pair of sister ships that Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson of Newcastle upon Tyne built for Ellerman's Wilson Line Ltd. The first was Tasso, which Swan Hunter completed in February 1938. Volo was completed in April 1938.[1] Ellerman's registered both ships in Hull.[1] The line named Volo after the port of Volos in Thessaly, Greece, which is one of many Mediterranean ports with which the company traded.

Volo had six corrugated furnaces with a combined grate area of 115 square feet (11 m2) heating two 210 lbf/in2 single-ended boilers with a combined heating surface of 4,043 square feet (376 m2).[1] The boilers fed a three-cylinder triple expansion steam engine that in turn exhausted into a low-pressure steam turbine.[1] The turbine had double-reduction gearing, the two engines drove a single screw and their combined power output was rated at 335 NHP.[1]

Career and sinking

In the Second World War Volo served in a number of convoys, starting in September and October 1939 with two round trips between the Bristol Channel and the Loire. From November 1939 until May 1940 she made four round trips between Liverpool and Gibraltar, then in June 1940 she sailed from the Dardanelles to Port Said. From August 1940 until December 1941 she operated from ports in Egypt to support UK and Allied forces in the Siege of Malta and the Battle of Greece.

In December 1941 Volo was a member of Convoy ME-8 from Malta to Alexandria.[3] Her Master was George Ronald Whitfield, MBE.[3] Early on the morning of 28 December the German submarine U-75 attacked the convoy.[3] The U-boat torpedoed Volo, sinking her about 45 nautical miles (83 km) northwest of Mersa Matruh, Egypt.[3] Captain Whitfield, 20 crew members and three DEMS gunners were killed.[3] Nine crew members and five DEMS gunners survived, were rescued by the Royal Navy Landing Ship, Tank HMS LCT-11 and taken to Alexandria.[3]

Two of ME-8's escorts, the destroyers HMS Kipling and HMS Legion, pursued U-75. After two and a half hours Kipling sank the U-boat with depth charges, killing 14 of her 44 crew.[4]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Lloyd's Register, Steamers and Motorships (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register. 1938. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  2. Lettens, Jan (3 July 2013). "SS Volo [+1941]". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2013). "Volo". Ships hit by U-boats. Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  4. Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2013). "U-75". List of all U-boats. Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 7 August 2013.

Coordinates: 31°45′N 26°48′E / 31.750°N 26.800°E / 31.750; 26.800

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