Dear Mr Mckenzie,
I have just read your website about the Tuscan Star. My aunt, Emily Florence, travelled on that final journey, I think. I would like to be sure. Both she and her husband were going back to Scotland, but travelled separately. He left on the Avila Star. I have read Taffrail's book but there is no passenger list. Do you know if any of the passenger lists are available?
She did not remember (50 years later) the name of the ship or the date of departure. This can be explained by the fact that her husband was on the sea for twenty days after a U-boat sank the Avila Star in July 1942. (He died just before the Portuguese found his boat). So she had two traumas to cope with.
However, she remembered many of the details. The U-boat captain giving them food, being picked up by a liner after three days,and going to Liverpool.
I found it interesting that eventually the U-boat got its comeuppance and I expect Aunt Emily would have said "Good Riddance"!
Thank you for your account. I hope that you can help me.
Thank you for your interesting E-Mail about Aunt Emily. My christian name is Mackenzie and the surname is Gregory, but all my life I have had those two names transposed.
I do not know if any passenger lists are available, I borrowed Traffrail's Book from the Blue Star Line Offices in Sydney to research my story, as I could not buy a copy, probably it is out of print. If your Aunt recalls the U-Boat Captain giving the survivors both food and water it would seem most likely that Emily was on board the last trip made by the Tuscan Star, but I will try to find a passenger list for her, and will get back to you in the future.
I am grateful for your time and trouble in contacting me.
Tuscan Star sank at number 16
To round out the sinking of the Avila Star by U-201. On the Blue Star Line web site, it is reported that 45 crew and 12 passengers died then, and later, on the 17th. of February 1943, in 1943, U-201 herself was sunk in the North Atlantic by the British Destroyer, HMS Viscount, and her whole crew of 49 died.
Thus it was but a small consolation for Emily, but her husband was then avenged.
Thank you for replying so promptly to my query about the Tuscan Star passenger list. I didn't think of looking on the net for it. I supposed that it would not be available to everyone, even if it was still in existence. However, I thought, as a naval man you might know more about it than me.
I have read Taffrail's account of the Avila Star as his book seems to be in at least five different cities and at a price (always rising) I can access it through library interloan. I tried your website to see if I could learn anything new, but unfortunately for some reason a message appeared saying that it was not available.
Thanks for your help and your opinion on Aunt Emily's memory. She didn't remember what was in the tins of food!
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