Capt A.Quail fought in WW2 in the british merchant navy

Dear Sir,

I'm grandson of late Capt A.Quail that fought in IIww in the british merchant navy. He was captain for the Ulster steamship company (Head Lines).

I'm now doing some bit of historical research on his sailing life (from the age of 14 till end of '60. I am now trying to trace the history of his last ship the ship on wich he has been Master for many years. I'm contacting you because I thinck that you could help me as the matter involves the arguments of your site.

The "Bengore Head" in fact was during the war a german ship, a sailor that was with my grandfather after the war told me that it was an Hansa class ship probably a Marauder but I can't find any news about her by any source.

If you have any data in your source files about this ship or about Capt. A.Quail, convoys, would you please give me an hand?

I found in the Photo album a photo reading "A raider quietly at anchor" it's not of a very good quality but it seems to have almost the same silouette. Could it be the one. In the family there was a legend that said that my grandfather was awarded a medal because he seized a German vessel and it was Bengore Head. Probably things have been muddled up. Probably he was on a ship "Bengore Head" that was captured by British and the handed over to Head Lines. Or they were mixing two facts in one.

Do you know something about this?

Thanking you in advance I'm sending you all my best regards.
Great website

Good to hear from you.
Here are some references.

Ulster Steamship Company / Head Line / Lord Line (After 1917) / Head-Donaldson Line

Registered in Dublin in 1877, the Ulster Steamship Company ran services to the east coast of Canada, the Far East, Europe and Baltic ports. New Orleans voyages started in 1896 and the company commenced carrying a limited number of passengers at about the same time.

In 1917 the Irish Shipowners Company, Limited, (Thomas Dixon & Sons, Belfast) known as the Lord Line, was taken over. They had run sailings between Belfast / Dublin / Cardiff and Baltimore, Rotterdam to Galveston and Cardiff to Montreal and Quebec. These services continued to be known as the Lord Line.

Agreement was reached in 1919 between Ulster Steamship Company, Palgrave, Murphy & Company, Dublin and Hudig & Veder NV, Rotterdam, to form a working partnership and to pool vessels. There were limited inter-fleet sales of vessels between the three partners. Following changes of ownership and the creation of the Republic of Ireland, the company was re-registered in Belfast in 1924.

On the opening of the Great Lakes to foreign deep sea vessels, a new service to this area was established. With the advent of containerisation and increased air passenger services, Ulster Steamship Company acquired the shares of Donaldson Line in 1967 and the company traded under the name of Head-Donaldson Line. In 1979 their last ship was sold and the Head-Donaldson services were absorbed into the Canadian Pacific operations.

There were five ships from the Ulster Line all named Bengore Head.

Bengore Head (1) 1881 1881 sold while fitting out to Hamburg=20 America Line, renamed Bohemia. 2,216
Bengore Head (2) 1883 1883 sold while fitting out to Hamburg=20 America Line, renamed Moravia. 3,739
Bengore Head (3) 1884 1917 torpedoed and sunk. 2,584
Bengore Head (4) 1922 1941 torpedoed and sunk. 2,609
Bengore Head (5) 1944 ex- Empire Garrison, 1945 purchased from Ministry = of=20 Transport and renamed Bengore Head, 1967 sold to Greece, renamed = Aghios=20 Nectarios. 1,925


Bengore Head 4 sailed from Liverpool in Convoy OB-318 on the 7th. of May 1941.

She was torpedoed and sunk by U-110 ( Captain Lemp ) on the 9th. of May, of her crew of 41, only 1 man died.

Her crew, including her Captain Maurice Kennedy, were rescued by a Norwegian ship Borgfred who landed them in Sydney, and HMS Aubretia, who dropped them off in Iceland.

Lemp had sunk Athenia on the day war was declared on the 3rd. of September 1939, now in U-110, he was captured by HMS Bulldog, and his secret cipher machine ENIGMA was collected by the British.

U-110 sank whilst under tow, and her Captain Lemp died.

Convoy battles.

Liverpool - Outward (North America) (North Atlantic)

7 May, 1941 - 10 May, 1941

The Convoy 38 ships First sighting On 7 May, 1941 by U-94 Escorts until 7 may : the 7th Escort Group, consisting of the destroyers Westcott ( Cdr Bockett-Pugh ), Newmarket, and Campbelltown, the corvettes Primrose, Marigold, Nasturtium, Dianthus and Auricula, the sloop Rochester and the a/s trawler Angle.

The 3th Escort Group, consisting of the destroyers Bulldog ( Cdr Baker-Creswell), Amazon and Broadway, the armed merchant cruiser Ranpura ( temporarily attached to the EG), the corvettes Aubretia, Hollycock and Nigella and the a/s trawlers Daneman and St-Appollo, is scheduled to relieve the 7th EG in Mid-Atlantic.
U-94 (Kptlt Kuppisch) *, U-110 (Kptlt Lemp) *, U-201 (Oblt Schnee) *, U-556 (Kptlt Wohlfarth) *

* U-boats that fired torpedo or used the deck gun
The battle
When the sighting message of the U-95 on the more western, homeward convoy SC-29 is heard, the British admiralty orders a course change which make the convoy head right to the position of U-94. Contact is made in the evening of the 7th, when 3 ships leave the convoy for Reykjavik, and the destroyers of the 3th EG arrive and relieve those of the 7th EG, who are short on fuel. The rest of the 7th EG intends to remain another day before going to escort convoy HX-123.

U-94 makes an attack from the rear of the convoy and sinks 2 ships. In the light of the exploding and burning ships, the Rochester notices the periscope of the U-94. Bulldog and Amazon plaster the boat with in total 89 depth charges until morning, but U-94 can escape damaged.

In the morning of the 8th, the corvettes and trawler of the 3th reinforce the convoy and the remaining units of the 7th leave. In the evening U-110 gets in touch and brings up U-201. The two U-boats meet each other in the morning of the 9th and discuss tactics : U-110 will attack from the front of the convoy and U-201 will follow half an hour later.

The U-110 is captured
In the night U-110 fires three torpedoes and sinks 2 ships. The Aubretia counterattacks with 2 series of depth charges and U-110 is forced to surface in front of the destroyers Bulldog and Broadway. Broadway does not ram the U-boat but manages to get a boarding party on the U-boat and capture very important material. The captured material seems so vital that the admiralty considers it's better the Germans think the U-boat has been sunk in action and it orders the U-boat already being taken in tow to Iceland to be scuttled in order to better protect the secret.

As agreed with U-110, U-201 attacks later and sinks one and damages one. Amazon, Nigella and St-Appolo counterattack for 5 hours and expend some 100 depth charges. U-201 escapes damaged but is able to continue her patrol.

U-556 also attacks in the night and damages one. The convoy is dispersed in the morning. U-556 continues the chase and sinks another 2 ships.

Ships hit from convoy OB-318

DateU-boatCommanderName of shipGRT Nat.7 May, 1941 U-94 Herbert Kuppisch Eastern Star5.658nw7 May, 1941 U-94 Herbert Kuppisch Ixion10.263br9 May, 1941 U-110 Fritz-Julius Lemp Bengore Head2.609br9 May, 1941 U-110 Fritz-Julius Lemp Esmond4.976br9 May, 1941 U-201 Adalbert Schnee Empire Cloud (d.)5.969br9 May, 1941 U-201 Adalbert Schnee Gregalia5.802br10 May, 1941 U-556 Herbert Wohlfarth Aelybryn (d.)4.986br10 May, 1941 U-556 Herbert Wohlfarth Empire CaribouD 4.861br10 May, 1941 U-556 Herbert Wohlfarth GandD 5.086be23 May, 1941 U-38 Heinrich Liebe BerhalaD 6.622nl27 May, 1941 U-107 Günter Hessler ColonialD 5.108br
(d.) = the ship was damaged in that attack.
Convoy info: S = straggler, D = dispersed, R = Romper9 ships sunk for a total of 50.985 tons from convoy OB-318.

Sergio, I can find no reference anywhere either to Captain A Quail, or the fact that Bengore Head when a German ship, acted as a Raider.

I will send my articles on the sinking of Athenia, and the capture of U-110, by separate E-Mails.

I trust there is something of interest here for you.

Best regards,


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