Appeal for information on Bellona 11

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this newspaper has been contacted by Karl Gray, who is seeking information relating to the SS Bellona 11 which sank off Gourdon on October 8/9, 1940.

mr Gray writes: “I would like to appeal for information from the local community, concerning an event that happened off Gourdon and in Strathalen Bay on October 8/9 1940.

“My grandfather lost his life in this incident (as did seven other men) and it may be possible that someone has knowledge.

“The SS (steamship) Bellona II was sailing from Hull to Reykjavik, Iceland and had twenty eight men on board.

“Four miles off the coast of Gourdon at eight mins past eight in the evening, she put out a mayday that she was being dive bombed by enemy aircraft. The Goudon lifeboat crew went out and rescued 19 men. The ship was an inferno, and the men as you may imagine were terrified.

“The Bellona II then drifted, on fire, eight nautical miles north and ditched in Strathalen Bay, by which time she had burnt down to her waterline.

“I would like to lay a wreath at the site of the final resting place of the Bellona II, but I have drawn a blank as to what happened next. It is possible that as a danger to shipping she may have been towed out to sea and sunk.

“Somebody may have knowledge of an 800 ton cargo ship wreck in Strathalen Bay. They may have seen it as a child, they may remember when it “went” or indeed if it went at all!

“Somebody may remember stories of 19 men being landed at Gourdon, some Scandinavian and some Danish.

“Somebody may even have taken photos of the wreck in Strathalen Bay. I believe it would have been a very unusual occurance at the time and much local interest may have developed.

Any “snippet” of information, no matter how trivial, would be gratefully received, furthermore it may give a clue to further research.

“the men of the Merchant Marine were serving their country, and suffered massive losses with very little credit.”

Anyone with information should contact this newspaper by email or by telephoning 01569 762139 and it will be passed on to Mr Gray.