23rd May 2006, 11:55
A couple of queries :-
Does anyone have details of the Royal Mail Line's Magdalena, wrecked on her maiden in 1949.
Also, what is the actual meaning of a ship being stricken as opposed to being
wrecked, sunk or broken up ?.

23rd May 2006, 12:30
Well there is no entry in "The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea" for this so I guess it is down to the normal English usage of the word. It comes from the verb to strike and is an archaic word form.

The Oxford English Dictionary offers: "Seriously affected by an undesirable condition or unpleasant feeling."

Webster's Dictionary offers: "Wounded, especially by a missile; struck down or afflicted as by a calamity or disease"

So I guess putting these together a ship so described is in a very dangerous situation - not quite beyond hope but could become so shortly if the situation does not improve.

Hope that helps.



23rd May 2006, 16:39
Magadalena Built by Harland and Wolff Belfast yard number 1354 Launched 11th May 1948 delivered 18th February 1949 Passenger/cargo vessel 17547 gross tons for Royal Mail Line. Vessel ran aground off Rio de Janeiro in April 1949 while on her maiden voyage to Argentina. All 350 passengers and 100 crew safely disembarked however she broke apart while attempts were being made to refloat her. There is another background story to this event but at the risk of appearing deliberately mysterious I'm not going to provide any further details. My sincere apologies in advance if I am appearing to be unhelpful but there are very good reasons for this.

31st May 2006, 11:55
Hello Brian,
Thanks for your input on the term stricken. There could be one or two of your findings that relate to shipping. Since I posted my query, I have seen an article concerning HMS Warspite. When being towed to the breakers in the 40's, she apparently either struck rocks or grounded and her condition before salvage was described as stricken so maybe two of your definitions such as being in an undesirable condition or beset by calamity may well apply.

31st May 2006, 12:40
Rangiman, picture of Royal Mail "Magdalena" aground.



31st May 2006, 12:45
Magdalena, above web then click 1940

Paul UK
31st May 2006, 16:28
The Us Navy always strike their ships from the register, as you always see "Stricken from the active list"

I know it is long winded but these ships can then be sold for further service, scrapped,laid up or placed in a museum.

I dont know if I'm correct or not maybe our US members can help.


31st May 2006, 18:45
Tmac why bother to mention "another" story if you will not tell it. Surely it would have been proper not to mention anything about it.

1st June 2006, 11:21
Thanks Barney for your input on the Magdalena. Very interesting.
I wonder if there are any others on our site who crewed her and what their experiences were in getting home. DBS or whatever.
Thank you too Paul for your research into the "stricken" query.
Bill Whitehead

1st June 2006, 12:19
Type in ss magdelena on Google and there is an interesting article regarding a recent reunion by four the crew who were oboard when the 'Magdelena' was lost, its on the BBC News Northern Ireland webpage.
I note that she was insured for 2,500,000 at the time of her loss - seems an awful lot of money for 1949.
Peter4447 (*))

1st June 2006, 16:20
Tmac why bother to mention "another" story if you will not tell it. Surely it would have been proper not to mention anything about it.
OK I take your point I probably should not have mentioned it however I did apologise in advance. The story is well known in maritime circles and if you research Magdalena deep enough you will find it.

1st June 2006, 18:47
Would it be relative to what Peter 4447 says "insurance" Information on the ship seems a bit sparce on the web.
Have not been in maritime circles, only went to sea, so only had ships gossip.

1st June 2006, 19:29
There is an another account from some surviving crew members here: http://www.theyachtmarket.com/news/452.aspx

Incidentally for those of you who like disaster stories here is a site that lists ship collisions with icebergs (including "bergy bits"): http://www.icedata.ca/icedb/ice/bergs2.pdf . Personally I would prefer a Bitburger but that is another story (but I'm not going to tell you about it either). [=P]


2nd June 2006, 19:25
Same wording as the BBC NI page, but no gossip.

Jan Hendrik
3rd June 2006, 01:36
The book of R. Sodenkamp gives a very detailed description of the "stranding" of this ship and hereby two photos.
First one of the seatrials in 1949 and the other one is very clear.
Bill, I got the story in Dutch (2 pages) and can translate for you if you really like, then send a PM as I am not sure whether I can put it in this forum due to possible copyright. The book is more than 30 years old though.
It was the ship's maiden trip but already on her way back from La Plata to London, then she got stranded near Ilhas Tijncas, close to Rio de Janeiro.

Dave Edge
3rd June 2006, 01:47
I have heard that Harland & Wolff were not happy with the design of the "Magdalena" as they believed the ship had an inherent weakness in way of number 3 hatch, right where she broke. If so this may be Tmac's 'another story'.

Jan Hendrik
3rd June 2006, 02:01
The story in that book says as follows:
Initially they thought it had something to do with the fact this being the first passenger liner in the U.K. which was partly welded and partly rivetted and they considered that this new method might have contributed to the stranding.
After extensive investigations it was concluded that this had nothing to do with it .

The Ministry of Transport was responsible for the enquiry.
Both the captain (D.R.V. Lee) and the ch. officer were considered to be at fault, but the book does not go into details here.
The captain who safely commandeered many ships with troops during the war and had an excellent safety record in his 40 year career as a captain, he then got punished by not allowing him to sail for 2 years as a captain.
The ch. officer was banned for one year.

24th August 2009, 09:42
(K) Hope this information is not too late. While researching the Magdalena, I came across your question.
My brother was a member of the crew at the time of her running aground. Although it happened some months before I was born, my memories of the story, as relayed by my Mother were as follows: Alledgedly, the first officer was in charge at the time of her grounding. Apparently, she was too close inshore, leading to her running aground.
My brother's 21st birthday presents were on-board at the time, most or all were lost with the wreck. I seem to recall that he had a photograph of the stern section still afloat, on his bedroom wall. It was a copy of this picture that I was looking for. If anyone knows of a site where this is available I would appreciate a tip.
Sadly my brother is no longer with us, so I am unable to ask him.

24th August 2009, 09:53
Hi, just scroll back a few posts and you will find some photos. Also, google "Loss of the Magdalena" and you will find the full report.