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Justicia
  • Builder: Harland and Wolff
  • Yard No.: 436
  • Launched: 9th July, 1914
  • Maiden Voyage: N/A
  • Gross Tonnage: 32,234 tons
  • Length: 740.5 ft.
  • Beam: 86.4 ft.
  • Decks: 4
  • Funnels: 3
  • Masts: 3
  • Propellers: 3
  • Engines: 2 x triple expansion engines & 1 low pressure turbine to centre prop.
  • Boilers: 12 double boilers
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Port of Registry: Liverpool
  • Carrying Capacity: 4,000 troops
  • Sister Ships: N/A

Justicia was laid down in 1912 as Statendam, for the Holland America Line, and she was launched under that guise on the 9th July, 1914, but work on her fitting out soon stopped. Statendam was requisitioned and purchased by the British Government, and the work to fit her out continued, but slowly, and in an effort to save steel during the war, her funnels were built with a much smaller diameter than designed.

On 7th April, 1917, the work to fit her out was completed, and she was now known as Justicia. The original plan had been for her to become part of Cunard fleet as a replacement for Lusitania, but Cunard would have had problems providing enough crew for her, so Justicia was allocated to the White Star Line, who could utilise Britannic II's crew to man her.

Justicia was originally painted an all-over light grey livery, but in 1918, she received her dazzle livery. On the 19th July that year, Justicia was part of a convoy, OLX 39, between Belfast and New York, when, at 13.50p.m., she was struck by a single torpedo, from the German submarine UB-64, off Skerryvore, on the Scottish coast. Justicia took on a list, but didn't sink, but despite the presence of her escorts, UB-64 managed to hit her with two more torpedoes, but Justicia still remained afloat, and all but a skeleton crew were taken off her. Justicia was then taken in tow by the Royal Navy tug HMS Sonia, with the intention of towing her to Lough Swilley. During the tow, at 19.18p.m., a fourth torpedo, again from UB-64, struck Justicia, which still remained afloat, however, during this attack, UB-64 was damaged, and the Justicia Wrecksub. played no further part in the demise of Justicia, which wasn't too far away. The following day, 20th July, and UB-124 homed-in to the crippled Justicia, and hit with two, fatal, strikes. By noon, Justicia laid on her side, and sank, with the death of 16 of her skeleton crew in the engine room below. UB-124 was attacked with depth charges at 18.14p.m., and she came to the surface, damaged, and then sunk by the combined gunfire from the destroyers Marne, Milbrook and Pigeon, and all but two of her crew were taken prisoner. By then, there were about 30 various naval vessels in attendance. The Royal Navy held an enquiry into her loss, and the fact that Justicia had been hit six times during daylight hours was not a great outcome, and the inquiry said that the determination and bravery of the U-boat crews had been "beyond belief".

A new ship was built by Harland and Wolff as a replacement for her, which was also called Statendam.

 

 

 

N.B. Image source GreatShips

 

 

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