S.S. Percier 1945



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The Percier was a  Belgium steamer who’s original name was “War Buffalo” launched in Newcastle in 1918. She was part of a convoy, BTC 65, when she was torpedoed by the German submarine UB 1017 commanded by Werner Riecken and his crew of 34. The Percier’s   Captain Mathieu, First Officer Lardinoy and Commodore Wood braced  themselves, expecting a second torpedo. Also onboard were many crew who had survived the sinking of the Leopoldville, which, torpedoed, sank off Cherbourg on Christmas night, 1944.



Steel Transport Steamship


Northumberrland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Yard No. 248

Owner when sank

Cie Maritime belge CMB Lloyd Royal Antwerpeni


122 m x 16m x 8.7M Draught


4.7” stern gun and two 20mm Oerlixcons


517hp cruising 10kts




She had a cargo of boxes of powdered egg, tins of baby food, meat and woollen blankets. Fourty four of her crew were saved out of the Persier’s complement of 63. Some of the lifeboats had broken away and some were shattered by the turning propeller. Once abandoned she drifted into the night, stern high, bow down and was last seen seven miles north of the Eddystone lighthouse.


The Persier today is right off the mouth of the Erme with her bows to the south-west. Her bow is her highest point about 10m above the seabed at 28m. She is over on her port side and very broken amidships, where she is lying over rock outcrops. Her centre has collapsed inwards. The three boilers are clear to see. Nearby is an 8ft anchor. Her propeller, three guns and the bell have all been salvaged. She is owned by Plymouth Sound BSAC.


   Photos Steve Clarkson