Re: Mystery ships at Beirut July 1939
Posted by: david asprey
Date: July 27, 2018 07:04PM
Southampton was her regular port of call on NDL's service to the Far East. Detective-Sergeant Nicholl of the Shanghai police, returning from leave, boarded on 23/8 at Southampton. In an interview in September at home in Dundee he said that there were about 200 passengers, of which sixteen were British, the others mostly German and Austrian.
"When two days out, in the southern Bay of Biscay, we discovered that the ship was travelling NNW instead of due south for Barcelona, fist port of call, where we were due on August 26th.
The liner made so many deviations that the passengers were unable to tell in which direction they were traveling. Eventually it was ascertained by ship's time that the Potsdam was 30 degrees west of Greenwich several hundred milesoff the west coast of Ireland and travelling due north.
For another whole day we struck ENE round the coast of Scotland to a point just south of Iceland, isolated from all shipping. There we encountered fog banks. without showing a single light the liner was in the fog banks for 2½ days. Then we were told that the ship was making for a friendly port.
Here it was noticed that the colour of the Potsdam's funnel had been changed from fawn to resemble a vessel of the Cunard Line.
On the evening of Monday, August 28 we called at Bremershaven [sic], the port of Bremen. We came ashore the following day and were transported into Bremen. the German passengers were sent to their own homes, but we Britishers were ordered to return to London."
[Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday, 6 September 1939]