Liner Sunk by German Raiders off East Cape
Seventy five years ago today, in the early hours of the morning on November 27, 1940, in poor visibility, the ocean liner RMS Rangitane was attacked by raiders Orion and Komet. Radio operators reported that the Rangitane was transmitting distress calls, while she was ordered to immediately cease transmissions and to stop.
On 25 November the Orion and Komet (cruising with an unarmed supply ship, the Kulmerland) had sunk the little steamer Holmwood off the Chatham Islands, taking its 17 crew and 12 passengers prisoner.
At 3.40 a.m. on the 27th the German flotilla intercepted a far bigger prize, the Rangitane, three days out of Auckland bound for the United Kingdom via Panama. The liner had a crew of 201 and was carrying 111 passengers, including Fleet Air Arm recruits and radar specialists on their way to Britain, and a group of British women who had escorted 477 child evacuees to New Zealand aboard SS Batory.