Karl (Ezra) Bauer

First Officer, S.S. Botavon
Died 14 May 1942
Commemorated on Tower Hill Memorial
Age 20

Karl was born on 18 June 1922 in Vienna, Austria to Lothar and Hedwig Bauer. The family moved to Israel when Karl was ten years old and settled in Haifa. When Karl was in ninth grade, due to economic reasons, he was forced to stop his studies and work in construction, although he continued to study by correspondence and achieved his high school diploma. In 1939 at the age of seventeen he joined a Danish merchant ship and at the outbreak of war he transferred to British and Canadian ships crossing the Atlantic supplying military equipment to Britain. He was able to attend Canadian and American sea officer schools and became a First Officer.

Karl was on S.S. Botavon which was part of the Arctic convoy PQ15 which consisted of twenty five merchant ships sailing from Iceland to aid the Soviet Union. On 3rd May at 01:30, six Heinkel He 111 bombers of Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 26, the Luftwaffe’s new torpedo bomber force, made the first German torpedo bomber attack of the war. The Botavon was torpedoed and later sunk by Captain H. Anchor, the convoy’s Commodore.

Karl was rescued by H.M.S. Trinidad which had itself sustained damage from an attack. The ship sailed for Murmansk for minor repairs. On 13 May 1942, Trinidad was being escorted home by the destroyers Foresight, Forester, Somali and Matchless. Her speed was reduced to 20 knots owing to the damage she had sustained. En route, she was attacked by more than twenty Ju 88 bombers on 14 May 1942. All attacks missed, except for one bomb that struck near the previous damage, starting a serious fire. Sixty-three men were lost including Karl.

Courtesy www.izkor.gov.il