Alan Fleisher

Assistant Baker, S.S. Almeda Star
Died 17 Jan 1941
Commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial
Age 27

Alan (Abraham) was born on 15 May 1913 in Whitechapel, London to Polish born parents Jacob and Minnie nee Goldstein and he was the second youngest of seven children. Their father Jacob was a Master Baker working in Brady Street, Whitechapel before moving to larger premises in St Peter’s Road where the family also ran a grocer’s shop with the eldest children working as bakers or in the shop. By 1939, the bakery was a large family concern on the High Street, Hackney, with the older married children and their spouses working in the business. In 1937, Alan undertook his first voyage in the Merchant Navy as an assistant cook and was listed as working on the ship Lochmonar which was a Royal Mail cargo ship, however by 1939 he was back at home working as a bread baker. At the age of twenty-seven he was working as an assistant baker onboard the S.S. Almeda Star.

On 15 January the ship sailed from Liverpool bound for the River Plate, carrying 194 passengers including 142 members of the Fleet Air Arm from 749, 750 and 752 Squadrons en-route to RNAS Piarco on Trinidad. 

At 0745 hrs on 17 January 1941 the ship was about 35 nautical miles north of Rockall in heavy seas when German U-Boat U-96 hit her amidships with one torpedo causing her to stop. She did not sink so U-96 fired again at 0805 and 0907 hrs, hitting her in the stern and again amidships. The ship had launched four lifeboats but still had people on deck when U-96 surfaced and opened fire on her with her deck gun.  The fires on board soon went out so at 0955 hrs U-96 hit the ship with a fourth torpedo, which exploded in her forepart and within three minutes Almeda Star sank by her bow. Almeda Star had transmitted one distress message and the Royal Navy responded by sending seven destroyers to search the area. They found no survivors, boats or wreckage: all 360 people aboard were lost.

Also on board were Cohen, Benjamin | Remembering the Jews of WW2 and Rabinovitch, Phillip | Remembering the Jews of WW2

1921 Census
Royal Mail ship Lochmonar
1939 Register