Phillip Rabinovitch (Rabinowitz)

Scullion, S.S. Almeda Star
Died 17 Jan 1941
Commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial
Age 28

Phillip was born on 19 November 1912 in West Derby, Lancashire to Polish parents Max and Rachel nee Epstein. Max worked as a cabinet maker and died in 193. Phillip served in the Merchant Navy, enlisting in 1935 and his first ship was the Lancastria. The 1939 Register shows him on leave living with his widowed mother at 8 Wide Street in Liverpool. The register states that Phillip is working as a ship’s cook on the S.S. Reina del Pacifico a ship which was requisitioned as a troop carrier in WW2. Phillip then transferred to the ship S.S. Almeda Star and worked as a scullion.

On the 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 onboard were Fleisher, Alan | Remembering the Jews of WW2 and Cohen, Benjamin | Remembering the Jews of WW2

1939 Register