On the 25th March 1941, during World War II, SS Britannia was carrying service personnel, passengers and crew when she was attacked by the German surface raider Thor and sunk.  There were 492 people on board; 243 of them survived the attack.

The survivors took to the ship's lifeboats and some threw baulks of timber overboard and used them as makeshift rafts.

Many died at sea as they waited to be rescued.

Lifeboat Number Five carried about fifty survivors who were picked up by the Spanish ship Bachi.

The Spanish ship Cabo de Hornos was in the area five days after the sinking and picked up 2nd Lt. Cox, Sub Lt. Davidson and Lt. Rowlandson from the '1st Raft'.  On board the Cabo was a French Baroness who, with Lt Rowlandson, persuaded the captain to keep searching.  They later picked up Spencer Mynott and Alfred Warren from the '2nd Raft', and survivors from another raft and two lifeboats, a total of 77, who were taken to the island of Tenerife.

67 were rescued by the M V Raranga and taken to Montevideo.

Four more survivors on another raft were picked up by another Spanish ship.

After 23 days at sea, 38 survivors reached the coast of Brazil on Britannia's Lifeboat Number Seven, having navigated across most of the Atlantic.

Sources differ considerably between the numbers of passengers, crew and survivors.  Official sources record 243 survivors out of a total of 492 who set out.