MV Nino Bixio

From Our Contribution

MV Nino Brixio.jpg
Name MV Nino Bixio
Builder/Built 1941 Giovanni Ansaldo & Coy, Genoa
Type Cargo ship
Displacement 10,100 tons
Speed 15 Knots


Built for the Garibaldi Group. A Royal Navy submarine torpedoed and damaged her in 1942, killing 336 Allied prisoners of war who were aboard her. The ship survived, was repaired, and continued in merchant service until 1970.

On 16 August the Nino Bixio and the Sestriere embarked thousands of allied POWs at Benghazi for Brindisi in Italy. The POWs were loaded alphabetically, with M-Z on the Nino Bixio, crowded into the ship's holds. 3,200 were aboard the Nino Bixio.

With an escort of two destroyers and two torpedo boats they were intercepted by British submarine HMS Turbulent which at 4:33pm on 17 Aug 1942 fired 4 torpedoes at the merchant ships. Three torpedoes hit the Nino Bixio with one exploding in No 1 hold, one in the engine room, and the other disabling her rudder. Although she settled in the water, she remained afloat and was later towed to the Greek port of Pylos. In the ensuing panic and confusion many men jumped overboard. Some drowned immediately; others reached makeshift rafts and drifted around the Mediterranean for weeks without food or water. Those on board who had survived the carnage were hauled up on deck by rope. The injured were treated by medical officers. 336 Allied POWs were killed, including 41 Australians, and many more were wounded.

The ship was later towed to Venice where it was sunk as a block ship to protect the port, but after the war it was refloated and resumed its commercial life until it was scrapped at La Spezia in August 1971.

Soldiers carried as POWs

Benghazi, Libya to Brindisi, Italy 16 - 17 August 1942