Stanley Birch

Killed on active service, aged 19, on board the SS Kheldive Ismail on 12 February 1944.

PASSAGE TO DESTINY
The Story of the Tragic Loss of the SS Khedive Ismail
by Brian James Crabb

This book tells the untold story of the loss of the troopship SS Khedive Ismail in Convoy KR8 in February 1944. No less than 1,297 people lost their lives in the space of the two minutes it took to sink the ship, including seventy-seven women (the single worst loss of female service personnel in the history of the British Commonwealth). Carrying 1,511 personnel from the Army and the Royal and Merchant Navies, the Khedive Ismail sank on Saturday 12 February 1944, torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-27 in the Indian Ocean. Only 208 men and 6 women survived the ordeal.

The submarine was depth-charged to the surface by the destroyers Paladin and Petard, and the book includes an account of their difficult but successful attempt to sink her, a campaign which forced the Navy to depth-charge the submarine through some of the survivors.
This compelling read draws on many eye-witness accounts and previously unpublished. Admiralty papers, many of which were not released for forty years because of their sensitivity, for the sinking of the Khedive Ismail was Britain's third worst Allied shipping disaster of the Second World War.
The book includes several appendices, including the names of the entire ship’s complement, and includes a generous fifty-three illustrations.
ISBN 1 900289 10 5
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