The Polynesien was built for “La Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes” at La Ciotat in France like her sister ships “Australien”, “Armand Behic” and “Ville De La Ciotat”.
The ships were quickly recognisable by their length, low profile on the water, and by their double funnels painted black. The ships were painted white between 1895 till 1905.
Le Polynesien was launched on the 18th April 1890 by Marie Francois Sadi Carnot, President of the Republic of France.
In 1891 she started operating between France and Australia, through the Suez Canal.
In 1903 they changed her route and operated between France and the Far East mainly transporting passengers to the French Colonies.
In 1914 it operated towards Australia and New Caledonia, before being dispatched back to Europe.
On the 10th August 1918 she was hit by a Torpedo from the U Boot SM UC22, captained by Eberhard Weichold and sank.
The ship was on route from Bizerte, Tunisia, to Thessaloniki, Greece. On board was a detachment of cadets and personnel of the Serbian army, including Serb heroine Milunka Savić. Most of the cadets survived the sinking, as did Savić, but eleven crew members and six passengers died.
Length: 152 metres
Gross Tonnage: 6659 tons
Displacement: 10300 tons
Passengers: 172 First Class, 71 Second Class, 109 Third Class, 234 “Rationnaires”
Propulsion: 1 Steam Engine, heated 12 coal boilers allowing a speed or 17.5 knots.
Eberhard Weichold (23 August 1891 – 19 December 1960) was a German naval officer of the First World War who, among other commands, was captain of the submarine SM UC-22. On 10 August 1918, Weichold sank the SS Polynesien while he was in command of SM UC-22. Seventeen people died. Weichold joined the Imperial German Navy on the 1. April 1911 as Seekadett, completed his recruit training on SMS Hertha and came afterwards to Naval Academy Murwik.
SM UC-22 was a German Type UC II minelaying submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I. The U-boat was ordered on 26 August 1915 and was launched on 1 February 1916. She was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on 30 June 1916 as SM UC-22.[Note 1] In 15 patrols UC-22 was credited with sinking 23 ships, either by torpedo or by mines laid. UC-22 was surrendered to France on 3 February 1919 and was broken up at Landerneau in July 1921.
Like all pre-UC-25 German Type UC II submarines, UC-22 had a displacement of 417 tonnes (410 long tons) when at the surface and 493 tonnes (485 long tons) while submerged. She had a length overall of 49.35 m (161 ft 11 in), a beam of 5.22 m (17 ft 2 in), and a draught of 3.65 m (12 ft). The submarine was powered by two six-cylinder four-stroke diesel engines each producing 250 metric horsepower (180 kW; 250 shp) (a total of 500 metric horsepower (370 kW; 490 shp)), two electric motors producing 460 metric horsepower (340 kW; 450 shp), and two propeller shafts. She had a dive time of 35 seconds and was capable of operating at a depth of 50 metres (160 ft).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 11.6 knots (21.5 km/h; 13.3 mph) and a submerged speed of 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph). When submerged, she could operate for 55 nautical miles (102 km; 63 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 9,430 nautical miles (17,460 km; 10,850 mi) at 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph). UC-22 was fitted with six 100 centimetres (39 in) mine tubes, eighteen UC 200 mines, three 50 centimetres (20 in) torpedo tubes (one on the stern and two on the bow), seven torpedoes, and one 8.8 centimetres (3.5 in) Uk L/30 deck gun. Her complement was twenty-six crew members.
Type UC II
Shipyard Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (Werk 272)
Ordered 29 Aug 1915
Launched 1 Feb 1916
Commissioned 30 Jun 1916
1 Jul 1916 – 13 Jul 1917 Oblt. Heino von Heimburg (Pour le Merite)
14 Jul 1917 – 16 Oct 1917 Oblt. Erich Wiesenbach
1 Jan 1918 – 16 May 1918 Oblt. Carl Bunte
17 May 1918 – 29 Nov 1918 Oblt. Eberhard Weichold
Career 15 patrols
12 Oct 1916 – 11 Nov 1918 Pola/Mittelmeer II Flotilla
Successes 22 ships sunk with a total of 41,351 tons.
3 ships damaged with a total of 14,012 tons.
1 warship sunk with a total of 414 tons. (View ships hit by UC 22)
Fate 3 Feb 1919 – Surrendered to France. Broken up at Landerneau in July 1921.