The Berenice was en route from the Mediterranean to Amsterdam when the war broke out. The Berenice had to divert and ended up in Bordeaux. There, 22 Dutch refugees were taken on board.
On June 20 she had to leave Bordeaux and a course was set for Falmouth in England. She sailed in convoy with the SS Orpheus, Arie Scheffer and the M.S. Nettie. During the night the ships lost each other.
At 7:15 am the Berenice was hit by a German submarine U 65 torpedo. The Berenice sank so fast that there was no time to lower the lifeboats. All persons below deck perished.
One of the passengers who died was the poet Hendrik Marsman. He was on his way to England with his wife.
There were eight survivors: the captain (who died shortly thereafter), six crew members and Rien Marsman. They were the only ones who had been on the deck at the time of the explosion.
Type: freight ship with accomodation for passengers
Built: Bodewes Lobith 1919
BRT: 1166 tons
Length: 76.92 m
Width: 11.10 m
Draught: 4.08 m
Propulsion: steamengine AMF triple expansion
Speed: 11 kn
Complement: 25 crew, 22 passengers
Casualties: 18 crew, 4 passengers
Master: A.J. Huijgens