Before the Second World War Ropners were the owners of one of the largest fleet of tramp ships flying the Red Ensign. With 45 ships owned at the beginning of September 1939, and a further 3 delivered in 1940, 33 ships wholly owned by the company with a further 11 vessels managed on behalf of the British Government being lost to enemy action. Three further vessels were lost by accidental causes.

The contribution to the war effort was great, but so were the losses, From a purely statistical point of view these ships amounted to 391,139 deadweight tons and 234,489 gross tons. A total of 638 personnel were lost including 17 masters, 2 apprentices and 7 passengers.

This article gives details of the ships, how they were lost and the ships taken over at the end of the war from the Ministry of War Transport as their replacements. In addition the ultimate fates of the U Boats and German raiders responsible for the losses are given.

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