World War: 16 Men & A Burning Ship

Sixteen seamen stood before the Probate, Divorce & Admiralty Division of Britain's High Court one day last week. Fifteen of them were survivors of the British tanker San Demetrio, veterans of the Jervis Bay convoy (TIME, Nov. 25); the other, a representative of a dead comrade. What they had to add to the saga was as epic as the battle itself:

The 38-ship convoy was strung out in line that day in November, the San Demetrio in front, slicing through a calm sea. When the German raider opened up she was directly in line of fire, was struck at once, despite the...

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