The April mystery ship is the liner Citta di Tunisi, operated by the Italian company Tirrenia s.p.a., pictured at Valletta. She was originally black-hulled when completed in 1930 by Cantieri del Tirreno at Genoa, one of four sisterships for I. & V. Florio of Palermo. However, the 5,419gt liner was soon absorbed within the Tirrenia operation.

She was requisitioned as an auxiliary cruiser by the Regia Marina (Italian navy) and was busy during the war, surviving near misses from torpedo attacks and receiving some damage in air raids, but also colliding with and sinking the torpedo boat Circe in 1942 while she was on convoy duties. In late 1943,she was taken over by the Germans and renamed Heidelberg, but, unlike her sisters, she was still afloat at the end of the war and was returned to Tirrenia.

She was substantially rebuilt in Naples in 1952, receiving a white hull and an enhanced tonnage (5,474gt). She was then used on services operating mostly from Naples to Benghazi or Tripoli in Libya, with stops in Sicily and at Valletta. Taken out of service in 1970, she was towed to Trieste in November for scrapping.

Roland Whaite, Chepstow

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