Page last updated at 08:04 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 09:04 UK

Memorial for sunken liner victims

Arandora Star - Picture Courtesy National Maritime Museum
The liner was carrying 1,300 passengers

A plaque is to be unveiled to commemorate 13 members of Teesside's Italian community who died on a liner torpedoed during World War II.

The memorial marks the sinking of the SS Arandora by a German U-boat 75 miles off the Irish coast on 2 July, 1940.

The ship, bound for Canada, was taking Italian and German-born civilians arrested in Britain to an internment camp. More than 800 people were killed.

The plaque will be displayed at Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Other memorials are already in Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Italy.

Anniversary of sinking

Some of the 13 Teesside-based Italian men were successful businessmen and had become well-known in the area.

Families and relatives of many of the victims will be at the unveiling of the plaque on the 69th anniversary of the sinking.

Hopefully it will serve to recognise and commemorate their lives and achievements
Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon, speaking before the unveiling, said: "This memorial cannot compensate for the loss of those sons, husbands, fathers and brothers who were simply taken away, never to return.

"Hopefully, however, it will serve to recognise and commemorate their lives and achievements, their contribution to our community, and the tragic loss that was suffered when the SS Arandora Star was sunk."

In June 1940, as Italy entered World War II, Winston Churchill ordered that all male Italians living in Britain aged 18 to 70 should be arrested.

Following a decision to transport a number of internees to Canada and Australia, the liner Arandora Star left Liverpool for Canada carrying around 1,300 Italian, German and Austrian men.

The former luxury liner did not have a Red Cross painted on it to indicate it was carrying civilians.

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