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San Demetrio London (1943)

The San Demetrio of the title is a British merchant ship in an Atlantic convoy in 1940. Disabled and left to the mercy of patrolling U-boats the crew must keep her afloat and out of harms ... See full summary »


Charles Frend, Robert Hamer (uncredited)


Robert Hamer (screenplay), Charles Frend (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Young Arthur Young ... Captain George Waite
Walter Fitzgerald ... Chief Engineer Charles Pollard
Ralph Michael Ralph Michael ... 2nd. Officer Hawkins
Neville Mapp Neville Mapp ... 3rd. Engineer Willey
Barry Letts ... Apprentice John Jones
Michael Allen Michael Allen ... Cadet Roy Housden
Frederick Piper Frederick Piper ... Boatswain W.E. Fletcher
Herbert Cameron Herbert Cameron ... Pumpman Davies
John Owers John Owers ... Steward
Gordon Jackson ... Messboy John Jamieson
Robert Beatty ... 'Yank' Preston
Charles Victor Charles Victor ... Deckhand
James McKechnie James McKechnie ... Deckhand
John Coyle John Coyle ... Deckhand
Duncan McIntyre Duncan McIntyre ... Deckhand (as Duncan MacIntyre)


The San Demetrio of the title is a British merchant ship in an Atlantic convoy in 1940. Disabled and left to the mercy of patrolling U-boats the crew must keep her afloat and out of harms way. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A great adventure story of the sea


Adventure | Drama | War


See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 February 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

San Demetrio See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


True story of the crew of the San Demetrio, who reboarded their ship after it was damaged by enemy action in November 1940. San Demetrio was part of Convoy HX-84, which was attacked by the German cruiser Admiral Scheer. See more »


The fires on the ship are clearly not burning oil, but gas. Otherwise, there would be thick black smoke and pouring water on it from buckets would result in an explosive spread (for that same reason one should never try to extinguish burning fat in a frying pan by pouring water on it). Addendum: the oil on board was aviation fuel, not crude oil. There would have been no other way to put the fires out than to use water. I am not sure the original criticism is valid, particularly so as the Chief Engineer was the technical adviser on the film. See more »


Deckhand: What's the matter chum? Ain't you 'ungry?
Deckhand: I've left me teeth on board.
Deckhand: Never mind - I'll lend you mine when I've finished.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits: This story is based on fact and most of the characters in the film are portrayed from life with their permission. The remaining characters are fictitious, and in such cases any similarity to any incident, name or individual is coincidental. See more »


Referenced in Secret Army: A Safe Place (1979) See more »


I Belong to Glasgow
Written by Will Fyffe
Sung by the crew
See more »

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User Reviews

This Film Needs a Remake!
5 September 2018 | by spookyrat1See all my reviews

Just amazed this film has never been remade. It's true story, certainly as seen in this low budget British wartime production, seems a perfect fit to get the 21st century, much bigger budget treatment. In the right hands, it could be a terrific cinematic spectacle as the story behind the film has really got it all. Merchant naval convoys and battles, heroism demonstrated not just on the part of the crew of the San Demetrio, but that of other ships too, especially the Jervis Bay, North Atlantic tempests, humour, pathos and in general a wonderfully marine-based, collective survival story.

In the interim, I guess we'll have to be satisfied with this low key instalment featuring a very young Gordon Jackson (as the mess boy would you believe) and regular Welsh mainstay character actor of British 40's and 50's films, Mervyn Johns (father of Glynis), playing the stoic, ill-fated, but delightfully named Greaser Boyle, who demonstrates on more than one occasion, that he was always prepared to take one for his fellow crew mates without complaint.

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