13 user 7 critic

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?


Captain E.S.F. Fegen of HMS Jervis Bay received the Victoria Cross for his attack on the 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 »


[last lines]
Mr. Justice Langton: It is right and proper, and a part of my duty which I shall gladly discharge, to recognise to the full the courage, devotion and sacrifice of each of these men. I should not like to leave this case without thanking everybody concerned for having given me the best working day of my life, in listening to the very modest recital of some gallant gentlemen concerning a memorable achievement.
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 »


Featured in Arena: Cinema (1977) See more »


Invitation to the Rhumba
Music by Lou Halmy
Lyrics by Joe Boan
See more »

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User Reviews

Under rated film
18 December 2002 | by henry-girlingSee all my reviews

San Demetrio, London tells a simple story in a plain way. A merchant vessel from England sails to Galveston, picks up a cargo of oil and on the way back across the Atlantic is attacked. The crew abandon ship and later some of them re-board her and take her back home.

It is an inspiring story because it tells of ordinary people getting on with the job that, due to a world war, has to be done. These are modest heroes. Problems that come their way are solved unfussily. No one expects medals, they just get on with it. Being a war film the characters are the usual cross section of society united by the common peril. In the cold and the darkness they do their duty. You feel these are real people, not just actors.

This is not a spectacular film. The director does not go for high drama or self conscious acting. There is a death scene which is powerful in its understatement. The narrative is straight forward but exerts a gentle grip. You want to know what happens in the end. This is definitely an under rated film

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