British Steam merchant
|Completed||1918 - Ames Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Seattle WA|
|Owner||W.A. Souter & Co Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne|
|Date of attack||9 Sep 1941||Nationality: British|
|Fate||Sunk by U-81 (Friedrich Guggenberger)|
|Position||61° 38'N, 40° 40'W - Grid AD 6886|
|Complement||39 (39 dead - no survivors)|
|Route||Boca Grande, Cuba - Sydney, CB (30 Aug) - Leith - London|
|Cargo||Steel and phosphates|
|History||Ordered as British War Dido by The Shipping Controller, but while building taken over by the US Shipping Board (USSB) and renamed Westmead. Acquired upon completion in October 1918 by the US Navy as cargo transport USS Westmead (ID # 3550) for the Naval Overseas Transportation Service. In June 1919 returned to the USSB after two Trans-Atlantic crossings and later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. 1927 renamed Willanglo for Williams SS Corp, New York. 1929 renamed San Angelo for Pacific-Atlantic SS Co (States SS Co), Portland OR. 1940 transferred to Britain and renamed Empire Springbuck by Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). |
|Notes on event|
At 06.55 hours on 9 September 1941 the unescorted Empire Springbuck (Master Watson Edward O’Connell), a straggler from station #31 in convoy SC-42, was hit on port side in hold #1 and #3 by two G7e torpedoes from U-81 while steaming in good weather about 150 miles northeast of Cape Farewell. The ship was seen to quickly burn from stem to stern after the second torpedo hit and to sink immediately after several heavy explosions that shook the submerged U-boat in a distance of 1200 meters. The Germans assumed that the ship carried ammunition but apparently the cargo of phosphates had been ignited. The master, 33 crew members and five gunners were lost.
|On board||We have details of 39 people who were on board.|
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