Ships hit by U-boats


Andalucia Star

British Steam passenger ship



Photo courtesy of Fraser Darrah Collection

NameAndalucia Star
Type:Steam passenger ship
Tonnage14,943 tons
Completed1927 - Cammell Laird & Co Ltd, Birkenhead 
OwnerBlue Star Line Ltd, London 
HomeportLondon 
Date of attack7 Oct 1942Nationality:      British
 
FateSunk by U-107 (Harald Gelhaus)
Position6° 38'N, 15° 46'W - Grid ET 5562
Complement252 (4 dead and 248 survivors).
Convoy
RouteBuenos Aires (25 Sep) - Freetown - Liverpool 
Cargo5374 tons of frozen meat and 32 tons of eggs 
History Completed in March 1927 as Andalucia, in 1929 renamed Andalucia Star. 1935 lengthened and fitted with Maierform bow at Cammell Laird. 
Notes on event

At 00.41 hours on 7 Oct 1942 the unescorted Andalucia Star (Master James Bennett Hall) was hit on the port side in #5 and #6 holds by two of three torpedoes from U-107 while steaming on a non-evasive course at 15.75 knots about 200 miles southwest of Freetown. The U-boat had sighted this vessel while chasing another fast ship and decided to operate on the second ship instead as they were better placed for an attack, still it took them more than 7 hours to get into a favorable attack position. After the hits, the ship continued with a slight list to port until the engines had to be stopped because the engine room was flooded and when she began settling by the stern, the master ordered the 156 crew members, 13 gunners (the ship was armed with one 6in, one 3in, one 40mm, two 20mm and four machine guns) and 82 passengers (mainly British volunteers returning to the UK to take part in the war, 22 women with three children and 4 DBS) to abandon ship in the seven lifeboats at 01.00 hours. Distress signals were sent on the emergency set as the main wireless aerial was broken by the explosions. They were heard by the nearby Pacific Star from the same owner, which was probably the ship chased first by U-107 and she informed the naval authorities on arrival at Freetown. One lifeboat upturned during launch, throwing the majority of the 40 occupants into the sea but these were subsequently all accounted for with exception of a stewardess and a barkeeper. At 01.08 hours, the U-boat fired a coup de grĂ¢ce that hit on the port side in #1 hold, blowing out side plates on both sides of the vessel. Two of the lifeboats were still alongside when this torpedo struck, but luckily they were not damaged by the explosion and cast off immediately. The master and four crew members were the last to leave the ship on a raft from the after deck, doing so they found a dazed passenger and the master was forced to push him into the water when he refused to leave the ship on his own. This man was not seen again and probably drowned. The men on the last raft also rescued a carpenter but he died of heart failure shortly afterwards. The port list of Andalucia Star increased until she capsized and sank at 01.25 hours. The Germans did not question the survivors as they had identified their victim by the distress signals and left the area. The master then took charge of the boat which had been damaged and lost most of its gear during launch and collected all survivors from the rafts. The boats remained together during the night thanks to calm weather and at daylight they set sail towards Freetown independently, with the damaged boat taken in tow by another one. At 07.00 hours on 8 October, the first boats were located by HMS Petunia (K 79) (LtCdr J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR) which picked up most survivors during the next few hours and then returned to Freetown with two lifeboats in tow, arriving in the early hours of the next day.

 
More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 253 people who were on board

Location of attack on Andalucia Star.

ship sunk.


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