American Steam merchant
|Type:||Steam merchant (Liberty)|
|Completed||1942 - Alabama Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co, Mobile AL|
|Owner||Lykes Bros SS Co Inc, New Orleans LA|
|Date of attack||1 Jan 1943||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-73 (Horst Deckert)|
|Position||35.45N, 00.45W - Grid CH 8432|
|Complement||81 (78 dead and 3 survivors).|
|Route||New York (12 Dec) - Oran, Algeria|
|Cargo||6412 tons of general cargo, including munition and explosives and a landing craft as deck cargo|
|History||Completed in July 1942 |
|Notes on event|
On 1 Jan, 1943, eleven ships from UGS-3, including the Arthur Middleton (Master John V. Smith) from station #21, broke away from the convoy near Casablanca to proceed for their destination port Oran and began to form a single line to enter the harbor. At 14.28 hours, before the line was formed, the Arthur Middleton was hit by two torpedoes from U-73 at the bow. Deckert saw the target explode after 17 seconds. The torpedoes had ignited portions of the cargo and sent water, hull plates, parts of the ship and flames 1000 feet into the air. The Liberty ship disintegrated from the #5 hatch to the bow, only the after part of the ship remained afloat for less than one minute three miles off Oran. Only three armed guards survived of the eight officers, 34 men, 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and nine 20mm guns) and 12 passengers (one US Army security officer and 11 crewmen from USS LCT-21). These three men jumped overboard from the stern gun platform and were picked up by HMS Boreas (H 77) (LtCdr E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) 25 minutes later and were transferred to the British hospital ship HMHS Oxfordshire.
|On board||We have details of 78 people who were on board.|
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