|Builder||Russell & Co., Port Glasgow|
|Operator||Manchester Liners, Ltd., Manchester|
U-boat attacks on Steamer Manchester Commerce
|1||29 Jul 1917||U 39 (Walter Forstmann)||Sunk||Strait of Gibraltar, 15 miles WxN1/2N of Cape Spartel||35.52N, 06.16W||Cardiff - Gibraltar||government stores & coal||1|
|At the time of her sinking she was on a voyage from Archangel to Gibraltar calling at Cardiff to unload and reload a fresh cargo of 6,000 tons of coal and some Government stores. She was proceeding on a zigzag course as prescribed when without warning she was hit below the bridge area by a single torpedo. The D.E.M.S. gunners spotted the torpedo wake 2 seconds before it struck. The upward column of water on impact blew the 18 year old wireless operator overboard and he was lost (the only casualty) three boats were lowered and told by Captain Robert Smith to \'pull for the African shore\'. U39 suddenly surfaced almost under the lifeboat in which Captain Smith, his First Mate and the Bosun were situated. He was ordered aboard U39 and asked for his official papers which he had jettisoned in a weighted bag immediately it was realised his ship was doomed. After further questioning he was ordered back to his lifeboat and eight shells in as many minutes were pumped in \"Manchester Commerce II\" and she quickly disappeared. The three lifeboats were picked up within an hour by a Gibraltar based R.N. patrol boat.
Comments by Ray Lloyd|
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