Ships hit by U-boats

City of Birmingham

American Steam passenger ship

Photo courtesy of SSHSA Collection, University of Baltimore Library

NameCity of Birmingham
Type:Steam passenger ship
Tonnage5,861 tons
Completed1923 - Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Newport News VA 
OwnerOcean SS Co, Savannah GA 
Date of attack1 Jul 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-202 (Hans-Heinz Linder)
Position35° 10'N, 70° 53'W - Grid CA 9758
Complement381 (9 dead and 372 survivors).
RouteNorfolk, Virginia - Bermuda 
Cargo2400 tons of general cargo 
History Completed in October 1923

On 5 May 1942, the City of Birmingham picked up 25 survivors from Empire Dryden, which had been sunk by U-572 (Hirsacker) about 240 miles northwest of Bermuda on 20 April, and landed them at Bermuda on 8 May. 
Notes on event

On 1 July 1942 the City of Birmingham (Master Lewis P. Borum) was en route to Bermuda at 11 knots about 250 miles east of Cape Hatteras, escorted by USS Stansbury (DMS 8) which took station a mile distant. At 01.27 hours, just after the escort ship had signaled by flags and blinkers for a change of course, two torpedoes from U-202 hit the City of Birmingham in quick succession on the port side and another was seen passing ahead of the ship. The first torpedo struck about 100 feet abaft the bow in the #1 hatch and the second under the bridge. The second hit caused all the sections in the forward part of the ship to flood. She quickly listed 45° to port and sank within five minutes. Most of the ten officers, 103 crewmen, five armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and two .30cal guns) and 263 passengers on board abandoned ship in an orderly fashion in five lifeboats, five rafts and seven floats. The armed guards left last and jumped into the water. The survivors were picked up by USS Stansbury within two hours after she had dropped depth charges to chase away the U-boat. Five crewmen, one stewardess and two passengers were lost and one of the crew later died on board the escort.

During the First World War, Lewis P. Borum was master of the City of Memphis, which was torpedoed and sunk by UC-66 (Pustkuchen) south of Fastnet on 17 March 1917.

On boardWe have details of 9 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats