Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam passenger ship

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam passenger ship
Tonnage4,989 tons
Completed1924 - Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp, Sparrow´s Point MD 
OwnerCoast Lines Ltd, Liverpool 
Date of attack25 Sep 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-216 (Karl-Otto Schultz)
Position54° 23'N, 27° 54'W - Grid AK 6656
Complement66 (17 dead and 49 survivors).
RouteNew York – Boston – Halifax - St. John’s (21 Sep) – Londonderry 
History Completed in May 1924 as American Boston for Eastern Steamship Lines Inc, Portsmouth. 1942 given to Britain and transferred to the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 
Notes on event

At 16.37 hours on 25 Sep 1942, U-216 fired a spread of four torpedoes at convoy RB-1 about 610 miles east-southeast of Cape Farewell and claimed the sinking of a passenger ship of the Viceroy of India type (19,000 grt) with three hits. In fact, the ship hit was the Boston (Master Robert Smith Cook Young) which had been used for coastal passenger services before the war and her high superstructure and twin funnels led Schultz to overestimate the size of his target. She was the ship of convoy commodore and sank turning over within seven minutes after being hit by two torpedoes on the port side through the forefoot and aft in the engine room. The master, 52 crew members, three convoy signalmen and ten gunners (the ship was armed with one 12pdr and four machine guns) had abandoned ship quickly in four lifeboats and rafts in moderate weather with a heavy swell. The British steam merchant New Bedford acted as rescue vessel and tried to pick up the survivors, but had difficulties to take them aboard due to her peculiar shape. When lowering one of her own boats it was caught underneath the belting and capsized, tipping the chief officer H.F.W. Kaye into the sea. She then rejoined convoy after having rescued only two crew members. The chief officer of New Bedford and 47 survivors, including the master of Boston, were picked up by HMS Veteran (D 72) (LtCdr T.H. Gardwood, RN) which was sunk the next day by U-404 (von Bülow) with all hands.

On boardWe have details of 66 people who were on board

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