Ships hit by U-boats


British Motor merchant

Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2690

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage5,302 tons
Completed1927 - J.L. Thompson & Sons Ltd, North Sands, Sunderland 
OwnerSilver Line Ltd (Stanley & John Thompson Ltd), London 
Date of attack22 Sep 1941Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-68 (Karl-Friedrich Merten)
Position25° 45'N, 24° 00'W - Grid DT 2595
Complement60 (0 dead and 60 survivors).
RouteDurban - Freetown (14 Sep) - Liverpool 
Cargo6000 tons of phosphate and general cargo, including palm oil, copper and cocoa beans 
History Completed in July 1927 
Notes on event

Between 02.22 and 02.24 hours on 22 Sep 1941, U-68 fired four torpedoes at convoy SL-87 southwest of the Canary Islands and saw two hits on the first ship, causing a boiler explosion, a column of fire on a second ship following a small detonation and a hit on a tanker. However, the only ship hit was the Silverbelle (Master Hilon Rowe), which was taken in tow by FFL Commandant Duboc. The U-boat spotted the vessel with a heavy list being supported by two escorts the next day and fired two spreads of two torpedoes at her at 03.22 and 04.15 hours, but missed in both attacks and had to give up because they had no torpedoes left under deck.

On 29 September, the Silverbelle had to be cut loose southwest of the Canary Islands and sank in 26°30N/23°14W. The master, 47 crew members, seven gunners and five passengers (among them two DBS) were picked up by the French escort and landed at Freetown.

On boardWe have details of 4 people who were on board

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