Ships hit by U-boats

Vancouver Island

Canadian Motor merchant

Vancouver Island under her former name Weser. Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2833

NameVancouver Island
Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage9,472 tons
Completed1929 - Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel 
OwnerMerchant Marine Ltd, Ottawa 
Date of attack15 Oct 1941Nationality:      Canadian
FateSunk by U-558 (Günther Krech)
Position53° 37'N, 25° 37'W - Grid AL 7123
Complement105 (105 dead - no survivors)
RouteMontreal (24 Sep) - Quebec City (9 Oct) - Sydney - Belfast - Cardiff 
Cargo3132 tons of general cargo, 993 tons of copper, 751 tons of aluminum, 450 tons of zinc, 357 tons of asbestos and 87 tons of steel 
History Completed in June 1929 as Sud Americano for A/S Linea Sud Americana (Ivar A. Christensen), Oslo. 1931 sold to Germany and renamed Yakima Star for Hanseatische Schiffahrts- und Betriebs-GmbH, Bremen. 1934 rebuilt, lengthened and renamed Weser for Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen.

At the outbreak of war, the Weser was interned at Manzanillo, Mexico. On 25 Sep 1940, she left loaded with 2630 tons of diesel oil, 600 drums of lubricating oil and provisions to serve as supply ship for the German raider Orion (HSK 1) in the Pacific, but was intercepted and captured by HMCS Prince Robert (F 56) (Capt C.T. Beard, RCN) waiting off the harbor and brought to Esquimalt by a prize crew. On 19 October, the ship was taken over by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) and handed over to Merchant Marine Ltd, Ottawa. 
Notes on event

At 21.54 hours on 15 Oct 1941 the unescorted Vancouver Island (Master Eric Lacey Roper) was spotted by U-558, which was searching convoy SC-48 west of Ireland. Due to her high speed of about 15 knots the U-boat immediately went on full speed to get into a favorable attack position and fired a spread of three torpedoes from about 2000 meters at 22.49 hours, hitting the ship with two of them after 144 seconds. The vessel was hit in the fore part and amidships and stopped but did not sink. Because Krech wanted to continue the search for convoy he fired two coups de grâce from more than 1000 meters at 23.08 and 23.17 hours, hitting the ship fore and aft and causing her to sink fast by the stern.

The Germans had observed how the crew abandoned ship in lifeboats after the first hits, but HMS Dianthus (K 95) (LtCdr C.E. Bridgman, RNR) sent to her assistance from the dispersed convoy ON-24 did not find any survivors. On 31 October, a lifeboat with the bodies of two officers from the ship was found by a British warship in 56°08N/20°45W. The master, 64 crew members, eight gunners and 32 passengers were lost.

On boardWe have details of 90 people who were on board

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