Ships hit by U-boats

HMS Gladiolus (K 34)

British Corvette

HMS Gladiolus shortly after being commissioned

NameHMS Gladiolus (K 34)
Type:Corvette (Flower)
Tonnage925 tons
Completed1940 - Smith´s Dock Co Ltd, South Bank, Middlesbrough 
OwnerThe Admiralty 
Date of attack17 Oct 1941Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-553 (Karl Thurmann)
Position57° 00'N, 25° 00'W - Grid AL 1922
Complement65 officers and men (65 dead - no survivors)
RouteSt. Johns (7 Oct) – Reykjavik, Iceland 
History HMS Gladiolus (K 34) was completed in April 1940 and participated in the sinkings of U-26 and U-556
Notes on event

On 16/17 October 1941, HMS Gladiolus (K 34) (LtCdr H.M.C. Sanders, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR) was reported missing after a night action fought between five U-boats and the escorts of convoy SC-48. She was on her station astern of the port wing of convoy when the U-boat attacks began and disappeared with all hands. The commander, four officers, 59 ratings and one survivor from Empire Heron picked up one night earlier were lost.

Between 00.00 and 00.05 hours on 17 October, U-553 fired three carefully aimed single torpedoes at three different tankers in the port wing of convoy SC-48, but missed. Thurmann assumed that the torpedoes ran too deep, so the fourth torpedo was set to 2 meters depth and fired at a fourth tanker which was seen to explode in a ball of fire after being hit amidships. More likely is that all torpedoes missed their targets because he had underestimated the speed of convoy, but the last apparently hit HMS Gladiolus by chance astern of convoy, igniting her magazine and causing her to sink immediately with all hands.

Revisions January 2010 by Rainer Kolbicz:
HMS Gladiolus disappeared during a night battle around convoy SC-48 and over the time her loss was attributed to several different U-boats that participated in the attack. Latest research shows that the corvette was most likely hit by U-553. 
More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 64 people who were on board

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

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats

As an Amazon Associate earns a commission from qualifying purchases.