Ships hit by U-boats

HMS Aurania (F 28)

British Armed Merchant Cruiser

Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

NameHMS Aurania (F 28)
Type:Armed Merchant Cruiser
Tonnage13,984 tons
Completed1924 - Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend, Sunderland 
OwnerThe Admiralty 
Date of attack21 Oct 1941Nationality:      British
FateDamaged by U-123 (Reinhard Hardegen)
Position50° 45'N, 18° 41'W - Grid BE 2136
Complement? men (2 dead and ? survivors).
ConvoySL-89 (straggler)
RouteHalifax - Clyde 
History Completed in September 1924 as steam passenger ship Aurania for the Cunard White Star Ltd, Liverpool. On 30 Aug 1939, requisitioned by the Royal Navy and converted to the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (F 28)
Notes on event

At 04.28 hours on 21 Oct 1941, U-123 fired a spread of three torpedoes at HMS Aurania (F 28) (A/Capt Ivan Walter Whitehorn, RN), which was travelling zigzagging at 13.5 knots in a group of five armed merchant cruisers behind convoy SL-89 and was hit at the bow and underneath the bridge by two torpedoes. The flooding of #3 hold caused a 25 degree list to port, but empty drums in the other holds kept the ship afloat. The master managed to correct the list to 15 degrees and the ship soon continued on a zigzag course at 8 knots. The U-boat was chased away by an escort.

Due to a misunderstanding, one lifeboat containing six men was launched and swamped upon hitting the water. Gunner Charles Stewart, Able Seamen Cornelius O┬┤Keefe and Abed Graves were picked up by HMS Croome (L 62) (LtCdr J.D. Hayes, RN), but Leading Seamen Bertie Edward Shaw, George R. Brown and Able Seaman Victor A. Pancott were reported missing. At 10.09 hours, U-123 came upon the sinking lifeboat, but only Bertie E. Shaw was left in it and taken as prisoner on board.

On 23 October, HMS Aurania (F 28) arrived at Rothesay Bay under escort by HMS Totland (Y 88) (LtCdr S.G.C. Rawson, RN). The ship was under repair for 19 months and returned to service as repair ship HMS Artifex (F 28).

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 11 people who were on board

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