Ships hit by U-boats


Finnish Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of Suomen Merimuseo

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage4,260 tons
Completed1904 - Furness, Withy & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool 
OwnerSuomen Höyrylaiva O/Y, Helsinki 
Date of attack1 Dec 1939Nationality:      Finnish
FateSunk by U-21 (Fritz Frauenheim)
Position57° 25'N, 1° 35'W - Grid AN 1895
Complement36 (1 dead and 35 survivors).
RouteBuenos Aires - Leith (30 Nov) - Abo - Helsinki 
CargoGeneral cargo, including 1270 tons of coffee, maize, wheat, linseed, casein and groundnut meal 
History Completed in February 1904 as British Manchester Mariner for Manchester Liners Ltd (Furness, Withy & Co Ltd), Manchester. On 4 Dec 1917, she was damaged by a mine laid by UC-64 (Hecht) east of The Manacles in the English Channel. 1925 sold to Finland and renamed Mercator
Notes on event

At 04.53 hours on 1 Dec 1939 the unescorted and neutral Mercator (Master Gunnar Nilsson-Ollandt) was hit near the foremast by one G7a torpedo from U-21 about 12 miles southeast of Buchan Ness and sank after six minutes. One crew member was lost. The U-boat had spotted the ship with lights set only 13 minutes earlier and attacked because no national markings were visible. The RNLI lifeboat Julia Park Barry of Glasgow and the motor fishing vessel Bread Winner put out from Peterhead to rescue the survivors. 19 men in a lifeboat and a raft lashed alongside it with four others were picked up by the fishing vessel three miles east-northeast of Peterhead and brought to the port. The twelve remaining survivors in a second boat rowed towards shore and made landfall at Boddam during the morning.

Revisions August 1998 by R.N. Baird:
The loss of Mercator was earlier attributed to an attack of U-31, but the position of her wreck and the time of her loss confirm that she was sunk by U-21. The victim of U-31 was Arcturus
On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board

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