Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Allen Collection

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage4,887 tons
Completed1928 - W. Gray & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool 
OwnerSir R. Ropner & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool 
HomeportWest Hartlepool 
Date of attack23 Jan 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-109 (Heinrich Bleichrodt)
Position43° 20'N, 66° 15'W - Grid BA 9956
Complement45 (3 dead and 42 survivors).
ConvoySC-66 (straggler)
RouteNew York - Halifax (23 Jan) - Loch Ewe 
Cargo7600 tons of maize 

Completed in February 1928

At 06.01 hours on 3 Apr 1941, the unescorted Thirlby (Master Philip Edmund Birch), dispersed from convoy SC-26, was hit in the stern by a G7a stern torpedo from U-69 (Metzler) in 58°22N/28°55W. The Germans reported that the target sank immediately, however the ship which was en route from St. John, New Brunswick to Hull with a cargo of wheat did not sink and was later repaired. Two of 40 men on board were lost. Earlier that night, the Thirlby in station #12 of the convoy had probably been hit by a dud from U-46 (Endrass) and was on 10 April further damaged by a bomb from a German aircraft.

Notes on event

At 08.12 hours on 23 Jan 1942 the unescorted Thirlby (Master Philip Edmund Birch), a straggler from convoy SC-66, was hit by a stern torpedo from U-109 and sank by the stern after 10 minutes 12 miles 240° from Seal Island, Cape Sable. Three crew members were lost. The master, 31 crew members, nine gunners and the US pilot were picked up by the American steam merchant Belle Isle and landed at Halifax. The U-boat misidentified the victim as Greek steam merchant Andreas (6566 grt) by an intercepted radio message.

On boardWe have details of 12 people who were on board

Attack entries for Thirlby

DateU-boatCommanderLoss typeTonsNat.
3 Apr 1941U-69Kptlt. Jost MetzlerDamaged4,887  
23 Jan 1942U-109Kptlt. Heinrich BleichrodtSunk4,887  

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

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats