Ships hit by U-boats


Greek Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage4,013 tons
Completed1912 - Northumberland Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Howden-on-Tyne 
OwnerAegeon SS Co Ltd, Piræus 
Date of attack27 Jan 1942Nationality:      Greek
FateSunk by U-754 (Hans Oestermann)
Position46° 02'N, 52° 22'W - Grid BB 6956
Complement29 (9 dead and 20 survivors).
ConvoyON-53 (dispersed)
RouteManchester – Liverpool (2 Jan) – Louisburg, Nova Scotia – Halifax 
History Completed in January 1912 as British Geddington Court for Court Line Ltd (Haldinstein), London. 1927 sold to Greece and renamed Pontos for G.D. Gratsos, Ithaca. 1936 renamed Icarion for Aegeon SS Co Ltd, Piræus. 
Notes on event

At 00.21 hours on 27 Jan 1942 the unescorted Icarion (Master Panagis Dracatos) was hit on the port side in the engine room by one of three torpedoes from U-754 while steaming on a non-evasive course at 8 knots about 48 miles southwest of Cape Race. The ship had been in station #52 of convoy ON-53 which was dispersed on 19 January and then encountered heavy weather, losing one of her lifeboats and running low on fuel that made it necessary to head for Louisburg for bunkers. The U-boat had first spotted the vessel about nine hours before the successful attack, but missed with a first torpedo during a submerged approach at 18.38 hours on 26 January and was then forced to fire a torpedo spread from a rather long distance due to the closeness of the coast, scoring a hit after 5 minutes 25 seconds. The torpedo explosion broke the back of Icarion and most crew members (the ship was armed with four machine guns) immediately abandoned ship in the one remaining lifeboat in rough seas after sending a distress signal. Five others left in a jolly boat which subsequently capsized and all occupants drowned. U-754 approached to fire a coup de grâce because the ship only settled slowly by the stern, but she suddenly broke in two and sank at 01.08 hours. The Germans then fruitlessly looked for survivors to question them before leaving the area. The lifeboat with the master, chief officer, second officer, chief engineer officer and 16 others made landfall between Saint Vincent’s and Saint Mary’s on Newfoundland on the morning of 28 January. One crew member died of exposure before reaching land.

On boardWe have details of 3 people who were on board

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