Ships hit by U-boats


British Motor merchant

Photo courtesy of Wellington Harbour Board Maritime Museum Collection

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage10,354 tons
Completed1931 - A. Stephen & Sons Ltd, Linthouse, Glasgow 
OwnerNew Zealand Shipping Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack6 Feb 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-106 (Hermann Rasch)
Position38° 21'N, 61° 13'W - Grid CB 5682
Complement71 (56 dead and 15 survivors).
RouteLyttelton - Cristobal - Halifax - UK 
Cargo8575 tons of refrigerated foodstuffs, general cargo and 3000 tons of lead 
History Completed in April 1931. On 23 June 1931 the Opawa, on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Auckland, took the British steam merchant City of Kimberley in tow which had lost her propeller near the Cook Islands and arrived at Auckland on 2 July. On 6 July 1940 requisitioned by the Admiralty as troop transport but returned to the owner after serving four months as cargo transport. On 14 January 1941 the Opawa was damaged by near misses during an air raid on Avonmouth. 
Notes on event

At 12.10 hours on 6 February 1942 the unescorted Opawa (Master Wilfred George Evans) was hit amidships by one torpedo from U-106 about 400 miles north-northeast of Bermuda. The ship had been chased since 08.32 hours and stopped after the hit. The U-boat dived to get closer and observed the launching of four lifeboats. At 14.17 hours, U-106 surfaced and shelled the ship with 93 rounds until she sank at 14.59 hours. However, 54 crew members and two gunners were lost. The master, 13 crew members and one gunner were picked up by the Dutch steam merchant Hercules on 11 February and landed at New York.

On boardWe have details of 70 people who were on board

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