Ships hit by U-boats

HMS Notts County (FY 250)

British A/S trawler

Photo from Imperial War Museum (IWM), A-923

NameHMS Notts County (FY 250)
Type:A/S trawler
Tonnage541 tons
Completed1938 - Smith´s Dock Co Ltd, South Bank, Middlesbrough 
OwnerThe Admiralty 
Date of attack9 Mar 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-701 (Horst Degen)
Position63° 10'N, 13° 16'W - Grid AE 8268
Complement42 (41 dead and 1 survivor).
RouteSeydisfjordur, Iceland - Greenock 
History Completed in January 1938 as steam trawler Notts County (GY 487) for Consolidated Fisheries Ltd (Sir John D. Marsden-Bart), Grimsby. On 19 Sep 1939, requisitioned by the Admiralty, converted to an A/S trawler and commissioned as HMS Notts County (FY 250) in November 1939. 
Notes on event

At 00.39 hours on 9 March 1942, HMS Notts County (FY 250) (T/Lt R.H. Hampton, RNR) was hit on the port side amidships by one torpedo from U-701 while steaming at 9 knots southeast of Iceland. The armed trawler was in company of HMS Angle (FY 201) (T/Lt E. Playne, RNVR) which was stationed on the port beam in a distance of 1000 yards and was slightly ahead of station when attacked. The U-boat had chased the vessels for about 10 hours before firing one torpedo at each trawler at 00.38 and 00.39 hours. HMS Angle didn’t notice the attack as her Asdic set was out of order due to a leak in the Asdic well and her commander assumed that HMS Notts County was mined because six drifting mines had been observed during the previous day. The trawler was seen listing to port with her bow and stern above water with her midship section awash before disappearing within two minutes. Her depth charges exploded a few seconds later, the underwater explosions badly shaking the approaching HMS Angle without damaging her. She launched a whaler to pick up survivors and used searchlights to assist the rescue operation, constantly combing the area at slow speed and unknowingly preventing a further attack by the U-boat by this maneuvering. At 01.55 hours, the trawler proceeded on the original course at 10 knots after the area was carefully searched, but all what was left was a circle of about 200 yards covered with small pieces of wood, an empty Carley float and the only survivor found on a small raft. Officer’s steward John Henry Baxter was unhurt except for a bruised knee and reported that he had been sleeping in his bunk in the mess aft when the explosion occurred. He scrambled on deck with several other men, but was the only one who went to the starboard side to jump overboard and swam to a small raft, reaching it together with a signalman. The detonations of the depth charges blew both men off the raft, but his arm was caught in a line and he managed to board it again. However, all other survivors must have been killed by the underwater explosions as he saw no sign of anyone nor heard anyone shouting after this.

U-701 continued to stalk HMS Angle and fired a spread of two torpedoes at the unsuspecting enemy at 03.06 hours on 9 March. However, both torpedoes missed and Degen decided to give up further attacks, leaving the area at high speed. The torpedo attack wasn’t noticed aboard the trawler and only afterwards the departing U-boat was spotted on the starboard quarter by two look-outs. HMS Angle was immediately turned around in an attempt to ram, but lost it out of sight and dropped the depth charges from the rails in case the U-boat had dived. Unable to locate a submerged enemy due to the disabled Asdic, the trawler continued a fruitless search of the area on zigzag courses, dropping another depth charge and returning to the position of the original sighting before proceeding to Greenock.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 42 people who were on board

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