Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage4,869 tons
Completed1926 - W. Gray & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool 
OwnerSir R. Ropner & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool 
HomeportWest Hartlepool 
Date of attack11 Sep 1939Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-48 (Herbert Schultze)
Position59° 40'N, 13° 50'W - Grid AM 1366
Complement34 (0 dead and 34 survivors).
RouteTyne - Port Churchill, Hudson Bay 
Notes on event

At 13.35 hours on 11 Sep 1939 the unescorted Firby (Master Thomas Prince) was attacked by U-48 with gunfire about 270 miles west of the Hebrides. After five hits the crew abandoned ship and the ship was sunk at 15.40 hours by one torpedo. The master and 33 crew members were picked up by HMS Fearless (H 67) (Cdr K.L. Harkness) and landed at Scapa Flow on 12 September.

After sinking this vessel, Schultze sent the following radio message:
Transmit to Mr. Churchill. I have sunk British steamer Firby position 59°40N/13°50W. Save the crew if you will please. German submarine.
The message was relayed by the American merchant Scanpenn and received by the Admiralty at Rosyth at 18.25 hours.

On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

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