Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Motor merchant

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage1,828 tons
Completed1939 - NV Sheepsbouwwerf Gebroeders Pot, Bolnes 
OwnerNV Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Mij (KNSM), Amsterdam 
Date of attack24 May 1942Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-103 (Werner Winter)
Position19° 50'N, 81° 53'W - Grid DM 8421
Complement31 (2 dead and 29 survivors).
RouteNew York (10 May) - CuraƧao 
Cargo2400 tons of general cargo, 1000 tons of cement, pipe, machinery, food and 17 tons of dynamite 
History Completed in December 1939 
Notes on event

At 16.40 hours on 24 May 1942 the unescorted Hector (Master Johannes Lodewijk) was hit by one stern torpedo from U-103 while steaming on a non-evasive course at 11 knots in clear weather about 50 miles northwest of the Grand Cayman Island. It took the U-boat almost four hours to get into a favorable attack position because the ship had received a U-boat warning, stopped zigzagging and tried to pass the area at full speed. The G7e torpedo struck on the starboard side aft between #3 and #4 holds, blew the hatch covers high into the air and caused the ship to sink by the stern in less than four minutes. She sank so fast that the crew of 29 and two gunners (the ship was armed with one 3in gun) could only launch one of the four lifeboats and a raft to abandon ship in moderate sea after sending distress signals. However, the radio operator and the cook failed to leave the vessel and were lost. U-103 surfaced shortly thereafter and the Germans asked the survivors about the name of the ship, nationality and cargo and commented on cigarettes floating in the water that had been part of the cargo. The U-boat then quickly left to chase a tanker spotted at the horizon, but soon had to dive again to avoid being seen by another ship, the American steam tanker F.Q. Barstow (Master Thomas B. Christenson). This ship had heard a distress signal without name or position, passed the U-boat out of its range and encountered the lifeboat and raft from Hector about two hours after she had been sunk. The master of the tanker decided to drop two rafts for the survivors and circled them at full speed while reporting the incident and requesting air cover. These radio messages were also heard aboard the U-boat and Winter regretted to have left the sinking position, but did not return. Meanwhile the F.Q. Barstow fired two rounds from the stern gun at wreckage which might have hidden a periscope and eventually picked up the survivors after being ordered to do so, recovered one of the rafts and proceeded to Kingston, Jamaica, where the survivors were landed on 26 May.

On boardWe have details of 31 people who were on board

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